Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Thursday, February 17, 2011

building our house - part 3A - rubble for foundation

the foundation for our house will be 1.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet deep.
it will be filled up with rock, rubble and sand.

parts of pR are very rocky and while digging the swales, several multi-sized rocks have been laid around for this very use - foundation laying.

but these rocks have to be broken into manageable chunks for ease of lifting as well as fitting into above dimensions.

enter kumar - rock cutter/mason (கல் தச்சன் - kal thachan). the mason has the added skill of using these rocks to construct walls, houses, etc.
a very skilled operation, and such an operator is usually found within a cluster of villages.

this is where the story starts.

tools of the trade - mini chisel wedges

mega mallet

hammering the wedges into place. he pays careful attention to the sound while knocking the rock to find out the weaker spots and the fault lines.

heave ho. it is more brain than takes strength to wield the mallet, but if he gets the placement correct, a couple of shots should do it.

and lo, it cracks.

using a iron bar lever, the crack is wedged open.

and the mighty are felled.

end of the days harvest.

a total of 3 tractor tipper loads will be needed. around 3-4 person days of work.
and tons of rock.
now these need to be moved to the house location. and thats all us...


Anonymous said...

It seems like even in America, houses are not built appropriate to the environment. Houses there last a few seconds in a tornado, less than 5 minutes in a fire, and a few hours in a flood. Every item in the house is soaked in fire-retardants, but even then they don't last long.

Unknown said...

Have always wondered how the stones used have their sides straightened. So the art is in finding the weaker spots..........very interesting!!! How does he find them though? What does he tap the stone with?Must be a very slight difference in the sound i'm sure. Truly an art!

Surio said...

All this is still being practised? :-O There's hope left still!