Sunday, July 26, 2009

Square cement weights

One of the most common ways to weight down your booth is with the round PVC pipe filled with cement. Several years back I posted a how-to on the topic: PVC and cement corner weights. At the Northville show last month, I saw an interesting variation on the design. The weight was square.

The artist that had these had originally made the weights from round PVC, but she didn't have any handles on them, and she got tired of them rolling. So she found the square tube, put her existing weights inside the square, and filled the gap with cement.

Although she wasn't sure of what the tubing was from, I'm pretty sure they are meant for vinyl fencing (you use a 4x4 wood post, anchor it in the ground, then slide on the vinyl tube). This means the tube itself is probably made from vinyl instead of PVC. I'm not sure what implications that may have for strength and durability. It might be thinner and crack more easily, but I'm not sure that would be a problem once it's filled with hardened cement. However, if you do decide to put handles on them to help with carrying, that might be a bit stressful on the vinyl. It might be a good idea to make sure the bolts are long enough that they stick quite a ways into the pipe. That way when the cement dries, the handles will be anchored to the cement more than the tube. You could also do the 2 nuts + 1 washer thing like I did for they eye bolt if you are concerned.

There is also the issue of how to seal the bottom. Round PVC piping has nice caps you can put on the end and seal with PVC cement, but for fencing, the caps I recall always seem to be decorative. I'm not sure what options you'd have there. If you can't find a nice, simple, flat end cap, then you might have to resort to custom cutting a piece of wood, some styrofoam, or whatever works, and then finding a way to prop up the tube really good so that when you fill it with cement the bottom doesn't fall out. If you use a thick enough piece of wood, you could drill some hole and screw through the tube and into the wood, holding it in place. You then may have to caulk it to seal it (I'm not sure how easily cement would leak through a crack).

Remember, I've never tried this, so I can't vouch for how well it will work. If you decide to try it, you are on your own. Maybe my concern about the strength of the vinyl isn't warranted and it would work great. Whatever the case, if anyone does decide to try this, send me an email when it's done (with maybe a photo or 2) and let me know how it works out and how you sealed the bottom.

1 comment:

JB said...

Wet concrete does not leak thru tiny gaps. I bet you could duct tape the end closed, find a sandy spot to prop the tube up vertically and fill it with concrete. When the concrete cures you could pull off the tape.