Has anyone ever used the concrete Molds for stepping stones???


Just wondering on the experiences with using this type of step-up for stepping stones. I am thinking of getting a mold and making my own. Any hints or help would be helpful.
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How may do you need? How many a day can you pour? I've looked at them but figured it would not save very much and be a lot of labor on a daily basis for any quantity. Please report back if you decide to go ahead.
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my brother and sister in law used them, thanks to a poor base they movd all over place after first winter.
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I've looked at them. . . . priced redi-mix [& portland when I had piles of sand and gravel lying around] . . . considered the amount of work it would be. .. . wondered what I'd do when the uncured blocks started breaking. . . and ended up buying a few ready-made stepping stones.
As a craft project they might not be too expensive to play with. But if you really want a decent path, spend your time and effort preparing the base, and put down pavers or stones of your choosing. There is a wide variety out there - and they are already culled and cured.
OTOH- I never throw out any concrete when I have a batch mixed. I keep a few cut off 5gallon buckets around & pour 2" pancakes in the bottom of the bucket. I've got a dozen of these 'rounds' in various places around the property. Some are colored- some have gravel embedded in the surface- some are plain. Better than wasting already mixed concrete- but I don't walk on them for several months until the concrete is cured.
Jim
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Avoid the temptation to mix the concrete too wet and you should be fine.
You will need enough molds to cast enough stones per batch so you don't have left over concrete after the molds are full, so you probably need to make smaller batches than a full sack of redimix.
You can play with color and texture if you do it yourself.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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Ok I should have mentioned that the type that I want to use is the stamp type. Where you set the mold on the area that you want, pour in the cement and then wait a minute and lift it out. I was still planning to lay a packed gravel base where it was going and add an edging to hold it in and sweep in motor sand as well.
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I did this last summer.
Second the previous poster who said avoid getting it too wet. It should be very thick, not runny. If you can pour the mix in directly and level it off, it's too runny for this application, and you'll have to wait 15 minutes to an hour for the concrete to set enough for you to pull the mold. While that works and is relatively easy, it does require you to have several molds on hand. There is a faster way if you're willing to work at it.
Ideally, with a barely-wet-enough-to-work mix, once you've filled the mold it should take some effort with a wooden trowel to get the stone and gravel pushed down into the mix and force up enough finer mix to be able to smooth off the top. Take any excess and throw it in the mixer and start the next batch mixing, then come back, carefully remove the mold, rinse it off, and place it for the next impression. A rubber deadblow hammer helps to level the mold if your gravel bed isn't perfect. You can also prop the mold up with pieces of gravel to compensate for small dips. Have somewhere to rinse you mold and tools where the runoff won't cause issues (don't turn your wife's favorite flower bed into conrete from the runoff). Clean up around the already cast blocks regularly so that you can get the mold tight against the last row without stray gravel getting in your way.
It helps to be working on several rows at once, staggered, so that as you screed off the top you don't mangle the one you just poured previously. I got to where I could make about 4 impressions an hour with only one mold.
After a reasonably harsh New England winter, the only blocks that didn't hold up well are the ones where the stones were not worked down well enough, leaving air pockets down low in the blocks which then filled with water and froze, causing the blocks to disintegrate.
Also, for irregular edges and the like, have a couple of sheets of plywood handy just bigger than the mold. Use these to pour extra blocks, which are then fitted into your pattern where needed. If you come back after about an hour, you can cut into these to fit for curves and angles with a trowel. As they get harder, you can still sort of cut them by chipping away at them, but they're very fragile at that point, and it's easy to break them where you don't want. Once fully cured you can cut them with either a brick chisel or a masonry saw. In that case, make extra, they don't always break/cut clean.
Above all, be willing to experiment and be willing to throw away something and start over if it's not working, it may take a little trial and error to get what works for you.
Hope that's enough to get you started. --Glenn Lyford
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