Of Footing Forms and a Quick Update

Hello again, I hope you are having the same kind of weather that we are having in New York. It has been a beautiful few days in a row here. I actually took a picture of the sky on Saturday morning. Sometimes you really do have to stop and smell the roses. Or stop and appreciate the beauty around you.

Saturday morning May 4th. A gorgeous day.
Saturday morning May 4th. A gorgeous day.

I took Friday off from work to participate in “Career Day”. I thought it went pretty well. I talked about my career path in engineering and the construction industry. I talked to 8 different classes of students for 16 minutes each.  It’s funny, I never really thought of myself  as having a  career.I had my website up on a screen and was able to spend about 5-6 minutes talking about Hobbit houses. I had a lot of fun talking.Ithink t was interesting for the kids at least I hope so. Some of the teachers thought the shed was cool so it was nice to get some positive feedback.

Career day ended around 11:00 AM so I was able to get over to the house and start the footings. Believe it or not Fiday was the first time that I really felt like this thing is really going to happen. I don’t know what it is about nailing wood together to build stuff but somehow when you start using nails and the skill saw I really get into it. The first board is always a little tricky, setting it in the right place, securing it, leveling it up. Once I got going I came up with a few tricks to help me along and I really got a lot done. I worked till about 5 then went to the gym. Here’s a picture after the first day.

Begining of the footings.
Begining of the footings.

Saturday my wife and I went  to Massachusetts to visit my daughter at college . She was in a dance show at a place called MassMoca in North Adams. The show didn’t start until 2 PM so we weren’t going to leave until about 10am. I woke up at 5am and got a couple hours work in on the footings before I had to go. It was great! I got so much done.I think in one more long day I could have all the footing forms up and in place! The ride up to North Adams was really nice and we had a great time watching our daughter dance. We had a really great dinner at a place called “The Hub” in North Adams. Good food and good specialty drinks! It was nice seeing Georgia. Good luck with finals! We love you!

The footings that I am putting together are not your typical residential house foundation footings. These footings are 16 inches deep and are going to require some special attention. Most residential footings are about 10 inches thick and can be braced quite easily with re-bar or D-stakes. Or a number of other ways which I will not get into here. Once the height of the form increases the potential of the concrete to push the forms over increasees dramatically causing,what we call in the business, a blowout. That’s when the forms break and the concrete goes all over the place. I have never been involved with a blowout that was fun. And anyone who is in the concrete business who says he’s never had a blowout hasn’t been in the concrete business very long. Anyway it’s a little early but we’ll get into how we are going to brace the footing forms next week I hope. Here’s a picture of the footings with a D-stake support. The D-stakes have holes in them so you can drive a nail through it and into the plank.

Footing form: 18 inch BB plywood backed up by a plank with D-stake support.
Footing form: 18 inch BB plywood backed up by a plank with D-stake support.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a residential foundation and this is the first time I ever used a laser level to help with setting the footing forms. But man, what a breeze. The top of this footing is probably within a quarter of an inch if not better. I hope the weather holds up for next weekend.

Maybe we have a gardener or arborist out there? I have a bush on the property that bloomed the other day and I was hoping someone could identify it for me. Let me know what it is or if you have an idea of what it is. Here’s the picture.

Unkown shrubbery. Where's Samwise when I need him?
Unkown shrubbery. Where’s Samwise when I need him?

Now the fun really begins! Enjoy your week till we meet again.

From Hobbit Hollow Jim


6 thoughts on “Of Footing Forms and a Quick Update”

  1. It looks like a strawberry bush, but I can’t tell for sure way back here. If so, the flowers will smell like very sweet strawberries.

    • Thanks for the input Sally! I’m going to have to remember to check it out this spring and get a closeup of the flowers.

      Take it easy!


    • Mike: How’s it going? Did you move to Florida yet? Thanks for writing. I hope you are getting a kick out of my little adventure here.Take it easy.

      • How are you going to fine-tune the height of each fotiong? Maybe some gravel in the bottom of the hole will help in that regard. Also, once you have them level in both directions, don’t forget to check for square.

        • Nena: Ah yes Nena read on. That is exactly what we did. We also brought the tamper back one more time after we fine tuned the gravel base. Checking for square was a little difficult because this footing had a few steps in it. The diagonals were within a quarter inch in 54 feet if I remember correctly. Thanks for leaving a comment as well! I hope you’re enjoying the blog.

          Take care!

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