Ask Professor Dave
December 2, 2010 11:39 PM   Subscribe

Then when I got home and fired it up, I didn’t put the spike in properly and got it jammed in the first hunk of concrete I jackhammered. So i spent the next 10 minutes getting it out with a sledgehammer. Stupid.

I've only jackhammered twice and I can already confirm that this was indeed stupid. You can leave the spike in the end of the hammer even if it isn't there properly and that will sledgehammer it out.

And you want a spotter to help when you overbalance and to take turns when your arms go numb.
posted by DU at 5:24 AM on December 3, 2010

He had me up until the part about the 'scary' dude. The dude in question likes tacky posters, melee weapons, boobies, and smoking drugs. Truly terrifying. In the America I fell in love with a guy could convert a Boeing 747 into a bungalow and nobody would bat an eyelash. Now apparently a questionable sense of interior design is enough to get you written off as a possible axe murderer. Well, I'm sorry. That's not America. That's not even South Dakota.
posted by Ritchie at 5:28 AM on December 3, 2010 [5 favorites]

I just confirmed something with my local HD. This is a 28 ft. lb. electric paving breaker. Pfffff. Talk about lightweight, but I guess that's all I'd trust to the untrained. Professor Dave says " Also, it’s very tiring. I have mad respect for jackhammer operators now."

They're using 60 & 90 ft. lb. breakers, and lemme tell you, those are a work out. I spent two years selling those to public utility and county road operations, and to sell them, you had to be able to use them. Although, my worst day ever was while in training--my boss was demonstrating the cattle stun gun at a stockyard. I never once put a stockyard on my call list again. I think he enjoyed it though. Cattle didn't.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:57 AM on December 3, 2010

Thank you for this. Because through it I found my retirement home.
posted by Splunge at 6:11 AM on December 3, 2010

There is absolutely no way that the jackhammer I rented from HD was a mere 28 lbs. Basically it took two people to get it upright (safely, because the heavy part is on TOP) and then you had to balance it while it was bouncing up and down.
posted by DU at 6:12 AM on December 3, 2010

Am I the only one disappointed that wasn't Sledge Hammer fanfic?
posted by JoanArkham at 6:17 AM on December 3, 2010 [7 favorites]

belzbubba, here in Germany I could rent an electrical 28kg breaker at the local hardware store (similar to this).

Having never really worked heavy equipment before, it took some time getting used to and ended up being a lot of fun. I also felt rather manly handling it.
posted by Glow Bucket at 7:51 AM on December 3, 2010

I was hoping for Sledge too.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:10 AM on December 3, 2010

> There is absolutely no way that the jackhammer I rented from HD was a mere 28 lbs.

28 lbs-ft, as in available torque.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:11 AM on December 3, 2010

I have a friend who makes Christmas cards like that Wizard of Oz "comic" - funnier when you know the people involved, I suppose.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:12 AM on December 3, 2010

There is absolutely no way that the jackhammer I rented from HD was a mere 28 lbs.

That's not the weight of the machine, that's the maximum striking force in foot-pounds of torque. A modern hydraulic-electric manual breaker will indeed weigh about 100 pounds, give or take.

If your hands go numb or it's falling over you're generally doing it wrong. The trick is to let the hammer do the work and just keep a loose but firm guiding grip on it, like you were mountain biking or motorcycling over a field of rocks. Or riding a pogo stick off road. You shouldn't have to keep a death grip on the handlebars or have to apply pressure over it for it to break things, you just point it and pull the trigger, keeping the mass of the tool balanced over the working area. It also probably helps if you outweigh the machine by at least a factor of two and have a beer belly large enough to act as ballast . Beer also seems to help. Mind your toes.

Once you get the hang of it a good breaker is like operating a sewing machine. Outside of the infernal racket you hardly even know it's there and it'll float through an non-reinforced concrete slab like a hot knife through butter. Remember, though, the older the concrete, the harder the concrete. Sometimes you need to use leverage and get under it with a prybar and throw a chunk of concrete under it as a fulcrum.

Breakers/hammers are fun, especially the newer hydraulic-electric hybrids. (The old pneumatic ones will indeed kick most anyone's ass, because they don't have the recoil/shock protection a hydro hammer does.) I could run one all day, but they generally don't use a manual breaker on projects that require "all day" anymore. Standard practice is to use a bobcat or backhoe with a breaker tool on the end of the tool arm, unless it's a confined space or a DIY demolition. They're so much fun, though. Whenever I've run one I can't help but imagine I'm some kind of giant killer robot smashing up a city. Give me a powered exoskeleton suit with one at the end of each arm and I'll tear up a whole freeway for you, just as long as I don't have to clean it up and load it for haul out.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it I'm thinking that breaking concrete is one of those things that certain kinds of people will find strangely satisfying. Like picking a scab or something. And there's certainly no shortage of crazy weirdos in the demolition business.
posted by loquacious at 8:24 AM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Argh, now I want to go bust up some concrete. Does anyone in Seattle need a patio or driveway demolished? If you rent the tools I'll work for beer.
posted by loquacious at 8:34 AM on December 3, 2010

"Am I the only one disappointed that wasn't Sledge Hammer fanfic?"

Nope. That's the only reason I clicked on the FPP. And the article is clearly labeled "Jackhammer Adventures," so on behalf on SH! fans everywhere, I call shenanigans. And I call them at Bennigans, where we will all congregate to discuss our disappointment with this obvious linkbait.

Man, I'm so mad, I can't even come up with an appropriate SH! jokey reference as a stinger to close out this comment. So instead, I'll just be in the Angrydome.
posted by Eideteker at 8:45 AM on December 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Don't have a jackhammer? A good way to bust up 4" thick sidewalk type unreinforced concrete is to use a pry bar to lift one corner about 2"-3" (50-75mm) off the ground (if you can get the pry bar in). Stick a rock under the corner you pried up. Take your sledge hammer and give it a good solid whack near the midpoint of the suspended part. It'll make a sound like a gong (sometimes) and snap right in two. Rinse, repeat.

If you don't have a whole lot of concrete to do, it's faster than running down to the rental yard for a jackhammer.

Of course, no matter how you do it, the hard part is disposing of the concrete. Have fun.

The Wizard of Oz, should I recognize those faces he pasted in there? That would be funnier if I did. I would be all har har.

And scary awesome dude, uh yeah, sounds like a lot of seventies rocker dudes I know. One guy had - I shit you not, true story - he had a coffee table book of UFO related animal mutilations. Seriously. WTF.
posted by Xoebe at 9:24 AM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Um. Am I missing something, or is this just some random dude's blog?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:49 AM on December 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yep. Just some random dude's blog I found entertaining. New to Metafilter. First post. Will try to be more "up to snuff" & Dave Rasche Specific. Now if you'll excuse me I'll be in my Chamber of Understanding. What's link-bait?
posted by Israel Tucker at 12:23 PM on December 3, 2010

What's link-bait?

Linkbait is inappropriate or inaccurate headlines designed to get users to click without caring that they will get to the link and be upset that it's not what they thought it was.

Basically, it's way to go "viral" or get linked to on blogs. A sorta trivial form of fraud.

Eideteker was (jokingly, I assume) insinuating that your poor phrasing was an intentional attempt to lure Sledge Hammer! fans into a thread that is nothing about Sledge Hammer!

Will try to be more "up to snuff" & Dave Rasche Specific.

Hey, at least you didn't get deleted. ;) Don't stress out about critics. It's inevitable with almost any post.

Having said that ... IMO, individual blogs are rarely good posts for MF, unless they are incredibly unique or spawn a hot-button discussion. Surprisingly (or not), SLOEs spawn better convos, imo.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:44 PM on December 3, 2010

You almost had me until "SLOEs" and "hot-button". Huh?

But also, it posted differently than I thought I filled out the MF posting page. Learning.

Still a little confused. Lots of links on MF. Lots of blogs. MF is a "Community Blog". I liked those aspects of it's identity. I just checked out the wording of others who've posted under the Blog Tag and noticed some are more specific than others so that's something to keep in mind.

Cheers and Thank You MrGrimm.
posted by Israel Tucker at 1:11 PM on December 3, 2010

Don't worry about it. You'll be able to plot links on the content-utility-relevance-intagible quality MeFi Post-worthniess Quadrant soon enough.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:21 PM on December 3, 2010

"Eideteker was (jokingly, I assume) insinuating that your poor phrasing was an intentional attempt to lure Sledge Hammer! fans into a thread that is nothing about Sledge Hammer!"

Yes, I and my legions of loyal fans to a short-lived 80's comedy spoof of cop dramas will report you to the internet police for this. There are only three of us, but together, we form the top half of Voltron. Who will then crawl after you, all arms and torso, like an anime version of a crippled Vietnam vet, until we catch up to you and demand all your change. And then all your change will belong to us, yes it will.

*steeples his fingers and leans back from his large mahogany desk into his giant leather chair, until his face is obscured by menacing shadows*
posted by Eideteker at 1:35 PM on December 3, 2010

posted by Israel Tucker at 1:51 PM on December 3, 2010

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