Monday, October 13 2008
Today I installed the first concrete blocks of the greenhouse's masonry walls. The going was complicated by the need for precision and by the footings that were not as flat as I had hoped. In the end I was able to install nine blocks, all of them in section of footing in the southeast corner that is stepped down in height by one block. When I was done, the wall (such as it is) had nearly reached the same elevation all the way around. I have little experience with setting concrete blocks and am hoping my skills improve. Today, for example, I had difficulty getting the mortar to stay in place on the side of one block while I was setting it against another. If the mortar was too dry, it tended to slough off, but if it was too wet it tended to drip off. I also had difficulty leveling a block. I'd pound the high end into its mortar bed, but inevitably this would screw up the previously-acceptable orientation in the other dimension. I'd have to glurp more mortar in and try again, screw something else up, and start yet again. I imagine that once one is good at setting concrete blocks, most of the skills are involuntary ones rooted in the informed subconscious. For now, though, when it comes to concrete block setting, my subconscious is as ignorant as a Sarah Palin enthusiast.
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