When We Build - Handy Farm Devices chapter 9
When We Build - Handy Farm Devices chapter 9
Important Points in House Building
THE following points in building a house are considered of the greatest importance by a well-known architect: Carefully watch that the foundation walls are substantially laid, and accurately leveled on their upper surfaces, so that the doors shall not strike the floor or carpets in opening, nor the tables, chairs, or other furniture be obliged to stand on three legs.
The framework, when raised, should be plumb, so that all on or in the building can be cut square, and applied without tedious fitting. The siding should be thoroughly seasoned in the open air before using, and carefully applied with close joints, and well nailed. The edges of all water tables, corner boards, and window frames should be painted before setting.
The shingles should be carefully laid, breaking their joints at one-third of their width and double nailed. The flooring should be dry, close laid, and nailed with two nails to each beam. The partitions should be set with studding of selected width, and their angles or corners should be anchored firmly together to prevent the walls from cracking in those parts when finished. The chimneys should be carefully constructed, all points between the brickwork should be well filled with mortar to prevent sparks from passing through to the framework.
All mortar for plastering should be properly mixed, and allowed sufficient time (at least a week) for the thorough slacking of the lime, and a complete permeation of the caustic properties. Thin coats of plastering are better than heavy ones. A mortar that does not crack in setting or drying is sure to be good.
The interior wood finish should not be begun until the plastering is completely dried out, and all loose mortar is removed from the building. All woodwork usually painted should be primed as soon as in position.
A Very Convenient House
The accompanying picture and plans show the outside and interior arrangements of a very convenient home built the past year by one of our agricultural editors. It is 34 feet wide by 30-1/2 feet deep, with a 7-foot cellar underneath. The house contains 10 rooms, including two in the attic, besides a storeroom in addition to those shown. All the rooms are of good size and have two or more large windows, which make them light and sunny and supply plenty of good air.
Economy of construction, as well as of doing the work, was kept in mind in the planning. The location of the stairs is somewhat unusual in a house of this sort, but is such that only one light is necessary from first to second floor. There are plenty of large closets on the second floor, which are greatly appreciated.
The porch is not roofed except over the door, but an awning, which is taken down in the fall, makes it cool and shady in summer, and allows the sunshine to reach the living room in winter. The first story is 9 feet from floor to ceiling, the second 8 feet and the third 7 feet 6 inches. The house is piped with gas and wired for electricity, provided with the best quality of sanitary plumbing and heated with hot air furnace. A similar house can be built for about $4,000, more or less, according to finish and locality. Occupancy proves it to be a model of convenience.
If a bigger kitchen is desired, it can be obtained by going back farther. Many would prefer a wider bathroom. A foot taken from the back chamber on the right would greatly improve the bathroom and still leave a large chamber. If desired, a large roofed piazza can be added.
Building a Block House
A Kansas farmer needed a house on his farm, but had very little money. He found that only a little was needed for a cement block house. He ordered a cement block machine and bought 12 boards 10 inches wide and 12 feet long, which were cut in seven pieces of equal length. Two cleats were nailed on each, about 3 inches from the ends. These were for pallets and cost about 7-1/2 cents each. The cement blocks were 8 x 9 x 18. As the block machine had no attachments, some contrivances were made for making half stone, three-quarter and others.
For caps and sills for doors and windows 9-inch boards were taken, using three for each mold, and two holes 2 inches from the edges and 3 or 4 inches from the ends of two of them were bored. Then the farmer made cement blocks for the ends 9 x 8 inches, laid the other board on the ground, placed one of the others on each side of it edgewise, put in the end blocks, and through the holes put long bolts and bolted it tight together. Then it was ready to fill with concrete. These boards were as long as were needed to make the caps or sills. A sprinkler, sand shovel, plasterer's trowel, and a wire sieve of 1/4-inch mesh were obtained.
The sand cost nothing except hauling. The machine was set up near a spring. A box something like a wagon bed with both ends out was made of boards, the block machine placed in one end and the pile of sand at one side. Three shovels of sand and one of cement were placed in a tub and mixed thoroughly. Then a boy took the sprinkler and sprinkled it while another mixed, until it was dampened evenly all through. Then they spread 35 shovels of sand in the mixing box and shook one sack of cement over it, which made a five-to-one mixture. This was thoroughly mixed by shoveling and sprinkling until it was good and damp, but not wet. This quantity made ten blocks.
A pallet was placed on the open machine, the machine closed, and some of the richer mixture of concrete placed on the face about 1 inch thick. The mold was then filled with the five-to-one mixture, while one of the boys tamped it, put in the core, and smoothed off the top with a trowel. The core was then carefully lifted out, the machine opened, and the pallet with the stone on it placed on a level piece of ground.
In three or four hours the blocks were ready to sprinkle. When 30 hours old they were placed on end and the pallets used for more stone. After standing for two days, during which time they were sprinkled frequently to keep them damp, they were dumped in the creek, where they were left until ready for use. The foundations were made by first putting into a trench about 6 inches of broken rock, then 4 inches of concrete.
The house is 26 feet square, the walls 12 feet high, with gables north and south. The picture of the house and arrangement of the two floors are shown in the illustrations. We used 12,400 pounds of cement, which cost 60c per 100, or $74.40. Doors and windows were brought at a cost of $33.75. Chimney, plastering and lumber for floors, roof, partitions and finishing, all of the best, cost $240. The hardware was $30, making the total cost of house $378.15, not counting cement machine or labor, all of which was done by the family.
Art imitates nature, and necessity is the mother of invention.
-- Richard Franck.
Consider the end.
A Practical Round Barn
There is no economy in building a round barn, that is, strictly round. The barn here illustrated has 26 sides nearly 12 feet long, making a barn 94 feet in diameter. The sills, plates and roof in a strictly round barn are very expensive, and the work will not last as well as when built as shown. The floor space of the first floor is nearly the same as if round, and the hay loft is very little smaller. If the building is round, the walls should be lathed with metal lath, over rough boxing, and plastered with two coats of portland cement. In fact, this finish is to be preferred in building any shaped barn, as it requires no paint and practically no repairs.
The floor plan of the barn shown is self-explanatory. It has stalls for 40 milch cows, three bull pens, two hospital stalls, pen for baby beef that will accommodate about 2 1/2 cars of calves, stalls for seven horses, including the two box stalls, and the feeding room and silo. The silo is 16 x 34 feet, will hold about 140 tons of silage, and requires about ten acres of average corn to fill.
The hay loft has 166,500 cubic feet of space, and deducting the silo and bins for ground feed will hold 300 tons of loose hay. The ground feed is stored in hopper-shaped bins above the feed room, and drawn down through small spouts as wanted. The hay is handled with hay forks, and to locate the trolleys as near the roof as possible, trap doors are left in the loft floor, and the hay hoisted from the driveways. A circle trolley may be installed, or two straight ones. Several large hay doors are also built in the outside walls above the loft floor. The silo, the floors of the cow stalls, including the gutters and mangers, also the 8-foot driveway around the silo, are of cement, and, while it is intended to install litter and feed carriers, it is also intended to drive around the entire barn, or the feed floor with a cart if desired. The interior arrangement of first floor may, of course, be changed in several ways, and the cows faced in the opposite direction, etc., or stalls and other equipment arranged for different stock.
The barn, as shown, has about the same floor space as a barn would have 36 feet wide and 180 feet long. The ventilation is always much better in the round barn, the work of caring for and feeding may be accomplished with less labor, there are never any drafts on the stock, the building may be built for less money, and is much stronger. As shown, the barn has a stone foundation, the roof is covered with asbestos roofing felt, and the walls covered with 6-inch drop siding. Everything is of the best, and all exposed woodwork painted two coats. This building would cost about $4,700 without the cow stanchions. Where home labor is used, and the lumber can be secured for less than $30 per thousand, the barn may, of course, be erected for less.
A Well-Arranged Barn
This Kentucky barn has a frame of oak, 6 x 6 inches. Center posts 23 feet 9 inches; shed posts 16 feet tall; studding and braces 2 x 6-inch poplar; joists 2 x 10-inch poplar, oak and pine. The sheeting is of poplar, beech and ash. The bevel siding is select poplar. Cornice and base, white pine. All doors are two thicknesses, front is dressed cypress and the back dressed white pine. The lower windows are 10 x 12-inch, 12 lights and upper ones inside the building. The joists are set 20 inches from center to center. The loft is 8-1/2 feet from lower floors.
The floor plan shows the arrangement as follows: Number 1, icehouse, 18 feet deep, walled up with stone; 2, carriage house, 16 x 18 feet; 3, stairs, leading to lumber room over carriage room; 4, corn crib, 8 x 16 feet, over which are the grain bins for wheat and oats. These bins have chutes running down into the corn crib, from which grain is filled into sacks. Numbers 5, 5, are box stalls, 8 x 12 feet; 6, driveway, 12 x 38 feet; 7, 7, 7, 7, box stalls, 6-1/2 x 12 feet; 8, harness room, 6 x 8 feet; 9, feed mixing room, 6 x 8 feet, with spouts running from cutting box and bran bins overhead; 10, alleyway running from driveway to feed alley; 11, 11, 11, hay chutes, with openings near the bottom, 1 x 2 feet. These openings are directly over the feed boxes and any hay that falls while horses are feeding goes into the boxes and none is wasted. Number 12, feed boxes, 1 x 2 x 2 feet; 13, feeding alley, 4 x 38 feet.
Overhead at X is an opening from the hay loft where alfalfa, clover, cowpeas and hay are kept for the cows; 14, cow shed, 8 x 38 feet. Cows are fastened with stanchions and fed out of boxes on alley floor. The cow shed has concrete floor, with a fall of 2 inches from stanchion to Number 15, the drain basin, which is 1 foot 2 inches wide and 1 foot deep at A, where it runs into a basin made of concrete, 6 x 6 feet and 2 feet deep; 16, driveway into carriage room; 17, openings in which siding doors hang when open; 18, windows.
The roof is of tin, standing seams, with Yankee gutters made on the lower edge of the roof. An opening 10 x 10 feet in the center of the driveway loft is allowed for hay and other feed taken up by an unloader that runs on a track in comb of roof. The barn will cost about $1,500 -- more or less, according to cost of building material where it is erected.
A Handy Small Barn
This barn is arranged to meet the needs of a small farm. It can be built in most localities at a cost not to exceed $500, and if a farmer has his own timber, at even less cost. The outside dimensions are 36 x 48 feet, and it is 16 feet to the eaves, with a curb roof. The stables should be about 8 feet high, which allows plenty of loft room above for hay.
In the floor plan the cow stalls, A, can be made of any width desired, 3-1/2 feet being best for general purposes. At B are two large box stalls for cows with young calves. The mangers, C, are 18 inches wide, with a rack for hay or fodder above. At D is the feed room and alley, which is 8 feet wide. At E are the mangers for the horses, with a feed box at the right side. At F are three horse stalls 4 feet wide, in which horses can be tied. At G is a large box stall for mares and colts.
At H is provided the granary, which can be subdivided into bins as necessary. The portion I is the driveway, which affords ample storage space for tools, wagons, etc., and is used as a driveway when hay is being elevated into the loft above.
There is a large corn crib, J, at the end, which can be filled from the outside and emptied from the inside. It is narrow and so arranged that the corn will dry out quickly. Chutes from this bin should be provided at L. A ladder to the hay loft at K is a convenience which should not be omitted.
The Farmer's Icehouse
In a properly constructed icehouse, and when the ice is properly packed and cared for, no waste should take place from the inside of the pile of ice. The melting from the sides, bottom and top is caused by insufficient insulation. The waste from the bottom is generally the greatest. The amount of ice melted in the bottom of the icehouse varies from 1 to 6 feet during the year, depending upon the construction of the floor. If the icehouse is provided with an airtight floor, with the ice laid on at least 18 inches of dry sawdust, the bottom waste rarely exceeds 12 inches during the year; on the other hand, if the ice is piled in the icehouse on the bare ground without any insulation under it, or any provision made for drainage, the meltage frequently is 6 feet. The side and top meltage is not so great, but it frequently ranges from 1 to 3 feet, depending upon the insulation.
Location and Building
The location should be where the ice can be removed and delivered with the least amount of labor; however, it is very important that the icehouse should be located in the coolest place, in as dry a place as possible, and always above ground. The lowest layer of ice should always be at least 6 inches above the outside level of ground.
The size of the building must be determined by the amount of ice used during the year. For instance, a dairy farm upon which 35 cows are kept, and from which the milk is sold, needs an icehouse 16 x 16 and 14 feet high. If the cream is to be sold and skim milk fed to the calves, immediately from the separator, an icehouse 14 x 14 and 12 feet high is of sufficient size. In both cases we make allowance for the use of 25 pounds of ice per day during the summer months for household purposes. For a man who keeps about 20 cows and sells the milk, an icehouse 14 x 14 and 12 feet high is of sufficient size; however, in no case should an icehouse be smaller than 12 x 12 and 10 feet high, because the outside surface is too great, compared with the volume, and, therefore, too much ice is wasted in proportion to the amount used.
The building should be as near the shape of a cube as possible, for the cube contains the greatest amount of volume with the least amount of surface exposed other than circular forms. It is not always practical to build as high as we build square, owing to the amount of labor and the inconvenience of storing the ice; therefore, the dimensions given are really the most practical.
If the icehouse is not built upon a sandy surface and where rapid drainage is natural, it is necessary to cut a space to a depth of 12 to 18 inches, where the icehouse is to be located, lay a tile drain to drain this, and fill it with sand or finely crushed stone. Put a 6-inch foundation of concrete of the size you wish to build your ice-house in this pit, and fill around the outside.
Framing the Icehouse
The framework is made by laying 2 x 4-inch sill on the concrete foundation; fasten this to the foundation by cementing a few bolts into the concrete and allowing them to extend through the sill; 2 x 4 studding are then placed upon the sill, 16 inches apart from center to center. The rafters for the roof are likewise made of 2 x 4's, placed the same distance apart as the studding, but the purlin plate upon the studding should be at least 6 inches wide. The outside of studding may be boarded either with common sheeting and paper, upon which poplar siding is nailed, or with patent siding or ship-lap siding, the latter being the cheapest and requiring only a single thickness of board.
The roof should be made with not less than one-half to one-third pitch, and preferably covered with shingles, for shingles are better insulators than either slate or metal. Paper may sometimes be used to good advantage. A cupola or flue should be built upon the roof to allow for the removal of the warm air from the top of the ice. A ventilator may be placed in the gable end.
A continuous door should be cut in one end to allow the ice to be put in. This door may extend from the gable down to within 5 feet of the bottom.
Before putting in the ice place from 18 inches to 2 feet of sawdust or dry peat upon the floor. The ice should be harvested in regular shape, oblong, rather than square, and not less than 18 inches in width and 30 inches in length.
Ice and Milk Houses Combined
The side elevation of an icehouse with milkhouse attached is presented in the drawing, It shows the advantage of utilizing the water from the icehouse for cooling the milk. No ice needs to be removed from the icehouse. It operates automatically. If the weather is warm the ice melts more rapidly and keeps water in the tank at the required temperature.
The farmer who would make his crops of vegetables most profitable, or the small gardener who would have an early supply of early vegetables for home use or market must employ some kind of glass structures to hasten these crops. The hot-bed or cold frame have been much in use in the past, but the cost of sash, shutters and mats is nearly as much as the materials needed for a permanent structure, while the labor of caring for cold frames or hotbeds is often much more than that of the small greenhouse. In the latter one may work with comfort no matter what the weather may be outside. It requires much more skill to run hotbeds successfully.
Small greenhouses may be built against the south side of the house or stable, Figures 1 and 2, or they may be built entirely away from other buildings, but the shelter of larger buildings on the north or west will be found of great advantage. If one has a basement to the house or stable, a lean-to house may be built, and heat from the open cellar in a large measure will heat the greenhouse in the mild weather of fall and spring.
Material for Construction
A cheap and efficient house may be made by setting chestnut or cedar posts in the ground, covering the sides with lining boards, then two thicknesses of tarred building paper and sheathing outside, Figure 3. Cement, stone or brick will be cheaper in the end. The durability of glass structures will depend much upon the form of the materials. Clear cypress is now more used than any other material. Sills should be of the form shown in Figure 4. Plates may be made of plank as in Figure 3, or as in Figure 5. Sash bars should have grooves along the sides to catch the drip from the glass, as in Figure 6.
The glass for ordinary work may be No. 2 double thick, large sizes, 16 x 20 inches or 20 x 24 inches, being much used. Smaller sizes will be cheaper in price, but more sash bars will be needed, and they cut off much of the sunlight. The glass should be put in with putty, made with about one-third white lead in it, and firmly tacked with triangular zinc tacks of large size, or the double-pointed tacks, which are so bent as to prevent the glass from slipping down.
Set Glass in Warm Weather
Glazing should be done during the summer or early fall, as putty will soon become loose if frozen before well hardened.
In building there should be no mortises, but all joints be made by toeing in with long, slender nails. All woodwork should be thoroughly painted before fitting, and all joints filled with white lead paint. After all is done the frame should be painted before the glass is put in.
The most important and expensive feature of the small greenhouse is the heating. If one has a hot water or steam heater in the house, to which the glass house is attached, it will be a very simple matter to carry pipes through, as at a, a, Figures 1 and 2. Hot air also may be let into such houses, or a small kerosene heater in very cold weather may be used, if the house is built opening into the cellar.
Ventilators must be located as shown in Figures 1 and 2, at b, b. Very small structures may be run without much heat if opening into cellars or other heated rooms by having shutters or curtains to draw down at night and in very cold, cloudy weather.
Covering with Hotbed Sash
Houses of small size may be made by building a frame upon which hotbed sash may be screwed. If one has the sash this is a cheap way of building, and such a house has the advantage that the sash may be entirely removed during the summer, but it is very difficult to make a close house with such sash.
The woodwork of greenhouses and hotbed sash should have a coat of thin linseed oil paint every second year. Much of the success to be obtained from any glass structure will depend upon the skill of the operator, and the thermometer, both outside and in, must be watched very closely. The temperature should be maintained as nearly as possible like that in the open air under which the plants grown thrive the best.
Wire Fence Corn Crib
In the drawing is shown a handy, inexpensive corn crib, which possesses several advantages not possessed by the ordinary slat corn crib. It is made on 4 x 4-inch posts, with pans at their tops, to prevent rats from climbing in. The sills are 4 x 4-inch, the scantlings 2 x 4, and 2 feet apart. The fencing is nailed to these on all sides, and the door frame is similarly covered. The roof is made wide, so as to shed all possible water. The height, length and width may suit the farmer's convenience. A convenient width is about 5 feet at the floor, widening to 7 feet at the eaves. Owing to the very open nature of this crib, corn dries more quickly than in a slat crib, and as there is less chance for water to lodge in the cracks, the crib will be more durable than if built entirely of wood.
Want of cure does us more damage than want of knowledge.
How to Lay a Floor
To lay a floor or board ceiling just right, and do the work fast, use a good lever, as in the illustration, taking for the supports two 1 x 4-inch pieces as long as the width of the room. The upright arm is 4 feet long with a hole 4 inches from the lower and through which it is pinned loosely between the ends of the supports. With a little practice, a good carpenter's job can be done on floor or ceiling.
An Inexpensive Veranda
A vine-covered veranda is a great comfort, but in many cases the expense seems greater than the owner of the plain little farmhouse feels able to stand. A farmer in Arkansas wanted one, and he set to work in this fashion. First he went to the woods and got a load of straight poles about 1-1/2 inches in diameter and from 8 to 12 feet long. He next procured a number of nice, smooth boards for the flooring of the veranda, making it about 6 feet wide and 10 feet long and strengthening it with the necessary timbers. He securely nailed the poles about 8 inches apart around the flooring to form an inclosure, leaving an opening in front about 5 feet wide.
The poles in front were 7 feet from the floor to the roof and 12 feet at the house. About midway of their height the poles were straightened by a row of poles nailed horizontally and another row was placed at the top. To make all secure against rain, the slanting roof poles were next carefully covered with overlapping rows of bark. All this required but small outlay of cash and even less of work. It was then ready for the vines.
Being in haste for immediate results, the builder planted some roots of the hard native woodbine, which will soon cover any space with its rapid growth. It is an easy matter to sow seed of the morning glory, hardy annual gourd, or any one of several hardy climbers and the result will soon be a mass of shade and lovely blossoms besides, all of which makes the summer evenings pass far more pleasantly.
Concrete on the Farm
he progressive farmer must not overlook the economic value of portland cement concrete. Today is the age of concrete. It is crowding wood and steel into the background, and bids fair to become the most universal of building materials. Concrete is extensively used by the largest landholders, and can be used by the men of more moderate means to equal advantage. It is to be recommended for general use by reason of its durability, sanitary qualities and moderate cost. Molded solid, it has no joints nor seams to afford a lodging for dirt and foster the growth of noxious fungi; it can be swept, washed, scrubbed and scalded, without injury to its texture. Further, it does not possess the disagreeable quality of absorbing gases and odors. Add to these qualities, coolness in summer, warmth in winter and we have one of the most logical building materials in present-day use.
Concrete is not expensive when compared with other materials of construction, such as stone, brick and wood. To be sure, the initial cost of wood is less than that of concrete, but when we consider the life and quality of the finished product, concrete is easily cheaper than wood.
Portland cement of the most approved brands costs about $1.60 per barrel, 1-1/4 barrels of cement being required for each cubic yard of concrete. Sand and gravel may be had from the farm or bought nearby at 10 cents a load. Add the cost of the forms and the labor of mixing and laying the concrete, which should be done at an expense not exceeding 75 cents per yard, and we have a total expense ranging from $2.75 to $3 per cubic yard, but under very favorable circumstances the cost may be reduced close to $2. Experience both in practical work and in the laboratory has proved beyond a doubt that the best brands of cement, as in all other goods, are the cheapest in the end, and should be insisted upon by all prospective purchasers. Atlas, Alpha, Saylor's, Edison and Giant cements are among the leading brands. The sand should be clean, coarse and sharp and free from all foreign matter that would in any way tend to weaken the concrete. Broken stone with sand and cement makes an ideal mixture, but it is objected to on account of the cost of the broken stone. Gravel may be substituted for the stone, however, with excellent results. The gravel should be washed and cleaned, and, if very coarse, passed through a screen. The gravel should range from 1/4 inch to 2-1/2 inches in diameter, but should not exceed 2-1/2 inches and to obtain the very best results the major portion should be between the limits of 1 and 1-1/2 inches.
Mixing the Cement
In mixing concrete for general use the following proportions are perhaps the best: One barrel cement to 3 barrels sand and 5 barrels gravel. In this mixture the spaces between the stones are entirely filled and when hardened the concrete virtually becomes a solid monolith.
To secure the best results mix the concrete as follows: Have the gravel washed and in readiness, usually on a platform of planking or boards, to permit easy shoveling and insure against waste. Add enough water to the cement and sand, which have been thoroughly mixed in a mortar bed, to make a thin mortar, not too thin, however, to permit easy shoveling. Spread the mortar on the gravel and thoroughly mix by turning with shovels. Then, without delay, shovel the batch of concrete into the forms or spread it on the floors as the case may be, being careful not to exceed layers of 8 inches at each filling. Each layer must be tamped and rammed till water flushes to the top.
Proceed in this manner till the forms are filled. In hot weather damp cloths or boards should be placed over the top of the concrete to keep it from checking after the final layer has been placed in the forms. The forms must necessarily be water tight and the concrete worked back from the boards with a spade, so the softer material may flow to the outside and insure a smooth surface. If this last is not done holes will surely result and the work will be disappointing. Let the concrete rest four to six days before removing the planking, concrete being somewhat brittle until thoroughly hardened, and while in the "green" state easily broken.
Making Concrete Blocks
Concrete building blocks are ideal as building material on the farm. The cost to purchase these blocks has been beyond the reach of the farmer who desired to use them for all purposes; but by the use of the simple machine or mold described anyone can make the best quality of hollow concrete building blocks at an average cost of less than 6 cents each, the mere cost of sand and cement.
As the standard size block is 20 x 8 x 7-1/2 inches, instructions are given for making the machine to build that size, but it can be constructed to turn out any size of block by changing the dimensions accordingly.
Take two boards 20 inches long by 7-1/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. These are for the sides. For the ends use lumber 10 inches long by 7-1/2 inches wide. Care must be used to have the boards free from large knots and with an even grain, so as to avoid warping.
The above four boards were joined at three corners with six hinges; two hinges at top and bottom of each corner. In putting together have the two end boards set up against the sides as shown in Figure I. At the fourth corner place a strong hook and eyelet to hold the machine together when making block, and by unhooking this allows the machine to be folded back away from the finished work, etc.
This makes a mold or form that is, inside measurements, 20 inches long, 8 inches wide and 7-1/2 inches high, with top and bottom open.
For the core, take two boards of 1-inch lumber, cutting them 13 inches at the top and slanting to 11-1/2 inches at the bottom with a width of 7-1/2 inches. These make the sides of core. For the ends, use 2-inch strips cut 7-1/2 inches long. These are fastened together, as shown in Figure I. This makes a slanting box which is set inside of the machine, as illustrated in Figure 2, and forms the hollow in the block. To the top of the core a round stick is fitted into place the length of the core, so it will set down level with the top for a handle to lift the core from the block when operating the same.
To Operate the Machine
First set it on a board somewhat larger than the machine, as shown in Figure 2. This makes the bottom of machine and holds the block until dry. Enough of these boards must be provided for the blocks made each day. Close the machine and fasten catch, then set the core in the center and fill the space around the same with the concrete mixture, tamping it in thoroughly. When full level off the top with a flat stick and carefully lift out the core, setting it on another board ready for the next block, unhook the catch and fold the machine back away from the finished block and you have the completed block ready to dry and cure. This method requires no handling and so has no danger of breaking while the block is yet " green," as it remains on the board or "pallet" until dry enough to be piled up, which they will be in three or four days.
When the blocks are to be laid in a side wall, between corners, take two 1-1/2-inch strips 7-1/2 inches long and attach with screws to the center of each end of machine on the inside. This molds a groove in the block, which is filled with mortar when laying the block in the wall and so securely ties it. By fastening with screws these strips can be easily removed when molding corner blocks.
Blocks of Different Shapes
A neat panel block can be molded by taking the common half-round strips, cutting to the right lengths and fastening to the outside of the face of machine, as shown in Figure I. For corner blocks they can be attached to either end of machine. By using small screws these can be removed when not desired and also enable you to panel either right or left end of block as needs require.
For making half-size blocks, have a piece of board that is exactly 8 inches wide and 7-1/2 inches high, or so it will just fit into machine when core is removed. Set this in place in the middle half-way between the ends and fill with material. This will make two half-size blocks for use in breaking joints when laying wall. If desired to have these hollow, two small cores of proper size can be made to set in place when molding blocks of this size.
Rock face effects can be produced very easily by taking a 2-inch plank the size of the face of machine or the end as desired. On this draw a border 1-1/2 inches all around, then take several irons, heat them red-hot and burn out the center in irregular shape, at least 1-1/4 inches deep. By making ridges and hollows in this burning process of different depths and as broken as possible, you will secure a face plate that will mold a very excellent imitation of a rock face. This, of course, can be made to suit any fancy.
One may follow the practice of making several faces and ends from plain and panels down to different rock effects, having these extra face plates the same size as given for the machine above. Then by using hinges as used on doors or any pin hinge, you can easily change the style of block by putting one face plate or end on machine in a moment's time. One machine can thus be used for any style of block and a great amount of time be saved in changing from one style to another.
This machine, in addition to being simple in construction and operation, is very rapid. With but little practice one man can make from 75 to 100 blocks daily and have each one perfect, as he does not break any by handling them after they are molded.
According to her cloth she cut her coat.
Another Style of Mold
All the lumber necessary to make this mold should be selected white pine or hardwood, free from knots and sap. The platform on which this mold rests should be 14 x 24 inches and be well battened together. The sides are made as shown by the drawings, with a cleat on each end, which overlaps the end pieces and holds them in place. Both ends and sides are fastened to the platform as shown, with hinges, which permit them to be turned down to take out the completed block.
On each end is placed a flat iron bar with a notch in to fasten the whole mold together. These bars are the same as hooks, only the ends are prolonged to act as handles for convenience.
Regulating the Height of the Blocks
The bottom board is intended to be fitted in the bottom of the mold loosely and should be blocked up from the bottom to give the required height of the finished block. The end pieces of mold have a thin piece of board running up and down to form a key between blocks and should run down to top of bottom board.
The plugs are made as shown, with a taper both sides, so that when they are removed they clear all the way out. The pins in the bottoms of the plugs are to fit in the holes in the bottom board, which will steady them and hold them in place.
When the plugs are removed the board with the two square holes is placed over the top of mold and the handle of tamper is run through the rings in top of plugs and they are lifted up. This board is used as a guard and prevents the block from being broken when plugs are removed, and should not be used until the block is finished and ready to take out of mold. The tamper is made of a large iron nut and a piece of iron rod about 18 inches long.
Filling the Molds
To make these blocks use one part of portland cement and three parts of good sharp sand, mix well and put enough water on to simply dampen the whole. Now close up the mold, put plugs in place, fill the mold one-fourth full and tamp down hard. Repeat this until the mold is filled. Scrape off surplus material, remove the plugs, then turn down sides and lift out finished block which is to remain on the bottom board until hard enough to lift off.
It will be necessary to have a number of these bottom boards. After a number of blocks are made they should be sprinkled from day to day for from 15 to 20 days to properly cure them before using. A barrel of cement will make about 50 blocks and one man can make a block in 12 minutes.
Mixing Cement for Brick
Many have found mixing the sand and cement the hardest part of cement brick making. An old vinegar barrel may be put to use by placing a grindstone crank on one end and a pinion on the other. Two strong posts are set in the ground and the barrel hung over two pieces of round iron driven into the posts. A square hole is cut on side of barrel and covered with a piece of sheet iron hinged and a bottom to fasten.
The sand and cement are dampened, shoveled into the barrel and a boy may turn the crank. The mixing is done as fast as two men can mold, with a boy to sprinkle the brick to prevent drying too fast.
Reinforcement for Concrete
For heavy construction work involving beams and columns, reinforcement with steel rods is needed. Reinforced concrete is rapidly coming to be the most approved kind of construction of large buildings. Our own great building is one of the most noteworthy examples, being of reinforced concrete throughout. For any building where reinforcement seems desirable the following details will be found useful:
Plan of the footing or foundation of each column is shown in f; g, side view of footing and part of column above. The steel rods that run up through column are shown by dots in h, and the wire spiral by diagonal lines in g. h is cross-section of column filled with cement, the shaded part being the concrete. a, section of floor slab, 4-1/2 inches thick; it is also shown on top of the floor girder and floor beam (crossbeams between girders), b, girder; c, cross-section of girder, the dots showing twisted steel bars that take up the tensile stress -- compression stress is carried by the concrete. The steel bars, d, stuck into the column at an angle, are to prevent the girders from breaking off or "shearing" at column.
Making a Frostproof Cellar
Some farmers build their own concrete cellar walls and chimneys with inexperienced help. Lay out your foundation the same way you would for any building. Have outside line of excavation plumb. Then use 2 x 4-inch studs the length required. Point one end, drive in ground, on line of inside of cellar wall, brace top of stud by driving stake in ground, and nail brace to stake and each stud. You must make everything firm. Then take square edge boards and place horizontally against the studs.
Do not try to go around the whole cellar wall, take one side at a time to the height of earth surface, but turn your corner. Pay no attention to outside, let the stone and cement push up against the earth. It is the best plan to finish the whole wall up to the earth surface line before making the elevation above the ground line.
Above the earth surface line do just the same on the outside as you have been doing on the inside, but now you must use boards and studs, as up to this point the earth took the place of them. Plumb every stud you drive, and place them 24 inches apart. Have cellar window frames ready and place them as you come to them. Be sure and make extension for hatchway when building your main wall. For the corners use baled hay wire in wads, bending it around the center of wall, and a reinforced concrete corner will be the result.
Get cobblestones or any stone from the size of a goose egg to the size of your head, and put them in bottom of wall to depth of 1 foot. Make a mixing bed, say, about 12 x 36 x 72 inches. One man used an old wooden sink as near watertight as possible. Use one water pail of cement to three of fine gravel sand. Put one and one-half pails water in the mixing bed, then add the cement. Be sure and mix water and cement well before using sand. Throw sand in one shovelful at a time. Have one person mixing with a good-sized hoe, while another throws in the sand. Mix well.
Have it about the same as thin mortar, so it will leave the pail easily when pouring into the foundation. Cover the stones and then put in another lot and do the same to height of wall up to within a couple of inches. Do not put stones to full height of wall. To bring wall up to line, mix cement and water together (or one part sand and one cement) so it will run, and after wall is hard pour it on top and it will find its own water level and your sills will fit exactly. It is a good plan to have wall thicker at bottom than at top -- perhaps 18 inches at bottom and 12 inches on top.
Now for hatchway steps. Put in the stones, as they save cement. Before the cement gets hard, drive in some large spikes, leaving them projecting about 2 inches on line of hatchway sills. Your hatchway doors will stay in place if sills are well-fitted on to spikes. One of the most important things is to be sure of the sand you use. If there is more than 10 per cent loam in the sand, your work will be a failure.
A Summer Cool Room
A simple method of constructing a cool, outdoor cellar in localities where the common house cellars are too warm for use during the summer time, is shown in the accompanying sketch. It is a cellar made under the pump, so that the water pumped by the windmill has a very cooling effect. In places where it is difficult to obtain ice, it will prove indispensable to the dairyman who keeps a few cows. Another important item is the fact that a man does not have to pull up all of the pipes every time that he finds it necessary to repair the pipes and pump.
It is constructed of concrete. The top is reinforced with 1/2-inch steel rods placed 1 foot apart each way and the concrete work is about 6 inches thick. The sides are made by using a form, and the stairs are also made of concrete and are reinforced by small steel rods. The cost, including the labor, is about $50. In the west and southwest it will also answer the purpose of a storm cave, which is considered a fixture on all farms.
A Concrete Smokehouse
The structure is about 8 x 10 feet and 7 feet high. It will keep the meat inside and thieves out. For a building of this sort 8-inch walls will be thick enough. Excavate to the proper depth below frost, which will be two feet or less, and use a mixture of one part portland cement, three parts sand and six parts gravel or broken stone.
Make the forms of matched boards, although square-edged boards could be used for this purpose. The forms must be well braced and may be raised as the work of laying the wall progresses. Space for a doorway must be left and two eye-bolts inserted in the concrete for the door to swing on. The door jamb can be molded in cement if it is desired. An eyebolt for the lock and latch should also be placed in the wall.
The roof will no doubt be of boards or shingles. The plates should be placed on the concrete and held to it with bolts properly imbedded. An arched concrete roof can be made if desired, in which case it will be necessary to leave suitable vents in each end, or build a small flue to allow the smoke to escape. To make the house absolutely proof against fire a steel or iron door should be used.
Laying a Concrete Floor
A concrete floor should be level with the top of the sill, where there is much passing in and out with stock or wagons. There should be about 4 inches of concrete. If the earth is leveled off and tamped down hard, it would be unnecessary to put any crushed stone under the concrete in a building where frost or water does not get underneath. It is generally recommended to put several inches of stones, gravel or cinders on top of the earth, but many floors are laid without such a bottom. Partitions for horse stalls and cattle stanchions can be held in place on a cement floor by putting down iron belts or pieces of gas pipe when the floor is laid. Let them project 2 or 3 inches above the floor.
Making a Concrete Walk
The best way is to dig a trench 16 inches deep, put in a foot of loose gravel or stone, leveling it off with fine material. On top of this spread 3 inches of concrete made of one part portland cement, two parts sand and four parts crushed stone or gravel. On this put a granolithic finish 1 inch thick mixed in the proportions of 1-2-3. Trowel it down smooth and hard. Joints 1/4 inch thick and filled with sand should be left every 5 feet to prevent walk from cracking
Cementing a Cistern Wall
In making a surface waterproof, a mixture of about one part portland cement to two of sand will shed water from a roof or wall, but to make a surface perfectly watertight, so that it will keep out standing water, it is better to use neat cement only, that is, cement with no other material but the water with which it is mixed, and it will cost less to put on a coat 1/4 inch thick of neat cement than one 1 inch thick, one-half or two-thirds sand, as the neat cement mixed with plenty of water is waterproof.
Special Uses for Cement
A sack of portland cement is a very useful thing to have for making quick repairs about the farm. A hole in a drain pipe can be stopped in a few minutes with a little cement, mixed with water, thick as putty. A crack in a barrel can be stopped this way. Hardwood floors may be patched and nail holes filled so they will not leak.
A waterproof floor can be laid over an old board floor in a short time. Sweep the old floor clean and dry and nail down all loose boards. Cover with a layer of heavy wire netting, tacking it down occasionally. Over this lay a layer of concrete of one part portland cement, three parts clean sand, mixed with water to a thin paste.
Smooth thoroughly, but if it is to be used by stock, brush with an old broom to make it rough, then let it dry thoroughly before using the floor. Gutters may be put in where necessary. Holes in an old shingled roof can be quickly stopped by forcing a little cement putty under the shingle where the leak appears.
Some special uses to which cement is being put are the making of bee hives, brick for pavement and ordinary foundations, cement shingles for roofing, grain bins in the form of square boxlike and round barrel-like receptacles. The use of this excellent material for farm structures is only just opening up and it is destined to become the most important material for general farm building.
A wooden reinforcement in the center of a concrete fence post is worse than useless. It does not make a bond with the concrete, and thus weakens, instead of strengthens, the post. Of course, the same is true of wooden reinforcement of any concrete work.
A Time-honored Handy Device
How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollection presents them to view!
The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild-wood,
And every loved spot that my infancy knew!
The wide-spreading pond and the mill that stood by it;
The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell;
The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it;
And e'en the rude bucket that hung in the well --
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The old moss-covered bucket that hung in the well.
How ardent I seized it with hands that were glowing,
And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell!
Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing,
And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well.
-- Samuel Woodworth.
Acknowledgments, Credits, and Bibliography
Cobleigh, Rolfe. (1910). Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them. Chapter 9. Illustrated. Orange Judd Company, New York.