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Passionate About Concrete
At the 2007 World of Concrete the Artistry Demos were a “must see” for guests interested in decorative concrete
Publication date: April 1, 2007
Scott Hogue, Artistic Concrete Surfaces, Spokane, Wash. and  Dave Blasdell, Blazes Concrete Impressions, Kalispell, Mont.

Hogue and Blasdell built a bar that would be found near a swimming pool. It featured a concrete countertop and vertical overlay cement to create a bamboo roof and simulated rock panels—even barnacles shown on the lower left. Photo: Joe Nasvik

Hogue and Blasdell don't work together on contracted projects but they team up to provide training for contractors in the northwest and both of them love to do themed concrete work. Hogue says they don't perform a lot of this work but are marketing to clients to do more. Both companies install concrete countertops on a regular basis. He adds that people consider themed work around swimming pools, barbecue pits, or alongside lakes.

Their work at the Artistry Demos was ambitious. When their 10x10-foot pad was cast before the show started, they were present to form and cast a step riser integral with their slab. Then they built a bar cabinet on the upper riser area using a variety of products and techniques to complete their work. This included casting a concrete counter-top, using overlay cement to cast a roof over the bar carved and stamped to resemble bamboo, casting concrete to look like barnacles, and coloring with chemical and water-based stains.

Made in China
World of Concrete artists take their talent overseas
Source: Concrete Construction Online
Publication date:
August 16, 2007

In 2005, Scott Hogue and Dave Blasdel were part of a group of concrete finishers who took their passion for decorative concrete to China.

The job consisted of microtopping and stenciling for a new performing arts center in a small town 30 miles north of Beijing. But what makes this job different was its size. The work involved multiple passes over 80,000 square feet of concrete.

The arts center is part of an ambitious entertainment complex modeled after Beijing's Forbidden City. However, this version–measuring 2 to 3 square miles in size–will include a waterpark, a golf course, bowling alleys, hotels, and other amenities to take advantage of the expected boom in tourism surrounding the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The crew started on the main floor of the performing arts center, building off a hard-troweled concrete surface, measuring about 60,000 square feet. The crew put down Brickform's Micro-Topping, a polymer-modified cementitious overlay. The first pass was a rough coat, followed by two smooth coats.

"Because supplies were difficult to obtain, we had to hand trowel to entire thing, instead of using typical squeegee techniques," Hogue said.

The size of the job also required that they work from side to side on the big open floor. Each pass, integrally colored red, had a thickness of 1/4 to 3/16 of an inch.

"We were really cranking," Hogue said. "Sometimes we got as much as 36,000 square feet done in a day. Though, sometimes we ran out of microtopping before the end of the day, and had to wait until more of it cleared customs."

Hogue also said the Chinese were amazed at the size of the trowels the crew used. "We had standard 20-inch Marshalltown trowels, but the Chinese normally used only 8-inch trowels. They did say, though, that their smaller tools gave them bigger muscles."

In addition, the Chinese don't work on their knees. They squat, Blasdel said.

After the microtopping was put down, the client asked that they polish the surface. "However, the only tool we could find in town was a 20-inch polisher. That part of the job took a week," he said.

After wet polishing the surface down to a 600 grit, they laid out a large design at the center of the floor with stencils, followed by coloring with Brickform's opaque cementitious colorant, Cem-Coat.

Another part of the job included resurfacing a concrete deck area on the roof, called the Air Garden, also done with microtopping, and some acid staining. Here they cut a compass rose measuring almost 50 feet across using a Mongoose engraving machine from Engrave-A-Crete.

In all, the crew of five took 30 days to complete the work. "We were either working flat out, as fast as we could, or sitting around and waiting," Hogue said.

"In many ways, it was like working at home; our biggest challenge was working around other trades. But, the difficulties with customs and the lack of many other supplies were problems. We had to make do with what we had. It gives me a better appreciation for what we have here," he said. "But, it was still a lot of fun. I'd go back again."

"Culturally, it was very different," Blasdel said. "Now that we know what to expect, there are so many things we can teach them."

Hogue, a fifth-generation concrete finisher from Spokane, Wash., owns Artistic Concrete Surfaces. Blasdel owns Blaze's Concrete Impressions in Kalispell, Mont. Their work at this year's Artistry in Decorative Concrete in Las Vegas at World of Concrete was memorable. They built a concrete tiki bar, complete with bamboo and barnacles.

March 2009 Japan Class

Scott Hogue and Dave Blasdel at 2007 WOC

The project took nearly a month to complete

Hogue and Blasdel used stencils for the design on the main stage

The crew also made the compass stars on the surface of the Air Garden.

From left to right: John Doubek, Jason Fuller, Scott Hogue, Dave Blasdel, Clark Branum

Scott Hogue trained Decorative Concrete Contractors in Japan, Oct. 2007