Felt peeled back at the edge near the dumb cane. Click to enlarge

I ordered stainless staples yesterday.  <rolls eyes at self>  Silly me thought I could get them locally!  Not.  Well, at least not in the logical place.  I got them online through DoItBest and they’re being delivered at no charge to my local DoItBest store.  Works for me.

I’m way too eager to get my new wall up.  There’s not a whole lot of patience attached to this endeavor.

Oh! Good news!  Terry has finally shown an interest in the fish tank!  He brought home two fancy guppies and some foliage!  <LOL>  He even laid down on the floor to watch them for a while.  Works for me!

I’ve pulled about 6 staples at the edge of my original plant wall to see what things look like.  I’ll do a lot more of this as I get closer to putting up the new wall.  Click on the image to enlarge it and look how the roots have grown.  They look great!  One has grown to the edge and changed direction and headed back in.

So now the zillion dollar question is . . . how well is the wax and oil sealed plywood backer going to hold up?  The wall is 8 months old and the backer looks good but I started with good quality exterior (waterproof adhesive) plywood.  How will it look in 8 more months?  In 8 years?  I don’t think it’ll hold up that well over the long run, the wood is bound to rot.  Using a preservative might improve things but it could/would seriously kill the fish.

The goal is to have a long lasting plant wall at a bargain basement price.   I’m not talking industrial application here.  I want a long lasting personal plant wall that is affordable enough that virtually anyone could build it.  I want the total structural and equipment cost to be (with scrounged bits a pieces) around $100 for a 25 square foot wall.  Obviously, the bigger the wall is the bigger the cost will be.  More wall means a bigger pump, a bigger aquarium, more fish, more tubing, more felt, more backer . . .  The more bits that can be scrounged the lower the cost.

I haven’t been able to find HPDE sheets at a reasonable price so I’m thinking through other options.  I want to use plywood in the support structure because it’s strong and inexpensive . . . and Wadly picked a pile of it up for nothing but the gas to go get it.  I have to develop a method that will truly waterproof it without killing the fish that feed the wall.

What if I cover the plywood with a self-sealing layer that will prevent water from getting to the plywood.  Maybe rubber pond liner . . . I can get a 5’x5′ Firestone 45mil EPDM pond liner online for $11.  That’s a great price but the shipping is $14.44.  Ouch.  I’ll check locally and see if I can find that size or one that is close that is under that total cost.    If shipping were half the stated cost I could see trying it.  Yeah, that’s me, Ms. Cheap. Paying full price for anything disturbs me . . . I need to balance price plus tax against price plus shipping.  Tax on $11 is under a buck.  So even if the liner is $18 locally, with tax it’s still less expensive.  And if I get it locally I don’t have to wait for it to arrive.

What if I applied the pond liner with a water hardened adhesive?  Hmmm.  Then if water seeped around the shaft of a staple (not likely as EPDM rubber unstretched is moderately self-sealing) the adhesive would kick in and harden, sealing the hole.  It’s a thought.  The water hardened sealer would have to be fish safe.  I might try and get my hands on some TF Sealant.

I bet I could use a layer of torch (asphalt based roofing material).  It’s really self-sealing.  I wonder if it would kill the fish . . .

I just had a thought.  I ordered ½” stainless staples.  If the pond liner is too thick the staples can’t get through the felt and through the rubber with enough length left over to fasten deeply into the plywood.  The staples I pulled from the edge of my current plant wall were very secure (hard to remove).

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