Building the urbanite foundation

by ziggy on May 2, 2008 -- 0 comments -- Follow

Two days ago, I went on a trip to collect urbanite (think broken up concrete from sidewalks and roadbeds) in a small town about twenty miles away. Thankfully, four willing folks offered their help in picking up the material. Urbanite is extremely heavy and you don’t want to move it more than you have to.

After an hour of collecting the concrete, we were physically exhausted. Unfortunately, we could not back up the pickup truck with trailer directly next to the huge pile — instead, it was about a twenty yard walk to the trailer, which made it that much more difficult. After unloading the urbanite at my work site, I was quite wiped out.

The next day, Jeff (my work exchanger) and I started assembling the concrete into the shape of the foundation wall, which is to be about 18″ thick. Working with the urbanite is almost like playing Tetris — you need to carefully find the right pieces to match up and fit together. Before starting, I thought I might have enough to finish the whole thing — boy, I was off. I didn’t even have enough to finish a single course:

So, it looks like I will have to make yet another exhausting trip.

Once the first course is laid out, I will make a clay/sand mortar at a ratio of four buckets of sand to one bucket of clay. This will fill the cracks between stones, preventing the entry of rodents, and blocking the passage of wind. Normally, one might use a cement mortar mix, but I am pretty opposed to using concrete in this building (unless it is recycled). (Fun fact: concrete is the second most consumed substance on earth, right behind water.) I hope the clay/sand mix will be sufficient.

If all goes well, I might start cobbing within a couple of weeks.

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