Training Exercise: Gabion Construction

On March 17th some members of the the Old Company got together at 1st Sgt. Ball's house to construct a gabion.  It was decided that, rather than purchase materials, we would cut and prepare them ourselves using appropriate hand tools.

This is the beginning.  We cut the stakes from a maple tree to ensure we'd have fresh and flexible wood.


Cutting and stripping the withes proved to be a tedious job.  Here Private Andy Tripp uses a two bladed axe to strip the strays off the branches.


Corporal Ray Ball uses a hatchet to strip the withes.  Plenty more were needed than we anticipated.


Most of the withes are stripped and Ray and Andy are ready to begin the process of weaving them through the stakes.


First Sergeant Ray Ball pitches in to verify its being done properly and adds a few pointers.


Private Tripp is learning how to compress the horizontal pieces to ensure a tight basket for the gabion.


At about the half way point the First Sergeant looks in on the job.


At this point we were in for about 2 hours of work, including cutting down the branches.  We used hand saws and hatchets- no modern power tools.  It was far slower for us than we had anticipated.  I'm certain that trained engineers in work parties could have far exceeded our production. 

 Corporal Ball and Private Tripp are standing here with the finished gabion ready for transport to the banquette a Genesee Community College.


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