Pounding Tires for a Rammed Earth Tire Wall:
Pounding a Tire…oh what fun! Ok-Ok I’m being sarcastic but only because I have a few lower back challenges so bending over at a 45 degree angle makes my chiropractor really upset with me. It is fun on the first go, but by the time you get to number1067 the novelty may wear off. That’s why it is so important to get the form down for yourself as any repetitive motion is going to wear you out, and that’s why Monica and I prefer ‘the Granny sledge’. There was a time in my 20’s when I would have been embarrassed and appalled to admit to such a thing, but luckily in my 40’s pride has been replaced with a sense of humor.
First make sure there isn’t any rain water built up inside the rim of your tire. Flip the tire in the air allowing it to bounce and hopefully knock the moisture out. I also witnessed one of Michael Reynolds’ core crew pick up a tire and shake the heck out of it, but that young man had way too much energy. If it comes to it I’ll invest in some of those ‘Sham-WOWs’ as seen on TV and give them a good wipe.
Next you break apart cardboard boxes to use as inserts inside the bottom of the tire to keep the dirt from falling straight through. Yes cardboard is enough to do that job amazingly. If you put your weight on it to test it, it should bend but not fall through the bottom signalling you are good to go.
I noticed it takes approximately a wheelbarrow full of dirt to pound a size 235 truck tire. Dump in some dirt and push it under the rim by hand until you get to the next stage. Dump in more dirt and using your steel toed boots stand in the center of the tire and kick it under the rim.
Next stage requires sledging so if you can handle a full length sledge stand outside the tire and proceed to sledge the dirt under the rim in a clockwise fashion.
You will find your own preference no doubt. I personally found that if I aimed from the center of the tire as I sledged inward towards the rim I would have more success than if I sledged too close to the rim itself. Since I brought up the concept of a ‘Granny’ sledge it is simply the nickname we gave for a smaller sledge hammer with a short handle enabling us to sit or kneel on the tire as opposed to standing over one. In our opinion whatever gets the job done. It is imperative to get it all the way around and under the rim.
After you have bloated up the tire with dirt it will need to be measured as level, first to itself and then to the tire next to it.
To measure the tire throw a level across it every 120 degrees or from three different positions. If it’s too high on one side then literally stomp on it to bring it down. Measure again. When you are confident that the one tire is level you can place the level across to the next tire beside it (which should also be pounded and ready) in an ‘X’ formation measuring it from two spots. If this pattern is repeated from tire to tire you will have a level row.
Image credit: Monica Holy