Walers in Vermont Mountains
I’ve mentioned whales a number of times before on our family’s land locked farm blog. There is no sea to see for a long ways from here despite our high vantage point. But there are walers, sans-whales, in the photo above.
The long horizontal boards that hold our concrete forms together are called walers. This is as opposed to the wailers who ‘sing’ in bands and the whalers who hunter singers at sea. These waler boards take the stress as the tons of concrete, 40,000 lbs per truck, get poured into the 8′ tall forms.
The forms are made of plywood and 2×4 studs. It is amazing how many. It is amazing how much wood goes into building a concrete building. It is especially amazing since there will be no wood in the finished structure, not even in its roof. Fortunately those forms will be available to build other structures in the future. Reuse, recycle, rebuild.
Building this building is a mockup, that is to say a larger scale version, of building our tiny cottage. You can think of the cottage as practice just as the doghouse and various pig houses and mouse houses were practice for the cottage.
The forms are held together with 2′ threaded steel rods that pierce the walers, the plywood, the foam insulation and repeat this on the other side of the space where the concrete will be poured. The tensile strength of the threaded rods lock the system together.
The scaffolding sits on the projecting portions of the threaded rod, locked tight to the forms. This and safety lines will give us a safe sidewalk to move around while guiding the pump truck hose. We’ll actually pour the concrete in slow rings, gradually spiraling upward so it has time to setup a bit as we work upward.
If we’re really daring, we’ll pour the 16′ high tower at the same time we do the 8′ high walls. We’ll see. We may do that another day. Slower but safer. “A tower!?!” you exclaim, “What folly!” Aye, but with function.
If we were to pour right now we would end up with a solid cube of concrete weighing 15,912,000 pounds. No such luck. That would be rather expensive as it would contain 3,929 cubic-yards of concrete at a cost of about $471,480. One heck an expensive, over sized boat anchor! Fortunately we’re about to put up the inner form walls so the actual building should weigh in at an estimated 1,012,500 pounds. That also saves a pretty penny on concrete. All that thermal mass will be put to good use, tempering the thermal swings and saving us a tremendous amount of electricity as it brings a lingering bit of winter into our relatively temperate summers. Eco-friendly, super-sized refrigeration.
Oh, and just one more thing… We’re building a butcher shop…
Outdoors: 45째F/15째F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 67째F/51째F