13 July 2009

the monolith: muscle vs. mass


When we bought our house in 1998, there were two back doors, which were essentially our front doors because of the orientation of our house. The one door was pretty crappy, and was accessed by a failing concrete porch on deteriorating concrete block. So, after nearly losing our dog beneath the porch one year, we had the old porch taken off in 2003 and replaced by a new stone porch and new wood entry door. But it had makeshift steps.....because I do most construction on my house slowly to be certain I am satisfied with the ultimate design decision.

Late this spring I came to the conclusion that I would order solid, rusticated limestone steps. Rusticated means made to look old. When we removed the concrete porch we found one very old, large limestone step that I used to step up to the terrace level. It only made sense to continue with limestone for the porch. So I had two steps delivered.

The top step is 3' x 1' x 6" and almost 245 lbs. The bottom step is 5' x 2' x 6" and 815 lbs. The place I ordered it from recommended I take down a section of fence and a post so that they could bring it in with a skid-loader. Frankly, that sounded like more work than moving the steps. So I asked how many guys on the large step and they recommended no less than 6. No problem, I could come up with six guys.

The steps were delivered last Tuesday and the family anxiously awaited their installation. The bottom fella looked intimidating, but I rounded up six guys on Saturday to move the monolith. I summoned two neighbors, another buddy in town and two guys from the 20x class. My buddy and I walked the smaller step up to position, only 122 lbs each. My thought was to get some pipe and roll the big one up the slightly inclined sidewalk and then we would only have to carry it about 5' on the terrace. My buddy suggested using heavy straps he had in his truck to carry it. My neighbor, an engineer, was the brains behind the move. As the four of us waited for the guys from the 20x class to show, we decided to attempt to move it ourselves.

And we did. With the straps in a loop over our inside shoulder and on the count of three, we moved the big one 12" at a time to its final resting place roughly 30' away. 203.75 lbs each. My neighbor and I both had bruises where the strap dug into our shoulders and I definitely felt it in my legs Sunday morning.

It was an undertaking of ancient proportions.....and just like we speculate on how the pyramids were constructed and how Stonehenge was set into place......I hope future owners of our house wonder just how we got that stone there. Probably a skid loader they'll say. THANKS for the help guys!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"sounds like a truss waiting to happen" I think the Egyptians would have put logs under it and rolled it into place. Who supervised the wife and kids???