My friend BrainRants is paving his back yard with beer cans.
Actually, he’s only paving a 20 foot diameter fire pit – less the 5 foot diameter central concrete burn area, and he’s using more than just beer cans – but it makes a great story.
I don’t want to use the word ‘unusual,’ because many may read it and think strange, or weird. It’s not strange or weird (or maybe that’s just me), it’s just uncommon. He melts aluminum down in a homemade furnace, and casts 6 inch hexagons. His input may include discarded patio tables, or salvaged broken storm doors. Cans often include soft-drinks, but beer cans comprise the bulk of the base stock. 14 cases of mixed cans produce 10 of these tiles.
He built his own little furnace, in a 5-gallon metal pail, using special, high-heat concrete and chicken wire for support. He also poured a concrete lid with a breather hole and handles. A purchased propane burner is inserted through a hole in the side to provide the heat, and crucibles, purchased online, contain the molten aluminum.
He made his own wooden hex replica, and uses it to form wet-sand moulds, into which he pours the hot metal. This project is nearly complete. He had 820 hexes when I arrived, including a few bronze ones, and I helped him by staying safely out of his way, drinking beer, while he poured his self-imposed weekly quota of another 20, over two days.
Here is Vulcan, beginning to pour 5 tiles.
He’s getting closer, and that stuff is HOT! Stand well back. All of this was done in a garage, on a hot, muggy DC August day. I can think of no better excuse for a couple of cold beers….and another to celebrate a safe, successful conclusion.