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Jun 18

The 5 Minute Tire

Rob Berkman pounds a tire in about 5 min with a backfill tamper.

Rob Berkman pounds a tire in about 5 min with a backfill tamper.

This video shows us packing out our very first tire in about 5 minutes with a pneumatic backfill tamper:

  1. It is fast as you can shovel dirt;
  2. Not as tiring as the sledge hammer method.
  3. Sides were a little softer than hand pounding. Two sledge laps pound the tire to totally firm – about 20 hits – under 2 minutes of hand pounding.


In the background there is a 9 hp air compressor.  The compressor is big enough to drive about any air tool – concrete sprayer, jack hammer, insulation sprayer etc.  It was $1K at Harbor Freight, the tamper was $250 on ebay.

If you’ve never pounded a tire with a sledge hammer.  The sledges are about 8 lbs and it takes about 150-200 hits to properly firm a tire.  For most humans this many hits take about 10-30 minutes – and each tire is quite tiring.  Two strong people can pound 20-40 tires per day.  Most Earthships use 800+ tires.  This method brings that number to 150+ tires/day for a 2 person team.

2 comments

  1. scott

    Good luck with your earthship endeavor! We have an operating earthship we built about 18 years ago in the Fort Collins area. We still live in it and love it dearly. Pounded about 1,200 tires by hand and you are exactly right we had two crews putting out 25 tires per day. I prefer a sledge, quiet and zen like versus noisy compressor tools!

    Just so you know we beginning to think about finally selling our Earthship if you know anyone who would be interested…

    Interested people can contact our realtor Mitch for more information. 970-218-8300.

  2. Rebecca Anthony

    Glad to have met you at the Christmas Eve bonfire. Looking forward to checking out your whole site and your house. What a pleasure to meet like minded individuals.

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