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Stakin' in the rain, what a glorious feeling!

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FNG Member

Hey there!

I'm curious; when construction staking in the rain, what do you write on your soaked stakes with? Ink doesn't want to play nice with water-saturated wood.

I'm working in the pacific northwest so this often an issue for me. I've taken to keeping my stakes dry until I've made my notes, but this involves a lot of unnecessary trips between my truck or dry place and the target I'm staking.

Would love to hear about your solutions for this. Wood-burning tools and a propane torch, anyone?

Topic starter Posted : January 28, 2020 8:28 pm
Dave Lindell
1,000+ posts Supporter

Lumber crayon, a.k.a. keil.

Or anything waxy.

Posted : January 28, 2020 9:12 pm
A Harris liked
Mark Mayer
1,000+ posts Member

Do the stakes up back at the the truck, under the cover of the canopy.  That generally means doing them all at once after the hubs are set. 

When the job calls for mag nails in asphalt I write the offset/station/feature information on flagging which tags the nail.  

P.S. I'm not sure about that picture. I have never seen anyone with an umbrella out over an instrument. Never. The sign in the background suggests somewhere south of the border.

Posted : January 28, 2020 11:02 pm

1,000+ posts Supporter

I second keil - dark red.

Posted : January 29, 2020 3:32 am
FNG Member

Thank you for the suggestions. I'll give keil/lumber crayon a shot. I should probably clean up my preparation so doing them all at once as Mark suggests is more viable.

@mark-mayer; The picture isn't mine, just grabbed something that seemed relevant. I would be very nervous setting up a big sail next to the total station.

Topic starter Posted : January 29, 2020 5:34 am
Jitterboogie, nettronic, FL/GA and 3 people liked
100+ posts Member

We throw a trash bag over the top part of all the lath and put it in the lath bag then just take one out at a time and shield the dry lath with our body while writing on it. Generally works pretty well. 

Posted : January 29, 2020 8:07 am
dmyhill, Jitterboogie, Ric Moore and 4 people liked

chris mills
500+ posts Member

I wonder how useful that little cone is, if they can't see the big yellow one...

Posted : January 29, 2020 8:16 am
1,000+ posts Supporter

lath bag keeps the part you write on dry for the most part

When they get soaked, head back and get more.

Writing up as much as possible beforehand helps. 

Posted : January 29, 2020 9:02 am
Jitterboogie, Ethan, BStrand and 1 people liked
500+ posts Member

On the TX Gulf Coast, I used an umbrella quite a bit for topo work - never for staking. Worked well when it was raining enough that we didn't want to let the instrument take that much water, but not enough to interfere with the EDM. The umbrella was never connected to the setup. Hammered a T-post in the ground and secured the umbrella to that.

This was before I was introduced to robotic instruments, so I was always standing at the TS, with my back getting soaked from the water pouring off the umbrella. But my head, hands and the instrument were out of the rain.

Our major concern was what type of weather system was over us and if we were liable to become a lightning rod, i.e. standing in an open field.

Posted : January 29, 2020 9:57 am

1,000+ posts Member

I just use a normal lath bag.  The rubber shoe at the bottom is big enough to keep the writing ends dry, at least in my experience.

Posted : January 29, 2020 10:36 am
Tim V. PLS
200+ posts Member
A Harris
5,000+ posts Member

We used duffel bags, backpacks and heavy canvas bags.

Posted : January 30, 2020 4:34 am

party chef
500+ posts Member

Stack the lath and bungee cord them together in a small bundle, keep the stack in a contractors bag inside the hub back pull the lath from the center of the stack and write fast.

If it is an option in real trying conditions I like to leave only the offset value on the front and point number on the back and then email the contractor a cut sheet with full info. If the builder is on board with it you can shave some field time that way.

I use an umbrella for rain in some situations, for the operator and note taking, not to protect the instrument, but my situation is not typical. 

Posted : January 30, 2020 12:01 pm
200+ posts Member

I use the Panasonic fz-m1 tablet I run my robot with or my water resistant phone to take notes and do the real notes in the truck when finished the job, but I mostly just do residential construction layout (smaller jobs). 

I know they say field notes should be done in the field but if they want them to be readable they will be done in the truck. 

As far as stakes, I usually only have to do one cut stake for a staking for excavation, so I will put the cut stake in right before shooting it and figuring out the cut and write on it with sharpie as quickly as possible. Or if it's not raining but looks like it will I would do the cut stake first do the ink can dry first. 

Posted : February 4, 2021 2:19 pm
5,000+ posts Supporter

rain? you work in the rain?

Posted : February 5, 2021 11:38 am
hayburner, Dave Karoly, Andy Bruner and 1 people liked

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