Thursday, April 30, 2009

About this blog...

I'll be using this blog to share information about my experiments with papercrete and related materials.
I know little of building fundamentals, though I'm learning here and there. I mention this to let anyone who stumbles upon this blog that I'm pretty much winging it when it comes to construction. I'll document failed experiments as well as successes. I think all of it offers information to the novice who sees the potential in papercrete and other alternatives to expensive traditional building and sculpting materials.
For instance, I made skirting for my mobile home using a sort of "third world" tecnology--latex cement over fly screen. I read online that someone was making shelters for refugees in various war torn and famine ravaged African countries by stretching nylon window screen over bamboo frames and painting it with a mix of discarded latex paint, sand, and Portland cement. I attached nylon window screen to PVC "studs," painted it with their recipe for latex cement and, I swear, it made an attractive and what appears to be durable skirting for my trailer. I'd spent a good many hours online searching for an attractive, durable, and afordable alternative to the usual options for mobile home skirting--vinyl, sheet metal, cement block, brick, etc.--and began experimenting by making thin concrete panels that simply did not work. Anyway, I think the latex cement skirting idea is valuable for anyone searching, as I was, for a reasonable alternative to what is commercially available. I have an idea to make an awning for my shed using PVC and latex cement. I'll certainly try to document that project when it manifests.
I'd also like to publish information about my papercrete tow mixer and how I came to build it as I did. That was another little struggle to gather information about making a tow mixer without spending hundreds of dollars. I still mix some small batches for sculpture, mortor, and plaster by hand using cellulose insulation, but such an expensive process defeated the purpose for building larger structures with papercrete. The mixer allows me to use old newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cardboard, etc., and to mix larger batches to make blocks, etc.