Koi Rescue
Phoenix Arizona

Test Pond - small 200 gallon / block construction

I started putting the blocks up. I sorta screwed up with the rebar, some of the stub up places were too close to the back of the pad, some weren't in the right place and had to be bent, and one block didn't have any rebar sticking up into it. Whoops! I think what I'll do with the next one is to make a comb looking thing from rebar, but the teeth only go into the first course of blocks. That way I can aim for the center of the block cavity, and not have to aim between where the blocks will overlap (am pretty sure this was my problem). Then I'll put sticks of rebar down every cell as I build up.

I started with a typical garden type trowel, but it's curved shape didn't really work that great. Then I tried a standard masonry trowel with the long slender point (like the real masons use). It worked OK, but I kept going back and forth between the pointy one and the garden one for mixing. With the point shaved off the masonry trowel, it really works GREAT!! I can stir the mortar in my bucket, scrape the bottom of the bucket well, and throw the mortar onto the blocks / smooth etc.

I bought a diamond blade for cutting the block, and wow does it work good. It is almost like cutting wood, only there is a lot more dust. The fence blocks I am using have a tongue and groove like ends for fitting together, this block was on the end and I wanted to shave the tongue off it because it is exposed.

Somewhere along the line I read about a thing called a "bond beam". It is a ring of rebar around the perimeter to hold it together. So I took my hand diamond blade, and cut a trough all the way around the perimeter.

Here are pieces of rebar that I used for the ring. I was thinking about welding them together, but got lazy and just bent the ends down which will be encased in the mortar that fills the voids.

I filled up the corners first.

Then filled around all the rest of the blocks. On the left, you can see that I started smoothing the tops of the blocks, but as I moved around to the front, I realized that as I worked other sections, I would bump the rebar and possibly loosen or mess up the previous smoothing I just did. So I filled all the voids and will come back after it is dry to finish the tops.

Here I have put the stucco on all the walls. I didn't do the floor because we drew some doodles on the concrete slab, and I wanted to keep them showing. Hindsight being 20/20, I should not have finished the tops of the blocks. What I should have done was fill the voids, then do the walls, then come back and finish the tops. Hard to explain, just when smoothing out it would have worked better.