Grandpa was up bright and early this morning, eager to get cracking on the sauna footing. I was just as eager, and although Mummu and Donna were off on their morning hike, and Kenny was still asleep, I decided to head out. I was certainly within earshot of Kenny if he woke up and was distressed at all.
Grandpa had consulted with his brother, who suggested a ratio of 1 part cement to 5 parts sand/gravel mix. I conceeded to his lifetime of experience, and we mixed up our first batch. It looked great!
We made sure that we wet down the rock first, then, using a combination of wheelbarrow, spade and bucket, poured in a bit of concrete. Then, thanks to the over-the-top efforts of Donna, we dropped clean, wet stones into the layer of concrete we had just poured.
After this, we tried to mix up a slightly thinner batch of concrete, which we would spread on top of the stones and, using a scrap of wood, would pat down the concrete with a quick tamping motion, to hopefully drive out any airspaces between the concrete and the forms and rocks. After this, we would use the flat edge of the wood to smooth out the top of the concrete, sliding it along the top edges of the forms while sawing it back and forth. I believe this is called “screeding” or something along those lines.
Although this was a good, honest workout, it went better than I expected, and when Grandpa broke for lunch, I was able to finish the job with 7 and a half shovels of sand/gravel and 1 and a half shovels of cement mixed.
As per my understanding, and Mummu’s reiteration, I broke out my collection of plastic bags leftover from the felt insulation in our Yurta yurts. Using some extra stones Donna had provided, I covered up the concrete to ensure that it didn’t dry out too quickly.
Grandpa plans on removing the plastic and forms tomorrow, hopefully to help my footings to cure faster.
When he returned from his lunch, Grandpa and I mulled over the situation with the footings for the cabin. It was not in quite such an auspicious location. There are several deep pits and grooves that coincide with our chosen footings.
We had been going based on a rough 24′ by 24′ floorspace, but upon closer examination, digging out closer to our 22′ by 22′ plan yielded a much more positive job. It still looks to be a much more major undertaking than the sauna footings. I think I will look into the possibility of pumping concrete up to our location, even if a truck cannot make its way all the way to the building site.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to work on the sauna, and with spare time, to clear more of the cabin footing area.