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Mixing Tips for Bench Tops

So, you've made your first stepping stone and now you want a bench. Here are a few tips to guide you toward a beautiful bench.

* Know how much DiamondCRETE you'll need. The bench forms readily available in the stained glass industry use around 100 lbs of DiamondCRETE for the top. If you're using a mold from a concrete supplier or are unsure how much you'll need, use the formula at the bottom of the "How much do I need?" page (linked below) to determine how much product you'll need on hand. Use freshly purchased product or product you know has been kept dry. Hardened clumps in the dry powder are an indication that your concrete has been exposed to moisture and should not be used for your bench project. 

* Due to the quick set-up, DiamondCRETE projects must be mixed and poured in a single session. For a 100 lb bench top, either divide the work amongst friends (each mixing about 35 lbs each) or rent a mechanical mixer and clean it out AS SOON AS the pour is complete.

* Hand mixing is generally acceptable for small batches, however, larger batches (like a bench) should be mixed using mechanical mixing methods. Excellent results can be achieved with a drill and mixing attachment, mortar mixers, or other mixing devices that introduce a great deal of energy into the slurry to activate the water reducers. Mechanically mixed batches required less water and yield a much stronger finished piece. When properly mixed, DiamondCRETE requires no additional reinforcement and has a dry compressive strength of 8000 psi - very dense & strong by any measure.

* DiamondCRETE has a very short work time - slightly longer than 5 minutes - and heat will significantly reduce the amount of time you have to get your slurry to the proper consistency. When mixing outside in the summertime, avoid mixing during the heat of the day. Using cool (not cold) water will lengthen work time, however, best mixes are achieved when water is around room temperature.  

* Even though your bench top will harden very quickly, leave it in the mold for around 2-3 hours before removal. Since curing is best done in a climate controlled environment, if you've poured your piece outside, move it indoors before removing it from the mold. Roll a thick blanket and place it in front of your bench mold and turn the bench out of the mold onto the blanket. The blanket acts as a 'shock absorber' and prevents most finger pinching when working with that much weight.
* Legs may be purchased from a statuary retailer or nursery and painted or they may be poured to match using DiamondCRETE. Check with your stained glass retailer for available leg molds. Other interesting leg options can be found in 'Tiffany Garden Benches' pattern book available from your stained glass retailer.    

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