There’s the bad news and then there’s the good news. So first the bad news. I didn’t bring my cement mixer with me to the new house. It was so large that I didn’t want to bring it with us. It was very old even though it still ran just fine. I ended up giving it to our old neighbor since he does some concrete work sometimes, strictly DIY, so he was glad to have it. More bad news: I still want one since it is so much easier to mix large amounts of hypertufa.
Now the good news. I am getting myself a NEW cement mixer very soon. I just have to decide on which one I want.
I have been looking around at Lowe’s and Home Depot, but I especially wanted to check at Harbor Freight. It is there that they have the small scale ones that I am interested in. My old cement mixer was huge, probably 6 Cu Ft size. It was a probably 50 year old monster and very heavy. It was electric and ran really well, but I knew it was too awkward to try to move here to the new house. Just how I felt at the time.
And besides that, I wanted a new smaller one anyway. Something I could manage alone. So there we are.
I want a small cement mixer, but it needs to be Big too!
It doesn’t make a lot of sense, I know. But I want a small cement mixer that I can push around and manage on my own, but I want it to be big enough that I can still make large projects. I am leaning toward making the larger hypertufa projects these days, so I want to have a mixer that can hold perhaps 60lbs or more of the cement mix, plus my peat moss and vermiculite too. So I am concerned about what “drum” size I need.
How much room does 3 gallons of cement plus 3 gallons of vermiculite plus 3 gallons of peat moss need? That would be 9 gallons in volume (plus water) and these tanks or drums are labeled as 3.5 cubic feet. Sounds like a math problem to me.
I searched for the information about converting gallons to cubic feet. There were quite few for liquid measure, but since I am using dry ingredients, fluffy dry ingredients, I thought I needed to find some type of dry ingredient measure.
I found it in Kylesconverter.com which gives me an idea of the volume of drum or tank I would need for large amounts of mix. I don’t think a smaller 1.25 cement mixer would work in this case. The next size large one that I can find here locally is a 3.5 tank. Do I really need one that big?
According to Kylesconverter, if I put in approximately half of the 94 lb bag of Portland cement which is about 5 gallons, then 5 gallons of vermiculite and 5 gallons of peat moss = total of 15 gallons of dry mix, that would make 2.33 cubic feet of mixture in a drum. See the calculation here. Assuming I am needing room for the ingredients to mix, it will have to be more than 2.5 cubic feet. Water will make it shrink, yes. But it needs to “rotate and fall” inside the cement mixer, so I feel I would need that much room. Maybe I won’t always be mixing that large amount, but I want my options available!
Now Where Do I Find A Cement Mixer?
There things seem very hard to buy! I guess like everything else you might order online, you have to read all the small print. I found online orders from Lowe’s and Home Depot, but I wasn’t sure if those would be the exact type and style I wanted. One of those even represented a photo of a man standing beside one of the smaller units, and it was only about 30″ high….from the ground? That’s sure not what I want.
Sometimes I found this info in the small print, and sometimes only when I read reviews. So I decided that if I wanted one soon, and no hassle of returns etc, I would just buy what I can see hands-on.
I bought an item once and had to pay myself to have it shipped back. It cost me $58 to ship the item back, so I really felt that I was the one with the short stick in that transaction. Since I do want to make more big hypetufas this fall and into the winter-ish time, I want one now.
And then there’s the Assembly………..<sigh>
Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.