Sunday, April 15, 2012

As expected, no bull.

My morning today was spent pottering around with little jobs to get set for ramming my test wall. First off was moulding up the control joint tongue for the form columns, which has been specified as being 150x100.

Now, since rectangles are a no-no (and frankly, coming up with a 2.6m length of timber in 150x100 cross section is next to impossible without milling it myself) I decided to laminate this up myself from three lengths of 90x35 pine, ripped down to 50x35 each. Then, the two end pieces have a 15ยบ bevel ripped in them to give the rectangle a wide berth and minimise the chance of tear-out when the forms are removed.

What I’m left with is this:

This will get screwed to one of the columns when I come to ram one of the panels for-real. It’ll take about that long for the liquid nails to set…

Surprisingly this took me until about midday, and I suddenly realised that the concrete for the test wall footing was arriving at 12:30 so being short of actual concreting tools I quickly whipped up a float trowel out of scrap form ply.

Not flash, but the price was right :)

Not long after the truck arrived and about 10 minutes after that, the footing was poured.

I calculated just over 1.3m3 required, and with 1.4m3 in the truck we used it all with a little bit excess over the edge of the forms. I’m getting better at calculating volumes, it seems :)

After lunch my afternoon consisted of fun with the bobcat - specifically, moving the soil screen that I made up a few months ago as welding practice, and then working out the best way to dump soil onto it without tipping the bobcat onto its nose. It sure does get hairy lifting a full bucket up to full height - most of the time I find the bobcat balances on the front two wheels, and lifts the rears into the air slightly. It all happens very slowly though, so it’s safe enough - I’ve got tons of time to react and address the counterbalance.

After about an hour of this I have a metre or two of nicely screened soil all ready for mixing with sand for the ramming :)

I really do love the colour of the local soil - I will try to get as much of it into the wall as I can. The sand that I have on site is sharp concrete sand, locally mined from the Goulburn river and it’s just a little bit grey, but hopefully with the off-white cement I can get a decent colour in the final product. Without bringing in something like beach sand from a long way away, I’m not sure I’m going to have too many options as far as sand goes - I’m not keen on spending a fortune (or burning up all that diesel) to get a different sand on site, so I’m hoping the blended colour won’t be too dull.

Should be able to find out next week!! :D

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