A chip seal job is the poor man's paving. Instead of paving a road with asphalt and concrete, which are amazingly expensive, counties and municipalities will often use chip sealing. It's much cheaper, and has many of the advantages as a real paving job.

Here's the lowdown: The road to be sealed is usually gravel. The road is first paved so there's a nice cap (rounded form, being higher in the center).

A penerating oil is applied. This is that super black, sticky shit that you see sprayed on highways. It ruins everything it touches. However, this oil holds the road together nicely. It's applied, then allowed to dry for 24 hours. After a day, it is pretty hard.

After a day has passed, crews come in an apply a second layer of penetrating oil. While the oil is still hot (it's sprayed out at about 230F), a chip spreader follows immediately behind the applicator truck and dumps the chips on. Around here, the chips we use are pink granite chips. They're hard little rocks that make a nice driving surface, but suck ass for rollerblading. Following about 300' behind the chip spreader are a series of rollers. They pack the chips into the oil, where hopefully they'll stay. Three or four rollers are used. The rollers are positioned to form a half V shape -- like ducks and birds fly. That way the each overlap the other's tracks. And that's about it. To chip seal on mile of gravel road costs about $100,000. And they call this cheap.

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