1st igloo of the season is UP! 9'model on a megapad!

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Banff Martin
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1st igloo of the season is UP! 9'model on a megapad!

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:13 am

Good morning,

it is done! Starting at 10am and finishing at about 5:30 (with lunch break), we built a 9' igloo on the pre-built pad (over 2' thick). Conditions were ideal as the temperature was around the freezing mark and the snow was a week old - self-compacted to half its original height since falling. All the snow was from the same snowfall and taken from a pre-cleaned basketball court.

This was the first time we had the snow gatherer work in the way Ed advises: preparing snow on the ledge for the form loader to use. Especially with the ledge being a good foot wide on this pad, this made for a very good ledge and more efficient work. I packed all the blocks but others rotated through the gatherer & loader roles. For levels 6 & 7 the taller helper was form loading and so the other helper created the most manicured pad I've ever seen! =) For level 8, I was inside the igloo standing on a milk crate and a helper was passing up specially altered milk jugs of snow from within for me to use. (I'll get a pic of the jug here later)

We found that under these conditions the snow stuck to the plastic shovels a bit. For the record, Pam cooking spray does not help! Is there anything to be done to make the snow slide off the shovel more easily?
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Right + basketball hoop.jpg
Igloo Front.jpg
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Banff Martin
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Re: 1st igloo of the season is UP! 9'model on a megapad!

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:21 am

And a few more pics...
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Post-lunch.jpg
Post-lunch 2.jpg
Pad.jpg
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Igloo Ed
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Re: 1st igloo of the season is UP! 9'model on a megapad!

Post by Igloo Ed » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:04 pm

Nice job! A perfect sized base and all clean snow. The igloo should last a long time with the old snow and the shape of the igloo being correct. A base that is well set up/hard makes a difference too on the sagging.
The plastic shovels should be fine and not stick. Me thinks a warm shovel was put into cold snow...
I'll put mine in the shade until it freezes and then use it. I've also poked it in and out of cold icy snow very rapidly until the shovel freezes with very limited success. The icy snow will sometimes keep the shovel blade scoured clean until it freezes.
If the shovel does ice up, every little speck of ice needs to be scraped off and the shovel kept frozen until used again. Letting the shovel set in the sun while taking lunch will melt the ice off but again the shovel needs to freeze again before touching snow.
Didn't the snow stick to the igloo tool?
Sometimes on warm sunny days the black panels warm up enough to melt some snow but it will freeze again if the snow is real cold. If the form wasn't freezing up, I'd suspect the shovel was brought in a warm car...

Banff Martin
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Re: 1st igloo of the season is UP! 9'model on a megapad!

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:06 pm

Thanks! It was quite a good build, good times were had.

The shovels were outside the entire time. The temp did get just above freezing so the snow was getting sticky. The outside of the form did get filled with snow on the later blocks, when the angle is more steep. The snow seemed to stick if it was on the shovel for more than a several seconds when it set up.

At the same time, my company's radio department sent someone to take a recording, to be broadcast a few times from The Banff Centre's program. She also filled some blocks with us. =) We'll see how I sound being interviewed.

With another season in the recreation area and more coverage via the radio show, I'm hopeful there will be more visibility for the Icebox tool and more builders inspired in the area. While we were building a couple people came by and said they'd been asked if they knew 'where the big igloo was'. With more interest, maybe some igloos can get built in the back country for camping.

More good days to come! =)
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Banff Martin
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Re: 1st igloo of the season is UP! 9'model on a megapad!

Post by Banff Martin » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:46 am

And here's a pic of the milk jug tool I've made. I have two of these on hand in case one comes apart.

After doubly rinsing & drying the 4L jugs, I tape two wooden popsickle sticks to the outside of each side with 3M duct tape, and make sure to tape over the edges so snow doesn't get pushed underneath the other layers of tape.

This is what I use to get snow onto the form for the 8th level. I stand on a milk crate, and the form loader fills & passes me a jug at a time of snow. We fill & drag in a large bucket of snow into the igloo for this stage. I suppose if we'd a longer handled shovel the loader could do it from the outside, but this seems a more precise way of doing it. And I get less snow down my neck. =)
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Igloo Ed
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Re: 1st igloo of the season is UP! 9'model on a megapad!

Post by Igloo Ed » Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:22 am

Great that interest is there, seems most have an igloo in their heart.
With you saying the snow stuck to the shovel if it set up in the shovel. The correct answer is don't pick the snow up until it can be put into the form immediately.
Another trick is to hold the shaft of the shovel with one hand and tap the end of the shovel handle with the palm of the other hand. Hmm, don't think I've ever mentioned that one before on the forum.
It is slower with a shorter shovel but the igloo can be built with one.
It's the ledge again that is crucial and also the sharp/crisp corner where the edge meets the igloo. I put my boot edge into that corner and lean on the igloo with my knee at first and then my whole body for the highest levels. The shovel needs to be slid up the igloo and then rotated to dump the snow. If rotated correctly, it dumps against the last block and away from the packers face. The biggest problem is that the snow slides off the back of the shovel if not held correctly but it works if the handle is held up a bit higher.
If the corner of the ledge isn't crisp, the form loader will slip and potentially fall through the igloo wall.

Banff Martin
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Re: 1st igloo of the season is UP! 9'model on a megapad!

Post by Banff Martin » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:22 am

In our case I started smacking the shovel when it reached into the right position; it worked well to jar the snow loose and was easier for me to do than for the person holding the shovel. The form loaders did figure out that the snow would set onto the shovel, but didn't try to counter that with timing. On the plus side, I didn't once get hit with the shovel! =)

We didn't figure out how to slide the shovel into position for twisting.

I must say, I keep the outside of the form attached much longer into the build than you do, to ensure the wall thickness is right. I know that makes it harder to get the shovel into position (& probably the slide technique option). I take apart the panel during level 8..! At this point the form loader passes me milk jugs of snow from within.
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Igloo Ed
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Re: 1st igloo of the season is UP! 9'model on a megapad!

Post by Igloo Ed » Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:09 pm

Banff Martin wrote:In our case I started smacking the shovel when it reached into the right position; it worked well to jar the snow loose and was easier for me to do than for the person holding the shovel.
My bone ache a bit and when the packer taps the shovel it isn't always the same and the timing is hard to judge. The shovel tends to sway around a bit and strain muscles on me. It does work for the packer to tap the shovel though.
The form loaders did figure out that the snow would set onto the shovel, but didn't try to counter that with timing.
People want to be fast/efficient so they pick the snow up as soon as possible. The loads that set up like that can easily break a block when it impacts the form on sugar snow.
On the plus side, I didn't once get hit with the shovel! =)
Ha! Something to be said for that... I've only been hit lightly a few times with the shovel but plenty of snow. :)
We didn't figure out how to slide the shovel into position for twisting.
Shoveler stands facing the igloo grasping the shovel handle with left hand and shovel shaft with right hand. Basically, the shovel can be placed on the igloo and slid to the right until it comes over a vacant spot for the snow. When placing the shovel on the wall, the shovel blade should be behind the block being built.
When sliding the shovel to the right, eventually let go with the right hand and guide/steer the shovel with the left hand.
If the shovel is brought across the block towards the bottom to the block, tip/twist the handle counterclockwise so the snow dumps into the form and not out onto the igloo wall.
If the shovel is brought in high, the shovel can be twist clockwise and the snow dumps onto the block being built.
I use a combination of the low or high position depending on if the packer is getting snow in his face.
I must say, I keep the outside of the form attached much longer into the build than you do, to ensure the wall thickness is right.

I can see how thick the block is if I push the snow into the block being built instead of packing it onto the form. If the snow is placed correctly, a slight push until you see the wall get what looks like the right thickness and then place another shovel, repeat.
I know that makes it harder to get the shovel into position (& probably the slide technique option).
Yes, it's impossible to load the form from the outside on the higher levels if the Outer Panel is on.
I take apart the panel during level 8..! At this point the form loader passes me milk jugs of snow from within.
I do that solo sometimes but use my shovel blade, I'm sure your scoop would work much better.
There is a lot to be said for leaving the Outer Panel on also. The packing technique doesn't change and packing isn't quite so critical as the form sets much more solidly. The wall thickness is exact and looks cooler than when the snow surface is packed by hand.
One place leaving the Outer Panel on can cause problems is on the 7 foot igloo and igloos that are cone shaped. On those igloos, the form doesn't move freely and panel breaks blocks. I'm very relieved sometimes when I get to remove the panel as not all igloos have that perfect shape.

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