The Decorative Concrete Institute
We are sorry for the slight delay with our newsletter. I can assure you the delay was not from
taking some much needed time off sipping fu fu drinks with little umbrellas on
the beach! I suppose in theory that
sounds refreshing however, it was quite the opposite. Let's talk about our June and July bringing
you up to speed on just a few little minor details that transpired during this
time frame. Rest assured, this will be a longer than usual newsletter so, put
on your reading glasses and here we go!
Be sure to
check out the training available on our website:
Decorative Concrete Institute
AGC Laborers, Carol Stream, IL
June 2-6, 2008
We found ourselves once again back in Carol Stream Illinois
teaching at the Laborers facility. This
was an action packed week starting on Sunday with the curriculum consisting of
pre-cast concrete countertops using the Preitech forming system and enCOUNTER,
stamped concrete, skim coats, decorative score cutting with stains and
The weeklong program is designed
to train the trainers so they can then return back to their local regions and
incorporate what they have learned into their own teaching curriculum. After starting each day off in the classroom
covering the theoretical side of each application, the class was able to gain
hands on experience applying each system starting with concrete countertops on
The class was blown away (as
they put it) with the beautiful counters they produced. They all commented on how easy it was to form
the counters and how the concrete mix produced such a glass like appearance.
All of Tuesdays focus was on stamped concrete and prepping for the following
days skim coat installation. Pattern stamping as well as seamless textures were
demonstrated using Brickforms color hardeners, release agents and stamping
tools. After a long dirty day of
stamping, the evening was capped off with a couple of cool beverages and great
conversation with the entire laborers group.
Early Wednesday morning we were back at it installing ColorMaker floors
skim coat material. An area of roughly
500 square feet was resurfaced using Sgraffino and Pentimento. Everyone involved as well as many passer bys
were amazed at the transformation from old worn out ugly concrete to a
beautiful new concrete surface at an overall depth of only 1/8" thick. After all of the skim coat applications were complete
and some cleaning and detailing on the previous days stamp pours, the group was
ready to call it a day. Thursday
consisted of some design layout with decorative score cutting, stains and dye
applications and then of course, the sealing of all of the work including the
concrete countertops, stamped concrete and skim coated area. After a long week of training, all attendees
were able to unwind with a great dinner and an evening of cocktails karaoke. I must admit that after maybe a few too many
beverages they convinced me to have a go at karaoke. Let's just say that we'll stick with
Ride for the Cure 2008 - Breast Cancer
June 7-15, 2008
We'll it's official, I am proud to report that Lee Ann and I
completed our quest across country on our motorcycles finishing off with 3,900
miles on our rears (not fanny's). Words
cannot describe how proud of Lee Ann I am on this challenging major
accomplishment. She did awesome
considering she had only been riding for barely a year! We were a little concerned before we started
our ride considering that our luggage was lost from our trip back from the
The problem was that
not only were our clothes gone but all of our maps for the trip since we used
evenings to talk about and plan the trip.
The goal was to fly home Friday, do laundry and pack Friday evening and
then get on the road around 9:00 am Saturday.
We received a phone call at 11:30 pm Friday night alerting us that our
baggage just arrived In Atlanta and they would have it to us by no later than
2:00 pm the next day. This was unacceptable which meant that we drove back to
the airport to pick up the luggage and with two hours of sleep and some clean
clothes and maps later, we departed Temple Georgia at 10:30 am just a bit behind
Our first day's ride was a
beautiful 95-degree day that took us through Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi,
finishing in Arkansas. Day two brought
us into Missouri and after one wrong turn, we ended up on highway 5 (not
planned), which was a beautiful winding road through the rolling hills, 460
miles later we stopped in Lawrence Kansas for the night just in time. As we
pulled under the porte-cochere of our hotel, a terrible storm hit with baseball
size hail. After a beautiful 508-mile
day we ended up in Ogallala, Nebraska for the night. Our next day was one of
the most scenic starting with a visit with friend John Ainken of the Laborers
union at his Job Corp training facility in Chadron, Nebraska.
After a great visit, we were back on the
bikes touring through Custer Park and Mt. Rushmore.
We did see some huge Buffalo as you see in
the picture. I had to hurry and start
the bike after this quick photo since I think the Buffalo may have thought my
motorcycle was a female if you catch my drift.
After a quick exit we road in to Rapid City, through Sturgis and shut
down for the night in Sundance, Wyoming.
Our goal the next morning was to ride to Yellowstone however, Mother
Nature had different plans for us. Since
a bad storm closed Yellowstone due to snow, we had to ride directly down the
State of Wyoming in to Casper headed towards highway 80. It was this ride that gave us the most
trouble with horrible wind gusts of 45 miles per hour. Little Lee Ann on her little 883 Sportster
had one heck of a day battling these blustery conditions. As she put it, had
there been a truck and a trailer available, she would have stopped on the spot
for the day. I must admit, these were
some of the toughest riding conditions I have ever ridden in. We made it to Rock Springs, Wyoming with some
very sore shoulder blades from battling the winds. The next morning we unfortunately spent half
of the day at the local Harley shop getting a new front tire for me while Lee
Ann's bike needed a new push rod seal to stop a minor oil leak.
After our shortest days ride, we ended up in
Montpellier, Idaho. What a beautiful
location! Day 7 was a long 530-mile day
stopping in Boise for lunch and visit with family friend Clancy. After a great visit and cool ride through the
mountains of Oregon we ended up in Burns for the night. The eight-day of our ride was beautiful
taking us up through the snow-capped mountains on highway 126 close to
Lebanon. After a quick decent in to the
Eugene area we stopped for a short visit with Bent Mickelson and family. Thanks for the cool drink and Bent, your
newly sealed front sidewalk looked great!
Our days ride ended in Florence, Oregon, which was as far west as we
could go. This was cause for celebration
ending the night with a great dinner and a bottle of wine. Our next morning's ride was a chilly one down
101. The cool conditions were easily
forgot about with the incredible scenery down the coast. Do yourself a favor and consider taking this
route (preferably on a motorcycle) if you have never seen this area. It is incredible scenery! After a quick stop at the California/Oregon
border for some photo opportunities we continued down 101 calling it a day in
Fortuna, California. We could not believe that we were now down to our last day
of riding. After continuing down 101 and
coming across the windy Richmond/SanRafael bridge we stopped for a short visit
with friends Jerome and Ollie of the AGC laborers in Pleasanton. It was great seeing you guys! This was it, down to the remaining 40 or so
miles to Mom's house in Brentwood. I got
tell you; this was a pretty emotional ending to a trip of a lifetime! Lee Ann and I would like to say thank you so
much to all of you who donated to a very worthy cause and also followed our
path across country. After some great family time we were on a plane homeward
bound since we unfortunately had to ship the bikes back do to scheduling. Stay tuned for more, we are already in the
planning stages for next years major ride!
Polished Concrete w/
June 26-27, 2008
After day dreaming about our ride it was time to get back to
business. With a new sense of motivation
we were right in to a polished concrete class.
This was an awesome class! We
dyed and polished a floor that was in terrible shape.
When the concrete was poured the finishers
allowed the concrete to freeze that night which made for a soft surface full of
random map cracking. On this 1100 square
foot section we actually had to densify twice to try and harden the surface
back up enabling us to color and polish. Clif Rawlings and Howie Davidson of
HTC America helped with this two-day seminar.
We started in the classroom covering the important aspects of grinding
and polishing with topics ranging from diamond tooling, floor hardness, the
proper chemicals to use as well as how to run the equipment. After classroom
time, we were off and running starting to work on our floor. Once instruction on proper densifying
considerations was discussed, the students were able to run the HTC 800 using
the 150m metal bond diamonds. While half of the group was busy running the
equipment the other half were helping with laying out the design. After all of the decorative score cuts were
made and the floor was all ground to a 150, it was Miller time and the end of a
very productive day.
Our second day
started immediately with applying DCI'S water based dyes in a variety of colors
as well as application techniques. We
even did some airbrushing using DCI'S solvent-based dyes creating some
interesting graphics. Once the polishing
was complete (1500 grit), the students had the opportunity to engrave graphics
in to the polished surface creating some great looks using Engravacretes
Barracuda. After a quick cleaning of the
floor was clean, the floor received a coat of DCI'S Polish Guard and a quick
burnish which really made this floor pop!
Everyone was amazed (including me) at the transformation of this weak
ugly floor to a durable aesthetically pleasing floor.
We finished off the day with the application
of a decorative metallic epoxy border to compliment the shiny polished
surface. As you can see, the students
were able to learn many interesting techniques in addition to the polishing
process. Great job guys!
|Skim Coats - Stains - Dyes, Kevin McGovern w/ Mirage Studios
June 30 - July 1-2, 2008
Lee Ann and I and son Robby headed to New York to teach a
Skim coat stains and dyes class featuring ColorMaker Floors products.
The class was held at host Kevin McGovern of
Mirage Studio's location. Kevin's
company is already well established in the faux finish and concrete countertop
community and wanted to take on the ColorMaker line adding to his distribution
side of the business. ColorMaker Floor
representative Victor Pachade also helped teach this class as well as lend a
This class of thirteen or so students had the chance to work with
Sgraffino and Pentimento skim coats.
Considering the condition of Kevin's existing floor with many pit's and
divots not to mention being way out of level, his new floor turned out beautiful. After the newly skim coated floors had
sufficient cure time, we used Patina etch and Deco dyes as the main coloring
system. The group also had a go at some
decorative score cutting as well as some unique texturing tricks mimicking
flagstone using Sgraffino.
overheard Lee Ann mention about the possibility of attending a Yankees game one
evening after class. After a few phone
calls, he had us sitting just above third base in some incredible seats. We can't thank you enough for this special treat!
It was great visiting Yankees stadium
especially since the old stadium will soon be a thing of the past. Thanks for all of your and John's hospitality
and we can't wait for you to visit us here in Georgia.
Vacation in New York with the Cardone Family
July 3-5, 2008
After a successful skim coat class with Kevin and staff, we
stayed with family friends, the Cardone family and celebrated the fourth of
Rob had never been to New
York so this was a great opportunity to visit the great city of Manhattan and
spend some quality time with friends.
After a whirlwind tour of down town seeing such sites as Ground Zero,
the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street, we had a wonderful seafood dinner and a
great evening out at time square.
fourth was an awesome day that started off with a visit to Coney Island riding
the Cyclone and then finished with a barbeque fit for a king.
This was a great
visit with our close friends Dom, Janine, Little (BIG) Dom, Nick, Pete, and
Tomasina. Thanks and you guys are the
Preitech, Cast-in-Place Countertops
July 17-18, 2008
Our cast in place counter top class produced some over the
top counters. In attendance was the
owner of Preitech Mike Eastergaurd offering advice on how this unique forming
The class was able to see
how both reusable molds worked as well as the custom foam sinks and edge forms.
Doug Bannister's enCOUNTER bagged mix was used along with their admixtures
enFLOW, enFIBER and air minus producing a glass like appearance that produces a
surface that does not require polishing.
The class was able introduce crushed
colored glass and a geo fossils that was later exposed on a few of the pieces.
In addition to producing some stunning vanity tops, we poured top mount sinks
without the plumbing knockouts that we then used as displays at our shop.
Other demonstrations included casting
backsplashes using the reflective casting mat.
Once the backsplashes had cured, we then colored them with DCI dyes and
sealed it with water-based epoxy. Mike
commented that he had never seen that much light reflection on any pour he had
previously done which was largely a function of the sealer we used. After
demonstrations on coloring techniques on a custom Harley sink we cast during
the class were shown, the group then sealed their projects.
This was a great class with a bunch of
concrete being poured. Stay tuned for
our next pre-cast class; you won't want to miss it!
The Calm Before the Storm
July 22-26, 2008
This was a busy week to say the least. Not only were we preparing for our major
event on the upcoming Saturday (we'll get to that in a minute) we had a few
rocking parties that I think we are all still recovering from.
Both Lee Ann's family as well as Bob's family
came in early in addition to close friends the Cardone Family, John Tutunjian
and Kat, Marvin and Tina Brooks, Barb and Sarge Sargent, Mike Eastergaurd, John
Anderson Mark and Debbie Haen, and I'm sure I'm leaving out a ton of other
Let me just say, I'm
glad we have such good neighbors on the other side of the lake (Patsy and
Gerald Allgood). Dominick Cardone (with
helpers Rob, little big Dom, Pete, Nick) put on the most awesome fireworks
display that would easily compare against any major city's fireworks
The show went on for an hour
and I'm pleased to report, we had no visits from our local law enforcement.
Bob and Lee Ann's Wedding!
July 26, 2008
Well, for all of you that know us you are probably saying,
"it's about damn time"! I'm proud to say
that on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon in Temple Georgia, Lee Ann
officially became Mrs. Harris.
to believe that we are actually hitched but, it feels great and we love
it! Mrs. Harris was a beautiful beaming
bride that took my breath away. She looked beautiful!
The day started off with
a crystal clear warm day at 90 or so degrees. We were so happy how the ceremony
went considering the relaxed atmosphere with no rehearsing and everything just
falling in to place. The setting was
great and if you can believe it, we were married on top of stained and stamped
concrete. Go figure!
After the ceremony
was over and everyone had eaten, we had a steady rain, which helped cool things
off a bit. Once the rain stopped, the
weather turned great once again with the party continuing well in to the wee
hours of the morning. 3:30 am to be
We feel so privileged that
our family and friends helped in sharing this special day with us. It is a day (ok, week) we will cherish for a
lifetime. Whew whew !!
July 29, 2008
DCI hosts meeting with special out of town guests to discuss
future projects and possibilities.
Unfortunately, you will have to stay tuned in upcoming newsletters for
this potential major news.
Chemical Staining & Specialty Techniques
July 31 - August 1, 2008
Finally, our last story of the newsletter. If any of you actually read this entire
newsletter to this point, leeAnn and I will treat you to your next beer while
at DCI. Of course, make sure you bring
The Monday after the
wedding we are back at it pouring a slab for the upcoming Kemiko stain
class. If you can believe it, Barb And
Sarge Sargent and Nephew Mason are back to DCI four days after the big wedding
to help with the stain class. What a
great class it was!
We started like we
normally do in the classroom discussing all of the dos and don'ts associated
with the stain market. This class was
very inquisitive wanting to have a clear understanding between Acid stains,
dyes and water based stain. After
classroom time, we spent roughly one hour with a tool demonstration using the
4" grinder, The Crack Vac, the Barracuda, The Wasp and the rest was
This class really took
advantage of using the previously demonstrated tools. We also had training on proper staining
techniques and covered the of Modello stencils with gelled acid as well as
Engravacretes re-usable stencils.
finished off the last day covering sealers, buff in wax, mop down wax as well
as grouting techniques. This was a busy
two-day class not leaving much out.
Hat's off to the class, you did a great job!
That's it for now.
Sorry for the length of this newsletter.
Hopefully the next newsletter will be back to normal. Time to get back to school. See ya!