Forms, footings and fun

Forms, Footings and Fun …

Tuesday:  Due to a dearth of available rental forms, we’ll be building the forms with 1 x 8’s and 2 x 4’s, with a plan to re-use all the materials for the house forms. This requires some mental gymnastics by the design crew to make best use of any and all boards that need to be cut. It leads to some odd looking, extra-long, stanchions.   We’re less experienced with these forms but work our way through some different approaches to arrive with a solid product. A neighbour building his home just down the road kindly shares his crew’s expertise and it’s a big help.  It’s good to have friendly, easy going volunteers who aren’t afraid to ask for help. Heh.

While some begin work assembling the forms, a crew straightens out the upright rebar in the footing and then attach another row three inches down from the top. The wall will end up being aprox 28 inches above the footing.

Corners are plumbed down, plates laid out and attached to the footings, outer walls and corners built, then snap ties set in place and the inner walls assembled. Our youngest volunteer arrives with his father in the late morning, and helps out in the dining area by playing games and sharing some good cheer with the kitchen staff (reduced to one at this point).

The work ends around 6:30 pm and the remaining crew of six sit down to another three course meal. The day closes with a group sit followed up with Workers Metta.

Wednesday: Today’s program sees the inside wall completed, the corners reinforced and waling bars are attached and secured around the perimeter of the forms. Given the incredibly hard ground, the walls are straightened by bracing them to blocks supporting the barn. The cant strip is leveled and tacked onto the interior of the outside wall, to define where the top of the concrete wall will rise to. Another addition to the kitchen staff arrives in the evening.

Thursday: The site is prepped and readied for the pump truck. While waiting, the crew meditates for a while in the barn, setting a nice tone for the day. Valley Concrete Pumping arrives first and sets up between the two buildings, confident he’ll be able to access the perimeters without difficulty and thus saving the time of having to move his vehicle mid pour. Given the volume of concrete required for the job, two delivery trucks will be necessary, each carrying six yards.

Thanks both to an incredibly dedicated crew of volunteers and the skills of the pump truck operator, the job is accomplished in 1.5 hours. The bar has been set pretty high with this crew. People shifted around and took up new tasks when necessary and the support between everyone made a pretty challenging job come off “almost” without a hitch. The almost is that we discovered a slight error in our inside wall design, and we ended up with a little bit of flex in two places. We’ll be able to avoid a repeat of that error when we form up the walls of the house. All hands on deck numbered 12 meditators.

We’d like to extend a special thanks to Brad @ VI Rentals and Terry at ACT Concrete Finishing for donating vibrators for settling the concrete as well as Rob from Surespan for nailing down the volume of product we would need as well as recommending some practical suggestions for the pour.

We had figured somewhere between three to five hours to complete the job, so finishing in an hour and half gave us some extra time in the afternoon. We had a group sit and then followed that up with five making best use of the Lake.

Friday: A crew of six took on stripping the forms and footings on the barn. This included removing all nails and concrete from the boards and then stacking the materials in the shade under the barn. The rented steel bars were returned to Duncan at noon with one server, and another two left soon after that, with three staying on to clean up the site and return all the tools up top to the container. A final group sit around 8pm and then two more headed home leaving a final volunteer to stay on until Saturday.

Up next: lowering the barn, raising the house and building forms for the walls.