We started building the launch pad at Berekuso Hill Station out of 2000 recycled tires, inspired by the work of one of our favorite people Teddy Cruz in Tijuana/San Diego (see: manufactured sites). We are using lateritic pea gravel as infill, with watering to settle aggregate (the rains are helping now too!) We are also not making figure-8 tessellation (3D stacking) like Estudio Teddy Cruz did (we tried that on another brekstat site: too labour/time-intensive to join through tire treads, i.e. mechanical connection to retain the figure-8 deformation). Simply cut, turn inside out, fill with gravel, water, stack.
Simple, but not easy. Lessons learned so far:
- don't use heavy duty reinforced tires (the steel wire gauge is too big for easy cutting)
- if you have trouble cutting the side wall, offset knife blade by several inches (sometimes reinforcement wraps from outer ring of tread slightly onto face of side wall)
- use water to assist with cutting (poke a hole in the top of a plastic water bottle) - this introduces friction between the metal knife blade and the rubber molecules, making your slice more effective (thanks to Kay for that!)
- better to keep lots of blades on hand (sharpen them all before you start, then you don't have to stop to resharpen; a sharp knife can handle 10-20 tires depending on how strong the metal alloy of the blade is)
- push down on the side wall as you cut (if you lay the tire flat on the ground, this pulls the rubber off the blade as you cut deeper into the side wall)
- turning the tire inside out feels amazing after you saw off the side walls. cutting ten before you turn them inside out is even better