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This is the slabThursday, June 17, 2010
The design for the new basement entrance calls for a nice wall and some steps leading down from yard level. To make this all a lot easier, I decided to start by pouring a thick concrete slab on which to build everything else.

Step 1: Dig. Keep digging. Measure. Keep digging. And note to self for next time: don't pile the dirt too close to the hole, or it will just fall back in. Did I learn nothing from time spent at the beach as a kid?

Step 2: Compact down the gravel under where the slab will be. I figure that shuffling around on the tips of my feet for 10 minutes should do the trick. I'm glad no one was watching this part.

Step 3: Build wooden forms to define the slab geometry. I started by making a bunch of stakes with the miter saw, pounded them into the ground, measured and cut the form boards, made sure things were level and relatively square, then screwed everything together. Not bad!

Step 4: Prepare your tools, including a long 2x4 to level the concrete to the forms.

Step 5: Mix concrete, one bag at a time in the wheelbarrow. Using our hose on the "Full" setting, count to 32 at a relatively fast pace while adding water - that's about 4 quarts.

Step 6: Move the wheelbarrow closer to the house, and shovel the concrete down into the forms.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 a total of 23 times. At 80 pounds per bag, that's nearly a literal ton of concrete. Now, after every few bags, perform step 7:

Step 7: Tamp, level, and smooth the concrete. Reminiscent of frosting a cake, this is actually the fun part!

Step 8: Admire your work. It's not perfect, but for what it is, it's not bad!

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