We had dinner with some friends over the weekend with the thought that we'd bring the kids back to our house to have s'mores over the fire pit for dessert.  It ended up too hot for the fire pit, but we came back here anyway (sangria!).  So these guys were appropriately appreciative of the progress we've made on the kitchen and the new counters (aw shucks), and we answered question after question about how they were poured and installed.  It reminded me that I hadn't posted any of that story here on the blog, so here, all your questions answered.

IMG_7160 Don, the guy who did the counters for us, called a couple of weeks ago to ask if we wanted to see the third section poured.  Um, hello?  Of course we do.  


IMG_7162 This is the mold of the last section of counter.  It's a corner section, so shaped like an "L." Don pours the counter upside down, and after it sets, he'll flip it over.  If you look closely, there's a black line around the perimeter of the inside of the mold.  That's the depth line.  We wanted 1.5 inch thick counters, so that line is 1.5 inches above the base.

IMG_7165 When we got to his studio, he had five big buckets lined up, ready to
pour the concrete.  The buckets were filled with water, and after we
got there, he added a cup of stain to each bucket.

IMG_7179 When it's time to add the concrete, the clock starts ticking.  Don says he has about thirty minutes after he pours the powder into the water before the mix starts setting up.

IMG_7183 Time to start mixing.

IMG_7201 I always go to food analogies, but this was very much like making a cake.

IMG_7212 And then right straight to the pouring.

IMG_7221 Bucket,

IMG_7224 after bucket,

IMG_7230 after bucket.

IMG_7247  Don scraped those buckets dry. He said he'd never had it come this close.

IMG_7252 After that, the gloves come off. Don walked around patting the back of this baby for quite awhile.  I may try that with my next cake batter.

IMG_7259 After the patting, a wire grid is added to strengthen the form.  It'll sink a bit, but not all the way to the bottom, which is really the top.

IMG_7269 Almost before you know it, it starts to dry.  The dull spots are drying first, and because drying concrete is an exothermic reaction, things start heating up from here. 

IMG_7271 By the time we left it was hot to the touch, and Don said that by the time he'd break the molds off that night he could fry an egg on it.  How cool is that?  We left soon after that, but from what he explained, Don broke the counter out of the mold that night, and flipped it as early as the next day.  From there on out it's about drying and sealing and getting the color right.

IMG_7604 Here it is, just about to be installed last week.  That little ramp, maybe you remember it from the mold?  That's where my dish drain goes so the water slides off into the sink.  Dear concrete counters:  I'm sold on you.