Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Hole: A Pond Story Part Two

The skimmer hole is at the far end of the seat wall
Late last summer I decided I needed a pond.  Here is part two of the installation saga.  These stories were originally posted in a private forum.  Part one is  here.

Chapter Two:  Fantasy's surrounding the Hired Help           From 10/5/2012

   Paragraph 1-7 {Insert Poetic, though increasingly dark imagery about daily rain storms for eight days straight}
This shovel is long and this hole was deep!

    Paragraph 8   Four whole days to get the skimmer level.  Leveling clay in a small gooey wet hole is hard.  Unfortunately it took me roughly eight hours to figure out it this was easier accomplished by other means.  During these eight hours I first played with leveling the clay, then played with bricks and sand in the clay.  All were big fails, but eventually I figured it out.  Since the hole was deeper then needed, I made concrete forms to fill with concrete that I could level at the bottom of the hole.  Making concrete forms at the bottom of a deep hole level is hard.   I needed forms because the concrete shape was a C, to accommodate large pipes.  Success finally achieved on Saturday.  Time to mix the concrete!  You know those giant 80 pounds bags of concrete?  Mixing them up tiring and they sure do not go very far.  I did it in a little dishpan, one blob at a time.  Why a little dishpan?  Because I didn't want to get my shiny new wheel barrow dirty.  (Crazy remember?)  One hour later, my forms were filled and yippee they were level!  Almost done.  Ha

   Sunday I spent trying to get the skimmer to the final right height.  Now lest you think I am a moron the reason this was so hard was the skimmer bottom is not flat.   In the center of it is a pipe that comes down six inches.  Also, the directions said the final front height was supposed to be 1/4 inch lower than the back.  I have learned that subtleties in measurement are not my strong point.;  After much pulling of bricks and polymer sand in and out of the hole, I got it right.  Time for pipework!

After the pain of getting the skimmer hole just so, I very definitely never want to have to dig it out again.  The could be required if the fitting at the bottom of the skimmer leaks.  One of my concerns was that I would knock it around during the final install.  One of the things I did to help protect it was this.  I found a thick rubber end cap and cut a hole in it that was the exact diameter of the PVC.  I sleeved it over the PVC and glued it in place then surrounded it with copious amounts of marine grade silicone sealer.  In theory this is a second layer of leak protection.  It definitely won't hurt!      PVC pipes are stuck together with glue.  First you use a toxic purple primer that makes permanent a stain.  Then with lightening speed you apply the glue, stick the pipe together  and do your darnest to get to in perfect position before the glue sets up.  You have about three seconds.  This took forever not because of complications but because I was so scared to do it wrong and then have to take a saw into things to correct mistakes. I sat and stared at one step for a hour before getting up the nerve to do it.  I think it went OK.   I plan on doing a test with water today to check it.  Just in case I plastered liberal amounts of silicone around the joint as well.

My work on the Hole has been further hampered by our desperate need to replace the rotted out remains of the old balcony.  We used Trex composite for the boards of this and a different manufacturer's rail system because we hated the plastic look of the Trex rails.  It was more work getting it to fit together but it was worth it.  This thing is done!  It cam out pretty nice .
All of this work was supposed to be proceeding parallel to the collar getting poured and the hole getting dug.  I've decided to pay for both of those to happen after seeing how long it took me to mix a single 80# concrete bag and knowing I need about 100 more to finish the collar.  I won't be fast enough to finish it before it gets hard.  Problem with the help.   It is like pulling teeth to get him to show up.  Once here, the work is great.  The week is perfect for this.  Sunny and seventies and so not going to last.  His email today was that he decided to take apart his dump truck's transmission during the rain and now he has to wait for a part to come in before he can come out.  Maybe Monday he says.  My fantasies surrounding him surround dump trucks whacking sense into him.  Oh did you think it was something else?

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