Saturday, October 8, 2011

Building the bench using earthbag building techniques.

When building the community bench, I wanted to use a method which was sustainable, and easy. I also wanted to use local materials, preferably onsite. After what seemed like copious amounts of research and networking, I decided to use a method called earthbag building. It is basically filling sand bags, (polypropylene), with a combination of sand and cement. Then you stack them, using barbed wire as a kind of velcro to keep them in place. The whole thing is then covered with a wire mesh and mortar and cement. It sounds easy but it is a lot of hard work and requires lots of people to help out.

We found the sand in Granite Creek right in the park. We hauled over fifty wheelbarrow loads of sand up from the creek and mixed it with Portland cement to get the right mixture to fill the sand bags. Then we stacked them like bricks, using barbed wire to hold the bags in place with each other.

Most of the materials, like the cement, (thank you Drake Cement and Lucho), the wire, tiles, (thank you Prescott Flooring and Arizona Tile) and tools were donated or loan to us for this project. It was truly a community effort.

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