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Old 05-08-2012, 07:43 AM   #31
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Found a place that can do it for 55 dollars for the weekend, so I am picking the compactor up on Friday. Woohoo!

Sorry for the lapse this weekend, my family did the Walk Against Hunger in Hartford, so I gave the crew a day off

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Old 05-08-2012, 09:41 AM   #32
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


I expect to be laying down at least some of the base course this weekend, and want to get some stone dust or sand to do the finishing touch on leveling crushed stone footing. Will regular old HD sand do, (they have 50lb bags of or is there some kind of special product? It seems like HD has All Purpose Sand and Commerical grade sand by the same companies the do cement mixes, play sand (no), and Tube sand.

Where would I find stone dust?
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:29 PM   #33
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


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Where would I find stone dust?
Rock shop (quarry) or landscape supply
Your crushed stone alone should be fine for you footer,set it an inch hi and cut it down to you final height after compaction.If your stone is dry mist it a tad with water and mix it as you go this will help you with compaction.
Take your time because you are doing a good job so far, and this is the important step.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:22 AM   #34
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Thanks Raven. That certainly makes things simpler. After I posted this I did some research, and your right, stone dust and sand are really not ideal according to what I read, way harder to compact.

You have kind of become my mentor on this project lol, and I appreciate all the time you have been spending with me on this. If this rain lets up hopefully I have the crushed stone all in the trench this weekend, and I will have some more pictures!
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:28 PM   #35
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Thanks and you are welcome but it is not a big deal,that's what we do around here help each other out.
Just take your time and don't rush it,things will come together all at once.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:00 AM   #36
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Look forward to progress pics from this weekend!

I need a plate compactor too, can you post or PM me the name of the place you used whenever you catch your breath hehe?
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:11 PM   #37
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Beautiful day today! Hope you are making progress.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:57 PM   #38
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Managed to get about 6 hours in yesterday, Mothers day made it difficult. So I have laid down my first stones! Here is the progress. I had not really grasped the change of elevation between the beginning and the end, and have concluded after yesterday that the footer is going to have to step up twice, to avoid burying multiple rows of blocks in the ground. Also got to use the plate compactor.. not the most user friendly machine, but it works. Definitely worth it for speedy consistent compaction.

This was the beginning of the day... plate compacting over my firs step of footing that I had hand tamped already and let settle all week.


Starting to lay down the base course. VERY EXCITING!!!


This is the part where I realized that I wasn't going to have to step up once, but TWICE. Not a big deal, but just didn't see it that way in my head.


Spent about two hours getting these just right.


This was about as far as we got yesterday. If you follow the wall back, you can see blocks on top of eachother. I will get some close ups this week when its not raining.


The satisfaction of starting to build up as opposed to down yesterday was really great. I still have a long way to go, as the majority of the base course is not done, but it was a lot of mental progress!

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Old 05-14-2012, 07:23 PM   #39
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


You are going to have to cut your caps on the radius.
Use a 4" or 6" grinder with a masonary blade on it,cut a score line all of the way around and separate with a sharp blow from a hammer and chisel.
Fill the back side of your first course with crushed stone then install your under drain.
Looks like you got a good start so far,remember take you time, and you'll have many years of enjoyment and bragging rights
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:01 PM   #40
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


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You are going to have to cut your caps on the radius.
Use a 4" or 6" grinder with a masonary blade on it,cut a score line all of the way around and separate with a sharp blow from a hammer and chisel.
Fill the back side of your first course with crushed stone then install your under drain.
Looks like you got a good start so far,remember take you time, and you'll have many years of enjoyment and bragging rights
Good info, but I would make a minor adjustment: Make sure you install impervious material to at least grade on the front side of the wall before installing the draintile & washed stone. If you install clear washed stone directly on the gravel footing, you;ll promote water to migrate behind the wall rather than directing it to the front of the wall where it belongs.

One more piece of advise, from someone who has installed many base courses. Just set the course, fine tuning for level, and don't be over-concerned about the shape at first. You can always reset the first course if you don't like the results. We always have had a habit of driving 18"+ rebar into every other block in our first course to resist movement when backfilling, but not until we're completely satisfied with the shape & layout of the first course.........
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:12 AM   #41
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When you say Impervious material, are you talking about some kind of fabric? I see what your saying, and definitely agree, I want the water going out my pipe, not soaking into the footing.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:41 AM   #42
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When you say Impervious material, are you talking about some kind of fabric? I see what your saying, and definitely agree, I want the water going out my pipe, not soaking into the footing.
I would opt for gravel, the same gravel as you are using for the footing actually. Make sure to get the drain pipe just above the finished grade on the front side of the wall. It also doesn't hurt to pitch the gravel forward to promote water flow to the face of the block to expedite the drainage..........


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Old 05-16-2012, 12:18 PM   #43
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Oh ok. That's what I am doing already I guess impervious in landscaping terms is different than impervious in other terms lol. I would use the term "A lot less pervious, but still a little pervious" haha

According to the detail drawings I have (pretty much the same as what you have there but with a few close ups), Versalok wants me to do the gravel footing up to approximately the level of the buried base course, and then behind the blocks, 2 inches of drainage aggregate, and then drainpipe sitting on top of that. It looks like that's what that drawing specifies as well.

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Old 05-18-2012, 07:05 PM   #44
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Got a solid days work in yesterday and about 1/2 a day in today, LOTS of progress.

The base course is totally done!! Woohoo. It ended up having 4 step ups on the footing, which is more than what I was estimating, but the way the street goes downhill we didnt realize what was actually level till we started putting the level on the blocks.

FYI, I took a few shots with a few courses of block up but not fill behind them, I am not going to backfill that way, but just really wanted to see how it would look with a few rows up while I waited for my drainage aggregate to come.


Home Stretch for base course. I am not a patient person, so the tedium of leveling was really driving my crazy at this point.


heres me seeing how my wall is going to look in a few weeks. This is also where my drainpipe is going to terminate.


Rounding the bend. I am hoping by the time I get up to the top (about 4 feet at this point), with the 3/4th inch offset I have enough radius in my curve to not cut caps, but I will do what I have too!


Wide Angle


I am going to need to cut this concrete back some how. Just the rough stuff that seems to have come out of the form. I have been whacking it with a sledge every day and have cut back a lot already, but struggling getting a clean cut with my chisel. Any suggestions that don't involve power tools?


Heres a big shot of the whole site. Sorry for the shadow, a good photographer I am not.


When I was watching the video versalok gave me, I did not believe them when they said splitting blocks was as easy as scoring all the way around and then whacking it hard face down. Clearly, it is just that easy. I guess concrete fractures easier than I thought??


Sunday's work (and then some). 6 yards of drainage aggregate. The end is in sight folks!!!
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:33 PM   #45
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Why not cut the corner of the block instead of the concrete until you get past the over pour?

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