Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Slinging Cement

This weekend, we started to tackle one of our bigger projects. Julie has been landscaping the front yard, and there was a series of steps that needed to be created so she could finish laying mulch, flagstone, and plants.

On Saturday, we finally decided what we would do. We would cast the steps in concrete, and then mortar brick and flagstone on to finish the look.

We started to build wooden forms, out of a bunch of scrap plywood left over from other projects. In a couple of cases, we needed to have a curving form, so I bought a piece of thin plywood sheet, and we cut it lenghtwise into three long pieces. We used two foot lengths as 1X3s as stakes, only because it was the cheapest thing that I could find.

It was very hot this last weekend, so we worked only a few hours on Saturday and Sunday, but finished the forms.

I took yesterday off from work. I had a ten o'clock appointment with my ENT, to review another MRI that I had last week (everything fine, no sign of the cyst). We then went to Home Despot to get bags of concrete and to rent a mixer.

Five hours later, I returned the mixer. We had mixed two thousand two hundred and forty pounds (a British long ton) of concrete to create forty linear feet of steps. The worst part was having to lift the eighty pound bags, and hold them over the throat of the mixer, while Julie cut them open.

We are very sore, but quite pleased with the job. Having an electric cement mixer beats hand mixing, either with a shovel or with a rolling cylinder mixer. The mixer is nicely balanced, so positioning it for pouring, even in loose sand, was pretty simple.


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