This manual is intended for both professional and amateur. Many of the smaller details and tricks of the trade will become more evident with an actual tank in progress. The reader is urged to have the manual available for reference during tank construction. Durable waterproof-ink field manuals from ferrocement.com have proven to be welcome on the job.
Versions in other languages may sometimes be more complete.
Chapter 1 is not necessary to read if the builder has no interest in calculating strength or estimating materials prior to construction. This chapter will be useful, however, when building a tank of different size than the sixty cubic meter example. It is also an important chapter for those interested in building ferrocement tanks as a business.
Chapter 5 contains a short explanation of how to finish an open tank. The model tank photographed for this manual was built as an open topped tank and then finished again as a roofed tank starting with chapter six. An open top tank is useful for anything from animal water troughs to aquaculture. Larger and deeper open tanks may be used for swimming pools or sewer systems.
Chapter 9 summarizes some of the key aspects of plaster application. It warns about leaving voids, and finding them by lightly tapping the newly applied plaster with a hammer. There are sufficient instructions to accomplish a finished tank yet one should realize that description of the art of plastering is an entire subject.
Beginners are often most comfortable with rubber gloves and hand application, which is actually the best method for complete penetration of plaster into the armature. The hand can push plaster into the armature with greater force than a tool, this is important to keep in mind. The amateur's main disadvantage is making the finished job look professional, it's mostly timing, and something only practice can provide. Less than perfect appearance does not reduce longevity or strength.
Ferrocement is the best choice for a reservoir. The author has witnessed young amateurs harnessed to a wheelbarrow hauling plaster up a hot mountain side to build a reservoir. Strong people pulled downhill on a long rope that passed through an uphill pulley and back down to pull the heavy wheelbarrow upward. That tank was plastered with hands and finished with brushes instead of trowels, it was built in 1968 and remains in continuous use.
Should you have additional questions after reading this manual, email ferrocement.com