At the best, clothes posts are not ornamental, and in most gardens are a disfigurement; but the use of them may be unavoidable. There is therefore much to be said in favour of making them removable when not required. Each post will need a socket, say, 30-in. Deep, in which to be erected, buried firmly in the ground. The posts should be of 3-in. X 3-in. Stuff, bought ready planed. Sockets to fit what will e their bottom ends may conveniently be built round these after cardboard strips have been temporarily stuck or tacked to two of their adjacent 6 in. or 7 in. wide. The bottom is closed sides. This will ensure the sockets not by a 12-in. Length of the wider stuff, being too close a fit, and giving trouble if projecting equally both ways to make a damp should cause swelling. Foot. The parts must be fixed together A socket is composed of two 30-in. Very firmly by long nails or, preferably, strips of wood, 1 in. thick, and as wide as screws. A cover for each socket is made the thickness of the post, and two pieces, out of a cap 5 in. square, bevelled four 6 ways from the centre to shed rain, and attached to a plug fitting the socket loosely.
Before being buried in the ground, a socket should be well soaked in creosote. The- more thoroughly this is done, the longer will the woodwork last. The hole dug for a socket should be of such a depth that the top of the socket will project a couple of inches above the ground. If the socket be sunk flush, stones and dirt are certain to find their way in. Turn the socket so that its wider sides lie across the direction of the clothes line. A piece of 12-in. X G-in. Stuff nailed across the side of the socket towards which it will be pulled by the tension of the line, and 4 in. below the top, will enable it to resist pull much better.
To ensure the socket being vertical, insert the post and plumb it in both directions with the help of wires or cords running from the top to any handy fixed objects. The filling can then be proceeded with. Large stones and brickbats placed next the wood and rammed down well with the earth will increase stability.
For convenience of insertion and removal, each post may be provided with a pair of iron strap handles, placed at such a height that the post can easily be lifted clear of its socket.
Concrete Path, Laying a. Gravel, ash, and earth paths have some serious disadvantages, even the first requiring weeding and being liable to become moss-grown and slippery. A concrete path keeps clean, is easy to run a barrow along, and forms a convenient 2Iatform for throwing earth, weeds, etc., on to, as it can quickly be cleaned with the spade or brush.
Artificial stone makers supply slabs 2 inches, 2- inches, or 3 inches thick and of such different dimensions that a path 18 inches, 24 inches, 30 inches, or 3o inches wide can be made by laying them side by side. As they are thoroughly seasoned and hard before sale, they give very satisfactory results if carefully laid on a correctly levelled surface.
A cheaper alternative is to form the path with concrete moulded in situ, subdividing it into 3-foot or 4-foot lengths, to permit easy expansion and contraction and so avoid the cracking which afflicts large areas of continuous concrete.
The site of the path should be excavated to the depth of 9 inches or so, and filled in to within 3 inches of the surface of the path-to-be with brickbats, large stones, and ashes, well rammed down. This foundation may well be rather wider than the path itself.
Assuming that the path will be made in 3-foot lengths, moulded in groups of four, and be 3 inches thick, two battens of 3-inch by 2-inch stuff, and 13 feet long, and one 12 feet 9 inches long, should be bought for making the moulds in winch the slabs will be formed.
The shorter batten is planed on both sides and one edge; the two larger ones on what will be the top and the inside surfaces. Five bare, exactly 30 inches long, and with their ends accurately squared, are cut out of the shorter piece.
The mould is put together by nailing the battens to the crossbars with nails not driven home, so that they can easily be extracted. The clamping bars bbb d d are also tacked in to prevent the sides spreading when the concrete is tamped in position.
The spacing of the crossbars must be done carefully, to get slabs of equal length. A. will be filled in first, so the battens at the ends of these spaces are set 36 inches apart.
When the mould has been put together it should be laid on the site, levelled longitudinally, and adjusted to the correct line with the aid of a stretched string. A fall of 1 inch towards one side must be allowed to make the path self-draining. At this stage it is advisable to mark the 3-foot distances on the sides with deep chisel-cuts, and to match-mark the crossbars and sides so that they may be reassembled later on in the same relative positions. The earth outside the mould is then rammed hard against it, or pegs the bottom of a mould before filling. It is worked to-and-fre until it just clea:s protuberances which have been rammed down, or a levelling coat of coarse sand, well tamped. The shallow gauge is employed to level off the concrete.
Mixing the Concrete
A suitable mixture is: four parts of small ballast, passed through a l£-inch riddle; 2 parts sharp sand, and 1 part quick-setting cement. The last is to be preferred to the slow-setting kind, as it releases the mould are driven in in contact – but not reaching to the level of the top – to help prevent spreading. The squareness of the mould should tiien be tested, and fixed, if thought necessary, by diagonal pieces nailed across the B B spaces.
The path will be made in two layers – a lower one, 2 inches thick, of concrete, and a 1-inch surfacing layer of sand-cement mortar. To assist in ensuring standard thickness, two gauge-boards are made, to rim along the sides of the moulds. One of them reaches 3 inches below the top; the other 1 inch below.
The deeper gauge is used for levelling much sooner, while it is little, if at all more expensive.
About 3 cubic feet of ballast, 1 cubic feet of sand, and f cubic feet of cement will be needed to fill two moulds. It may be excessive or too little; and adjustments be needed in future mixings.
A good surface to mix on is essential, such as ft wooden platform or a concrete or asphalt pavement. Whatever it be, it must be cleaned carefully after each mixing, and be given an extra thorough cleaning at the end of the day.
Equally important is a proper mixing of the materials, as on this the strength of the concrete depends. Spread out the
ballast, distribute the sand evenly over it, and spread the cement evenly over the saud. Then turn the lot over and over with the shovel till it is of the same colour throughout. Flatten it out, and add as much water through a rose as, when thoroughly mixed in, will produce a slightly sloppy mixture. The quantfty used should have been measured and noted for subsequent mixings.
The concrete is bucketed into the A A moulds. Begin filling along sides and ends, using the rammer liberally to work the material into the angles. A neater appearance along the edges will be ensured if the sides of the moulds are plastered with sand-and-cemcnt mortar. Then fill up until the shallow gauge touches at all points.
Now get busy with mixing the surfacing mortar, which must be added before the concrete has hardened. Rather more than li cubic feet of sand andcubit; foot of cement will be needed for this. The mortar is brought up almost flush all over, and then levelled off with a wooden straight-edge, mortar being added just in advance of the straight-edge to bring it up level. This striking-off process requires care, if hollows and holes are to be avoided.
It may be necessary to keep patting the mortar with straight-edge and trowel to work it down and prevent the straight-odge rising above the sides of the moulds. A broad round-ended trowel is useful for giving the final touches.
As soon as the A A slabs have hardened, crossbars a, a, a are removed, and b, b, b are shifted into the positions b b b over A A as indicated by broken lines.
Pieces of linoleum or roofing folt, 3 inches wide and 30 inches long, are stood in contact with the ends of the A A slabs, to separate them from the u B slabs. The B B spaces are then filled, in the same maimer as the A A spaces.
As soon as the B na have hardened, the mould can be moved on for the next group, and reassombled as before, except that crossbar e will be omitted, its place being taken by the end slab, and the tie-bar d near it be fixed across the top of the mould instead of across the end.
While in soft condition the concrete must be protected in some way from animals and birds, rain and hot sun, and after it has set it should be kept damp for a fortnight or so by frequent waterings, as moisture plays a most important part in the hardening of the surface.
Expansion joints are provided every 12 or 15 feet by inserting in one end of a mould division a board 3 inches wide, is inch thick at the top, and tapering towards the bottom. This is drawn out as soon as the concrete next it hag set sufficiently, leaving a slightly V-shaped slot which can be filled with pitch or sand. Every time the moulds are moved, clean them up and grease all surfaces which the concrete will touch. There will then be no danger of sticking. Mixing boards and tools must be cleaned immediately after use, or they may give trouble.