Easy Single-Handed Concrete Mixing with a Tarpaulin

Picture of Easy Single-Handed Concrete Mixing with a Tarpaulin
I needed to mix around 20 cubic feet of concrete for setting some fence posts. After mixing the first four cubic feet with a spade in a wheel barrow I decided I needed an easier solution.

Without access to an electric or petrol concrete mixer mixing concrete by hand can be back-breaking work. Mixing by hand with a spade or shovel in a barrow or on the ground involves physically lifting and turning the sticky mix many times and uses a lot of energy and muscle power.

By contrast, this method uses a strong plastic tarpaulin sheet to 'roll' the mix around on the ground. The technique uses FAR less energy as the mixture is never physically lifted and the bulk of the weight remains on the ground at all times.

I should point out that this method of mixing is not my idea and that there are a number of purpose made concrete mixing sheets or bags on the market. Having not tried or heard of this method previously I was reluctant to lay out much cash on a potential white elephant and thought that an inexpensive tarp might be a good alternative. There are a few references to mixing concrete with tarpaulins on the web, but nothing of much detail that I could find. Hence this Instructable....

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Step 1: What You Need ...

Picture of What You Need ...

I bought this tarp off EBay for just UK £3.00 delivered. The cheapest 'purpose made' concrete mixing sheet I could find on the 'net was roughly £15 plus delivery. In addition I believe the cheaper commercial versions may be heavy gauge polythene as opposed to the woven fabric of the tarpaulin which adds greatly to the strength of the sheet.

As well as a tarpaulin you will need three lengths of strong, thin (roughly 10mm rope)

lafnbear3 years ago
Misleading title: in the last two pictures, he's clearly using both hands!
Pyro6673 years ago
I think this is an awesome way to mix crete, i've used it before,
one thing i'll add,
for fence posts, completely unnecessary, "You just dig the hole, spray it lightly with water, dump in the Sakrete and fill the hole with water. Next day it's a solid chunk" i am totally quoting someone on that, but it works
mower644 years ago
seems like a lot of work...a "concrete" hoe and wheel barrow works awfully well around here, but Ive never tried it like this... might try it some time
old_code4 years ago
Great 'ible, esp. the caution about using proper body mechanics (something easily forgotten when you are trying to 'muscle' through a project).

I would have never thought of this method, either, but it's going to be stuck in my mind the next time concrete becomes necessary.

framistan4 years ago
I really like your instructable because it shows that "there is always more than ONE way to accomplish a task !!. Great job and i am sure i will use this method next time i plant a post in the ground. thanks.
piperjon4 years ago
Brilliant!! I never in a hundred years would of thought of such a thing. But believe me, I will the next time I lay post holes... Pj
caarntedd4 years ago
Nice. Never seen this method before, I did mine with a 20 litre bucket with a lid and rolled it around on the ground.
chrisdp4 years ago
This is great, thanks for the 'ible. I have a project coming up and this will make it alot easier. Thanx
paganwonder4 years ago
Great idea, works like a charm! Thanks for the 'ible. BTW- middle schoolers also work as supports but you need ear muffs to block out the high pitched whining sound they make. Plus-they charge a soda each- outrageous!