Monday, May 28, 2012

An earth-shattering kaboom!

I've still got it.

Private to Unreconstructed, if you're out there: Your kind gift of a few years ago saved me some hours of breaking rocks in the hot sun. Thanks!

See, there was this rock. It wasn't much of a rock, at this stage. Once upon a time it was an absolutely enormous rock, so big there was no way we could move it with the resources at hand. And it had to go, because it was directly in the path of the concrete pad for M's Dome, which we had spent weeks and weeks working on. At heartbreaking expense, M hired a guy with a tractor-mounted jackhammer to come in and remove the rock. He did so, and though there was this one little stub still poking out into the trench it didn't amount to anything. We thought that was the end of the matter.

Yeah. Except it turns out there was no way to back M's tractor Gulchendiggensmoothen out from behind the Dome without one of the big, expensive rear wheels whacking that stub of rock. And once you were there, you had about four inches of room to back and fill and wiggle around it. Sooner or later that rock was going to tear out a sidewall. It had to go.

I whacked at it for a while with a pickaxe, but this was a really solid chunk of rock. I started asking around if anybody had a jackhammer, if M's hammer drill couldn't get it done. We were all sitting around the dinner table last night while I told my sad story of how my progress had come to a stop because of a lousy rock.

M - being M - said, "Can we blow it up?"

Hm. The notion honestly hadn't occurred to me, but it was attractive. Once I wouldn't have thought twice about it, but I'm not exactly well-stocked with explosives around here, I mean we're not the big, scary Hutaree. And anyway I haven't done that sort of thing since ... well, it's been a long time.

But still. I've got some of those flash-bangs [REDACTED] left here. I doubt they've got enough grunt to do the deed, but I don't know they don't. It'd be fun to try.

So I cannibalized the charges from three small, harmless bombs - really just big firecrackers - drilled some vertical holes in the rock, packed them, fused them, tamped them...

Pretty short fuse. Who can we get to light it? It should be the person whose idea it was, but then it also needs to be someone who can run like a gazelle. That leaves me out on two counts. Hm. Who can we find?

THERE he is!

Whoo Hoo! I saw chunks of rock flying, along with the sandbag and bits of cinder block. To my surprise, it might have actually done some good!

Yeah, I've still got it. And M still has all his fingers and toes.

Photos courtesy of M's Dad, who actually stood there and watched him do that.


Carl-Bear said...

Should the need arise again, bear in mind that a lot of early blasting was (and probably still is in some places) done with black powder poured down a bored hole (you mentioned a hammer drill).

One reason I... collect... "obsolete practices is that thy aren't so obsolete for one-off jobs.

Craig Cavanaugh said...

I just want to say that I am highly disappointed. I fully expected to see a pic of Marvin the Martian, given that title. But you failed. FAILED I say : )

But you did have fun with an Illudium Pue 36 explosive space modulator, ha ha!

Joel said...

Carl - Yeah, that's basically what I did. Had to use what was here, 'cause I couldn't get to the blasting supply store on Memorial Day.

Carl-Bear said...

Joel, you're gonna tell me that no one (hint: Ia... M) around there has any pistol powder for reloading?


What the heck do y'all use to blow anvils?

LJH said...

Too much fun, you guys. Our house is banked into a hill and we had to powder one corner to complete the trench for the footings - giant trackhoe wouldn't budge it.

Gawd, I love blowing shit up.

Tam said...

Maybe the only thing more fun than cutting metal with fire. :)

Anonymous said...

Big Grin.....

Amazin' what a bit of Aluminum powder and Sulphur and KClO4 will do.

Glad you got some use out of those.

I love the big grin on M's face.