Big bites

Each time we do carved concrete it is a bit of a guessing game. The tough part is to guess just how much I can apply and carve in a work day. We have far to go and it is important to get as much done as possible. But If I guess wrong it makes for some very long hard days. Yesterday We were doing the beams. Overhead work always takes longer, because we work on scaffolds and ladders. On top of that I should have taken into account that the beams have a lot of detail - which takes time. Add in the fact that I am the eternal optimist thinking things will take far less time than they really do.

The mixing and applying of the concrete is done before lunch. This means the time from the first applications until we start carving in that same spot is about three hours. In that time under the working conditions we are in means the concrete has set enough to start carving the detail. Then I carve at roughly the same rate as I applied the concrete and all goes well. Only yesterday I had asked the carpenters to do some small bits of drywall so we could do those areas and work against a finished surface. I felt obligated to do those areas. It turned out to be a LOT of surface area. We didn't get our lunch break until 2:00 in the afternoon.

This meant the first concrete we had applied in the morning was now much older (and harder) than I like. Carving it was difficult. There is nothing more motivating than more than fifty feet of hardening concrete to carve head of me. I knew if I could carve fast it would get easier as I went. With concrete you do it today or you start over tomorrow. Our new employee, Becky, who had never carved concrete before got a crash course and we sweated our way through the beams. The big 'wood work' looks fabulous and changes the look of the entry in a big way. We made it with only two hours overtime.

As I wearily walked in the door last night Janis looked up from her task, smiled and made the comment "Got greedy huh?" with a smile. I've gone down that road before.

-grampa dan