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Tamp ‘Em Up Solid

It’s a new word to me: tamp. It’s when you pack something down firmly, avoiding too much pressure that it becomes squashed: in the world of earth building that would be rammed earth construction, not cob building. In the Ry Cooder song ‘Tamp ‘Em Up Solid’ the title refers to packing down the gravel bed on which to put the railroad tracks. What I like about tamping is that it contains a moderation (you don’t just ram the hell out of something) and it also contains the sense of touch in the hand to calibrate your effort. Yes, you could probably quantify tamping, but for now let’s just stay with the feel of the hand. [Thanks Jim for sharing your experiences, with straw and cob (both tamped processes), and Ry Cooder. Pic: Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania]

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