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How to Make Tabby Walls

How to Make Tabby Walls. Tabby - an old-fashioned concrete that is riddled with sea shells - was once common in the Low Country of Georgia and South Carolina. You can resurrect this method of creating small garden walls by following this traditional recipe.

Burn a few dry oak logs down to ash.

Add to the hot embers some oyster shells that have been bleached in the sun.

Burn the oyster shells down to ash. This mixture of oak and oyster shell ashes makes an old-fashioned form of lime, the binding agent in cement.

  • Tabby - an old-fashioned concrete that is riddled with sea shells - was once common in the Low Country of Georgia and South Carolina.
  • Burn the oyster shells down to ash.

Mix the lime with sand and water. This makes the cement that binds the aggregate together.

Add to the cement some oyster shells that have been thoroughly washed.

Cast the concrete in wood forms to create walls, blocks or paving stones.

Remove the forms when the concrete is set, and scrub the surface to remove the excess cement and expose the shells.

Tip

Portland cement can be used as a substitute for the oak and oyster ash lime. The more cement in the mixture, the stronger the concrete, but the less visible the shells become - strike the balance that is right for your project. The cement mixture should be runny enough that it can flow between and completely coat all the oyster shells, but not so runny that it will not cure.

Warning

Do not obtain oyster shells from natural oyster banks without a permit.

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