Making a Hypertufa Millstone Fountain

splatsOctober 28, 2012

I just completed my first hypertufa project and it was a big one. A 32x6 inch millstone I'm turning into a fountain. It was both harder and easier than I expected. I wanted a larger piece than the concrete one I just finished. It was 32x3.5 inches and weighs about 250 pounds best I can figure. The hypertufa millstone is still curing, but I estimate it will probably weigh about 250 pounds also.

I made the mold out of a piece of plywood for a base and used a 25' piece of 6" flashing for the circular mold. The center hole was a piece of PVC pipe wrapped with wax paper.

The formula I used was 2 ninety pound bags of Portland cement (2cf), 2cf of medium vermiculite, and 2cf of strained peat moss. For reinforcement I mixed in a good bit of polyester fibers, for color I added dry brown tint, and for additional strength I added a gallon of acrylic fortifier to the water.

I rented a small cement mixer and thoroughly mixed all dry ingredient before adding the water. The hard part was getting it mixed right. When I started adding the water it really started to ball up but I had read someplace that just means you needed to add more water. We played around with it for quit a bit before I decided we had to start putting it in the mold even though it really wasn't runny at all. ( Note: after the fact it was clear I just needed to add a bit more water and it would have been a lot easier. ) We dumped the mix in the mold and I pounded it tight with an old brick and then used a cement trowel to smooth the surface. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and then put some grooves in the top for realism. On the second day I pulled out the PVC pipe in the center. On the third day I took the mold off and it was perfect as you can see in the pic. I kept it covered for three days After four days it already felt hard as a rock. I waited a week and then mounted the fountain on it's base. She came out really nice. I'm playing around with the idea to stain it a little darker, don't know yet.

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Forgot to post it, here is a link to pics of how I did it.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 10:26AM
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I love your yard and fountain!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:20AM
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Thanks. It turned out better than I expected and will last a lot longer than I will :)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:33AM
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I cant imagine doing all that work, but it sure looks stunning.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:28AM
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This is great! I'm wanting to make one of these as well and wondered if you considered making it hollow. In other words, I'm wondering if I could make it like a very large pot. So the top would be the part against the plywood and then you would place something in the middle to fill the empty space like you would if you were making a pot, still keeping the PVC pipe in there of course. I'm not sure yet what I'd use for the middle part, but I'm sure I can come up with something.

The main reason I'm thinking of making it hollow is simply to make it easier for transporting. Any thoughts on that idea?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 3:27PM
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once it has dried the hypertufa is very strong. it would be more work, but believe it would be easy to make a form and build a hollow wheel. I would keep the sides a minimum of 2" thick.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 9:47AM
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Mike Larkin

Hypertufa is like cement. It will become very strong if it is allowed to cure for 1-2 weeks. Keep it wet or damp for at least 7 days, that is when it will gain the most strength. 2 weeks ( if you can wait ) will give it a little more strength. If it dries too soon it will crack. Also make it when the temps are at least 50F .

Your millstone looks great. There are so many things you can make with Hypertufa -----Have fun making more projects

Here is a link that might be useful: my link

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:55PM
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Love your Millstone ! I feel very stupid asking but what is Hypertufa ?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2014 at 9:06AM
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Something like terracotta i think.

'Hypertufa is an anthropic rock made from various aggregates bonded together using Portland cement.'

    Bookmark   November 12, 2014 at 8:51AM
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Hypertufa is a mixture of cement (not concrete), vermiculite or perlite and strained peat moss. It removes all the weight of sand and rock in concrete but is still very strong.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2014 at 9:08AM
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