We had to pour a concrete step at the front of a house, and the transit-mix truck couldn’t get anywhere near the site. So we used a method for mixing concrete that I learned about from a carpenter named Pat McMahill. We folded a 12-ft. by 6-ft. piece of 4-mil plastic into a 6-ft. square. Then, with two men holding the corners of the plastic, a third guy dumped the contents of a sack of ready-mix concrete into the center of the plastic, along with a premeasured amount of water. The guys on the plastic sheet then lifted each corner in succession, and after about a minute or so the concrete was ready to place by simply pouring it out of its plastic nest.
Fortified by a steady diet of rock and roll, we had some 90 sacks poured in less than two hours. While I don’t recommend doing flatwork this way, small jobs such as porch and deck footings are a real breeze.
Dave Marshall, Sterling, VA
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #100