Shoveling into the form

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Igloo Ed
Joined:Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:44 pm
Location:Lyons, Colorado
Shoveling into the form

Post by Igloo Ed » Thu Jul 10, 2008 10:34 am

With an experienced team, three people building the igloo works best with one person inside the igloo packing the blocks and two shovelers outside the igloo.
One shoveler puts the snow into the form while standing on the ledge for higher layers or down off the ledge for the first two layers. He should be standing about 2 or 3 feet ahead of the form while holding the shovel handle with his right hand and holding the shovel pole with his left hand. He should be able to pick the snow up and put it into the form without stepping or moving. On the second layer he puts his right foot up on the ledge so he can put the snow into the form easier. On the third layer and above, he stands on the ledge with both feet and picks the snow up from a pile the other shoveler is gathering and placing on the ledge.
In most snow conditions it is imperative that he does not shave off ANY of the ledge top when picking up a shovel full of snow. It is also important that he gather the snow as close to the underlying ledge as possible without shaving snow off the ledge as this makes it less work for the person gathering the snow.
With a pile on the ledge, he places the shovel down on the ledge and slides it into center of the pile with a quick push and then pauses for just a second to let the snow sinter a bit in order to get a larger shovel full. After the snow has sintered, he lifts the shovel strait up and puts it into the form. This leaves a small pile of snow on each side of where the shovel of snow was removed. He then repeats the slide, pause and lift on each of these piles. Care is required not to dig into the wall when sliding the shovel into the pile closest to the wall.
The shoveler putting the snow into the form picks up the snow and brings it back towards him, lifts it up and them pitches the snow into the form impacting the snow into the corner formed by previous block and the layer below.
This pitch is an art, it must impact and spread evenly causing the spreading snow to put equal pressure on both the Inner and Outer Panel at the same time so it doesn't jar the form and result in a broken block.
This effectively packs some of the snow making it a lot less work and faster for the packer to pack the shovel of snow.
When done correctly and in most snow conditions this pitching works very well except when dealing with cold icy snow where the shoveler needs to pour the snow in like sand so the form doesn't get jarred or it will break the block.
The shoveling method changes when the Outer Panel is taken off on the higher layers. The shoveler stands behind the form holding the shovel handle with the left hand and the shovel pole with the right hand.
The shoveler rounding up the snow continues to place the snow on the ledge just below the form.
The snow is placed by lifting the shovel of snow and basically flopping the snow into the corner formed by the previous block and the lower layer. This flopping however needs to vary greatly depending on the snow conditions.
With wet sticky snow the flop can impact the form without breaking the block but when using dry and icy snow, the impact of the snow hitting the form will break the block.
With dry snow, the shovel is placed against the lower layer so the top of the shovel blade is even with the top of the lower layer. The shovel is then rotated slowly so the snow can pour out like sand without impacting the form. If the snow sinters enough in the shovel while placing it, the snow will fall out as a chunk and sometimes sticks to the shovel blade. It works well to continue holding the shovel pole with the right hand while it is against the wall and partially tipped to the dump position and then tap the end of the shovel handle with the palm of the left hand.
This tap effectively breaks the snow free of the shovel blade and also breaks up the chunk just enough that it doesn't fall as one chunk and impact the form.
As the layers get higher, it is hard to lift and place the shovel along the top edge of the lower layer and it works well to place the shovel on the wall and slide it into the correct position for rotating the shovel and dumping the load of snow.
If the snow tends to slide off the igloo when the shovel is removed it is best to hold the shovel in place against the snow for a short time after dumping the snow. This time allows the snow to sinter a bit and the snow doesn't slide off the igloo. A slight push on the snow with the shovel helps the snow sinter better but the push will also break the block if the pressure used is to high.


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