Making Pilas: Removing the Mold

Making Pilas: Removing the Mold

Actually, I should say removing the mold pieces. Basically, to manufacture pilas, washbasins, there four basic steps:

  1. Set the mold pieces and iron rods pieces to serve as skeleton. The mold concrete pieces are applied a light layer of burnt oil so they don’t stick to new concrete structure.
  2. Fill it with concrete and wait 24 hours.
  3. Remove the mold pieces and clean up
  4. Paint and add the final touches, like white dots.

Here we see the worker removing the concrete mold pieces by hitting them with a hammer and piece of wood so they break loose.

Don Eduardo Gonzalez shared with me that a good quality pila like the ones he builds could be bought for Q25/$3 when he started 24 years ago. Compare that with today’s going price of Q500/$60. Of course, 24 years ago the Quetzal was worth a lot more; if I am not mistaken, the exchange rate was Q3 per $1 (today’s exchange rate is Q8,39 per US$1).

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  • norm kwallek

    Has your friend ever considered casting wood fired pizza ovens for the home market? Considering the type of people who live in Antigua, the size of their wallets and how much the process is the same as what he is getting $50 for, he might want to experiment a little. They sell on the international market for over $2000 plus shipping. The materials are somewhat different but nothing that can not be dug up in the local area.