Radii: Large Or Small, The GT-3600 Slipforms Them All In California
Boyce Muse, president and owner of Muse Concrete Contractors Inc., started his concrete construction business in 1981 in Redding, California. From the very beginning, with only five employees, his philosophy has been forward thinking and looking for new ideas to expand his company. It was that drive that led him to buy his first GOMACO machine, a Commander III, in 1982.
Twenty-three years and 14 GOMACO machines later, Muse Concrete has experienced a tremendous amount of growth and now employs 120 people. It’s an amazing success story and one that Muse admits, might not have been possible without GOMACO’s support.
“I’ve been in the concrete business for 24 years, and I’m just a concrete guy who has been very lucky,” Muse said. “One of the things that has helped us a ton is the support from GOMACO, because if we didn’t have that in the early days, we would have really struggled and I may have just given up. GOMACO was just a phone call away then, and we still get that level of service from them today.”
In 2004, when the company wanted to expand their concrete paving capabilities, Muse Concrete simply placed a call to GOMACO and ordered a new GT-3600 curb and gutter machine.
One of their first projects with their new machine was in the city of Redding on a new subdivision. The project included a meandering five foot (1.5 m) wide sidewalk. The meandering sidewalk is a city of Redding specification and never follows a straight path.
“We had a 20 foot (6.1 m) area where we could meander in and out within the right-of-way area,” Brian Simon, chief estimator at Muse Concrete, said. “The radii on this project were big, long 100 foot (30.5 m) radii and it just goes along like a meandering sidewalk through a park.”
They slipformed approximately 5500 feet (1676 m) of four inch (102 mm) thick sidewalk on the project. They set their stringline for the curved path, brought in their GT-3600 and pretrimmed the grade 5.5 feet (1.7 m) wide within a .25 inch (6 mm) tolerance. The concrete was ordered and the final .25 inch (6 mm) of grade was trimmed as the sidewalk was slipformed.
Muse had his sidewalk mold built with some added versatility.
“We actually had a four foot (1.2 m) wide mold built with a 12 inch (305 mm) spacer,” Muse explained. “We can put that spacer in or out when we pour so we have two mold profiles in one, either a four or a five foot (1.2 or 1.5 m) sidewalk.”
Finishers work behind the GT-3600 cutting joints every 10 feet (3 m) and putting a score mark every five feet (1.5 m).
With the Redding subdivision project complete, it was time to move their GT-3600 to the next project, a parking lot for a Home Depot store. The most challenging aspect of the project was slipforming the 28 inch (711 mm) tall vertical curb. The base of the curb was only 9.5 inches (241 mm) wide at the bottom and six inches (152 mm) across the top. The curb is continuously reinforced with two #4 bars fed into the mold while slipforming. Adding to the difficulty of the project were several four foot (1.2 m) radii.
“The height was a challenge,” Muse said. “You really have to watch your slump and everything has to be monitored. Everything has to be just right.”
Muse starts out by setting up his radius pours with stringline stakes 12 inches (305 mm) apart. Instead of stringline, they use fiberglass rods. Most important, according to Muse, is to undercut the grade through the radius.
“The secret is having the slump just right, a good operator and good grade,” Muse explained. “I can’t stress grade enough. We always undercut the grade just a little bit on a radius because you don’t want your mold to drag. Once your mold drags, you’re done. We also pretrim it with the machine, too, and that serves as our dry run.
“If you can’t get the machine through the first time, it’s certainly not going to get through the second time. It gives you an opportunity to find all of your mistakes and it just makes life easier.”
The GT-3600’s tight radius capability is one of the major reasons why Muse added one to his fleet. He had bid on and won several projects that included tight radii. The time and labor savings the machine offered couldn’t compare to handforming all of the work.
“The most time consuming aspect on a site project is the radii,” Muse said. “Typically, if we were hand-forming a project, we’d spend four to six weeks on one site, depending on the size of the project. Now, we’ll take that same site with the GT-3600 and we cut our manpower in half and we’ll cut three weeks off the time needed to complete the project. It takes half the time with half the amount of people.”
Muse Concrete plans on bidding on more sidewalk and tight radii projects for their GT-3600. It’s just one more tool that will allow the company to continue to grow.
“Bottom line for us is we’re trying to grow and as a business we always strive for more,” Muse said. “It was a business decision to add another GOMACO. They have always taken care of us. Always.”