Ah yes, the wall…

Well, Marcel did laugh his toosh off… once he’d got over the shock. So yesterday was the day to cut and paste a 10 foot long, 8 foot high pile of concrete blocks.

We’d been having a conversation just the evening before about how young foremen would come to tell him how to build things on the worksite (he’s been a mason for over 40 years). He’d tell them it doesn’t work that way, then after he’d done it their way the inspector would come and make them take it all down and do it again Marcel’s way…

Believe me, don’t question the engineering skills of an artisan who’s been with the same employer for a few score years, rest assured he knows how to do things!

So, how to move a wall – one that’s just been built to withstand a 9.0 earthquake (not that we’re ever likely to get anything like that here in northern France)…
Knocking out the top row of blocks

Knockin' out the top row

First, knock off the top row that you carefully notched out yesterday to fit between the beams…

Next, take your great big diamond blade saw and slice through the end that’s been securely cemented to the end wall.
Cutting the wall

Cutting the wall

Be sure to make lots of noise and dust, and breathe in deeply during the process, while your assistant waits outside and dashes in to grab a photo of the action as he holds his breath – hence the fact you can’t actually see the saw in this photo (but you can in the video at the end of this post).
The cut wall

A nice clean cut

End result, if you know what you’re doing, is a nice clean cut like this:

Then you get a hefty plank of wood, some scaffolding jacks and the biggest iron bar you can find, and you PUSH! (And your assistant nervously holds the top of the wall, supposedly ready to steady a few hundred kilos of concrete should it decide to topple over).

But sure enough, carefully wedged with planks along the way, the whole darned thing moves over until it’s in its new home. Pretty impressive! (Well, maybe you had to be there…).

Anyhow, here’s a video clip by assistant #2 Holly, that probably tells it better than I can – a 5-hour process in 90 seconds: MovingTheWall

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