Good Pour Great Pour


Sugar Mountain Farm Butcher Shop Reefer Ceilings Poured

Today we had a great pour. Two full trucks of ready-mix from S. D. Ireland out of their Berlin, Vermont plant. Twenty cubic-yards of 3,000 psi commercial mix with 3/8″ stone, plasticizer, hot water and polyfiber. The first load was 8″ slump – very flow-able to fill the thin wall cavities with all their steel work and conduits. The second load of concrete was much stiffer 4″ slump for over the top of the vaulted ceilings. All of it placed with a pump truck using the 3″ end hose for fine control.
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Ready to Pump and Pour

I love pump trucks for work like this. Nothing like being high up on the scaffolding in beautiful country on a clear blue sky day with the sun in your face and being able to place the concrete just where I want. Frankly, fall is a great time to be pouring. If only winter weren’t coming on so fast.


Mahout Walter Holding the Elephant Nose Hose

The only thing that would have been better, a boring pour, is if we had not had one threaded rod nut come undone. Fortunately Will caught it and we quickly fixed issue. No problems were caused other than about a 15 minute delay while we redid the fastener and tightened the wall back to plumb. Threaded rod is great, far better than the clip on form tabs that can’t be adjusted.


Poured Reefer Ceiling Vaults

About ten days ago we had another pour. It was a good pour. Not a great pour but a good pour. Nobody was killed. Nobody was hurt. No broken forms. No blowouts. Not even any leaks. But we had a pair of studs crack in two different rooms during the pour and one washer pull through a waler – we shouldn’t have used an old timber and we should have used our double waler or at least plywood washer method. Each failure resulted in about a 1/2″ shift in formwork which we tightened up with our threaded rod trick – pretty amazing with all those tons of concrete. After the waler washer weakened I stopped the pour while it was still “good pour”. The remaining concrete went to make a trough pad and the pump truck went home. We added bracing during this last week and came at it again today. Better to back off, rebrace and try again safely.

Our pour that time had been very ambitious. We were trying to pour higher than ever before and we were attempting to do the walls and ceilings of a complex set of rooms in a single seamless pour. Ambitious. Perhaps too ambitious.


Will Vibrating and Forming Vaults

An interesting point about why that last pour was somewhat disappointing and this one felt like such an accomplishment: last time we were pouring deep down into 12′ to 15′ high walls. You could not see any results. Sure, you could beat your head (or hand or rubber mallet) on the walls and hear where the concrete went up to but it was a mostly invisible victory. This time we poured the cap of the ceilings which was highly visible. Now it looks like we made a lot of progress, which we did. Being more exposed and up over the arches, hiding all that steelwork made it feel like we accomplished more although we actually poured the same amount of concrete both times.


Ben Massaging Concrete into Steel Work

The ceilings of the rooms are arches. In the chiller it is a barrel vault with a long steel reinforced concrete beam down the middle to give it added strength to hang the tons of carcasses. This also gives sufficient space to hang the tallest boar or beef and have the refrigeration evaporator up above the rail where the heat of the carcasses goes making for a more efficient system.


High View of Pour

The cutting room and the commercial kitchen have catenary arches because they are wider. A barrel vault would give a taller space than I wanted. Again, they have the steel reinforced concrete beam running down the middle for extra strength.

Poured into the concrete are stainless steel half inch threaded sockets from which we can hang the rail, lights and other things as needed. These sockets tie into the steel rebar and then the 661010 welded wire mesh so they can’t rip out.

People often talk of concrete as being less green or environmentally unfriendly. The reality is, masonry is more green than building with wood. Odd of me to say that perhaps since I sustainably harvest timber, but that is the truth. Concrete’s bad name comes from the burning of the lime to make cement. This releases CO2. However, cement is only a minor part of the total concrete. Most of the concrete by far is local stone, sand, fiber and water. All of these are local materials in our case and all of them are very ‘green’. More over, masonry structures can last for hundreds or even thousands of years while the wooden building life span is measured in decades to a couple of centuries. Because the concrete lasts so much longer with so much less maintenance it comes out to be a lower cost and greener in the long run.

Outdoors: 56°F/30°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 68°F/65°F

Daily Spark: “Ha-Yah! Yi-Ya! Yee! Ninja Turtle double-amputee!” (How come they don’t slice their own arms off with all that double sword swinging?!?)

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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2 Responses to Good Pour Great Pour

  1. Susan Lea says:

    I wonder if a thousand years from now someone will look at your creation and say, “I wonder what in the world they used that for back then?”

  2. Patricia says:

    It just floors me when I see all these pics of your teenage son working right alongside you and competently so. Yea, even willingly! I would that there were more teenagers like this, namely mine… LOL

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