• facebook
  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • instagram

Quarantine 2021: Igloo Update 2.0

by Taylor

15th March, 2021

Alright, another week has passed since our last igloo update, and we’ve got lots of progress to report! But alas, we’ve not yet completed the igloo.

Sierrane and I spent many hours this week in our diligent manufacture of bricks, with Sierrane doing (in my opinion) much of the heavy lifting of emptying the aluminum pans of the ice bricks and filling them anew with water. In this process I serve as the water supply, picking up the empty buckets from outside and filling them up in our bathtub.

I was doing some quick napkin calculations and estimate that if each brick (including the mortar required to adhere it to the building) is about a gallon of water, it weighs approximately 8.33 pounds. Assuming we’re at least 500 bricks at the completion of the igloo, we’ll have hauled and placed around ~4,150 pounds of water…more than 2 tons of weight that we’ve moved from bathtub to pan to igloo.

This work happened nightly last week, from around 10 PM-12 AM, and we amassed quite the supply of bricks waiting to be mortared. Sierrane and I spent a few hours on 2-3 nights mortaring the bricks to the igloo, slowly increasing it’s walls to the outside, but still reserving the majority of bricks for our weekend mayhem.

The state of the igloo Thursday night, the beginnings of the tunnel having been built up, and Sierrane brought up the alcove layers with the rest of the ‘gloo.

Weekend Build

Sierrane’s friend Peter brought us a ladder to get to the upper bricks into place. Kristen, Sierrane and I put it to test, and dare I say it, perfected the method to applying the upper bricks, which seemed to become both very technical, and at times dangerous as we laid the first or second brick of a new layer.

Sierrane standing atop the ladder from the inside of the ‘gloo. Celebrating a job well done.

At the higher bricks, the challenge is that they lay nearly more horizontal than they do vertical. The brick (especially the first and second) are only adhered by the base, so very little weight actually rests on the brick below the newly laid brick, and the bulk of the weight acts against the joint by which it was mortared.

The approach we take is one person stands atop the ladder and holds the brick into it’s proposed location. Then, two other confederates, one on the inside of the igloo and one on the outside adhere the fast freezing ice mortar on either side at the same time. This reduces the chance that I, as the “holder” will inadvertently move the brick in a way that damages the early mortar before it is fully set into place. On a “well-performed” lay, the brick freezes into place after a minute or less of beginning the mortaring process, and we can move onto the next one.

The technical builds. Kristen’s hands are covered in bags, the method we’ve found to be the most effective water protection.
An aerial view of the igloo, showing it’s profile/design.

By the end of Saturday, the three of us had added quite a lot to the igloo. We:

  • closed the gap at the southern corner of the igloo
  • brought up the overall igloo height by one or two layers,
  • very significantly brought in the diameter at the top level

At this point, we are really aggressively transitioning into “finish” mode, and focusing on closing the still very large gap in the roof of the igloo.

Sunday brought many friends over (really, more people than I’ve seen in the same room in a long time) for an extended build. Unfortunately I left my phone inside and didn’t get many pics, but we:

  • began (and nearly finished) the archway entrance
  • nearly finished the alcove
  • completed the unfinished layer of bricks in the picture above

Here are some remaining pics from the weekend’s activities:

Igloo all lit up!
Same pic, but not lit up.
A view from the inside
Igloo workers…hardly working
A view of the arch
Mike handing out on the inside

by Taylor