Concrete Countertop Batch Calculations
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. While it may not look impressive on the surface, there can easily be said 1,000 words about this photo. First of all, that little pile of rubble beside the recently cast concrete countertop is all the leftover concrete from this day of casting. Why is this important? Well, as I’ve mentioned in another post, I believe we need to be responsible with the resources we use. If I can minimize how much concrete is wasted during production, that means a lot to me. I do this by continually refining my batch calculations spreadsheet to make excess concrete as minimal as possible when making countertops, sinks or anything else I make. Usually I have a couple small molds around to fill up with extra concrete, but in this case, it was too hot and I didn’t have the working time I needed to make that happen.
Another area we can reduce material waste is in the countertop itself. You can see in the picture the underside of the countertop. Around the perimeter and across the middle are a couple ribs of concrete that are the full thickness of the edges. In between, I make the thickness a maximum of 1″. Adding additional material is simply unnecessary with the strength of the concrete I use, as it would only make the countertop heavier, not add any strength. These full thickness ribs line up with cabinet carcasses to provide the support for the countertop.
One other thing I feel is worth noting is the writing on the wall. Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning, “Reason For Being.” The Japanese believe that everyone has an ikigai and that finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. I believe that I have found my ikigai in making. An author I admire, Rob Bell, suggests that we are all invited to take part in the ongoing creation of the world. He says,
We create our lives. We take part in the ongoing creation of the world. For many people, the world is already fixed, it’s set, it’s boundaries are in place and you essentially try to find your place in it. But the whole thing, I think, is unfinished, so we take part in the ongoing creation of the world. And so we are making the world and we are creating our lives. And everyone has more power to create their life than they realize. I believe that with all my heart.
From an early age, I have had a notion of that but it has taken me 30+ years to get it. I’m still trying to get it. But when I feel most productive and useful and living my highest purpose is when I’m creating. Without a doubt it’s my ikigai. I’m coming up on 12,000 hours of my life dedicated to the craft of concrete and it still feels as exciting and amazing as it did when I started.
May you find the blessing of a life of knowing your ikigai. May you realize the power you have to create the life you dream of.