Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Here Comes the Putzmeister!

Putzmeister Machine - 500 Wide.jpg

This is the machine that yesterday pumped liquid concrete into a hose, allowing it to be precisely (and rapidly) distributed into the voids that the crew had leveled, filled, compacted, and rebar-ed late last week. Ok, Michael Covington correctly tells us that “Putzmeister” translates from the German as “cleaning master.” That other definition you’re thinking of is actually Yiddish.

Quick aside: Seeing the machine reminded me of a very silly song my mother used to sing to us, called “Cement Mixer.” The key line (and what stuck in my memory) is “Cement mixer, putzy-putzy.” I think we may have had it on 78, possibly by piano maniac Slim Gaillard, who is the only man I’ve ever heard of who could play the piano with his hands held upside-down.

Before Pour 500 Wide.jpg

No matter. The machine and the concreters did a helluva job. We have a driveway, a front walk, and a front porch again, in a nice sandy color and fairly subtle texture. It’s now cured enough to walk on (carefully) though we can’t drive on it for several more days. The texture-mold releaser dust has to be power-washed off of it before I can actually show you a picture of how it’s going to look. That’ll happen on Friday.

Pouring Walk - 500 Wide.jpg

Texture Pattern Molds - 500 Wide.jpg

The photo above is of the plastic sheets that apply the texture to the still-soft concrete. The bucket is the releaser dust that keeps the pattern sheets from sticking to the concrete. In use, the sheets are laid on the concrete and manually rammed with a pole-mounted thumper about a foot square.

Smoothing Porch - 500 Wide.jpg

So far, wonderful. I definitely recommend the firm that did the work, Stivers Concrete. Rick Stivers got his big break by appearing with Ty Pennington on Extreme Home Makeover, back while he was still based in Escondido. Since then he’s fled California’s taxes and red tape to Colorado, and likes it much better here. We’re very glad he did, and we’re already looking ahead to summer 2015 for the garage slab and retaining wall projects. That’s about as soon as we think we can handle it, given that I have to put my lathe, drill press, and extensive scrap metal collection in storage, which in turn means that we still have a great deal of clean-up-and-put-away to do out there.

Whatever. My driveway is no longer an eyesore and a safety hazard. That’s victory enough for this year.


  1. Tom Dison says:

    My mother sang it also, but hers was “Cement Mixer, Putty, Putty”

    Here are the lyrics to Slim Gaillard song. I’m sure there’s a deep meaning in there somewhere, but I never found it!

    Cement mixer, putty putty
    Cement mixer, putty putty
    Cement mixer, putty putty
    Cement mixer, putty putty
    Cement mixer, putty putty

    A puddle o’ vooty, a puddle o’ gooty
    A puddle o’ scooby, a puddle o’ veet concrete
    First you get some gravel, pour it on the vout
    To mix a mess o’ mortar

    You add cement and water
    See the mellow roony
    Come out slurp, slurp, slurp

  2. Jonathan O'Neal says:

    Here is a sampling of Mr. Gaillard’s work, including playing with his hands inverted, and the ever-popular “Cement Mixer” (the latter starts at about 5:15 if you want to skip straight to it). I remember my mother singing it as well. It (he?) seems to have made an impression on a certain generation of women!

  3. Larry Nelson says:

    My father was a carpenter who did a lot of concrete form work in conjunction with home remodeling work. His sons (including me) worked with him. One of the first tasks as a beginning laborer was pushing a wheelbarrow of concrete to some far corner of a back yard. The putzmeister makes is look so easy.

    Another early task was “puddling” concrete with a 1×2 stick so it would flow in the form and release air bubbles.

    Concrete finishers are the hardest working construction guys I know. I can still see Dean, our regular cement guy, leaning long over a trowel with sweat rolling off his face onto the still pliable concrete.

    My father did a lot of concrete form work in big water projects on the Columbia River. You’ve no doubt seen the news of a cracked Wanapum Dam that has a concrete defect. That wasn’t my Dad’s fault, he worked on the Priest Rapids Dam about 10 miles down river. Priest Rapids isn’t cracked.

  4. Roger G. Smith says:

    “Cement Mixer” / Slim Gaillard


  5. Klaus Peter Bruhn says:


    Jeff Duntemann’s Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image
    Here Comes the Putzmeister!
    May 14th, 2014

    Dear Jeff,

    the German word ‘Putz’ (noun) has several different meanings.
    The one applicable here would be: Putz == concrete plaster

    Here is an idiom: ‘auf den Putz hauen’
    verbal and WRONG translation : ‘to beat on the Putz’
    Correct meaning: ‘to go hog-wild’.

    German is a weird and somtimes funny language.

    Greetings from the Fatherland,

    K P Bruhn

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