Not quite in the workshop... #10: Burn, baby burn... Disco inferno! What a weird labor day weekend!

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 06-01-2010 06:11 PM 1680 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Took the day off of woodworking, to replace stuff that takes up shop space... Part 10 of Not quite in the workshop... series Part 11: Another step closer to freeing up shop space... »

So my labor day weekend was fun filled, with all kinds of barbecue. All told I used up 6.5 16lb bags of charcoal, and a mess of pecan smoking wood… No not all of it for cooking.

If you might recall I had intended on burning out a rather large (36” ish stump) from my fence line that was from an ike downed tree, and a couple of much smaller stumps (3” and 4” respectively, again right along the fence line). Well the 36” is now history, down at least 6” below grade (I gave up digging), but I need more charcoal for the smaller stumps. It took me 5 bags to get that 36” stump going well enough on its own, and that was after nearly 2 years of being a dead tree, treated with stump rot, and roundup the whole time… Stubborn isn’t the word for it, it’s well past that…

So I have been slowed, but not stopped by a severely stubborn stump. But progress moves forward, at least it will this weekend…

I should mention just HOW this all worked. You see in order to keep the fire contained, the heat concentrated in a smallish area, and the burning charcoal from simply spilling on down the bayou banks, I made a ring of simple steel flashing, and CAREFULLY avoided breathing any of the burn off fumes from the galvanized steel (sorry, it’s what I had…). I simply cut slits in each end to slide together, like a childs paper doll setup…

With just the smaller stumps left, I should be completely done with burning out the stumps this weekend, which means… a delivery from the soil lot is in order! I need to re-level out where the stumps were, and years of dogs digging holes under previous fences etc… To say the least, I have some work there to do. I figure I would have about 3 cubic yards delivered, that should be enough for that, and to level up a sinking spot on the tree lawn by the storm drain that has been sinking a little more each year, and is getting hard on the mower…

And now the big question. What am I to do for concrete? I am considering renting a mixer from a local concrete company, or even Home Depot. I just need something that will mix a bag of quick-crete at a time… Just pour, add water, mix, pour in hole, set post, repeat… wash out when done… I am pretty sure I do NOT want to mix quick-crete in my wheelbarrow again… Not that it is that hard to do, but that it is that much of a pain to get it clean enough that concrete doesn’t foul future projects.

If it is bad enough, I may actually consider buying a cheapo wheel barrow just for concrete mixing / pouring purposes, and pass it along when I am done… (I do NOT need 2 wheel barrows!). Dumb question… Does anyone make a decent, heavy liner for wheel barrows that would put up with mixing and pouring concrete, or how do I keep the concrete from being a permanent part of my current wheel barrow?

Okay stupid concrete thoughts aside, we did get to do some real BBQ, which LOML dragged me away from the house when the smoker was going… Ended up with charred ribs because I wasn’t able to douse a flare up… The brisket ended up as chopped brisket sandwiches per LOMLs request, we also had Johnsonville Bratwurst, Kielbasa, smoker roasted potatoes, roasted corn on the cob, man I am getting hungry all over again…

I spent very little (read NONE aside from putting things that didn’t belong in the house back where they go) time in the shop this weekend… Just no time to spend. And it is getting HOT. Now mind you, the highs in the shop have been around 80 deg F. But the humidity is just brutal… I will not have a chance to get back there for a couple of days (busy week scheduled until at least Friday), but when I do, I am going to have to blow down the garage before going in. Basically I open the garage / kitchen door, put a box fan in, and blow the cooled air from the house into the shop, the hot air circulates, and comes back in to the house and gets cooled, takes about 20 minutes, but it works… I just don’t keep it going when running machines…

I am trying to find a portable AC / Heat unit that I can duct through dryer vents (HOA restrictions, they won’t fuss at dryer vents). I am finding a lot of complaints about the larger models though. Anyone with suggestions for a good quality 12-14K BTU model, let me know!

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13 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3162 days

#1 posted 06-01-2010 06:33 PM


Congratulations on worrying that stump to death.

I cannot remember the last time I mixed concrete. Over 25 years ago. I am no help.

Not much into AC here in Anchorage. I am no help.

Home alone and working on Memorial Day, I BBQed a New York Steak and ate most of it. I didn’t want any help.

For cooling this large house, I place a powerful fan in front of a partially opened window in the master bed room (highest point in the house) to blow air out, and strategically open windows around the house to allow the outside air in, from whichever is the shaded part of the house. That way the house isn’t much warmer than the outside air. It is only 57 deg here right now, but I am using the fan to bring the house down into the sixties, so that later today it will be easier to cool.

Since I worked the last four days, think I will indulge myself and go fry up some potatoes and eggs for brunch. Don’t want any help with the cookin’ or the eatin’.............




-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#2 posted 06-01-2010 07:24 PM

I hate doing concrete

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View mnguy's profile


193 posts in 3396 days

#3 posted 06-01-2010 07:44 PM

Rent a mixer like this:
One bag at a time and you can pour it right in the post hole by lifting the handles. Awesome tool.

View chrisstef's profile


17385 posts in 3004 days

#4 posted 06-01-2010 07:50 PM

depending on how much concrete you need you could call a ready mix place, around here, in new england, it a 3 yard minimum but it’ll be all mixed up and they can drive it wherever you need it.

An i know nothing of a liner for concrete mixing.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View oldwoodman's profile


137 posts in 3396 days

#5 posted 06-01-2010 08:05 PM


I have mixed a lot of concrete in my 25 year-old wheelbarrow. I always thoroughly wash it out when I am finished with the job and, as a result, have no concrete residue in it. However, for one special job on a remodel, I purchased a vinyl/plastic rectangular tub (27” x 19” x5” deep with sloped ends) from Home Depot. You can only mix about a 1/2 or 2/3 bag of concrete mix at a time in the tub, but it is easy to mix the concrete and it washes out quite well. Perhaps this would be a solution for your current dilemma. And the tub cost only a few dollars.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3113 days

#6 posted 06-01-2010 08:11 PM

concrete isn´t that hard to deal with
if you use some of that ugly finished stoff where you just have to pure water in
just let it settle 10 min after mixing with a boringmaschine with a mixer on
and after you have slaped in the hole you simply just use the water hose
to clean the wheelbarry

if you choose to mix concreete by yourself
the recipie is here: 1 drycement, 3 sand, 5 small stones (betwin 1/4 and 1/2 inch)
and just the right amount of water to have it hanging together
you first have the stone and sand mixed then ad the cement and mix it all dry

you can use a plywoodcheed if you don´t want to use your wheelbarrov
make a pyramide in the mittle with the mixed dry concreete
and make a hole in the mittle for the water and start mixing from inside and out

heres a little tip
if you use the wheelbarrov and some of the concrete ends up dry in it or on your shovel
use fire to get the last of it of concrete don´t like heat

take care

View JimF's profile


144 posts in 3291 days

#7 posted 06-01-2010 08:22 PM

I did my fence posts by setting the post in the hole, adding water, dumping in the proper amount of sackrete (I used 1/2 to 3/4 sack), mixing it in by using a piece of rebar or small diameter pipe, mainly going up and down. Houston area humidity is almost high enough to do without adding water. LOL.

-- Insert clever tag line here

View dbhost's profile


5710 posts in 3230 days

#8 posted 06-01-2010 08:56 PM

I have 8 posts to set, and last time I did this I used 1/2 to 3/4 sack of Quickcrete. I did the method of set the gravel base, put the post in and set in place, pour in dry concrete, add water, tamp down. That did NOT produce good results. The concrete ended up cracking.

My plan for the fence build is… #1. level the ground along the fence line. #2. Run a chalk line for the fence line. Mark my post hole locations. #3. Bore the holes with a borrowed auger. 22” deep. Fill bottom 4” with gravel, compact (for drainage) so that the post bottoms are 18” below grade. #4. Set and level the posts, brace them with 2×4 cutoffs insuring they are level. #5. Mix quickcrete per bag directions. #6. Pour. #7. Tamp and smooth. #8. Let cure at least 48 hours. #9. Remove braces. #10. Measure, level, and cut posts so that top rail is level with neighboring fence top rail (sharing common end posts). #11. Measure and cut 4” 2×4 cutoff cleats for rails. #12. Measure and cut rails. #13. Install cleats. #14. Install rails. #15. Install rot boards. #16. Install pickets. #17. Measure and cut framing for gate. #18. Install gate framing, and hardware. #19. 1” off of width of rot board, cut rot board to width. #20. Install rot board on gate. #21. Install pickets on gate. #22. Install lock to keep neighbors kids out of my back yard. #23. Grab a beer and cool off, this is a LOT of hot nasty work…

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View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3162 days

#9 posted 06-01-2010 09:15 PM

I can help drink the beer….......(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3751 days

#10 posted 06-01-2010 10:41 PM

I have seen a special plastic bucket with lid, that you put one bag of cement and a gallon of water in it then roll it along the ground. It has a couple of paddles inside to mix the stuff up.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4123 days

#11 posted 06-02-2010 12:43 AM

Last time I had to pour concrete we rented a small mixer. Don’t remember what it cost, not terribly much, but we did the plug-in electric one that fit (in two pieces) in a trunk, there was a gas powered one that was a trailer, and then you were up to buying it pre-mixed (and before getting all the way up to a delivery from a full-sized truck, Shamrock Materials also had an option where you provided the vehicle to tow a trailer full of mixed concrete from them).

We also have a heavy duty tarp with handles that you pour the concrete and water into and have one person on either side grab and shake, and have tried various other options. If you’re doing more than 2 or 3 bags, it’s totally worth renting the mixer.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View sras's profile


4799 posts in 3127 days

#12 posted 06-02-2010 04:26 AM

As oldwoodman said, clean up right after you’re done. Scrub any stubborn areas off.

I set posts a little differently. Instead of steps 5, 6, and 7 I do the following:

I add 3 or 4 inches of gravel and tamp until it is solid (the soil here is pretty firm, so this works well).

I repeat this until the hole is filled.

I then pour a 1-2 inch cap of concrete to cover the gravel. The cap is sloped to guide the rain water away from the post.

The concrete may crack, but its only prupose is to keep the dirt from working down into the gravel. The gravel stays open and drains away from the post very easily. The post stays relatively dry this way. An extra credit step is to seal the bottom of the post with tar.

I have examples of this that I did 20 years ago and they are still solid. Quite often I use coarse gravel – more like small rocks.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View dbhost's profile


5710 posts in 3230 days

#13 posted 06-02-2010 03:32 PM

sras, I kind of like your idea, but the concrete here is also for adding rigidity to the structure for wind storm resistance… Of course we defeat that by NOT staggering our pickets, but that is another story all together…

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