Concrete Quagmire

It pays to have the right tool. Today I did not have the right tool. My body paid.

I hadn't intended to demolish the original chimney base, but it's better gone to make framing and flooring easier and better.

But I sure wished I had a rotohammer.

I've had "rotohammer" on my shopping list for months, but every time I looked at one I balked at the price. It's not a tool I often use, and I already have a Makita sub-compact that's good for certain applications. But it's rotary only, so it doesn't work with a chisel tip, which is what I needed here.

I couldn't find one to rent close by so I went a-knocking at some neighbors. Linda and John across the road regretted they didn't have theirs with them. Al up the hill brewed me a cup of coffee, told me he'd given his away when he left Idaho decades ago. He's been here 34 years, lent me a pointy rockbar. I have similar but with a tamper end. I gave it a go but it hurts when cold steel strikes unyielding stone, so I set it aside.

I had a good experience removing a portion of this same pillar the other day, but that's only because it was an overhanging piece, so when I fractured it with a wedge it had room to separate. Whereas this remaining bulk was a monolith--stacked cinder blocks fused and filled with concrete and another 6 inches poured on top, an impregnable column pressed between floor joists and pushing against wall framing. This limited the types of swings I could take and access in general wasn't great. I would have rather whacked it from the side but didn't have a clean shot that wouldn't shake the wall or shoot rock in my face, so I had to nibble from the top down.

It was slightly insane to do it this way, and for the first couple of hours I wondered if it still made sense to run into town and buy one at any price. But I was making just enough incremental progress to keep hope alive, and I anticipated a breakthrough with the mad gleam of a gambler dropping that last coin in the slot. Yes, it might be happening only one tiny chip at a time, but so did Mount Rushmore. (Actually, not very true. They used a lot of dynamite. I did imagine filling the holes I was drilling with nitroglycerine. You know, like the movies.)

How many hammerblows today? I still feel them in my hands. 

Cost comparison: did I do $300 of damage to my body? Nothing immediately apparent, but today wasn't easy on the bones. Or ligaments, tendons, lungs, knees, and mustache. I don't recommend anyone do it this way.

I also should have worn more protective gear, especially goggles. Jagged fragments ricocheted, shrapnel cracked the back of my iPhone 13. I didn't know that was possible. Is it glass? How'd I cut my finger? Anyhoo, don't follow my example as it's definitely more Goofus than Gallant.

It's also ridiculous, embarrassing, and tiring to flail away like this for 5 hours. But in the end it got done, the breakthrough came, and I hit the jackpot!

...Like a sport who blows a grand to win back ten bucks.

This is a long, tedious video. That's sort of the point.



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