In which I fill my hole with quick setting cement

A late start to the Interwebs today.

I finally got tired of the front gate which has been jamming for a long time now.

A while ago I had sniffed around the big hardware store in Skobieville and had found the corner where they stash cement.  Now I am of an age where a cementing job usually required the purchase of a sack of cement and a rake of sand and the whole lit has to be mixed in the right proportions on a concrete floor which will never be the same after. 

Apparently times have moved on though.

In the corner of the hardware I found loads of smallish bags of ready mixed stuff and there seemed to be a bag for every job.  If you want to point some brickwork, there's a special bag.  If you want to lay some patio slabs there's a special bag.  I didn't see one for building a house or a motorway, but what I did see was a special bag for posting.  I came to the conclusion that they meant fence posts and not letters and parcels, so I bought a bag.

For one reason or another the bag has been sitting on the garage floor for a few weeks.  Never do a job today if you can put it off 'til tomorrow is one of my many mottos.

However the gate has been getting progressively worse and it requires quite a back breaking struggle to get the gate to open enough to get the car out.    This morning I decided to have a bash.

The main problem was that the post had been already mounted in a concrete foundation but for some reason this had shrunk.  Or something.  I therefore had to spend a few hours removing the foundation using a chisel and a lump-hammer.  Naturally there were a few misses with the hammer so the hand that held the chisel is now really fucking sore.

I eventually cleared a grand pit beside the post and decided it was time to mix the cement.

I had cleared an area of the garage floor to make the mix but then for some inexplicable reason I decided to read the instructions.

"Fill the hole half full with water and then add the contents of the bag".

Weird, but who was I to argue?  They also warned that it was quick-drying which had to be nonsense as a hole that was half full of water is going to take a while to dry?

I followed their instructions and even paddled the mix a bit.  My trowel got stuck in it.  I had to lever the trowel out and contemplated writing to the manufacturers to tell 'em that their stuff hardened in ten fucking seconds and not ten minutes.

To my amazement it seems to have worked.  The gate no longer jams and people can now come and go as I please.

I still can't open the second half to get the car out but that's because so much shit washed in during the winter that the ground is now higher than it was and opening the gate means gdagging it across the gravel and mud.  So I have to attack the area inside the gate and remove about an inch of crud.

That can wait until tomorrow though.

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In which I fill my hole with quick setting cement — 8 Comments

  1. Ah, that would be the gate that you were asking advice about a few months ago that needed sorting PDQ, yes?

    Not bad going, mate. Can't be more than six months since you were going to fix it. I'm impressed with your alacrity. You should be able to get the car out by November. 🙂

    • PDQ generally means within a year or so.  I don't believe in rushing things and anyway, don't I have all the time in the world?

  2. That's funny, GD….the old man and I were just talking about that cement yesterday!….He told me that you just put water in the hole, add cement powder!…I didn't believe him!…Craaaaaaaaaap!…Must I tell him that he was right?

    • To be honest, I wouldn't have believed it either, until I tried it and it does work.

      Tell him he doesn't know what he's talking about.  😉

  3. A friend of mine who is a professional fencer (the kind who builds fences, not fences goods or likes to poke people with sabers) taught me a neat trick similar to the one you used for your gate post. He called it "dry cementing". Dig your post hole, stick your post in and pour your ready mix cement into the post hole while making sure the post is fairly level. No need to add water at all. Even if the ready mix isn't "quick drying" the post isn't going anywhere with the dry cement packed around it so it's good for planting posts in wet ground. Even in dry-ish ground the cement will draw in any water from the soil and a fair rain will finish the job. I do see why you need the quick drying stuff for gate posts though.

    • I could have used the dry method but seeing as the gate was impassable during the setting process I wanted to get it set as quickly as possible.  The dry method would be ideal in a situation where the post is part of a rigid [or nearly rigid] structure such as decking or a gazebo or something?

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