Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to make concrete pots that are so tough you can use them as lethal weapons

Ten pots and trays. I still have a quarter of the
cement left for finishing touches. I saved a lot of money
considering that a small concrete pot costs around
 200 pesos in garden shops. Also, the effort is engaging and

I know it's Sunday morning and I'm supposed to be in church. It's too early yet, our church service starts at 9. I have an hour and a half.

Last Thursday, out of boredom, I engaged in a project: making concrete pots and tray. Bonsai trainer pots and trays are not bought in garden shops and if you can find one it is expensive compared to terracotta ones.

I asked a fellow hobbyist and he told me that bonsai pots especially the ones for exhibition are made to order and can costs up to thousand pesos. Of course I will not spend that amount for pots and trays. 

My co-teacher, now retired, gave me tips on how to make pots and trays, and I also consulted Dr. Google. Now I make my own. This is the second batch.

Materials:                      Tools:

Cement                         Shovel
Fine sand                      Hammer
Water                            Spatula
Chicken wire                Glass panel (for squaring the edges)

I used moulds. I poured concrete on food trays of different sizes and then let it hardened for a few days. I wiped the inside of the trays with used oil to prevent the concrete from sticking. Here you can see the chicken wire formed to the mould.  Chicken wire (or wire mesh) is necessary to reinforce the concrete. You can do without it but the product will break easily.  For lesser cost I used junked chiken wires. Also, use chicken wires with small mesh for easy concrete application.    
Apply concrete. I used a 3:1  sand-cement ratio. Here I put a stone on the wire mesh because it is resisting. Apply liberally on top first then the sides. Cover the entire moulds with thick concrete and then wait for a few minutes to harden.
Test the concrete first by slicing through it. If it is consistent enough, it does not sag or stick to the spatula then it is ok for shaping. Here you can see I am removing excess concrete by slicing though it, remember the pressure must be inward to prevent honeycombs. To square the edges, I used a glass window panel. This is better than wood because I can see if the edges on the others sides are proportional.   
Wait for a few moreminutes to harden then you can impose the feet. To create the feet, I use a half inch piece of square plywood. I put it on 1 inch inside the top edges. I applied concrete and then sliced off the excess, again the pressure must be inward to the mould.
Wait for a few minutes to harden. then shape. Wait for two days before removing from the moulds. Finishing touches will follow. 

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