Condo Blues: How to use a Jackhammer

Monday, June 29, 2009

How to use a Jackhammer

When we last visited our intrepid gardeners (that would be Husband and I) they wanted to build a raised garden bed, a relatively simple project. Looks like we pissed off the gardening gods (again) because I found an eight inch slab of concrete growing in my flower beds.

We needed to break up the concrete and remove it before we could build our raised garden bed.

The ribbon of concrete in our flower bed was a result of a sloppy over pour when the builders made the porch. Husband tried using a 3 pound min sledge hammer and a chisel to break up the concrete. He got quite a bit of concrete out of our beds, but further on he saw that the narrow ribbon of concrete was also at least eight inches deep.


Time to pull out the big guns.

Who knew gardening required a jackhammer?

Actually this job called for a heavy duty industrial hammer drill, which looks like a jackhammer but comes with several special masonry bits. And is big. Real big. And heavy. About 60 pounds worth of heavy.


I checked if our city tool lending library had a jackhammer or hammer drill that we could borrow for free but the program was an early victim of city budget cuts. I didn’t bother asking friends if they had a hammer drill we could borrow because I’d know if they had such a thing hanging out in their garage. Buying was out of the question because what would I do with a massive thousand dollar hammer drill after we finished the job? Prop it in a corner of my living room and ask visitors, “Hey, wanna come over and see my jackhammer?” Ah, no. That sounds too weird and pervey. No way.

Fortunately a tool rental shop had exactly what we needed. At $60 a day it was a bargain. It probably goes without saying that renting the hammer drill is also the more environmentally friendly option because once we’re done with the tool it goes right back to the rental shop instead of cluttering up our garage.

I couldn’t let Husband have all of the fun. I had to give using the jackhammer a whirl. It was heavy and clunky and I needed help moving it from spot to spot but once I squeezed the handle and started it up it took all of two seconds to drill straight through that concrete like butta.


Ladies, I honestly have to say that using heavy machinery like that is very empowering. Skip the women’s studies classes, watching Oprah, and the self help books. You want female empowerment? Rent a big honking machine that goes batta-batta-vrrrrrrr-kchunk! That’s empowerment ladies!

Then do something girlie afterward like give yourself a manicure.

The hammer drill made short work of the concrete. Here’s the pile we pulled from our garden.


Impressive, no?

Yes, it was fun using such a powerful tool to make short work of the concrete that’s plagued us and stalled our project, but it’s also a dangerous tool so be careful, OK? Notice that we are using eye and ear protection and are wearing protective clothing (heavy shoes, work gloves*, and boots) and my long hair is tied back out of the way. If you’re not sure of your abilities, call an expert.
*Heavy duty pink suede work gloves are optional. You can wear whatever color heavy duty work gloves you like. Especially if you are a boy.