Product: Fence
Superglued gabions   (+2)  [vote for, against]
Gabions without the ugly wire mesh.

Gabions are those wire mesh cages which contain rocks in order to create fences or embankments. They work well - but all that wire mesh is downright fugly. [links]. The idea is to form the structure using standard mesh which is first coated in petroleum jelly or any other non-stick surface.

Before the rocks and boulders are placed into the gabion, they are tumbled in a solution of ethyl cyanoacrylate (superglue basically) to give each stone a thin coating. Once the glue has set, the wire mesh is removed and you now have an attractive fence (or whatever) which is self-supporting and cohesive. Not worth doing for prosaic erosion control purposes but well worth it for home or commercial landscaping designs. The cyanoacrylates can be mixed with retardants to slow the setting time if required.
-- AusCan531, Aug 27 2012

Images of gabions,r:11,s:23,i:185
[AusCan531, Aug 27 2012]

Another image showing off the ugly mesh.,r:10,s:23,i:182
Imagine how much better this would look without the wire. [AusCan531, Aug 27 2012]

According to Wikipedia the compound 2-octyl cyanoacrylate is a medical grade glue; it was developed to be non-toxic. I suppose cost would be a factor, but any patents have long since expired so if you went to the manufacturers with bulk orders you'd get it a heckuva lot cheaper than you and I now pay for the tiny 15 ml packs of superglue we buy at the hardware store.
-- AusCan531, Aug 27 2012

Big rocks do not superglue well.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 27 2012

Don't know what technologies are being used, but exposed stone walls seem to be the national economy of Ireland, for example.
-- 4and20, Aug 27 2012

Unless you manage to glue a very large portion of the surface, the rock will shear.
-- FlyingToaster, Aug 27 2012

Unless the rocks are meticulously cleaned, the glue won't adhere.

Tumbling the rocks in glue will waste a lot of glue.

The glue, if exposed to weathering, will slowly hydrolyse and degrade.

However …

Assembling gabions by hand, using cleaned lumps of rock and polyester adhesive would be perfectly practical- just like, as [4and20] points out, dry-stone walling.

While this would be slow and extremely labour intensive (compared to filling a metal cage with a mechanical loader), it would be far more aesthetically pleasing when complete.
-- 8th of 7, Aug 27 2012

I keep reading this as "Superglued Gibbons".
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 27 2012

Alternatively, why not mix the caged rocks with a blend of fibres, soil and seeds? The fibres would hold the soil in place until the seeds germinated and grew, then their roots would further stabilise the interstitial soil. The plants would grow through the wire cage, concealing it from view and providing a pleasant rockery effect.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 27 2012

Often, they're used immersed, either to protect bridge footings or as part of sea defences. Left to their own devices on land, vegetation colonizes them fairly rapidly without any encouragement.
-- 8th of 7, Aug 27 2012

Baked- gabions were originally wicker cylinders filled with earth used as part of military fortifications.
-- 8th of 7, Aug 27 2012

//Wicker basket.//

Wicker than what, though? The problem is that wicker rots, so you'd have to rely solely on the plant roots to hold things together in the long term. Plus I suspect that a wicker cage capable of holding a ton or two of rocks would be infeasible.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 27 2012

Part of the attraction of the decorative gabions are the open gaps in the stone - like the bottom middle picture in the first link. [8th] makes a good point about cleanliness of the stones, but if you already have them in an agitator/tumbler they will be easy to clean before adding the glue or resin.

The actual adhesive might need to be amended for longevity and provide a slight bit of flexibility, but who cares about wastage of the glue as long as it dries clear and doesn't cost too much - it will still be cheaper than hand labour placing individual stones.

[Max]'s idea about mixing in a blend of fibres, soil and seeds is well and truly baked nor is it the aesthetic I'm after. The same with [bigsleep]'s concreted boulders. With the strength of modern adhesives and the fact that the cage will help the boulder's tumble into somewhat stable positions before the glue sets I don't believe [FT]'s comment about shearing is unsurmountable.

I have some acrylic polymers at work I might have a play with at least on a small scale. Mine will probably soften in the heat but can at least demonstrate the principle.
-- AusCan531, Aug 27 2012

I keep reading this as Gambians. They always stick together.
-- xenzag, Aug 27 2012

random, halfbakery