Fiberglass reinforced concrete is an amazing medium. Almost anything we can imagine we can build. It is durable, relatively inexpensive and with lots of practice, not too difficult to work with. Both a curse and blessing is the fact that working times are relatively short. We could use chemical retarders to lengthen our working time but the fact is there are only eight hours in a workday. We don't want to work longer. We instead carefully plan what we will do each day and in what order. Then we mix and trowel on the concrete we need as quickly as possible. When the concrete has set the prefect amount we begin the sculpting process.

The key to a successful job is to carve at the same rate the concrete was applied. If we manage to do that it is perfectly workable. The reality is however that the concrete sculpting process is much slower than the application. That means the concrete is getting hard. We have the perfect solution. The most skillful (and experienced) carvers begin the process a little early. They lay out the work and carve key areas. As the concrete begins to set up more crew members join in. And at some point each day the call goes out for ALL HANDS! This means everyone drops what they are doing and carves as well.

Generally, the skilled people work beside the less experienced, coaching and training as the work is done. With all hands busy helping a great deal of surface area is covered in a short time and as we near the end the crew members begin to put down the sculpting tools and start in on the massive cleanup that needs to be done without fail. By the time the sculpting is totally done all the concrete is expertly carved and checked. The tools are cleaned and all of the concrete waste and crumbles are gone. It is a routine that happens every concrete day and it works exceptionally well. In the process a lot more is accomplished and every crew member gains valuable experience in the sculpting process. It is a rare occasion we need to put in overtime hours. ALL HANDS and amazing teamwork make it so.

Dan SawatzkyComment