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Should I buy a concrete mixer? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Should I buy a concrete mixer?

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  • Should I buy a concrete mixer?

    Dear Friends,

    While checking the Specs. on the angle grinder and wet tile saw, a new Harbor Freight Sale came up which included a good deal on a 3 1/2 Cu. Ft. cement mixer:
    ITEM 31979-1VGA



    I wrote Mary a note about this possibility and will Copy-Paste it here as I'd like the experienced builders to check if my figures are WAY off.

    The first pour of the earth level pad will be to a depth of 5 1/2 inches and be a 10 foot square area, or 100 Sq. feet.

    ================================================== ====

    $190 will get us this large 3 1/2 cubic foot mixer.

    $232 will get us the concrete delivered but we have nothing but the earth slab pad.

    In addition to the $190 for the mixer, we would need to spend about $240 for 120 bags of 60 Lb. concrete for the pad; actually more than the delivered price, BUT we would then own a mixer which we could use for filling some of the concrete block cores, the Hearth pour (about 80 bags) and any other concrete we mix, e.g. the masonry bench, retaining walls for your Labyrinth, etc.

    Forno Friends,

    Let me know what you'd do in my place. I suspect not all will share the same view. Also, if you see that my figures are way off (I only estimated) let me know that too.


    "Everything should be made as simple as possible, ...
    but no simpler!" (Albert Einstein)

  • #2
    I would consider renting from Home Depot.

    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces


    • #3
      I am using my neighbors large concrete mixer (comes on a tow hitch) and it's a godsend, but we're remodeling an entire large property. I'm not sure if I'd purchase a mixer for just a single project.

      Renting is a good option. If you do have other things planned down the road, perhaps..



      • #4
        Careful of the low-budget models. I looked at a couple and then compared them to the ones being rented (same store). The "for sale" models had much smaller motors, tubs, & vanes but claimed the same capacity as the much more substantial models the store had for rent. I usually look at projects as an excuse to buy new tools (which I then use for at least one other project to fully justify it). But this time, renting made more sense. The pad pour was under 4 hours and the same is true of the hearth pour - both using a large Home Depot rental unit with a 3 bag (80 lb) capacity. Both rentals came out for about $100 total.



        • #5
          Re: Should I buy a concrete mixer?


          Here is the thing about mixing that many bags..It sounds better than it is and you don't save anything, TIME or MONEY.
          1. It a messy long process that you will have spent at least triple the amount of time in labor (mixing,placing and finishing) than you would if you have had it delivered, in addition you will spend more on materials mixing yourself.
          2. You really degrade the quality and strength of the end product by doing it this way. You have to mix then pour, then mix then pour, and even with a helper or 2 it just takes too long from the first pour to the last so you have the concrete setting up at different times throughout the slab this is not good for strength at all.
          3. Even renting is a loosing situation now you have the rental fee and you still have to buy the material which again is right at or more than the cost per yard for delivery (not including short load charge of course) when you work it out its really close or more.
          Trust me I've been doing concrete for close to 20 years now my brother for 30+ and my father (retired now) for more than 40.
          10' x 10' x 5 1/2" is almost 2 yards of concrete (1.7) remember these words "I should have had it delivered" because if you mix it you will be saying it after about 20 or 30 bags.
          As far as the mixer goes Ive seen them they are not well built at all. I have a "Red Lion" that I bought from H.D. years and years ago and I used the heck out of it. Ive mixed concrete in it, mortar, I even used it to mix stucco. great little machine. The fact is if you are building a backyard oven the mixer would be nice to have yes but, when its all said and done you really can get by without one. If you are going to use it around the house again then Id say yes but even I couldn't justify it for just the oven construction and I love to justify tool/equipment purchases
          Have you checked into the price for a U-cart concrete or similar service. this is where you go to the rental yard and bring home in either a spin buggy or a stationary buggy a yard of pre-mixed concrete. This option can save a little money over delivery but by the time you figure in gas, time to pick up, time to clean it, time to return it..its really a wash as far as cost goes.
          Good luck hope this helped


          • #6
            Re: Should I buy a concrete mixer?

            I've been contemplating a mixer. I've seen them advertised second hand on the noticeboard at my local supermarket for abot $100-$150 (Australian).
            It's going cost $45 a day to hire one and I'll probably need it for at least two days with everything I'm doing. Owning one gives flexibility and I could sell it on the noticeboard when finished, probably for what I paid for it. So I reckon it could be a way to go.



            • #7
              Re: Should I buy a concrete mixer?

              I bought a used HF quality cement mixer, and it was trash. The bevel gear ring had been bent banging out old hardened concrete. If you buy used, test it with a full load of sand and gravel and water before you pay for it. This one would run empty, but wouldn't mix concrete, it stalled when it bound on the bent gear ring.

              I ended up renting. I have a useful page here somewhere called "concrete mixer basics" or something. Look for it.
              My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


              • #8
                Re: Should I buy a concrete mixer?

                I bought a used one for $125 & put a more powerful motor, another 80 bucks. Figured I could sell it on Craig's List for at least 150, cheaper than a days rental. I found it useful for concrete but the stand is too low to dump into a wheel barrow & had to raise it up on a platform, considering set it up & clean up about 3 wheel-barrowfuls is the maximum I would mix by hand before breaking out the mixer. For mortar its pretty much useless considering the speed at which I lay bricks. I bought my mortar in 60 lb bags so it would store well over the life of the project & 60 lbs is about right for my skills. Plus its faster to mix by hand in a plastic tub & takes much less water.