T-Brick Shed: Second Course

If you can’t image molten lava cake, it looks like this

While it was overcast and kind of gloomy most of the weekend it didn’t rain which awesome. I was able to work on the the shed most of Friday and Sunday afternoon. The blocks I made last week looked really good. No slumping! My parents easily removed the forms a few days after I put them and they looked like perfectly formed 12″X12″X5.5″ brownies. Success! Hurrah! It’s great news but leaving the forms on overnight is slightly inconvenient in that it severely limits the number of blocks I can do in a day. On the bright side, the inconvenience should be short-lived. For the first four courses (~approximately 2ft) I’m stabilizing the soil with lime. To mix the lime evenly in the soil I have to get it fairly wet. To get an idea of the consistency, close your eyes and imagine a Chili’s molten lava cake. The soil is gelatinous and flows slowly out of a large brownie capped with ice cream. Rather than eating every single morsel of the the slowly moving lime infused mass you tamp it down and find it squishes out from underneath your tamper rather than packing down. That’s what I’m working with. 

From the fifth course on I’ll use straight soil without any amendments. I’ll add 10 – 20% moisture but it will able to hold its form after some tampage (I’ll demonstrate what 10-20% moisture content looks like in a future post. For now we can just let the suspense build). Eventually, the entire structure will be covered with a roof that keeps most of it dry in most situations. The idea behind stabilizing the lower courses with lime is that they’re likely to to come in contact with water be it from splashing or flooding. It this were a garden wall completely exposed to the elements I would use lime in the whole thing.

Friday morning. Found the nails on some of my forms pulling out so I secured them with a few screws.

I’d completed half of the second course by mid morning. I had few more more boards so I made more forms. I’m getting really good at form making.

With the new forms I was able to make it three quarters of the way around by Friday afternoon.

Sunday afternoon. Time to finish the second course.

It’s a good thing I’m building this shed. I’m going to need some place to store all these forms when I’m done. I’m up to twelve 12″X12″ forms, one 12″X18″ form and one 18″X18″ corner form. I think I could probably do with one more 12″X18″ form but apart from that I should be finished in the form building department.

Finished the second course being sure to leave a gap for the doorway. Starting in on the third course.

Installing my first dead man.

Into the wall with you dead man! I’m going to put some exterior shelves on the shed to hold lumber. I’ll anchor the shelves to these dead men.

The corner piece fits. Yay!

Second course down! I won’t say how many to go because that would just be depressing. Tune in next week.