CEMENT its HARD , Harder than ALGEBRA

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Is Portland cement to hard, first what is Portland cement.  Portland cement was invented in 1843 in leads England by a bricklayer, in his kitchen Joseph Aspin.  He named after the Portland island area, in England.  He simply heated his mix hotter and hotter, and found that around 1450 c. 

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 It became very strong.  Voila it was in braced over time as the cement product.   In the United States we have used Portland cement as our choice for many decades,   STRENGTH, STRENGTH, and STRENTH; I am no chemist, far from it. I am a plasterer/mason 35 hard years of it STRENGTH, STRENGTH, STRENGTH.   Like cement maybe I got too hard.  Maybe not,  


                Most Americans think cement and concrete are the same things.  Of course they are not; cement is the key ingredient in the making of concrete.  Kind of like flour is the key ingredient in baking.   I have said for years being a good plaster is very similar to being a good baker. 


 The 85 year old plaster I apprenticed under would always say “until you have your own receipts you will never be a great plaster."  Boy was he right, I of course like most young men in America think we have it all figured out by 20, I would always tell him I am already a great plaster. He would say “I will give you two pieces of advice one if you ever come around one of my granddaughter's I will shoot you. Two 30 years every day you might be getting close. ”HE WAS RIGHT.  Even then deep down I knew he was right.  Back to cement before I go of in romance land.  


Repairing or Restoring Bad Concrete

Added: March 21, 2010, 03:14 PM

Time: 6:22

Raw File: VID00011.MP4

Broadcast: Public




                 Cement is truly the keystone to modern society; it is the most taken for granted thing on earth. It gets no respect. Grass, the sun, dirt, water, should.  Next in-line is cement; even carpet, bricks, and asphalt get more respect than cement. Cement is not just used to make concrete, it is used to make mortar for bricks, it is the key ingredient in plaster, and stucco, and it is the binder that holds tile together.  It is the king of construction, and has been for a very long time.

                Natural concrete has been around for a very long time.  12 million years at least, (probably much longer) When natural elements are mixed by nature, like a symphony of forces, Concrete is formed.  Natural kiln volcanoes, the natural stone elements of the earth combined with volcanic heat are the original concrete.  When the so called Roman or Greek mix was being hypothesized, 


 The original masons, and inventers where surely trying to match natures mix.  That is how they started using volcanic ash.  They did not just randomly throw anything thy found in their mix.  They contemplated natures mix. And voila their it was.  Cement and concrete had a whole new destiny.  About 2000 years ago this mix with heat elements started being used.  Again in the 1843 Joseph Aspin thought hotter maybe stronger.  He was right. 


                We have a big cement producer in our area devils slide. It is right next door to one of nature’s great natural wonders, DEVILS SLIDE WEBER CANYON   UTAH. I drive that canyon a lot, I like to bet horses and it’s illegal in UTAH. So Up the canyon I go, every time I drive by the magnificent formation right in the heart of the mighty Wasatch. Literally nested in the narrow canyon 1 80 runs throw, I think to myself it looks like concrete forms where put up and it was poured. But of course it was nature.


  And their right next door is the big cement producer; you can throw a rock from the natural formation DEVILS SLIDE to the excavation going on. It is a NATURE MEETS MAN METAPHORICAL Irony.  I had an old friend who I bet horses with named Bo Bowman.  Who told me while in Germany in W.W.2 he went into a pub and on the wall was a devils slide cement bag hanging on the wall.  I have one they are great pieces of historical art they have a red devil on the bad. Obviously someone in Germany thought it was good art.


At the cement plant they have a huge kiln, I was always wondering as a young plaster, how hot did they cook it.  One day I asked one of my gambling friends who worked there for decades, He said hot, I said how hot he said 6000 degrees hot. Wow much hotter than I thought.  I had used 1000s of bags of it, and knew it was good cement. Plasterers become very intone with their cement. Like a baker knows his flour.  Morris Hansen Yard which I went in to every day for over 30 years.  Would Carrie cement from devils slide and form Inkom Idaho which was only 120 miles up the road.   And they knew cement, the town next door after all is named Lava (old volcano) Hot springs. (My mother’s home town,) My Grandparents home, Abraham Hunsaker the 5th one of the west great sand and gravel gurus,    


 The cement from Inkom was dark very dark in color, the cement from devil slide was much lighter in color. And many different companies bagged cement and sold it under many different names.  So as a young plaster using cement every day, I had to learn which company was bagging cement from which plant.  Why because I was doing fresco type plastering all over our town I did 1000 s of them dry frescos everywhere. I left them unpainted on many jobs. I would use brick dye for color. If you let your cements mix you had two very different colors on the wall,  



                After many many years of plastering I started to understand cement more and more, and started to appreciate its role in modern societies.  I started to understand just how complicated it is in its mixture.  It's like making a sulfate on top of another sulfate.  The cement mix is complex.  Then you take the cement and use it in another complex mix in order to make plaster or stucco. 


  I have become so intone with my recipe (I call it the real secret sauce) My hod tender of 20 plus years jerry (I always tell him he’s like a ugly wasted Gicamo (Deviancies lifelong assistant)) says "that receipt of yours is so good, maybe you should try making yourself a new work truck, instead of that old piece of shit you have." 


                No truck but I can do amazing things with my cement mix.  I just got done restoring the 1905 Masonic temple in our town.  I use my secret sauce to make sandstone, over a foot deep in places.  It is a grand building Hodges the Famous art deco architect. It was his first major project.  I would mix at home so no one knew how I make it.  It’s done and no one knows, everyone thinks   I used sandstone to match sandstone.   My point is good cement and knowing how to use it. Can solve a lot of problems, understanding cement and concrete is something no one wants to understand. It’s just there.


 A while back I was watching P.B.S.  And there was a documentary on cement, the Oregon bridges where being restored.  And they were using a technique of spraying Zinc all over the concrete then using the rebar as a power grid putting electricity throw the rebar grid will  draw a lot of the imperfections out of the re bar and strengthen the concrete.  Then they started talking about the subject I have been ranting about for years.  Is Portland to hard?  Can it shorten the life span? The bridges where getting 80 years old in some cases.  Of course the coast of Oregon is one harsh environment for concrete.   I have wondered for many years about the stucco of Europe some of it 2000 years old why so much of it has survived so long, and it was made with cement heated at much lower than JOSHPE ASPINS FORMULA.  


.     In the early 80s our town still had a BOARD OF CONTRACOTRS OFFICE in it.  In those days you did not just wake up and decide to become a specialty contractor (that’s what plasterers where called in those days) you had to be sponsored by Plastering contractors. Three of them, their where not very many of them, and they were all rich. They protected their trade big-time.   I got sponsored at a very young age.  26 Unheard of in those days, But we were in a building recession.  The old guys knew they needed to pass the trade on. 


 One morning I went into HANSENS to pick up supplies, like all the plasterers did, and MRS HANSEN (one of the last truly elegant strong refined Women of Ogden Utah, Ogden was full of class in those days) She said " Kevin, Morris and a few of the old plasterers are back in the middle shed they want to talk to you.  I admittedly said what I have done now.  I went back and their two of the old masters and Morris stood talking.  One said "Kevin I have been watching your work and, we have talked and you need to carry this trade on. Our trade is dying, you have passion and strength. “They spent the next hour talking me into making the trade a career.  They where wasting their time.  I had decided to make this my trade @ 13 years old.  After reading a book about Michael Angelo,


  I was passionate about art from my earliest memories.   People forget in the early 80s the unemployment rate was 14%.   Anyway I went into take my test.  The old guy giving the test says if you pass you will become the youngest licensed plaster I ever remember. He said this test is not easy.  I had been warned that it was hard.  Two parts one business law the other skill.    The skill part was written.  The approval by the old plasterers was the physical part.    I will never forget the first question on the test was.  How long does it take concrete to fully cure?  I had a good mentor who talked to me about things like this.   I put down 100 years.     According to the test I was correct.  I think about that a lot. Who came up with that answer?   As I look back who ever did was pretty smart.  I restore a lot of concrete in our town 1000s of jobs.   And I know that at about 100 years a lot of the very well done concrete in our town is weaking. 


                How I know I have a 26 pound sledge hammer, an old boy sold me many years ago. He said he bought it at a yard sale in the 60s.  This thing is legendary.   All my friends know what I can do with that thing.  It has taken down some very thick strong concrete.   I have swung it literally millions of times. I know the strength of concrete in our town.   You literally cannot drive down a street in our county. Without going by one of my jobs, I have over 10,000 of them.    The old guy that was giving the test said "how did you have these mean old barking contractors to sponsor you." I had Blonde hair halfway down my back. That’s back when I had hair.  I look at him and said “ that was easy my father was a special forces Marine who thought I was his new recruit every day growing up on our ranch ( Dwayne Blanch god bless him simper fi).


He looked down at my name and said you are Dwayne Blanch son aren’t you.  Yes ,  you are Horald Blanch  nephew right , yes,  ( d-day battle of the bulge vet)  You are Abe Hunsakers grandson then , yes ( sand and gravel guru hard as the concrete he made)  He said now I know .   My first day plastering @ 16 my grandfather set me up.  I showed up at 6:00 a.m. and helped an old hod tender start mixing.  Back in those days the plaster was on their mud boards when they got to work.  They just went to plastering scaffold was set up plaster on the mud boards on the scaffold.  The old guy, told me these guys are pretty ruff, they don’t like long hairs.  He did not know my back ground, after my father and uncles, and growing up on that ranch. They could not touch me. 


My grandfather owned a sand and gravel pit in Brigham City Utah, THAT PIT WAS LEGENDARY IN ITS DAY.  Pure White sand like glass, Right out of the side of the mighty Wasatch 10,000 plus ft, No washing, no screening,  Dig out and ship it. I was told by Ned Parsons of Parsons Concrete, The huge concrete batcher of our day.  That the sand from that pit had the strongest p.s.i.  Of any concrete ever tested anywhere.   I had use my share I knew he was probably right. It would ripe holes in you. It would total floats in hours not days. I have the scars all over my body to proof it. My Father worked for my grandfather, his father in-law. 


 Two of the hardest headed people of all time.  I would go to work with him and hang around in the pit all day.  They made cement roof tile at that pit.  WITH NO KILN I think about that tile a lot.  They mixed cement with their sand and a few other elements.  And poured into metal frame molds, Placed in the ground (sand) they would let it sit for about a year. Then they would pull it up with a chain and a loader. And shake it a little.  Load it on trucks and off it went.   My mother’s house 1958,   Has their cement tile, they made two colors red and green.   Hers is red and still perfect.  I often look at it with amazement.

            Our house was grazed by a tornado in 1968, drove strands of hay and straw in the bricks.  Never touched the cement tile roof,   I see hundreds of them all over the western United States.  My grandfather was rich from that tile and sand. They would ship that sand all over the world.   As my plastering career evolved, their where two big sand pits to get sand from. One in the mouth of Weber canyon PARSONS pit very brown sand, much softer,  Then of course , and I do mean coarse, the Brigham City sand.  The Brigham sand is right on the old shore lines of the ancient lake Bonneville.  Everyone how lives along the Wasatch know you can see the shore line very distinctively.   The Wasatch of the rocky mt.s are dramatic. They rise up from 4500 ft to 10,000 ft. fast very fast, and 90 % of the Utah population lives along a 100 mile stretch a few miles wide below the Wasatch.  The ancient lake washed that sand for millions of years.  Natures washing screen. 


             My grandfather and his uncles Al and Tom Hunsaker must of knew that when they started to dig into that spot. They picked the right spot. Perfect sand, as we would do stucco jobs of course we would go throw a tremendous amount of sand. I had a large crew in those days. (Before E.I.F.S., and the exploitation of illegal labor)  We would use one or two pickup loads of sand a day.  My crew hated the Brigham City sand, loved the Weber canyon sand. Why the softer dirtier sand spreads of a hawk like butter.  The sharp clean perfect sand clings to the cement and makes you work harder.  Of course the clean sand would make much better walls.  My point to all of this is this.  Cement is disrespected because IT IS HARD. Hard to understand hard to work with and hard to Master very hard, it takes hard work.  I told jerry one day cement is harder than algebra.     Stay tuned Kevin d. blanch may 6 Th 2010


Product #1.Repairing your Bad Concrete Instructions


Product # 4 Home Inspection and Identifying Instructions



Added: March 21, 2010, 01:14 PM
Time: 2:11
Raw File: VID00012.MP4
Broadcast: Public