Construction Update: Something to Stand on

Or, Something upon Which to Stand. That avoids an uncapitalized preposition in the last position of the title, which looks odd to me. Such fussing. Gentlemen, the last post was pretty clearly a distaff interest item, so here is one for the boys: Big machines and heavy things.

Now that we’ve finished tearing down and digging down, it’s time to start filling that hole we’ve had made.

It seems a pity, a great deal of work goes into making parts of the house that will never be seen after their one day in the sun. Here, below, is a view of the foundation forms under construction. All this fine-looking woodwork will be taken away once the forms are filled with cement.

I wonder if those guys ever wish their work was above ground where it could be admired. On the other hand, I suppose every standing house is a testimonial to their skill.

In addition to the forms for pouring, you can see a row of rebar sticking up at the back of the excavation. Here’s a view of the forms and the rebar from the other side of the hole:

The rebar will support the Faswall block construction of the north wall of the house. More on Faswall in a later post.

You can see a lot of little orange caps on the tops of the spikes of rebar. How cute, I thought, hardhats for the steel. But then it came to me what they’re for, and it seemed less whimsical.

You know how a sewing thimble works. It keeps the needle out of your finger. Imagine how the man with his feet on the ladder (see the ladder right there) would skewer himself if he slipped. Ew. Here’s to the inventor of thimble. (Bart, the carpenter, says, “It’s great. It just breaks your back instead of stabbing you.”)

The men who do this job work hard. They’re constantly out in whatever the weather is; they’re lifting, toting, hauling; they climb and bend and reach and crouch; they punch stuff to make it go where it should, they hammer and dig and kick things sometimes. And they fall down. One fellow slipped off the edge of the form and flopped down to land between the rebar thimbles and the form, and he got up and slam-hammered the pieces he meant to go into place. It was such an obvious channeling of pain and anger. We’ve all done it. If you’re alone and you hurt yourself, you bellow in rage. If folks are looking on… you’re OK. WHAM! Really, it’s OK. SLAM! It was nothing. WHAPPO!

But finally, when they’ve finished hammering and slamming things into place, the cement trucks pull in, five of them, one after the other, and the guys make walls where they’ve built forms.

They spend half their working day bent double. Here, above and below, is cement being guided through a hose into the form.

And finally, the next day, they came and stripped off all the wooden forms and carted them away to be re-used at the next job. See the revealed concrete footings below.

Now, I really do not understand the logic in the next bit. After all the forming and pouring and making concrete, then they set to breaking some of it out so they could create channels for the ventilation tubes that will run out of the earth north of the house to provide cooling air inside. I mean… OK, I’m only a woman and probably don’t understand all this, but I’d have made a form for the channels and skipped all the whacking out of set concrete:

They made those guys dig under the rebar! We were just slightly concerned for a few hours here. Those channels run mighty close to Big John and PissPot where they are spending the next part of eternity. We were pretty certain we’d hear about it if anyone nicked into a skull or horn in their shovel work. By rough estimate, we think they missed PissPot by about two inches.

Here they are muscling the ventilation tubes into place:

Next up: another big vehicle, this one bringing rocks to throw on top of everything that’s been done so far:

I know you can’t see it very well in this picture, but that truck is spitting rock into the foundation, and with a pretty good aim. From across the hole they aimed it right into the corners and far reaches. So at last, that’s it: poured footings filled with gravel, and that crew of sturdy fellows gone away.

Now, women, if you’re still with me, you might have noticed some little thing for us here. I tried to create  the least little bit of a thematic line in the presentation.

If needed, images can be clicked for bigger display.

Published in: on October 5, 2008 at 9:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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