2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1, Page #40[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Cement Pad Makes Poles Easy To Set
The octagon-shaped pads measure 17 in. wide by 5 1/2 in. high and are designed to be used at the same time the holes are dug. Each pad weighs about 95 lbs. and is lifted with a metal handle, which consists of a length of pipe with a metal hook attached to each end. The hooks slip under a pair of light wire loops embedded in the concrete.
Colby uses forms made from 2 by 6’s to make the pads, cutting 8 short boards with angled ends and then screwing them together. He brushes motor oil around the interior of the form to keep the concrete from sticking to it. When pouring the concrete, he pushes a cross made out of 1/2-in. rebar down into the middle of the form to make the pad stronger.
“The handle makes the pad easy to pick up and move around,” says Colby. “When I’m ready to lower the pad into the hole I set the form at the edge of the hole, detach the handle’s hooks from the wire loops, and drop the pad into the hole.
“The hardest part is making sure the pad is level. A lot of times we overdig the hole so someone can get down in it and use a level. Most of the holes we dig are 4 to 5 ft. deep.”
It’s a simple idea, but Colby says it works great. “I’ve been constructing pole buildings since 1973 and have tried all kinds of ways to set posts, but this idea is the best yet. A lot of times when you dig a hole it’ll cave in some, so when you pour concrete into the bottom you don’t always know how much you’ve poured. With my pads I always know the exact depth of the footing.”
Before pouring concrete into the form, Colby sets it on a piece of plywood to make sure the bottom of the pad is always flat. “I don’t make the pads any deeper than 5 1/2 in. because 95 lbs. is about as much as one person can lift,” he notes.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Colby, 276 Hebbard Rd., Fairlee, Vt. 05045 (ph 802 333-4059; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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