Mazunte Build - Bending Rebar Like a Mexican

in build-it •  5 days ago 

Though we still have not received the permit, which we thought would be so easy-peasy to get, we are doing all we can to get ahead with the construction, without making it seem like we have started. Having replaced the top level of tires, and extending the edges into their final position, now we are preparing all the rebar, so when it comes time to make concrete, we'd have all the structures ready.

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Rebar comes in long pieces, folded gently in two, which the good guys from the building supplies company threw off their pick-up, so we could bend and cut them any way we liked. Perfect! Except for, we don't have a rebar bender, at least not the type they sell in high-consumption places. However, that was not even an issue in our case. We just asked our neighbor, who had the ideal contraption for any kind of rebar work: a home-made bender, assembled from an old tire from his motorcycle, and some leftover pieces from a construction he had worked in.

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It was ingenious: a pipe and some rebar, strategically concreted into the tire, is all you ever need, really. Having used it a lot, he even showed us tricks, how to bend the rebar exactly so that a square ring would fit onto itself with barely any distance between the two sides. It's these kind of little tricks that I love learning so much, which show you that you really don't need any fancy equipment over-engineered, and sold at top value. If you want to bend some rebar, well, all you need is something to hold in firmly while you do it. That's it.

Follow our Construction Adventure in This Series:

Working at Night for the Perfect Level
The Challenge of Scoring Tires
Creating Conditions to Work and Live
Previous series: A Theater on the Beach

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Ah, the good old days of construction are still alive in Mexico!
Some 35 years ago I learned bending rebar by hand too.
We also learned to calculate the length of the initial piece of rebar needed to achieve the end product, since steel gets longer by bending it five times, so you wouldn´t waste any steel.
I forgot all about it, I just remember it has to do with the radius of the round metal piece one is bending the steel around, the bigger the radius the longer the steel gets, and the thicker the steel the bigger the radius needs to be.
But on the construction sites we usually had rebar pieces which were bent by a machine, we just had to tie the stuff together with wire by hand.
We only had to bend rebar by hand if a piece was missing and it was faster to do it ourselves than to order it.