Concrete Pool + Cave & Tree Swing


We got this great video and some photos from a customer recently of his incredible concrete pool installation with a cave, water slide and rope swing. Check out the video below to see how it turned out and get some inspiration for your next project. Mike used metal rebar with an overlay of SpiderLath to create the entire cave, slide and tree structure. He applied his gunite layer using the 3 Jet Wall Gun.

Mike wrote…

I built the whole cave with the mortar sprayer, except a structural dry gunite coat on the inside of the cave after it was built. Its a great tool and can do the same work of very expensive shotcrete pumps just takes you longer. But for a guy starting out its a must have tool and I’m glad i have one.


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concrete pool, cave, slide with sprayer

See more work by Mike’s company Bazay Construction on Facebook.

Proline Reclaimed Timber Table Top Mold


While at the Northeast Deco-Crete Conference we got to try out the new Proline reclaimed Timber table top mold. It is exceptional with the look of 200 year old barn wood and the durability of concrete. This mold is incredibly durable and reusable, the final product is very authentic and the mold comes directly from a true reclaimed timber table. Deco-Crete is based in Orrville Ohio and carry all the tools and materials needed to complete successful decorative concrete projects including stamps, molds, brushes, GFRC mixes, paints and stains, etc…

This project was made using the 3 Jet Downward Sprayer and reinforced by a layer of SpiderLath inlaid in the middle of the table. The SpiderLath helps to reduce the chance of shrinkage cracks and long-term cracking or breaking, it reinforces the entire table and gives it greater strength from edge to edge. The mix was evenly applied and allowed the the GFRC fibers in the mix to properly disperse throughout. Hand packing will often compact the fibers and prevent them from achieving adequate dispersion.

We shot the face coat with the Deco-Crete GFRC mix. It is the same as the backer mix but without the fiber.

Here is the mix formula:

2.5 pounds Duracast modifier

0.5 ounce Deco-Crete Superflow

6 pounds water

20 pounds Portland cement


The Deco-Crete East Coast training program is a yearly event free for all contractors, suppliers and fans of Deco-Crete products. Learn more about the products and training at Deco-Crete is a distributor of ToolCrete sprayers to check their stock and purchase a sprayer call (330) 682-5678.

Flex C Ment


Flex C Ment offers an array of products for a variety of applications including overlay systems, stamping, carving, stenciling and troweling. Gregg Hensley travels around the United States giving presentations and working with contractors to teach how to the Flex C Ment systems. We had a chance to meet with Gregg at the 2014 Concrete Decor Show, he discussed how applicators are successful when pairing their Flex C Ment products with a Mortar Sprayer.

UPDATE: Flex-C-Ment has greatly expanded their 2015-2016 training schedule. Their improved details for mass production has made it possible to be price competitive with veneer with a much fresher look. Now Apartment buildings and large commercial projects can be complete much faster than with other systems. Please contact .


At the 2014 Concrete Decor Show Nathan Giffin of Vertical Artisans led a class at the Presbyterian Night Shelter. He and his crew of students built a beautiful faux stone entryway complete with benches and planters. This project was completed in about 2 1/2 full days. The students left with the tools and knowledge to go home and enhance their hardscaping and contracting businesses. Take a look at the photos below of their progress…


See the full gallery at /vertical-artisan-concrete-decor-show-2014

Vertical Decorative Concrete Course Review 2014


Wow, 2014’s vertical decorative concrete course was a huge success. We had some of the greatest concrete artists here in Oregon a few weeks ago at the West Coast Training Center including Nathan Giffin ( Earl Senchuk (, David Seils ( and Steve Kornher ( These trainers each demonstrated their unique style and building skills throughout the week. The week flew by and by the final day we had 5 new completed rooms and projects.

Students flew in from around the US and even one came from Taiwan. Nathan setup this year’s training to work a little differently, each trainer worked on their project throughout the day allowing the students to move from room to room learning the skills of each project. This allowed for each student to learn a much broader set of techniques and skills for various applications.

Checkout this selection of photos or click here to see the full album.

Spraying Moon Gate

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

Installing rebar dome

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

Steve Kornher spraying arched roof

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

Earl Senchuk Preparing base for Living Tree

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

Applying first layer to Living Tree

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

David Seils wall mural

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

Practicing vertical rock formations

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

The whole team 2014


Finished Moon Gate, Rock Wall & Living Tree

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

Vertical Artisans Decorative Concrete Training 2014

Making Dinosaurs at the Austraila Zoo


cameron chapman australia zooHere at ToolCrete we’re so lucky to get to work with some of the most interesting and amazing concrete projects going on around the world. Last fall we got a call from down under with an order for some sprayers to Steve Irwin’s Austraila Zoo in Queensland. They have a dedicated artist on staff who creates their custom sculptures found throughout the zoo. Cameron is that artist who combines many basic construction materials and molds them into these incredible works of art.

Recently we got him to send us some photos of his work to share with you! He used his mortar sprayers to create these beautiful concrete sculptures which can now be found throughout the zoo property. Cameron is using the 4 Jet Wall Blaster and 4 Jet Combo Blaster on his projects.

Also check out this video about Cameron and the work he does at the zoo.

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Stucco Sprayer for Walls

The ToolCrete Stucco Sprayer can be used for applying plaster, shotcrete, papercrete, earthen mixes, plastering a stucco house, traditional one coat or three coat stucco, GFRC, stamped concrete, stucco fences, organic sculptures, and more! learn more

SpiderLath Donates for Upcoming Decorative Concrete Training


Bill Foster of SpiderLath recently made a huge donation of the finest fiberglass lath to the West Coast Training Center in Lorane OR. This lath will be used in the upcoming Decorative Concrete Training Course run by Nathan Giffin of Nathan will be joined by some of the finest minds in decorative concrete April 28 – May 2 for the 3rd annual West Coast Training Seminar.

Space is limited, sign up here today!

The West Coast Training Center is an underground house built in the 1960s and is currently being renovated into a hobbit home (see concept drawing here). Each room will be occupied by a different trainer, each applying their own distinctive and signature design to the room while keeping with the central hobbit theme.

Trainers include…

Read more about the upcoming course and signup here.

SpiderLath Donation to West coast Training Center 1SpiderLath Donation to West Coast Training Center 2

Decorative Concrete Training


vertical artisan west coast training 2014

UPDATE: The last classes have been wonderful as a time to learn and also make connections in the industry that have not been possible in other formats. The next class will be in September 2015. If you are interested in themed concrete as a profession or an art please contact Nathan Giffin early at:


It’s that time of year again, Nathan Giffin is gearing up to join us here in Oregon for the 3rd training program at the West Coast Training Center. If you’re interested in learning from the best about vertical decorative concrete clear your calendar between April 28 and May 2nd. The West Coast Training Center is an underground house located in Lorane OR. It was built in the 1960s and is now the location of this yearly gathering of the finest minds in decorative concrete.

Limited Space: Call Nathan at 708.233.9394

click here to Sign Up Now

Teachers at this year’s training will include…

Nathan Giffin,– Nathan is the organizer and leader of this training program. He is a Chicago born decorative concrete master who travels the world constructing some of the most amazing concrete designs. He is a regular participant at the World of Concrete and runs, an online community of decorative concrete artists and online training program for all types of decorative concrete work.

david seils 2David Seils,– The artist/sculptor David Seils has revived an art style that has been used for thousand of years to decorate walls and the frieze of buildings, relief sculpture. In the past, artwork was tediously carved in marble or limestone to only a depth of a few inches to create the illusion of depth. With the advantage of new materials, the same effect can be accomplished by building up the relief sculpture instead of carving.

David is originally from West Salem, Wisconsin and received formal art training at Viterbo College, La Crosse, Wisconsin; The Clearing, a University of Wisconsin Extension; Madison, Wisconsin; The University of Kansas; Lawrence, Kansas and the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida.


earl senchuckEarl Senchuk EarlSenchuk.comFirst HANDS ON CLASS with Living Tree Art for Vertical Artisans! Earl will be sculpting a Bonzi Tree in the main “Nerve Center” Room. arl’s art mediums include various clays, welded metals, watercolor, wire, fiber, concrete, and living foliage. His works are on display in various locations around Marquette, Michigan and at the Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery in Michigamme.








steve kornher flying concreteSteve Kornher,– Steve specializes in lightweight concrete design and will be teaching his signaturecatenary arch roof design. Steve has lived in beautiful central Mexico for over 20 years in San Miguel de Allende with his wife where he has designed and built numerous houses, studios and other buildings. Steve’s home is a testament of his work and has been featured in magazines, online and TV shows. He has constructed some of the most fascinating and wacky properties in North America. Steve also conducts training courses throughout the US and Mexico, teaching his unique vertical and ceiling techniques. Check out a recent photo album of his workhere.





Some of the topics that will be covered include…

  • One Day Walls
  • Stone Facing
  • Positive Carving
  • Foam Design
  • Armature Bending
  • Mold Making
  • Epoxy Molding
  • And Much More!

Limited Space: Call Nathan at 708.233.9394

click here to Sign Up Now

What’s included

  • One year subscription to core curriculum ($800 value)
  • All meals will be catered
  • 5 days of training by some of the finest minds in decorative concrete
  • Collaboration and networking with decorative concrete colleagues from across the country


We are going to prep a room, by the way all the rooms are circular and domed, anyway this room will be prepared and EVERY DAY in the morning sessions David will be introducing new techniques that can be executed in the room by the students.

So the entire room will be laid out and drawn out. This way the students once they have practiced the effect on the practice wall they can then attempt the technique on the real wall under the supervision of David himself…


Every morning this can be done and their is no limit the room is big enough and techniques will include:

Trees, rocks, bushes, shrubs and leave, grasses ect… all the things that make up land scapings.. .

After the session with David we will continue with various techniques of Stone Facing, Positive Carving, Foam Design and One Day Wall Applications.



Finish the Final Wall in the Main Center Room ( The Nerve Center )

Design a Foam Based (Interior) Concrete covered & sculpted Water Feature to go in the center of this room

Complete a “David Seils” Room

Finish Exposed Stone Room complete with plaster and ceiling effects.



More Positive Carving in the entrance

One Day Wall system on the other entrance with a archway to garden / patio area

Call Now To Sign Up708.233.9394

Learn about previous courses at the West Coast Training Center Here.

World of Concrete 2014


Join us next week at the World of Concrete 2014, we’ll be celebrating the 40th anniversary of World of Concrete in collaboration with some of the greatest decorative concrete artists in the world. Join us in the decorative concrete area where our sprayers will be in use by Nathan Giffin of, Ed Swarek of Artistry in 3D and Adrian Gascon of Legacy Pool and Spa.

World_Of_Concrete 2014-2

Let us know if you’ll be there!

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Building A Home Wine Cellar


VA wine cellar-10Nathan Giffin is an incredibly talented artist. He uses stucco and concrete to sculpt and transform ordinary spaces into amazing works of art. Recently Nathan and his crew completed a gorgeous home wine cellar. With some help from his helmet GoPro 3 Cam we get to take a look at the project as the transformation took place. See Videos and photo gallery below… read more →

Easy Wicking Beds Made With Stucco and Rammed Earth


Wicking beds are becoming more and more popular as an easier and more efficient method for growing fruits and vegetables. Rather than the traditional downward drip or spraying method, wicking beds allow water to spread from the bottom up giving plants the water they need and nothing more. One simple way to create your own wicking bed is with some Styrofoam or rammed earth covered in stucco.

wicking bed stucco 1

The customers who built these wicking beds explained their process. “This was 1″ styrofoam sprayed with basalt fiber impregnated ferrocement mix. Use hole to fill with water. Pea gravel below hole, then landscape cloth. Water wicks upwards to plants. Rain water is also captured. Hole also serves as overflow. Growth has been excellent, and have only filled once. I’m not sure I even needed to fill it, but I was near with a hose. Can add urine to hole for additional wickable fertilizer. The hole is turning out to be a more elegant solution than the piping used for other solutions.”

wicking bed stucco 2

“Second larger bed in the distance was made with rammed earth then sprayed with basalt fiber ferrocement. Roving wrapped around outside, then sprayed again. We found that the effort to use rammed earth was greater than the embodied energy benefit of using earth.”

Find more interesting projects and ferrocement stories by following us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+

The Stucco Book – The Basics By Herb Nordmeyer

The Stucco Book - The Basics

By Sylvia Scheid

The Stucco Book - The Basics By Herb Nordmeyer

I was fortunate to be able to visit with Herb Nordmeyer as he was beginning this series of books about stucco. To some small degree I am proud of the fact that I actually encouraged him to share his knowledge on the subject gained from his career and several generations before him.

While visiting with Herb in San Antonio Texas, I got a first hand perspective of the different types of stucco. While he and I toured the Alamo, I felt very fortunate to be perhaps the only one to hear about the correct and incorrect upkeep of this beautiful structure. By simply glancing at the stucco, Herb recited the exact problems and types of material that were used to repair the cracks– one problem being that cementitious stucco had replaced the original earthen plaster.

The Stucco Book - The Basics By Herb Nordmeyer After Herb and I finished the most interesting and informational hour-long tour of the Alamo, we scuttled downtown. At random intervals I would notice Herb was not by my side. After looking around, I usually found him examining a portion of stucco on the side of a building. When I walked up to Herb, he would start to explain what the angle of the crack in the stucco meant. Or what mix the stucco was made of. He always did this with a humorous and educational twist. It is these types of facts and tidbits that are included in this wonderful stucco book. Herb has accomplished writing the most informative series about stucco and plaster that has ever been published. If you’re interested in how to stucco, how to mix stucco or even learn some of the history of stucco, this book will become the very best tool in your toolkit.

The Stucco Book – The Basicsis the first of an interesting series about stucco. The next book is about the forensics of stucco. In it, the reader will learn the difference between the horizontal crack and the vertical crack– and the many other details of what you need to know to create healthy stucco. The final book in this series teaches the art of stucco. From faux stones, to theme park work, to stuccoing on straw, or even to giant dinosaurs, Herb reveals the details that will help the reader grow his creative stuccoing skills.

Read more about the stucco book…


~Buy it now~

Shipping and handling is 5.00 or included when you purchase a stucco sprayer.

Price: $25.00

Decorative Concrete Memorial


By Ted Uram

The Decorative Concrete Decision
Decorative Concrete MemorialWhen real estate was booming, all was well in the Battles household. But having two breadwinners in the same industry can sometimes backfire. In the case of Dion Battles, it hit home in a big way.

“Both my wife and I were in real estate,” Dion says. “Then the industry tanked. It came time for me to go out and get a job paying eight-dollars an hour or branch out into something new.”

With a prior background in construction, as well as airbrush work in the automobile industry, Dion felt it was time to make a positive change. It was time for something new.

“I’ve always kind of been an artist,” Dion says. “So we looked at our market, saw what we did not have, and decided to dive into it.”

read more →