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Mixing cement for the Hearth by hand - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Mixing cement for the Hearth by hand

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  • Mixing cement for the Hearth by hand

    For those of you that used a small mixer or wheel barrel to mix your cement by hand, would you do it again? Did you build a ramp up to the top so you could wheel up the cement or did you dump it in with a bucket?

    My problem is I have very little access to my backyard so getting anything other then a wheel barrel of cement back there is a real pain and even that is a pain because the land slopes so much. So pretty much no matter how I mix it it's going to end up being me and my wheel barrel full of cement trying to figure out how to get it emptied into the hearth form.
    Shay - Centerville, MN

    My Outdoor Kitchen/Pompeii WFO Build...

  • #2
    Re: Mixing cement for the Hearth by hand

    I used a coal shovel(small hand shovel), shovel it from the barrow into the form, but put a plastic sheet(or cut open gravel bag(plastic)) over the edge to stop it sloping all over hearth stand. To be honest, although it takes a little more time than pouring from the barrow, the effort involved in building a ramp is not worth it, and I have lost count of the times I have dropped a barrow full of soil/rubble from a ramp when using a skip.

    I would not mind mixing by shovel and barrow, but only if a mixer is not available, simply due to the time and effort involved, but I am a hard landscaper, so don't mind hard work. If you do mix by hand, do not mix too much in one go, if makes it so much harder to mix more. A hearth really is not that much concrete, it should only be a half days work at worst by hand, but, if you can get a mixer, do!
    I did once have to pour concrete behind a retaining wall, which I had to mix in normal mixer due to the fact the garden was about 35% slope and I was half way up, all materials were brought up by bucket and then mixed and I formed a shoot under the mixer to load up buckets, which then I would throw behind the 5" cocrete wall upto 7 foot high, I did about 15 tons of concrete this way(there simply was no other way!).


    • #3
      Re: Mixing cement for the Hearth by hand

      I did, but had 3 helpers... I think it would be better to use a mixer or a truck but it is doable. We just mixed in barrels and shoveled it in.

      Good luck.


      • #4
        Re: Mixing cement for the Hearth by hand

        I believe you can use a small mixer and 60lb bags with little problems. Try to plan the pour. If you can have the concrete bags delivered that will reduce the number of times you have to handle each bag. If not move the bags as close as you can with minimal moves that includes how many times you handle the bags in the store. 60lb bags are easier and cleaner to pick up and place into a mixer than heavy sloppy concrete shoveled up and into a form. Good luck to you.


        • #5
          Re: Mixing cement for the Hearth by hand

          I mixed cement, sand/gravel, and water in a small rectangular "bucket".
          All by hand... took about 2-3 hours.

          I had the bucket sitting on top of the hearth form and added the ingredients, then poured the concrete into the form.
          My thread:
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          • #6
            Re: Mixing cement for the Hearth by hand

            I used a small children's bucket to move the concrete from the mixing tub to the hearth. That worked really well, and wasn't very messy either.
            "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)



            • #7
              Re: Mixing cement for the Hearth by hand

              I have mixed a lot of mortar by hand and a bit of concrete. A wheel barrow and coal shovel as hulkiebear talks of above works very well as the curved blade is good to get into the "corners" of the wheelbarrow. Just pace yourself and have a helper to shift off with when mixing. The trick to mixing mortar by hand is to mix your dry ingredients first, then add water. I'm pretty sure this would apply to concrete too.

              I mix mortar in a five gallon pail all the time with a drywall mud mixer that fits in a 1/2" drill. Like this one

              Goldblatt Tool Company 84389-15303 Drywall Mud Mixer

              It works quite well. This method would work, even if you could only mix the water, sand and portland, then had to transfer to a wheel barrow to mix in the gravel.
              mixing this way your best to start with water, so that the mix doesn't get too stiff and the pail start spinning.