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Monday, September 19, 2011

E-Z Cinderblock Plinth

Have a heavy statue you want to use for your Halloween graveyard?   Have some cinderblocks laying around?  Why not make a plinth base? 
Heavy  Statue
(Resin, filled with cement)

But first, What is a plinth?
A plinth is a small base for a statue, urn, or column.  Bigger than a base, but smaller than a pedestal.

What will I need?
  • 4 to 6 cinderblocks
  • A level
  • A carpenter's square
  • Two cinderblock caps
  • 12" x 12" (30 and 1/2 cm) stepping stone
Before building the plinth, lets look at the basics of building with bricks.  Why are bricks and blocks not stacked in straight lines.  That's simple, gravity.   If the bricks are stacked together in straight lines, there is one continuous seam, which could lead to failure or cracks.   Some walls are built like this, but are reinforced.

The seams carry the weight of the wall and have a better chance of failure

But bricks are layed out in what are called staggered seams, which means, the next course of bricks is off-center on  the course below it, and has a better chance of supporting the weight of the wall.  Then the course on  top of the previous course will be staggered.
The center of the first brick supports the seam of the two bricks above it, and the weight of the wall
is supported.

Now that we know brick laying, lets get to some caution:  cinderblocks are heavy, and could fall, so if you build this plinth, put it away from guests.    Make sure the ground is level or pretty much level.  I have sunken a block cut out of my sidewalk in my flowerbed, and that is the support for the plinth.  But I doubt people will have much time to dig a hole in their yard and pour a level cement base. 

Lets get building.   First set two cinder blocks side by side, and use the level to make sure it's level.  Use the carpenter's square to line the blocks up.

Side by side
(but I switched the position)

Now set the next block course so the seams are perpendicular to the first course and check for level.

facing toward the camera
Next, repeat the previous step and check for level and square.  If you feel inclined, check for plumb by placing the level on the side.   Now you can add a course of two more bricks, but it may be difficult to place the heavy object on the plinth the higher you go.  You can go as high as 4 courses, but I would not recommend stacking the blocks any higher.  When it is level and square, add the two cinderblock caps, and check for square.

with caps added

Now it's time for the stepping stone, just for decorative purposes.   When you place the stepping stone on top, check for level, and use the carpenter's square for centering the stepping stone.

with stepping stone added

Now it's time to add the heavy object or statue,  exercise caution while lifting heavy objects, and if it's too heavy, get a friend to help.  Remember: the higher you build, the higher you will have to lift.

With statue added
(The cat watched, but she was not helpful)

Here's where you can paint the plinth, or if you know masonry, add a scratchcoat of mortar, or you can cover the plinth with monster mud.   If you want it permanent, and know masonry, you can add mortar between courses.   But remember, be careful and have fun (well, as much fun as you can have stacking blocks).   Now for a short (goofy)  video demonstrating how to build it.

(The voice I use in this video is me trying to imitate late night infomercials, which means I watch too much late night TV.  If people do not like the audio, please mute it.  The voice I use is not at all serious, but the video is.)

1 comment:

  1. Fun! This is actually a great idea. I have a smaller version in the garden balanced on a cement bird bath...doesn't look that hot. Your solution would give it the height I need. Plint, a new word to add to my vocab. Thanks for posting.