Archive for July, 2008

Playing with Blocks

July 27, 2008

Well Friday morning the cement blocks arrived with a humongous big “boom truck” and a “pup” trailer behind it. The guy set about unloading the pallets of blocks and setting them around the interior of the foundation footings, so they can be unloaded and assembled with minimal carrying. Anyway below are pictures of the operation, and the end result, 1275 cement blocks distributed on the building site.

Unloading pallet of drystack block

Unloading pallet of drystack block

More Blocks

More Blocks

Getting ready to unload the "pup"

Getting ready to unload the "pup"

Moving the last 3 pallets onto the boom truck

Moving the last 3 pallets onto the boom truck

The Santerra Stone guy in action

The Santerra Stone guy in action

All the blocks inside the footings

I then went to the gravel pit which is nearby (about 9 miles) and picked up a trailer load of “brick sand” to use for making mortar to set the first course of blocks on the foundation and level them precisely. I had been told that for small loads of sand and gravel in your own vehicle there is a minimum charge of $20, so went there and checked in. It was true if you didn’t exceed the minimum weight of sand. So went back by the big pile of brick sand as directed, and waited for the big frontend loader to appear. He picked up a big bucket of sand, and dribbled into my trailer, and as I was watching the tires, decided it was a full load and stopped the process. Was quite surprised when I drove back over the scale and found that I had 4000 lbs of sand in my little trailer, still below the minimum limit, but above the specified load limit on my trailer. So I drove VERY slowly back home, and shoveled my 2 tons of sand into a nice neat pile beside the big tree in my front yard.

Then Saturday morning my friend and his wife came over to teach me about laying blocks in mortar and leveling them. They spent the entire day laying the blocks for all the the corners, and truing them up with each other and the wall lines to make everything ready for stacking the rest of the blocks. From now on I will be on my own, supposedly have learned enough today to manage on my own, and have the most complicated part of the job done, so hopefully it will all go well and my work will be up to the standard set by my friend Gil and his wife Christine.

My friend Gil mortaring the blocks and leveling the corners

My friend Gil mortaring the blocks and leveling the corners

Gil and Christine taking a water break in the shade, Christine is also an accomplished mason, moves and sets block very expertly.

Gil and Christine taking a water break in the shade, Christine is also an accomplished mason, moves and sets block very expertly.

My cement mixer and the 2 ton pile of sand.

My cement mixer and the 2 ton pile of sand.

Another friend, Kevin watching Gil set the blocks.

Another friend, Kevin watching Gil set the blocks.

End of the day, looking at the finished work on the Garage/workshop foundation.

End of the day, looking at the finished work on the Garage/workshop foundation.

Looking back over house and garage

Looking back over house and garage

Another view from a slightly different angle

Another view from a slightly different angle

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Pouring the footings

July 27, 2008

Tuesday morning July 22, the cement finishers showed up just before 8, and about 20 minutes later the first cement truck arrived. It was then a mad couple hours with pouring the cement, troweling it an putting the rebar “L-bars” in at precisely the right points to connect to the vertical reinforcement that will continue all the way up to the roof edge in the structure. Everything went smoothly, and according to several knoledgeable people in the building trades, my footings are really done very well. I have gone around the whole house with my 6′ level and there are the occasional small “high spots”, but the whole footing structure is amazingly precisely level.

Wednesday morning the crew was back to take off the forms and there it was ready to contemplate putting blocks in place. My next task was to convert my flatbed trailer into a “dump truck” with side boards for hauling stuff like sand and gravel for all the cement work I will be doing, below is a picture of the finished product.

The finished footings

The finished footings


My dump truck substitute.

My dump truck substitute.