Week 71 (Bond and steel beam updates)

In construction photos by Michael Tiemann

The past three weeks [1] [2] [3] have all been preparation for the events of today: the grouting of the North bond beam.  Here is the wall, shrouded to protect the finished blocks from any spills:


But wait!  There’s more…

Up high, here’s a detail showing the top of the 21″ wide, 24″ deep solid mass of concrete and steel:


Here’s how much of a bite we took out of brand-new sand and gravel piles:


One of the masons estimated there were over 120 buckets of grout lifted into place—about three yards.

In addition to all that grout, new #5 rebar is installed in the outer wythe to continue reinforcing the wall on its way up:


Maybe this is a better angle:


Meanwhile, on the South side, the large steel beam is anchored into place.  Here you can see a small dam that’s going to hold the metallic grout in place as it fills the space between the beam and the concrete pillar:


From the underside, another (caulked) wooden dam.  This metallic grout runs like water and we cannot tolerate any spills!


The metallic grout is poured!  This grout will ensure that the contact between the beam and the column spreads the load evenly across the column, and that no high spots are supporting more than their fair share of the load.


The masons discovered that they can actually fit 6″ blocks instead of 4″ blocks alongside the steel beam.  This photo shows how it will work (sorta…they didn’t put in the 3/8″ spacers between the two blocks where the mortar joint would be):


Fortunately you can see that the notch they cut it tall enough that when the top block is raised 3/8″, there will still be room for the steel beam.  The plan is that these 6″ blocks will be entirely filled with concrete, giving them the strength of solid blocks with a little steel running through one side.  From there, we’ll course up with 8″ blocks and finish the wall at 24′ high.  Just like all the other outer wythes, the outer wythe of this wall will be grouted solid and steel reinforced all the way up.

Let me leave you with this lovely view from up by the B&B.  This is a small rain garden, fed only by the run-off from the house.  Next spring, this view should be stunning!