Basic Construction And Carpentry Techniques Home



HALBERT P. GILLETTE M. Am. Soc. C. E.; M. Am. Inst. M. E., Managing Editor, Engineering-Contracting AND

CHARLES S. HILL, C. E. Associate Editor, Engineering-Contracting




Two general methods of concrete pile construction are available for engineering work. By one method a hole is formed in the ground by driving a steel shell or by other special means and this hole is filled with concrete. By the other method the pile is molded in suitable forms and after becoming hard is driven as a wood or steel pile is driven. Piles constructed by the first method may be either plain or reinforced, but piles constructed by the second method are always reinforced to strengthen them for handling and driving. Concrete piers for foundation work are simply piles of enlarged diameter.

MOLDING PILES IN PLACE.—Molding piles in place requires the use of special apparatus, and this apparatus is to a very large degree controlled by patents. Pile work of this kind is thus generally done by concerns which control the use of the apparatus employed and the general contractor can undertake it only by permission of the proprietary companies. The methods of work followed and the cost of work are thus of direct interest only as general information.

Method and Cost of Constructing Raymond Piles.—The machinery and processes employed in the construction of Raymond concrete piles are patented and all piling work by this method is controlled by the Raymond Concrete Pile Co. As detail costs of construction are not given out by the company the following figures collected by the authors are subject to revision. They are believed to be fairly approximate, having in one case been obtained by personal watch on the work and in the other case from authentic records of the engineers on the work.

The pile is made as follows: A collapsible steel core 30 ft. long, 20 ins. diameter at the top and 6 ins. diameter at the[Pg 152] bottom, encased in a thin sheet steel shell, is driven into the ground by an ordinary pile driver. When it has reached the proper depth, a wedge is loosened, permitting the two sections of the core to come closer together so that the core can be pulled out of the hole, leaving the steel shell behind as a casing to prevent the sides from caving in. The shell is made of No. 20 gage steel, usually in four or more sections, which telescope one over the other. A nest of sections is slipped over the lower end of the core as it hangs in the leads, a rope is hitched around the outer section and the engine hoists away until the sections are "un-telescoped" and drawn snug onto the core. The rope is then unfastened and the driving begins. Figure 49 shows the usual pile driving rig used. The following are examples of pile construction in actual work:

Example I.—In this work, for a building foundation in New York City, the pile driver was mounted on a turntable, the framework of the turntable in turn resting on rollers traveling on timbers laid on the ground. The driver was moved along and rotated when necessary by ropes passing around the winch head of the engine. The driver had 50-ft. leads and a 3,100-lb. hammer operated by an ordinary friction clutch hoisting engine. The hammer blow was received by an oak block fitting into a recess at the top of the steel core. This block was so battered by the blows that it had to be renewed about every five or six piles driven. A ¾-in. wire rope passing over a 10-in. sheave lasted for the driving of 130 piles and then broke. When the work was first begun the crew averaged 10 piles per 10-hour day, but the average for the job was 13 piles per day, and the best day's work was 17 piles. The cost of labor and fuel per pile was as follows:

Fig. 49.—Pile Driver Rigged for Constructing Raymond Concrete Piles.Fig. 49.—Pile Driver Rigged for Constructing Raymond Concrete Piles.
5 men on driver at $1.75 $ 8.75
2 men handling shells at $1.75 3.50
1 engineman 3.00
6 men mixing and placing concrete 10.50
1 foreman 5.00
Coal and oil 2.50
    Total, 13 piles, at $2.55 $33.25

Deducting the cost of placing the concrete we get a cost of $1.75 for driving the cores. The pile, 25 ft.[Pg 153] long, 6 ins. at the point and 18 ins. at the head, contains 21¼ cu. ft., or 0.8 cu. yd., of concrete, and has a surface area of 77 ft. As No. 20 steel weighs 1.3 lbs. per sq. ft., each shell[Pg 154] weighed approximately 100 lbs. The cost per pile may then be summarized as follows:

1.2 bbls. cement in 0.8 cu. yd., at $1.75 $2.10
0.8 cu. yd. stone at $1.25 1.00
⅓ cu. yd. sand at $1.05 0.35
100 lbs. steel in shell at 3½ cts. 3.50
Labor and fuel as above 2.55
Total per pile (38 cts. per lin. ft.) $9.50

This cost, it should be carefully noted, does not include cost of moving plant to and from work or general expenses.

Example II.—In constructing a building at Salem, Mass., 172 foundation piles, 14 to 37 ft. long, 6 ins. diameter at the point and 20 ins. diameter at the top, were constructed by the Raymond process. The general contractor made the necessary excavations and provided clear and level space for the pile driver, braced all trenches and pier holes, set stakes for the piles and gave all lines and levels. The piles were driven by a No. 2 Vulcan steam hammer with a 3,000-lb. plunger having a drop of 3 ft., delivering 60 blows per minute. Figure 49 shows the driver at work. Sixteen working days were occupied in driving the piles after the driver was in position. The greatest number driven in one day was 20, and the average was 11 piles per day. When in position for driving, the average time required to complete driving was 12 minutes. The total number of blows varied from about 310 to 360, the average being about 350. The piles were driven until the penetration produced by 8 to 10 blows equaled 1 in. When in full operation, a crew of 5 men operated the pile driver. Seven men were engaged in making the concrete and 5 men working upon the metal shells.

Assuming the ordinary organization and the wages given below, we have the following labor cost per day:

1 foreman at $5 $ 5.00
1 engineman at $3 3.00
4 laborers on driver at $1.75 7.00
6 laborers making concrete at $1.75 10.50
5 laborers handling shells at $1.75 8.75
    Total $34.25

[Pg 155]

As 172 piles averaging 20 ft. in length were driven in 16 days, the total labor cost of driving, given by the figures above, is 16 × $34.25 = $548, or practically 16 cts. per lineal foot of pile driven.

The concrete used in the piles was a 1-3-5 Portland cement, sand and 1½-in. broken stone mixture. A 20-ft. pile of the section described above contains about 20 cu. ft. of concrete, or say 0.75 cu. yd. We can then figure the cost of concrete materials per pile as follows:

0.85 bbl. cement at $1.60 $1.36
0.36 cu. yd. sand at $1 0.36
0.60 cu. yd. stone at $1.25 0.75
    Total per pile $2.47

The steel shell has an area of about 72 sq. ft., and as No. 20 gage steel weighs 1.3 lbs. per sq. ft., its weight for each pile was about 94 lbs. Assuming the cost of coal, oil, etc., at $2.50 per day, we have the following summary of costs:

Per lin. ft. of pile.
Labor driving and concreting $0.16
Concrete materials 0.123
94 lbs. steel shell at 3 cts. 0.145
Coal, oil, etc. 0.011
    Total $0.439

The cost does not include interest on plant, cost of moving plant to and from work and general expenses.

Fig. 50.—Sketch Showing Method of Constructing Simplex Concrete Piles.Fig. 50.—Sketch Showing Method of Constructing Simplex Concrete Piles.

Method of Constructing Simplex Piles.—The apparatus employed in driving Simplex piles resembles closely the ordinary wooden pile driven, but it is much heavier and is equipped to pull as well as to drive. A 3,300-lb. hammer is used and it strikes on a hickory block set in a steel drive head which rests on the driving form or shell. This form consists of a ¾-in. steel shell 16 ins. in diameter made in a single 40-ft. length. Around the top of the shell a ½-in. thick collar or band 18 ins. deep is riveted by 24 1-in. countersunk rivets. This band serves the double purpose of preventing the shell being upset by the blows of the hammer and of giving a grip for fastening the pulling tackle. The bottom of the form or shell is provided[Pg 156] with a point. Two styles of point are employed. One style consists of two segments of a cylinder of the same size as the form, so cut that they close together to form a sort of clam shell point. In driving, the two jaws are held closed by the pressure of the earth and in pulling they open apart of their own weight to permit the concrete to pass them. This point, known as the alligator point, is pulled with the shell. It is suitable only for driving in firm, compact soil, in loose soil the pressure inward of the walls keeps the jaws partly closed and so contracts the diameter of the finished pile. The second style of point is a hollow cast iron point, 10 ins. deep and 16½ ins. in diameter, having a neck over which the driving form slips and an annular shoulder outside the neck to receive the circular edge of the shell. The projected sectional area of this point is 1.4 sq. ft. It is left in the ground when the form is withdrawn. The form is withdrawn by means of two 1-in. cables fastened to a steel collar which engages under the band at the top of the form. The cables pass in the channel leads on each side over the head of the driver and down in back to a pair of fivefold steel blocks, the lead line from which passes to one of the drums of the engine. In this manner the power of the drum is increased ten times and it is not unusual to[Pg 157] break the pulling cables when the forms are in hard ground. The general method of construction is about as shown by Fig. 50, being changed slightly to meet varying conditions. The form resting on a cast iron point is driven to hard ground. A heavy weight is then lowered into the form to make sure the point is loose. While the weight is at the bottom of the form a target is placed on its line at the top of the form, the purpose of which will be apparent later. The weight is then withdrawn. Given the length of the pile and sectional area, it is an easy matter to determine the volume of concrete necessary to fill the hole.

This amount is put into the form by means of a specially designed bottom dump bucket, which permits the concrete to leave it in one mass, reaching its destination with practically no disintegration. It will be noticed that when the full amount of concrete is in the form its surface is considerably above the surface of the ground. This is due to the fact that the thickness of the form occupies considerable space that is to be occupied by the concrete. The weight is now placed on top of the concrete and the form is pulled. The target previously mentioned now becomes useful. As the form is withdrawn the concrete settles down to occupy the space left by the walls of the form. Obviously this settlement should proceed at a uniform rate, and as it is difficult to watch the weight, the target on its line further up is of considerable help. By watching this target in connection with a scale on the leads of the driver, it can be readily told how the concrete in the form is acting. As another check, the target, just as the bottom of the form is leaving the ground should be level with the top of the form. This would indicate that the necessary amount of concrete has gone into the ground and that, other conditions being all right, the pile is a good one. In some grounds where the head of concrete in the form exerts a greater pressure than the back pressure or resistance of the earth, the concrete will be forced out into the sides of the hole, making the pile of increased diameter at that point and necessitating the use of more concrete to bring the pile up to the required level.

Method of Constructing Piles with Enlarged Footings.—A pile with an enlarged base or footing has been used in several[Pg 158] places by Mr. Charles R. Gow of Boston, Mass., who has patented the construction. A single pipe or a succession of pipes connected as the work proceeds is driven by hammer to the depths required. The material inside the shell is then washed out by a water jet to the bottom of the shell and then for a further distance below the shell bottom. An expanding cutter is then lowered to the bottom of the hole and rotated horizontally so as to excavate a conical chamber, the water jet washing the earth out as fast as it is cut away. When the chamber has been excavated the water is pumped out and the chamber and shell are filled with concrete. The drawings of Fig. 51 show the method of construction clearly. The chambering machine is used only in clay or other soil which does not wash readily. In soil which is readily washed the chamber can be formed by the jet alone. The practicability of this method of construction is stated by Mr. Gow to be limited to pipe sizes up to about 14 ins. in diameter.

Fig. 51.—Sketch Showing Method of Constructing Concrete Piles with Enlarged Footings.Fig. 51.—Sketch Showing Method of Constructing Concrete Piles with Enlarged Footings.

Method of Constructing Piles by the "Compressol" System.—The compressol system of concrete pile or pillar construction is a French invention that has been widely used abroad and which is controlled in this country by the Hennebique Construction Co., of New York, N. Y. The piles are constructed[Pg 159] by first ramming a hole in the ground by repeatedly dropping a conical "perforator" weighing some two tons. This perforator is raised and dropped by a machine resembling an ordinary pile driver. The conical weight gradually sinks the hole deeper and deeper by compacting the earth laterally; this lateral compression is depended upon so to consolidate the walls of the hole that they do not cave before the concrete can be placed. The concrete is deposited loose in the hole and rammed solid by dropping a pear-shaped weight onto it as it is placed. The view Fig. 52 shows the "perforator" and the tamping apparatus at work. Very successful work has been done abroad by this method.

Fig. 52.—View of Apparatus Used in Constructing Compressol Piles.Fig. 52.—View of Apparatus Used in Constructing Compressol Piles.

Method of Constructing Piers in Caissons.—For piles or pillars of diameters larger than say 18 ins. the use of driving shells and cores becomes increasingly impracticable. Concrete pillars of large size are then used. They are constructed by excavating and curbing a well or shaft and filling it with concrete. This construction has been most used in Chicago, Ill., for the foundations for heavy buildings, but it is of general[Pg 160] application where the sub-soil conditions are suitable. The method is not patented or controlled by patents in any particular, except that certain tools and devices which may be used are proprietary.

General Description.—The caisson method of construction is simple in principle. A well is dug by successive excavations of about 5 ft. each. After each excavation of 5 ft. is completed, wood lagging is placed around the sides and supported by internal steel rings, so that the soft ground around the excavation is maintained in its former position. The methods of excavating and removing the soil and of constructing the lagging are considered in detail further on. The caissons vary in diameter according to the load; some as large as 12 ft. in diameter have been sunk, but the usual diameter is 6 ft.; a caisson of 3 ft. in diameter is as small as a man can get into and work. When the pier goes to bed rock the caisson is made of uniform diameter from top to bottom, but where the pier rests on hardpan the bottom portion of the well is belled out to give greater bearing area. It is customary to load the piers about 20 tons per square foot.

Fig. 53.—Curbing for Concrete Piers (Usual Construction).Fig. 53.—Curbing for Concrete Piers (Usual Construction).

Caisson Construction.—The caisson construction, or more correctly the form of curbing most commonly used, is that indicated by the sketch, Fig. 53. The lagging is 2×6 in. or 3×6 in., stuff 5 ft. 4 ins. or 4 ft. long set vertically around the well and held in place by interior wrought iron rings. For a 6-ft. diameter caisson these hoops are ¾ by 3 ins.; they are made in two parts, which are bolted together as shown by Fig. 53. Generally there are two rings for each length of lagging; for 5-ft.[Pg 161] lagging they are placed about 9 ins. from each end. In some cases, however, engineers have specified three rings for the upper sections in soft clay and two rings for the sections in the hard ground lower down. The lagging used is not cut with radial edges, but is rough, square cut stuff; the rings, therefore, take the inward pressure altogether.

Fig. 54.—Curbing for Concrete Piers (Jackson Patent).Fig. 54.—Curbing for Concrete Piers (Jackson Patent).

In some recent work done by the inventor use has been made of the caisson construction shown by Fig. 54 and patented by Mr. Geo. W. Jackson. In place of the plain rings a combination of T-beam ribs and jacks is used; this construction is clearly shown by the drawing. The advantages claimed for the construction are that it gives absolute security to the workmen and the work, that the lagging can be jacked tightly against the outer walls of the well, that the braces form a ladder by which the workmen can enter and leave the well, and that the possibility of shifting the bracing easily permits the concrete to be placed to the best advantage. On the[Pg 162] other hand the braces abstruct the clear working space of the caissons.

Fig. 55.—Layout of Plant for Concrete Pier Construction. Cook County Court House Foundations.Fig. 55.—Layout of Plant for Concrete Pier Construction. Cook County Court House Foundations.

Excavating and Handling Material.—The excavation of the wells is done by hand, using shovels and picks, and, in the hardpan, special grubs made by A. J. Pement and George Racky, Chicago blacksmiths. The excavated material is hoisted out of the well in buckets made by the Variety Iron Works, of Chicago. For caissons which are not specified to go to rock it is considered more economical to do the hoisting by windlass derricks operated by hand. These derricks have four 6×6-in. legs and a 3×6-in. top piece. When the caissons go to rock the hoisting is done by power, so-called "cable set-ups" being used in most cases. To illustrate this method the following account of the foundation work for the Cook County Court House is given:

The Cook County Court House foundations consist of 126 caissons varying from 4 ft. to 10½ ft. in diameter and averaging$ 7½ ft. in diameter. They were sunk to rock at a depth of 115 ft. below street level. The work involved 22,000 cu. yds. of excavation and the placing in the caissons of 17,000 cu. yds. of concrete. Over 1,000 piles about 40 ft. long, that had formed the foundation of the old Court House built in 1875, were removed. These piles were found to be in good condition. The work was done by the George A. Fuller[Pg 163] Co., of Chicago, Ill., Contractors, with Mr. Edgar S. Belden Superintendent in Charge. The details which follow have been obtained from Mr. Belden.

Fig. 56.—Section Showing Arrangement of Hoist for Concrete Pier Construction.Fig. 56.—Section Showing Arrangement of Hoist for Concrete Pier Construction.

The foundation area was 157×375 ft., and was excavated to a depth of 15 ft. below the street surface before the caissons were started. The caissons, of which there were 126, were arranged in rows across the lot, there being from six to eight caissons in a row. The arrangement of the plant for the work is indicated by Fig. 55. One row of caissons formed a unit. A platform or "stand" was erected over each caisson and carried in its top a tripod fitted with a "... head" operated by a rope sheave. This arrangement is shown by Fig. 56. An engine on the bank operated by a rope drive all the tripod sheaves for a row of six or eight caissons. The arrangement is indicated by Fig. 55. The clay hoisted from the pits was dumped into 1 cu. yd. hoppers with which the stands were fitted, as shown by Fig. 56; when a hopper was full it was dumped into a car running on a 24-in. gage portable track.[Pg 164] Side dump Koppel cars of 1 cu. yd. capacity were used; they dumped their load into an opening connected with the tracks of the Illinois Tunnel Co., where the material passed into tunnel cars and was taken to the lake front about one mile away. As soon as one row of caissons was completed the stands, tripods, etc., which were made portable, were shifted to another row. At times as many as five units were in operation, sinking 40 caissons.

Fig. 57.—Details of Working Platform for Concrete Pier Construction.Fig. 57.—Details of Working Platform for Concrete Pier Construction.

Fig. 56 shows the arrangement in detail at one caisson. In this work the lagging used was 3×6-in. maple, 5 ft. 4 ins. long, and was supported by 3×¾-in. steel hoops. The lagging was matched and dressed. The "... head," as will be[Pg 165] seen, is operated by a rope sheave on the same axle. As stated above, an endless rope drive operated all the "... heads" on a row of caissons. A 26-in. driving sheave was attached to an ordinary hoisting engine equipped with a governor. The driving rope was ⅝-in. steel. It was wrapped twice around the driving sheave and once around the "... head" sheaves. These latter were 18 ins. in diameter. For the hoists 1-in. Manila rope was used. The other details, the bucket, bucket hook, swivel block, etc., are made clear by the drawing. The platforms, tripods, etc., were of the standard dimensions and construction adopted by the contractors of the work. Detail drawings of the standard platform are given by Fig. 57. One of these platforms contains about 1,000 ft. B. M. of lumber. As will be seen, all connections are bolted, no nails being used anywhere. A platform can thus be taken down and stored or shipped and erected again on another job with very little trouble.

The plant described handled some 22,000 cu. yds. of excavated material on this work. Work was kept up night and day, working three 8-hour shifts. It took an average of 35 shifts to excavate one row of caissons. No figures of the working force or the cost of excavation of this work are available.

Mixing and Placing Concrete.—The placing of the concrete in the excavated wells is done by means of tremies, or, which is more usual, by simply dumping it in from the top, workmen going down to distribute it. The manner of mixing the concrete and of handling it to the caisson varies of course with almost every job. As an example of the better arranged mixing and handling plants the one used on the Cook County Court House work may be described. This plant is shown by the sketch, Fig. 58.

Bins for the sand and stone were built at one side of the lot on the sloping bank; their tops were level with the street surface and their bottoms were just high enough to permit their contents to be delivered by chutes into 1 cu. yd. cars. Wagons dumping through traps in the platform over the bin delivered the sand and stone. The sketches indicate the arrangement of the bins and mixer and the car tracks connecting them. The raw material cars were first run under the stone bin and[Pg 166] charged with the required proportion of stone, and then to the sand bin, where the required proportion of sand was chuted on top of the stone. The loaded car was then hauled up the incline and dumped into the hopper, where cement and water were added. A No. 2½ Smith mixer was used and discharged into cars which delivered their loads on tracks leading to the caissons. The same cars and portable tracks were used as had been used to handle the excavated material. In operation a batch of raw materials was being prepared in the hopper while the previous batch was being mixed and while the concrete car was delivering the still previous batch to the caissons. An average of 40 batches an hour mixed and put into the caissons was maintained with a force of 25 men. In all some 17,000 cu. yds. of concrete were mixed and deposited.

Fig. 58.—Arrangement of Concrete Making Plant, Concrete Pier Construction.Fig. 58.—Arrangement of Concrete Making Plant, Concrete Pier Construction.

Cost of Caisson Work.—The following attempt to get at the cost of caisson work is based largely upon information obtained from Mr. John M. Ewen, John M. Ewen Co., Engineers and Builders, Chicago, Ill. Mr. Ewen says:

"My experience has taught me that it is almost impossible to determine any definite data of cost for this work. This is due to the fact that no two caisson jobs will average the same cost, notwithstanding the fact that the cost of material used and the labor conditions are exactly the same. This condition[Pg 167] is due to the great variety in texture of the soil gone through. For instance, it has come under my experience that in caissons of the same diameter on the same job it required but fifteen 8-hour shifts to reach bedrock in some of these, while it required as many as 21 to 25 shifts to reach rock in the others, rock being at the same elevation. In fact, the digging all the way to rock in some was the best that could be wished for, while in the others boulders and quicksand were encountered, and the progress was slower, and the cost consequently greater.

"Again, we have known it to require eight hours for two men to dig 8 ins. in hardpan in one caisson, while on a job going on at the same time and on the opposite corner of the street two men made progress of 2 ft. in 8 hours through apparently the same stuff, the depth of hardpan from grade being 61 ft. 6 ins. in both instances, and the quality of labor exactly the same.

"There have been more heavy losses among contractors due to the unexpected conditions arising in caisson digging than in any other item of their work, and I predict a loss to some of them that will be serious indeed if an attempt be made to base future bids for caisson work entirely upon the data kept by them on past work. If a contractor is fortunate enough to find the ordinary conditions existing in his caisson work, and by ordinary conditions I mean few boulders, no quicksand, ordinary hardpan and no gas, the following items may be considered safe for figuring caisson work:

"Figure that it will require from 22 to 25 shifts of 8 hours each to strike bedrock, bedrock being from 90 to 95 ft. below datum, and datum being 15 ft. below street grade; figure 2 diggers to the shift in all caissons over 5 ft. in diameter, 45 cts. per hour for each digger; figure 1 top man at 40 cts. per hour, and 1 mucker or common laborer at 30 cts. per hour for all caissons in which there are two diggers, and 1 top man less if 1 digger is in the caisson, which condition exists generally in caissons less than 5 ft. in diameter. Add the cost of ⅝-in. cable, tripods, sheaves, 1-in. Hauser laid line, ... heads, ball-bearing blocks, etc., for rigging of the job. Lagging, which is 2×6 ins. and 3×6 ins. hemlock or some hard wood, in length of 5 ft. 4 ins. and 4 ft., is priced all the way from $20 to $22.50 and $21 to $24.50 per M. ft. B. M., respectively. The[Pg 168] price of caisson rings is $2.40 per 100 lbs. The cost of specially made grubs for digging in hardpan is about $26 per dozen. Shovels are furnished by the diggers themselves in Chicago, Ill. The cost of temporary electric light is $10 per caisson. This includes cost of cable, lamps, guards, etc. Add the cost of or rental of engine or motors for power.

"Some engineers specify three rings to be used to each set of lagging below the top set until hardpan is reached, then two rings for each of the remaining sets from hardpan to rock. This is, of course, to insure against disaster from great pressure of the swelling clay above the hardpan strata, and may or may not be necessary. These rings are ¾×3 ins. wrought iron.

"For caissons which are not specified to go to rock, it is not considered economical to rig up cable set-ups, but rather to use windlass derricks. In this case 1-in. Hauser laid line is used as the means of hoisting the buckets of clay out of the caisson, as is the case in cable set-ups, hand power being used on the windlass derricks instead of steam or electricity. The windlass derricks are made with four legs out of 6×6-in. yellow pine lumber. The top piece is generally a piece of 3×6-in. lagging. The cost of windlass and boxes is about $35 per dozen. Hooks for caisson buckets cost 45 cts. each. Caisson buckets cost $8 each.

"With the above approximate units as a basis, I have seen unit prices given per lineal foot in caisson work which ranged all the way from $12 to $16.50 for 6-ft. diameter caissons, larger and smaller sized caissons being graded in price according to their size. This unit price included rings, lagging, concrete, power, light, labor, etc."

From the above data the following figures of cost can be arrived at, assuming a 6-ft. caisson:

    Labor. Per day.
2 diggers in caisson, at $3.60 $ 7.20
1 top man, at $3.20 3.20
1 mucker, at $2.40 2.40

The depth sunk varies from 3½ to 8 ft. per 8-hour day, depending on the material. Assuming an average of 4 ft., we[Pg 169] have then 4 lin. ft. of caisson, or 2.8 cu. yds. excavated at a labor cost of $12.80, which is at the rate of $3.20 per lin. ft., or $4.57 per cu. yd. We now get the following:

Per lin. ft. Caisson.
40 ft. B. M. (2×6-in. lagging) at $25 $1.00
60 lbs. iron (¾×3-in. rings) at 2½ c. 1.50
0.7 cu. yd. excavation at $4.57 3.20
0.7 cu. yd. muck hauled away at $1 0.70
0.7 cu. yd. concrete at $5 3.50
Electric light 0.10
Total $10.00

If 3×6-in. lagging is used add 50 cts. per lin. ft. of caisson.

MOLDING PILES FOR DRIVING.—Piles for driving are molded like columns in vertical forms or like beams in horizontal forms. European constructors have a strong preference for vertical molding, believing that a pile better able to withstand the strain of driving is so produced; such lamination as results from tamping and settling is, in vertical molding, in planes normal to the axis of the pile and the line of driving stress. Vertical molding has been rarely employed in America and then only for molding round piles. The common belief is that horizontal molding is the cheaper method. In the ordinary run of work, where comparatively few piles are to be made, it is probably cheaper to use horizontal molds, but where a large number of piles is to be made, the vertical method has certain economic advantages which are worth considering.

Fig. 59.—Plant for Vertical Molding of Concrete Piles.Fig. 59.—Plant for Vertical Molding of Concrete Piles.

Vertical molding necessitates a tower or staging to support the forms and for handling and placing the concrete; an example of such a staging is shown by Fig. 59. To counterbalance this staging, horizontal molding necessitates a molding platform of very solid and rigid construction if it is to endure continued and repeated use. In the matter of space occupied by molding plant, vertical molding has the advantage. A tower 40 ft. square will give ample space around its sides for 80 vertical forms for 12-in. piles and leaves 1 ft. of clear working space between each pair of forms. The ground area occupied by this tower and the forms is 1,764 sq. ft. With the same[Pg 170] spacing of molds a horizontal platform at least 25 × 160 ft. = 4,000 sq. ft., would be required for the molds for the same number of piles 25 ft. long. For round piles, vertical molding permits the use of sectional steel forms; horizontal forms for round piles are difficult to manage. For square piles vertical molding requires forms with four sides; horizontal forms for square piles consist of two side pieces only, the molding platform serving as the bottom and no top form being necessary. Thus, for square piles horizontal molding reduces the quantity of lumber per form by 50 per cent. The side forms for piles molded on their sides can be removed much sooner than can the forms for piles molded on end, so that the form material is more often released for reuse. The labor of assembling[Pg 171] and removing forms is somewhat less in horizontal molding than in vertical molding. Removing the piles from molding bed to storage yard for curing requires derricks or locomotive cranes in either case and as a rule this operation will be about as expensive in plant and labor in one case as in the other. In the ease and certainty of work in placing the reinforcement, horizontal molding presents certain advantages, the placing and working of the concrete around the reinforcement is also easier in horizontal molding. Mixing and transporting the concrete materials and the concrete is quite as cheap in vertical molding as in horizontal molding. If anything, it is cheaper with vertical molding, since the mixer and material bins can be placed within the tower or close to one side where a tower derrick can hoist and deposit the concrete directly into the molds. Car tracks, cars, runways and wheelbarrows are thus done away with in handling the concrete from mixer to molds. Altogether, therefore, the choice of the method of molding is not to be decided off-hand.

DRIVING MOLDED PILES.—Driving molded concrete piles with hammer drivers is an uncertain operation. It has been done successfully even in quite hard soils and it can be done if time is taken and the proper care is exercised. The conditions of successful hammer driving are: Perfect alignment of the pile with the line of stroke of the hammer; the use of a cushion cap to prevent shattering of the pile-head, and a heavy hammer with a short drop. The pile itself must have become well cured and hardened. At best, hammer driving is uncertain, however; shattered piles have frequently to be withdrawn and the builder is never sure that fractures do not exist in the portion of the pile that is underground and hidden. The actual records of concrete pile work given in succeeding sections illustrate successful examples of hammer driving. The plant required need not vary from that ordinarily used for driving wooden piles, except that more power must be provided for handling the heavier concrete pile and that means must be provided for holding the pile in line and protecting its head.

Sinking concrete piles by means of water jets is in all respect a process similar to that of jetting wooden piles. Examples of jetting are given in succeeding section. In rare cases,[Pg 172] driving shells, or sheaths have been used for driving molded piles.

Method and Cost of Molding and Jetting Piles for an Ocean Pier.—In reconstructing in reinforced concrete the old steel pier at Atlantic City, N. J., some 116 reinforced concrete piles 12 ins. in diameter were molded in air and sunk by jetting. The piles varied in length with the depth of the water, the longest being 34½ ft. Their construction is shown by Fig. 60, which also shows the floor girders carried by each pair of piles and forming with them a bent, and the struts bracing the bents together. In molding and driving the piles the old steel pier was used as a working platform.

Fig. 60.—Concrete Pile for Pier at Atlantic City, N. J.Fig. 60.—Concrete Pile for Pier at Atlantic City, N. J.

The forms for the piles were set on end on small pile platforms located close to the positions to be occupied by the piles and were braced to the old pier. The forms were of wood and the bulb point, the shaft and the knee braces were molded in one piece. Round iron rods were used for reinforcement. The concrete was composed of 1 part Vulcanite Portland cement, 2 parts of fine and coarse sand mixed and 4 parts of gravel 1 in. and under in size. The mixture was made wet and was puddled into the forms with bamboo fishing rods, which[Pg 173] proved very efficient in working the mixture around the reinforcing rods and in getting a good mortar surface. The concrete was placed in small quantities; it was mostly all hand mixed. The forms were removed in from 5 to 7 days, depending on the weather.

The piles were planned to be sunk by water jet and to this end had molded in them a 2-in. jet pipe as shown. They were sunk to depths of from 8 ft. to 14 ft. into the beach sand. Water from the city water mains at a pressure of 65 lbs. per sq. in. was used for jetting; this water was furnished under special ordinance at a price of $1 per pile, and a record of the amount used per pile was not kept. The piles were swung from the molding platforms and set by derricks and block and fall. The progress of jetting varied greatly owing to obstructions in places in the shape of logs, old iron pipes, etc. In some cases several days were required to get rid of a single pipe. In clear sand, with no obstruction, a 12-in. pile could be jetted down at the rate of about 8 ft. per hour, working 1 foreman and 6 men. The following is the itemized actual cost of molding and sinking a 26-ft. pile with bulb point and knee braces complete:

[Pg 174]

    Forms— Cost per pile.
Lumber, 340 ft. B. M. @ $30 $10.20 ...
Labor (carpenters @ $2.50 per day) 12.00 ...
Oil, nails, oakum, bolts, clamps, etc. 1.20 ...
$23.40 $ 3.90
Times used 6
275 lbs. of plain ¾-in. steel rods @ 2 cts. per lb. $ 5.50 ...
Preparing and setting, 4/10 ct. per lb. 1.10 6.60
    Jet Pipe—
26½ ft. of 2-in. pipe @ 10 cts. per ft. in place. 2.65 ...
    Setting Forms—
6 men @ $2.50 per day = $15, set 4 piles 3.75 ...
90/100 Cu. yds. gravel @ $1.50 per yd. 1.35 ...
45/100 cu. yds. sand @ $1.50 per yd. .67 ...
1.50 bbls. cement @ $1.60 2.40 4.42
Concrete and labor foreman 3.00 ...
6 laborers, mixing and placing by hand, $1.75 each 10.50 ...
$13.50 3.38
Average number of piles concreted per day 4
    Removing Forms—
4 men @ $2.50 remove and clean in half day 4 columns 1.25 ...
1 man @ $2.25 plastering column with cement grout (4 per day) .56 ...
    Jetting 10 ft. into Sand—
Foreman $ 3.00 ...
4 men, $2.25 each, handling hose and traveler 9.00 ...
$12.00 3.00
Average number of piles jetted per day 4 ...
City water pressure used for jetting @ $1 per pile ... 1.00
Superintendence @ $5.00 per day ... 1.25
Caring for trestle, traveler, material, etc. ... 4.84
        Total cost per pile $36.60

The pile being 26 ft. long, the cost in place was $1.41 per foot. Subtracting the cost of sinking amounting to $7.09 per pile, we have the cost of a 26-ft. pile molded and ready to sink coming to about $1.10 per foot. It should be noted that this is the cost for a pile of rather complicated construction; a plain cylindrical pile should be less expensive.

Method of Molding and Jetting Square Piles for a Building Foundation.—The foundation covered about an acre. The soil was a deposit of semi-fluid mud and quicksand overlying a very irregular rock bottom and encircled by a ledge of rock. The maximum depth of the mud pocket was 40 ft., and interspersed were floating masses of hard pan. Soundings were made at the locations of all piles; a ½-in. gas pipe was coupled to a hose fed by city pressure and jetted down to rock, the depth was measured, the sounding was numbered and the pile was molded to length and numbered like the sounding. In all 414 piles were required, ranging in length from 1½ to 40[Pg 175] ft.; all piles up to 6 ft. were built in place in wooden forms. The piles were 13 ins. square and were of 1-2½-4 concrete reinforced with welded wire fabric. A tin speaking tube was molded into each pile at the center. This tube was stopped about 10 ins. from the head and by means of an elbow and threaded nipple projected through the side of the pile to allow of attaching a pressure hose. The piles were handled to the pile driver, the hose attached and water supplied at 100 lbs. pressure by a pump. Churning the pile up and down aided the driving. A hammer was used to force the piles through the hard pan layers. A wooden follower was used to protect the pile head. A 2,800-lb. hammer falling 20 ft. did not injure the piles. One pile was given 300 blows with a 2,800-lb. hammer falling 12 ft., and when pulled was unbroken. It was found that 30 ft. piles and under could be picked up safely by one end; longer piles cracked at the center when so handled. These long piles were successfully handled by a long chain, one end being wrapped around the pile at the center and the other end similarly wrapped near the head; the hook of the hoisting fall was hooked into the loop of the chain and as the pile was hoisted the hook slipped along the chain toward the top gradually up ending the pile. The piles weighed 175 lbs. per lin. ft. It was attempted to mold the piles directly on the ground by leveling it off and covering it with tar paper, but the ground settled and the method proved impracticable.

Method of Molding and Jetting Piles for Building Foundations.—In a number of foundations Mr. Frank B. Gilbreth has used a polygonal pile, either octagonal or hexagonal, with the sides corrugated or fluted as indicated in Fig. 61. In longitudinal section these piles have a uniform taper from butt to point and have flat points. Each pile is cored in the center, the core being 4 ins. in diameter at the top and 2 ins. at the bottom end. On each of the octagon or hexagon sides the pile has a half-round flute usually from 2½ to 3 ins. in diameter. The principal object of these flutes or "corrugations" is to give passage for the escape to the surface of the water forced through the center core hole in driving the pile. They are also for the purpose of increasing the perimeter of the pile and thereby gaining greater surface for skin friction.[Pg 176]

The piles are reinforced longitudinally and transversely. On this particular job the reinforcement was formed with Clinton Electrically Welded Fabric, the meshes being 3 ins.×12 ins.; the longer dimension being lengthwise with the pile and of No. 3 wire; the horizontal or transverse reinforcement being of No. 10 wire. The meshes being electrically welded together, the reinforcement was got out from a wide sheet taking the form of a cone. No part of the reinforcement was closer than 1 in. from the outside of the concrete. In general only sufficient sectional area of material is put in the reinforcement to take the tensile stresses caused by the bending action when handling the pile preparatory to driving; more reinforcement than this only being necessary when the piles are used for wharves, piers or other marine structures, where a considerable length of pile is not supported sidewise or when they are subjected to bending stresses.

Fig. 61.—Cross-Section of Corrugated Reinforced Concrete Pile.Fig. 61.—Cross-Section of Corrugated Reinforced Concrete Pile.

Molding.—The forms for molding the piles are made from 2-in. stuff, gotten out to the required dimensions, the corrugations being formed by nailing pieces on the inside whose section is the segment of a circle. The sides of the octagon are fastened to the ends through which the core projects some 6 or 8 ins. At times while the molding of the pile is in progress, the central core is given a partial turn to prevent the setting of the cement holding it fast and thereby preventing the final removal.

The stripping of the forms from the piles is usually done from 24 to 48 hours after molding, and from this time on great care is taken that there is a sufficient amount of moisture in the pile to permit of the proper action for setting of the cement. This is usually accomplished by covering the piles over with burlaps and saturating with water from a hose; the[Pg 177] operation of driving the pile not being attempted until the concrete is at least ten days old.

Driving.—The operation of driving corrugated concrete piles is somewhat similar to that for driving ordinary wooden piles by water jet, but a much heavier hammer with less drop is used. The jetting is accomplished by inserting a 2-in. pipe within the pile. This pipe is tapered at the bottom end to 1-in. diameter, forming a nozzle, and the water pressure used is about 120 lbs. per sq. in. As a rule, this pressure is obtained by the use of a steam pump which may be connected with the boiler which operates the pile driver, or with a separate steam supply. At the upper end of this 2-in. pipe an elbow is placed and a short length of pipe is connected to this and to the hose from the water supply.

Fig. 62.—Cushion Cap for Driving Gilbreth Corrugated Pile.Fig. 62.—Cushion Cap for Driving Gilbreth Corrugated Pile.

As it is not practicable to drop the hammer directly on the head of the concrete piles, the driving is accomplished by the use of a special cap, Fig. 62. This cap is about 3 ft. in height and the bottom end fits over the head of the pile. In one side of this cap is a slot from the outside to the center, which permits the 2-in. pipe, which supplies the water jet for driving the[Pg 178] pile, to project. The outside of this cap is formed with a steel shell, the inside has a compartment filled with rubber packing and the top has a wooden block which receives a blow from the hammer. In this way the head of the pile is cushioned, which prevents the blow of the hammer from bruising or breaking the concrete.

During the operation of driving, the water from the jet comes up on the outside of the pile and carries with it the material which it displaces in driving. This, with the assistance of the hammer, allows the pile to be driven in place, and, contrary to what might be supposed, after the operation of driving when the water has saturated into the ground or been drained away, this operation puddles the earth around the pile, so that after a few hours' time the skin friction is much more than it would be with the pile driven into more compact soil without the use of a jet.

Fig. 63.—View Showing Method of Fabricating Reinforcement for a Round Pile with Flattened Sides.Fig. 63.—View Showing Method of Fabricating Reinforcement for a Round Pile with Flattened Sides.

Method of Molding and Driving Round Piles.—In constructing a warehouse at Bristol, England, some 600 spirally-reinforced piles of the Coignet type were used. Coignet piles are in section circles with two longitudinal flat faces to facilitate guiding during driving; this section is the same as would be found by removing two thin slabs from opposite sides of a[Pg 179] timber pile. The reinforcement consists of longitudinal bars set around the periphery and drawn together to a point at one end and then inserted into a conical shoe; these longitudinal bars are wound spirally with a ¼-in. rod wire tied to the bars at every intersection. This spiral rod has a pitch of only a few inches, but to bind it in place and give rigidity to the skeleton it is wound by a second spiral with a reverse twist and a pitch of 4 or 5 ft. As thus constructed, the reinforcing frame is sufficiently rigid to bear handling as a unit. The piles used at Bristol were 14 to 15 ins. in diameter and 52 ft. long, and weighed about 4 tons gross each. The mixture used was cement, river sand and crushed granite.

Molding.—In molding Coignet piles the reinforcement is assembled complete as shown by Fig. 63 and then suspended as a unit in a horizontal mold constructed as shown by the cross-section Fig. 64. The concrete is deposited in the top opening and rammed and worked into place around the steel after which the opening is closed by the piece A. After 24 hours the curved side pieces B and C are removed and the pile is left on the sill D until hard enough to be shifted; a pile is considered strong enough for driving when about six weeks old.

Fig. 64.—Form for Molding Round Pile with Flattened Sides.Fig. 64.—Form for Molding Round Pile with Flattened Sides.

Driving.—Coignet piles at the Bristol work were handled by a traveling crane. The material penetrated was river mud and they were driven with a hammer weighing 2 tons gross; in driving the pile head was encircled by a metal cylinder into which fitted a wooden plunger or false pile with a bed of shavings and sawdust between plunger and pile head.

Molding and Driving Square Piles for a Building Foundation.—The Dittman Factory Building at Cincinnati, O., is[Pg 180] founded on reinforced concrete piles varying from 8 to 22 ft. in length. The piles were square in cross-section, with a 2-in. bevel on the edges; a 16-ft. pile was 10 ins. square at the point and 14 ins. square at the head, shorter or longer piles had the same size of point, but their heads were proportionally smaller or larger, since all piles were cast in the same mold by simply inserting transverse partitions to get the various lengths. Each pile was reinforced by four ¾-in. twisted bars, one in each corner, bound together by ¼-in hoops every 12 ins.. The bars were bent in at the point and inserted in a hollow pyramidal cast iron shoe weighing about 50 lbs. The concrete was a 1-2-4 stone mixture and the pile was allowed to harden four weeks before driving. They were cast horizontally in wooden molds which were removed after 30 hours.

Driving.—Both because of their greater weight and because of the care that had to be taken not to shatter the head, it took longer to adjust and drive one of these concrete piles than it would take with a wooden pile. The arrangement for driving the piles was as follows: A metal cap was set over the head of the pile, on this was set the guide cap having the usual wood deadener and on this was placed a wood deadener about 1 ft. long. The metal cap was filled with wet sand to form a cushion, but as the pile head shattered in driving the sand cushion was abandoned and pieces of rubber hose were substituted. With this rubber cushion the driving was accomplished without material damage to the pile head. The hammer used weighed 4,000 lbs. and the drop was from 4 to 6 ft. The blows per pile ranged from 60 up. The average being about 90. In some cases where the driving was hard it took over 400 blows to drive a 14-ft. pile. An attempt to drive one pile with a 16-ft. drop resulted in the fracture of the pile.

Method of Molding and Driving Octagonal Piles.—The piles were driven in a sand fill 18 ft. deep to form a foundation for a track scales in a railway yard. They were octagonal and 16 ins. across the top, 16 ft. long, and tapered to a diameter of 12 ins. at the bottom. They were also pointed for about a foot. The reinforcement consisted of four ½-in. Johnson corrugated bars spaced equally around a circle concentric with the center of the pile, the bars being kept 1½ ins. from the surface of the concrete. A No. 11 wire wrapped around the[Pg 181] outside of the bars secured the properties of a hooped-concrete column. The piles were cast in molds laid on the side. They were made of 1:4½ gravel concrete, and were seasoned at least three weeks before being driven.

An ordinary derrick pile driver, with a 2,500-lb. hammer falling 18 ft., was used in sinking them. A timber follower 6 ft. long and banded with iron straps at both ends was placed over the head of the pile to receive directly the hammer blows. The band on the lower end was 10 ins. wide and extended 6 ins. over the end of the follower. In this 6-in. space a thick sheet of heavy rubber was placed, coming between the head of the pile and the follower. Little difficulty was experienced in driving the piles in this manner, although 250 to 300 blows of the hammer were required to sink each pile. The driving being entirely through fine river sand there is every probability that any kind of piles would have been driven slowly. The heads of the first 4 or 5 piles were battered somewhat, but after the pile driver crew became familiar with the method of driving, no further battering resulted and the heads of most of the piles were practically uninjured.

Fig. 65.—Cross-Section of Chenoweth Rolled Pile.Fig. 65.—Cross-Section of Chenoweth Rolled Pile.
Fig. 66.—Diagram Showing Method of Rolling Chenoweth Pile.Fig. 66.—Diagram Showing Method of Rolling Chenoweth Pile.

Method and Cost of Making Reinforced Concrete Piles by Rolling.—In molding reinforced concrete piles exceeding 30 or 40 ft. in length, the problem of molds or forms becomes a serious one. A pile mold 50 or 60 ft. long is not only expensive in first cost, but is costly to maintain, because of the difficulty of keeping the long lagging boards from warping. To overcome these difficulties a method of molding piles without[Pg 182] forms has been devised and worked out practically by Mr. A. C. Chenoweth, of Brooklyn, N. Y. This method consists in rolling a sheet of concrete and wire netting into a solid cylinder on a mandril, by means of a special machine. Fig. 65 is a sketch showing a cross-section of a finished pile, in which the dotted line shows the wire netting, the hollow circle is the gas pipe mandril, and the solid circles are the longitudinal reinforcing bars.

Fig. 67.—Machine for Rolling Chenoweth Piles.Fig. 67.—Machine for Rolling Chenoweth Piles.

In making the pile the netting is spread flat, with the reinforcing bars attached as shown at (a), Fig. 66, and is then covered with a layer of concrete. One edge of the netting is fastened to the platform, the other edge is attached to the winding mandril. The winding operation is indicated by sketch (b), Fig. 66. Fig. 67 shows the machine for rolling the pile. It consists of a platform and a roll. The platform is mounted on wheels and is so connected up that it moves back under the roll at exactly the circumferential speed of the roll; thus the forming pile is under constant, heavy pressure between the roll and platform. When the pile has been completely rolled it is bound at intervals by wire ties; the wire for these ties is carried on spools arranged under the edge of[Pg 183] the platform at intervals of 4 ins. for the first 10 ft. from the point and of 6 ins. for the remainder of the length. The binding is done by giving the pile two or three extra revolutions and then cutting and tying the wire; then by means of a long removable shelf which contains the flushing mortar, as the pile revolves it becomes coated on the outside with a covering that protects the ties and other surface metal. Finally the pile is rolled onto a suitable table to harden.

An exhibition pile rolled by the process described is 61 ft. long and 13 ins. in diameter. This pile was erected as a pole by hoisting with a tackle attached near one end and dragging the opposite end along the ground exactly as a timber pole would be erected. It was also suspended free by a tackle attached at the center; in this position the ends deflected 6 ins. Neither of these tests resulted in observable cracks in the pile. The pile contains eight 1-in. diameter steel bars 61 ft. long, one 2½-in. pipe also 61 ft. long, 366 sq. ft., or 40.6 sq. yds. ½-in. mesh 14 B. & S. gage wire netting, and 2 cu. yds. loose concrete. Its cost for materials and labor was as follows:

Gravel, 28.8 cu. ft., at $1 per cu. yd. $ 1.05
Sand, 19.8 cu. ft., at $1 per cu. yd. .73
Cement, 3 bbls., at $1.60 per bbl. 4.80
Netting, 40.6 sq. yds., at 17½ cts. per sq. yd. 7.10
Rods, wire, etc., 1,826 lbs., at 2½ cts. per lb. 45.65
        Total $59.33
Mixing 2 cu. yds. concrete, four men one hour, at 15 cts. per hour $ 0.60
Placing concrete and netting, four men 30 mins., at 15 cts. per hour .30
Winding pile, four men 20 mins., at 15 cts. per hour .20
Removing pile, four men 10 mins., at 15 cts. per hour .10
        Grand total $60.53

This brings the cost of a pile of the dimensions given to about $1 per lin. ft.




























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