Making an Oyster Reef Ball WHAT’S NEEDED FOR MAKING AN OYSTER REEF BALL • A level site and space for storage • Access to water and electricity • Plastic tarp to protect floor • Concrete mixing basin • Two hoes • Several shovels • Several buckets • Air compressor and extension cord • Hammer • Vegetable oil and small brushes • Sand • Screwdriver • Rubber gloves • Masking tape and duct tape • 4 pencils (or long nails) • Wooden dowel • Wire hanger • 120 lbs. concrete mix(with stone), 5 lbs. cement (mortar mix), film canister of Advo-Flo, micrasilicate (black powder substance) • Mold with hardware, wooden base, bladder, 4 balls with tabs, 8 small balls, metal rod NEED HELP? CONTACT THE MARYLAND SALTWATER FISHERMAN’S ASSOCIATION • Mr. Bill Huppert 410-256-3733 • Mr. Joe Zinner 410-256-5641 • Mr. Bob Hall 410-256-0528 Step 1: Brush the inside of all sections of the mold with a coating of vegetable oil to keep concrete from sticking to the surface. Step 2. Then assemble the mold and attach it to the base with the with the bolts and wedges . Step 3: Spread sand (a couple of small buckets’ worth) around the inside bottom edge of the mold to prevent the concrete from leaking out. Step 4: Place the 4 large balls with tabs around the outside of the mold. Secure them by inserting the tabs through the holes in the mold. Place a pencil or long nail through the hole in each of the tabs. Pencil Step5: Insert the metal rod through one hole in the top of the mold, thread the rod through the inflatable bladder, and then pass the rod through the other hole in the top of the mold to secure the bladder in place. Then partially inflate the bladder, just until the playground balls feel secure. Step 6: Place 6-8 of the smaller balls around the inside of mold as shown, making sure that none of the small balls touch each other. All balls should be placed below the neck of the mold. Step 7: Now inflate the bladder until the small balls are secure by attaching the air compressor to the valve near the top of the bladder. When you’ve completed the inflation, cover the valve with tape. Valve with tape Step 8: Check your setup. Use the wooden dowel to gently poke around in the mold. Make sure that no two balls are too close to each other and that the reef ball walls are about the same thickness all around. If anything needs to be repositioned, deflate the bladder, make adjustments and inflate again. Step 9: Prepare the concrete. Empty the contents of two 60-lb. bags of concrete mix, approx. 5-lb. of cement, and one package of micrasilicate into the mixing basin. Pour low to the basin to avoid creating dust and spills. Step 10: Add two gallons of water and mix thoroughly using hoes. The concrete should be moist throughout, but not watery. If it is too dry, add small amounts of water slowly and in increments. Step 11: Add one film canister’s worth of Aqua Flo to the concrete mixture. This helps to create a softer, smoother mixture.. Step 12: Break up the fiberglass threads and add them to the concrete mixture. Mix thoroughly. The fiberglass helps to strengthen the concrete and is recommended but not critical. Step 13: Shovel the concrete mix into small buckets and pour the concrete into the mold. While pouring the concrete, tap around the outside of the mold with the rubber hammer to help the concrete settle in place. Step 14: Fill the mold to right below the neck, making sure not to cover the valve in the bladder. About an hours later, you should release air from the bladder for ten seconds to reduce pressure. This is because the heat buildup in the concrete causes the bladder to expand further. Step 15: Setup and Curing The concrete will need to cure in the mold for at least 24 to 48 hours or more before the mold can be removed. The time will depend on how much moisture was in the concrete, the temperature, humidity, and other factors. Do not remove the mold if the concrete is still soft. To remove the mold, release the air pressure from the bladder. Then remove the largest of the three sections of the mold. At this point, you will be able to separate the mold from the reef ball. Remove all plastic balls. Lightly dab the surfaces of the reef ball with a coarse brush to roughen up the surface. This makes it easier for plant and animal life to adhere. Do not move the reef ball to storage for another 24 to 36 hours. After this time, the reef balls can be stacked two high for storage purposes. Congratulations! You are helping to restore the oyster population of the Chesapeake Bay. Your efforts are vital to the restoration of this natural treasure.