How DO You Get Twenty S&T Students Together During Finals Week?

Simple. Just offer them a chance to play in the sandbox.
Julie Whitehead’s crew of girls and guys did manage to find time in their busy exam schedule to “pour” the sand/cement/aggregate into the concrete canoe form. The mixture is carefully measured and tested in the preceding weeks, and once the team is confident of the recipe’s strength it’s time to get dirty.
Concrete canoe pour.jpg
This carefully-orchestrated operation is more like adding a stucco finish on a home than “pouring” a foundation. The Miners mix small batches in a 5-gallon bucket instead of a noisy, smoke-belching truck; lots of artisan hands instead of 2x4s and a bull float. The mixture runs toward the “dry” side of things to keep the concrete from sagging, and they trowel on thin layers separated by composite reinforcing mesh. And it all must be done in strict order and very limited time.
Curing time? Oddly enough, 30 days, because no sooner than the boat is formed they fill it with water to keep it from drying too quickly. Like whiskey barrels and tobacco, concrete is best “cured” slowly for maximum value, to say nothing of arguably being better for society.
The great thing is the 2012 canoe keel was laid months earlier than in years past. That means they set an ambitious goal, started early, stayed close to the schedule, and will have lot more time to finish out the details in late January once the canoe emerges from the mold.
Did we mention that SDELC shop manager Richard Dalton built an adjustable-height steel work platform for the team? Soooooooo much better than the old 2×4 and plywood frames of the past 30 years!
p.s. Special thanks to photographer Brad Rupert for covering this mayhem!