Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

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Rugger
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Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

Post by Rugger » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:53 pm

Hi Everyone,

I was doing just great with solo building a 7' until I hit the 3rd block of the 4th layer.

I just couldn't get the snow to pack to it's self.
It would look good until I would half way to the next postition.

A little detail.
Fresh COLD snow! -22C and -32C with the wind Chill. Beautiful Saskatchewan Day!
I did sweep/rake the snow before onto the form.

Thanks

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Igloo Ed
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Re: Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

Post by Igloo Ed » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:09 pm

It sounds like you are doing real good.
You said "It would look good until I would half way to the next postition". I think you mean the block stays solid when you unclamp the Toggle Handle but the block would break as you were moving the form.
If so, you are packing the snow correctly and that is the hardest thing to learn.
The problems is in the design of the tool but the problem can be overcome. The curvature of the panels is correct for the 9ft. igloo. There is a bit of interference when moving the ICEBOX when building the 8ft. igloo and a bit to much interference when moving it on the 7 ft.
Two ways to overcome the problem is to only use the Inner Panel on the last two courses of the igloo or temporarily remove the U-Bar to move the tool. Either method works and both take a bit of learning.
If only the inner panel is used, packing becomes a little move challenging as the Inner Panel flexes very easily which results in a broken block. Packing the snow into/onto the wall instead of onto the Inner Panel is very crucial when doing this.
Removing the U-Bar works very well and it lets you continue to pack the way you have been for the first part of the igloo. To remove the U-Bar, pull it up until it is about an inch short of the little catch that stops it from coming out of the Inner Panel. When it is an inch short, it should be sliding easily, give it a quick pull so it pops over the catch. If done right, it shouldn't break the block. After the U-Bar is removed, grab the Outer Panel with your right hand and lift it up some like you are opening a book. This takes the weight of the Outer Panel off the snow block and gives lots of clearance to move the tool. After lifting the Outer Panel, release the Toggle Handle very slowly. The form should have lots of clearance and move easily without breaking the block.
Put the U-Bar back into the tool before positioning it again for the next block.
I hope I understood you correctly.
Your cold and fresh snow will make a very delicate block but it is a little easier to work with than the old snow when that cold. Sounds like you've about got it.

Rugger
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Re: Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

Post by Rugger » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:29 pm

Thanks, Ed,

I was only using the inner panel but also had a tough time keeping it stable.
Will give your method a try.

I have 3 weeks off in December and I plan on doing a lot of winter camping so I need to get this figured out.

Thanks for such a Great Tool!!!

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Igloo Ed
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Re: Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

Post by Igloo Ed » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:18 pm

Rugger wrote:Thanks, Ed,

I was only using the inner panel but also had a tough time keeping it stable.
Will give your method a try.

I have 3 weeks off in December and I plan on doing a lot of winter camping so I need to get this figured out.

Thanks for such a Great Tool!!!
I like using just the Inner Panel the most.
It is hard getting the form to stay steady. The pressure on the corner is hard to duplicate each time you release to grab another shovel full. It must be a slight pressure and the packing must be smooth/soft/into wall.
Then too, you might try just building half a block, that makes it easier.
I don't undo the Toggle Handle but slide the tool and it comes loose. That's tricky too but can be done if the form is position correctly when packing the snow.
I do it all from the outside. The ledge is crucial in that one can't be slipping or standing awkwardly or the tool will move. I need to lean on the igloo in order to build those last two courses.
Well, hope that makes sense.

Rugger
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Re: Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

Post by Rugger » Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:43 am

Well, I managed to get the final layers done,

Couple of things that I learnt and hopefully will help the next person.
Make sure the blocks are at least 8" thick. Some of my problem seems to have been because there wasn't enough block structure.
Ed does it overly matter if they are a little thicker?
The ledge is very, very important!!! Mine was lacking in width and stability in places and made things very trying. I am thinking I will be adding
as shovel full to the ledge with every layer that I go up. That way I will have lots of reach at the top.
Be Gentle very gentle, packing and unloading the snow onto the inner panel.

My next try is tomorrow, hopefully things go better and quicker. 8)

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Igloo Ed
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Re: Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

Post by Igloo Ed » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:48 pm

Rugger wrote:Well, I managed to get the final layers done,

Couple of things that I learnt and hopefully will help the next person.
Make sure the blocks are at least 8" thick. Some of my problem seems to have been because there wasn't enough block structure.
Ed does it overly matter if they are a little thicker?
The ledge is very, very important!!! Mine was lacking in width and stability in places and made things very trying. I am thinking I will be adding
as shovel full to the ledge with every layer that I go up. That way I will have lots of reach at the top.
Be Gentle very gentle, packing and unloading the snow onto the inner panel.

My next try is tomorrow, hopefully things go better and quicker. 8)
A little extra thick on top will be fine. You just don't want a huge pile up there as the weight will matter at that point.
Build the block to full thickness as it comes away from the last block and lower block. A thin block will keep cracking as you add more snow to make it thicker.
Adding to the ledge shouldn't be needed if the ledge has a nice sharp corner where it meets the igloo wall. That sharp corner is important so ones foot doesn't slip off when leaning on the igloo.
In cold dry snow, it takes a while for the ledge to become solid enough to stand on. The surface of the ledge ends up having a 1/2 inch thick layer of very hard icy snow that will support you. If you add a little each time around, the new snow needs to set up to support you. When you need to stand on the ledge it will probably give the little 1/2 inch that you've added and the momentum will then break the first layer you packed.
The ledge needs to be scraped/swept clean until you just hear the ice. Adding a little dusting is what I do. Generally when scraping a little to much snow is taken off and adding just an 1/8 inches that mixes with the surface works good.
When picking a shovel full of snow off the ledge you can feel it cutting into the hard packed layer. Don't do that... it's almost impossible to relate how important that is and how easily it happens.
After you've figured it out and then build an igloo with someone else, you'll hear them taking the ledge and they will say they are not doing it.... I promise that will happen to you if you have help.
It's good you are doing it by your self so you spot all the little tricks and will be able to teach.

Banff Martin
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Re: Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:59 am

Hey Rugger,

One thing I like to do is build the igloo's pad at least a day before the igloo is built so it is more firm. It also leaves you with more energy for the day of the igloo building.

Enjoy!
If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!

Rugger
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Re: Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

Post by Rugger » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:16 pm

Banff Martin wrote:Hey Rugger,

One thing I like to do is build the igloo's pad at least a day before the igloo is built so it is more firm. It also leaves you with more energy for the day of the igloo building.

Enjoy!
Hi Banff Martin,

Thanks for the suggestion but I intend to winter camp and that really won't be an option.
We currently only have 6 inches (2 inches packed) of snow so I have to build my base up to 8+ inches in order for the centre spike to be at full depth.
Even though I make a 10-11 foot diameter base, the edges are too soft to stand on. 8(
And of course when you have to move that much snow to make a base you get tired of the base building task quickly! 8)

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Igloo Ed
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Re: Tips/Suggestions for Solo Final Layers

Post by Igloo Ed » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:19 pm

Rugger wrote:
Banff Martin wrote:Hey Rugger,

One thing I like to do is build the igloo's pad at least a day before the igloo is built so it is more firm. It also leaves you with more energy for the day of the igloo building.

Enjoy!
Hi Banff Martin,

Thanks for the suggestion but I intend to winter camp and that really won't be an option.
We currently only have 6 inches (2 inches packed) of snow so I have to build my base up to 8+ inches in order for the centre spike to be at full depth.
Even though I make a 10-11 foot diameter base, the edges are too soft to stand on. 8(
And of course when you have to move that much snow to make a base you get tired of the base building task quickly! 8)
Don't forget about the "For Shallow Snow" Stake. It can be fastened to an 18 inch square piece of plywood and the igloo can be build directly on concrete. It also takes out the stake coming loose factor.
It could be screwed to a forked stick in the backcountry.
Hopefully you can find a deeper drift of snow on your trip.
Ya, that ledge. I think it's covered pretty good in the manual but let us know if you don't figure it out.

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