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Old 08-26-2013, 03:43 AM
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Default Tools for concrete

In the workshop and around the home, I have quite a bit of concrete to put down.
With the workshop, I'm going to tackle it in sections as I'll be working alone and mixing the concrete myself. Last week I did a 2x2.5m section to get a feel for it (I've never done this before). I mixed the sand, gravel and cement by hand (about 700kg's worth), let me tell you it was a good workout in this heat and humidity, the shop was about 40degrees.. The hardware store I bought the materials from hires a mixer for $20 a day, but it was already out.
Anyway, tools.. I have a couple of floats, biggest being 400mm. I saw bull floats in the store, but they we're almost $200 each, so I thought I'd try make one from wood. It kind of worked but was too heavy, so I scrapped it and just used the 400mm float.
When I concrete for the next slab, I'm aware I need to separate it from the first slab by means of a narrow channel/groove, to allow for movement. Sorry, I don't know the terminology. I can't find a tool to do this anywhere, so am not exactly sure what I need and if it's possible to make one?
If any of you guys have any experience or links about the tools I need or any homemade versions, that would be handy
Cheers!
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

I'm certainly no concreting expert, your 2x2.5 section means you've done more than me. What about concreting up to your existing slab, then cutting an expansion joint with your TS55 and rail with a concrete cutting blade?
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

I think what you need is a groove trowel. Here's a page that shows one:

How To Pour a Concrete Walkway : How-To : DIY Network

It has a ridge down the middle to make the expansion joint. I'm sure it would be easy to make.

And seriously: $200 for a float?!? Surely you could make one for less than that!
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Here's a magnesium float on ebay for $35. Even with shipping it would cost less than yours:

Magnesium Walking Concrete Float 24" X 3 25" 8011 | eBay
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:33 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Here is an article on the types of joints and placements: http://www.nrmca.org/aboutconcrete/cips/06p.pdf

Peter
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:38 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Ah, yes! That looks like what I need, Potosan! Thanks! There must be a version on a pole to reach the other side. I might have to try make something, after seeing the prices of bull floats! Kinda scared me
$35 for that 24" float, that's a steal! and looks better than the one I saw here at $200, although it did have a pole also.
Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Thanks, Peter that's a good read
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

I don't know if they are available in Japan, but Marshalltown makes concrete tools that are favored by professionals in the USA.

Setting the standard of quality since 1890 - Manufacturer of Construction Tools

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Old 08-26-2013, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

If I can be of any particular help, let me know. I was a concrete finisher for several years back in my younger days.

And yes, good finishers only used Marshalltown tools.

There's more to a bull float than one might think. It has a long handle and a weighted bracket that holds the large flat piece of wood. The wood is shaped so that it can be drawn the surface of large areas of wet concrete to flatten it without sinking in.

A similarly designed large trowel (called a Fresno) is used next, after the surface sets up a little, this process is called "laying down" the surface.

Do not forget to "tamp" the concrete after screeding and before any floating. A tamper is a large heavy screen that lifted and dropped all across the surface to push the aggregate (rocks) down below the surface. On a small pour a float can sometimes be used to work the aggregate down, but with a larger that's just not practical. With the aggregate too close to the surface it is impossible to get a good float job.

My boss used to have two favorite sayings to yell at us: "Concrete waits for no man!" and "Don't forget that our only eraser is a jackhammer!".

The first one is absolutely true. On a large pour, all the concrete goes through the same setting up process at the same time, if you're not fast enough to take all of it through each step of the process it will get ahead of you (called "blowing up") and you're screwed (this is where a jackhammer comes in )

The solutions are to have enough finishers to work sections at the same time, or make smaller pours. Smaller pours are good for a couple of reasons other than staying on top of the finishing, they are easier to screed for drainage, and where the separate pours meet automatically becomes a very effective expansion joint.

The "groove trowel" Peter mentioned is (or used to be) called a "jointer". It is essentially a trowel that creates a groove in the concrete surface with a radius on each edge. All concrete will crack to some degree, the hope is that it will crack where the grooves are, the concrete being thinner there. It doesn't always cooperate.

With separate pours, an "edger" trowel is used to create the same radius on each edge. When done right, it can be difficult to tell whether a joint was done with a jointer or is two separate pours. The advantage of separate pours is that the two slabs don't completely bond to each other, and any stress is relieved by a sliding movement between them, instead of moving by cracking.

.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:28 PM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poto View Post

Here's a magnesium float on ebay for $35. Even with shipping it would cost less than yours:
One problem with magnesium floats can be the lack of weight. Bull floats are used for large surface areas where it is impossible to walk out on the very wet concrete. You may be working a surface that is fifteen or twenty feet away from you. It takes a certain amount of weight (and just the right angle) to apply pressure and flatten the surface. For this, I always preferred a big hunk of wood.

.
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