I needed to pour a cement pad for a brick mailbox I was building. One of my neighbors, a retired mason, offered to help and his first instruction was to return the cement mixer I had rented. He had an easier way, using two people, a 6 x 6-ft. heavy-duty tarp with rope handles at each corner and a water bucket.
Here’s how it works: Pour a bag of cement in the center of the tarp, make a crater in the center, and then add the recommended amount of water. Each person grabs two tarp corners, like they’re going to fold it up. Lift one corner of the tarp at a time going in one direction, like you’re doing “the wave” at a football game. Mixing a bag only takes a minute or two. Pour the cement right from the tarp into the form and start a new bag. Using eight bags of cement, my pad was mixed and poured in less than an hour including washing the tools and tarp. It took me almost that long to rent and return the mixer I was going to use! — Travis Dunford