From the amount of work you describe, a vibra-strike might be a worthwhile investment:
(I don't have a high enough post count to post links yet, google vibra-strike)
They are fairly easy to operate, and do a real nice job, but I am hesitent to use them on exterior slabs-driveways and such-for the same reason that the Gandy has fallen out of favor-they will push down the aggregate and for durability in traffic areas and freeze & thaw conditions it's best to keep it as close to the top as possible. Now, the company I work for has a Somero 240 laser screed, and that's the ticket right there. But at a half a million bucks you gotta do a lot of driveways in a year to make the payments :laughing: (Our flatwork crews do maybe 500,000 sq. ft. in a year)
I have a screed-vibe. It is an electric vibrator (don't let the wife have it) which thumb screws onto a screed board. I use mine with an 18' aluminum screed board.
These cost about $369 from the tool crib or whatever and are worth it. You can pour your concrete much stiffer and walk right down the slab, so long as you have some good guys with rakes in front of you.
I struggled with 12' wide pours before and these make a 16' wide pour easy. Heck, I think we even used it on a long section of 4' wide sidewalk before and we raced down it.
I forgot to say that I have heard of guys who strap a small lawnmower motor (gas) onto their screed and just let it idle. I have also heard of guys who strap on a circular saw without a blade and just turn it on. But the screed vibe actually helps pull the board forward a bit, as well as settling the chunks.
I made my own with an old bench grinder,I cut 2 discs out of plywood to replace the grinding stones and drilled the holes slightly off center,it vibrates pretty good!With a little imagination it could be mounted to different types of screeds,I mount mine to a section of extension ladder.With a good steady pull it leaves a nice finish,almost like a bullfloated finish.With any vibrating screed you want to make sure you don't leave it in one spot to long!
If you can afford it a vibratory screed is a great way to go! I've used a few of them, and don't have any good reasons for you not to look into them. I've ran Allen's Magic Screed ($1500-$2000) mainly and its great for going form to form. You can run through a slab quick and easy. Haven't done a whole lot of wet screeding with it though. A few friends of mine in Iowa have ran the R2 Tech Screed and said its amazing. In case your wondering its a Laser screed that looks and runs like a vibratory screed. Pretty sure they have a website. Might be worth checking out.
We use only Magicscreeds , we buy them from allen engineering . We have them from 8'-16' and 6 man crew can handle 400cuyd pours with out killing ourselves .But you'll need some ride on finishers to finish all that .
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