Fun with Cement and DIY Weights

I'm a bit obsessed with trying to make things myself if I can, not in a crazy way but more in the spirit of trying to use materials I already have, or ones I could pick up quickly. To be sure there are some things still on the "working" list, such as sharpening hand saws and grinding/smoothing fountain pen nibs, so there are times I go off the ledge. I mean really -- a saw vise, triangular files, a saw set, and the tricky angular magic it takes to sharpen a saw? And then you have the differences between rip saws, crosscut saws, back saws, etc. For sure, then, I have my strange days. One thing I really like to do, though, is to make my own weights. For some reason I don't like the idea of buying weights, and you can't beat the price when you consider $5 bags of concrete and an endless stream of stuff that can be turned into weights. If you've never mixed up concrete before, or you think it requires a wheelbarrow and shovel and all sorts of equipment, you'll be glad to know it is totally, utterly simple.

You start with ready mix concrete, a small Rubbermaid type container, and a hand trowel. And you can be sure almost any items similar to these will work fine. You pour out some dry mix, add water sparingly, a bit at a time until you get that thick, shiny mix, and you are set to go. Start filling up whatever containers you have prepared.

Yesterday I decided to use two Trader Joe's coffee cans and a plastic peanut butter jar. Not sure how I'll use these yet, maybe for various aerobic workouts, but finding uses is easy enough, and the different sizes give different weights. Here are the containers right after I filled them:

Showing the containers right after I filled them with concrete.

I poked a few small holes in the bottom to let excess water drain out, and I scraped (screeded) the tops flat so that I could glue the lids back on once the cement has hardened. No worries about the stuff that falls outside of the containers since it will just brush off when dry.

Shown below are the containers when cleaned up and drying. I'll let them harden up for a few days then cap them off to seal up  the concrete so that nothing ever crumbles out. Note the previous fun I've had with flower pots, steel pipe, and an old shipping tube! Just be sure to drill holes and insert nails into any pipe so that the pipe doesn't slide out of the concrete.

A collection of various cement weights made at home.

Hope someone out there finds this useful. The weights are easy to make, and you get the added skill of being able to whip up batches of concrete for patching sidewalks, foundations, and other such things.