Friday saw the start of installing the welded wire mesh over the excavation banks.
I took a chance and hired two labourers from embers again. You may have remembered I was less than impressed with the last time I hired a labourer from here, but I really needed the help and took the risk. There was no way I would be able to man-handle the 300+ lb rolls even with a healthy back. Boy was I glad I did as Shane and Mick were awesome. They both worked hard, thought ahead in the process, and asked for things to do to keep busy.
The process got off to a rough start. The threaded rod anchors I had made up Thursday were not going into the soil. They would just bounce off cobble. And if they did find a soft spot, they would then not grab and just pull out again. After an hour of trying, we had not driven a single anchor that held at the top side of the bank. The bottom side was better as the clay tills would usually accept the anchors with ease. I called the engineer in frustration (again voicing my displeasure for having to do this which they graciously put up with). They suggested switching from threaded rod to rebar which would have less resistance. They also suggested using a ground bar driver bit on a hammer drill.
So I prepared to head off to the lumber and rental store. This was complicated by the fact my truck was in the shop getting a new tailpipe and would not be ready till 11:30. Shane and Mick wanted to stay busy and not just hang around (I was very impressed) and so, after their break, worked on loading my trailer with all the plastic pipe I had dug out of the ground for salvage (but unfortunately it is too dirty for the salvage process and instead will need to go to the dump) and then worked on re-stacking lumber I had to get out of the way of the excavator and had just been thrown into a pile. When I got back, the job site had been cleaned up and organized. Awesome!
We got to work cutting the new rebar to length and then trying once again to drive in anchors, this time with the hammer drill. Again, no joy. The rods were just bouncing off rock. I was able to drive anchors along the bottom side of the west bank but I think we only got 1 or 2 driven at the top. We placed the wire so that the curve of the roll was pushing the top into place. With the bottom anchored, this will hold them there until I can figure out a method of attaching the top. I indicated to the engineer I doubted it would be possible to drive anything in the middle-heavily-cemented area and many attempts showed this to be the case.
The south bank went much easier. For one I could easily access the top of the bank and the soil at the top of the bank also easily allowed entry of the threaded rod anchors I made up and once driven were holding fast. So we just hung each strip of mesh anchoring firmly at top and I will go back next week and anchor the bottoms. I wanted to get all of the strips hung with the labour help as that was the part that would be hardest on my back.
The east bank saw different soil once again. The east, or front of the house, actually did have top soil as I had put in about 12″ of peat and sand to remediate the front lawn after we bought. SO we had to switch back to the rebar and cut them 24″ or so long in order to penetrate the soft soil and grab into the denser native soils below. The rebar anchors were just straight pieces of rod with rebar wire wrapped around them a few inches from the top end. After driving in part way, the wire would then also get fastened to the mesh before driving the rod in the balance of the way and cinching the connection up.
At exactly the end of an 8 hour day, we had hung all of the welded wire mesh except for the strips that will need to be moulded to the corners between banks. The larger two pieces were cut and made ready for me next week. I had hoped to finish this task Friday, but considering all the problems driving the anchors, I was very happy with the progress we made.
I will hopefully finish driving all the bottom anchors and placing the final sheets on Tuesday/Wednesday and then will have to figure out what we are going to do about the top bank of the west wall. I will see if I can use a sledge to drive larger anchors into place somewhere above the bank and then use cable to weave into the mesh and around the anchors. Looks like I will not meet my goal of at least starting the footings by Saturday. Whats new!
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