How to make Slater Atlas Stones Guide
My name is Steve Slater, inventor of the Slater’s Stone Mold and maker of many world record atlas stones for the best competitors and the best strongman competitions in the world. When you make a world record stone, it has to be strong, have a clean surface and be well balanced or attempting to lift it can be disastrous. Some of the world record stones have as many as 300 pounds of lead added into the center of the stone, so you want to make sure the stone is strong enough to hold this large amount of lead to avoid any cracking or breaking. In addition, the surface of the stone must be smooth and solid in order for tacky (pine tar) to work properly. In the way of stone making I have made my share of mistakes that's for sure and that's one of the reasons why I'm writing this article so you don't. I can remember when I made the record breaking stone for the world’s strongest woman, Jill Mills. I did not finish the surface properly and used a standard grade concrete, which resulted in the tacky pulling off of the surface of the stone while Jill was lifting it during the world record attempt. I will never forget when, in front of thousands of spectators, after Jill attempted to lift the stone and failed, Jill said, “Steve the surface of the stone stone is falling apart the tacky won't stick!” She was able to lift the stone the second attempt, and when she finished she had small chunks of concrete and dust all over her arms and hands that the tacky pulled off the stone. The weak stone surface made the lift more difficult because the tacky wasn’t able to work properly. Since this incident, I have come up with a solution to this problem. In this article I will explain the techniques to making a stronger, more efficient stone.
After determining the stone size you want to make, the first step is to purchase the appropriate Slater’s Stone Mold. Keep in mind, Slater’s offers inserts to alter the weight of your stone. For now, we’ll focus on making a stone without any inserts. Lube the inside of the mold with mold release. We have mold release on our site. Spray it on, and use a paper towel or rag to spread it evenly inside the mold. I then put the mold together, and tape it using 2 or 3” Gorilla Tape. While doing this, I check inside the mold several times to make sure that no gap has occurred at the parting line which is the seam where the mold comes together. If a gap has been created, I press down on the mold while I apply more tape to that area. When in doubt of how much tape to apply, use more it does not cost much.
Next step, although this is not necessary, shrink-wrapping the mold is a step that can be helpful for keeping the mold clean. We offer a 5” shrink wrap, which allows for easy wrapping. Wrapping the mold will keep the concrete from sticking to the surface of it along with giving it added support, by creating a barrier that you can remove. After the mold is wrapped, place it in two old car tires, so that it is supported when you pour the concrete into the mold. Using two tires instead of one will make sure that the bottom of the mold will not touch the ground and result in a flat spot on the bottom of the stone.
The next step is to mix the concrete. I have a special complicated concrete formula that I use for my Slater’s Stones. However, I will explain a more basic formula for you to make your own quality stones. Quikrete 5000 works well or any type of Sakrete concrete mix. You may also add Portland cement to the mix to add extra strength. This is also a good product to use to make the mixture thicker if it turns out to be very wet. To mix the concrete, I prefer a concrete mixer, but a hoe and wheelbarrow will also work. As another efficient and inexpensive option, we also offer a reusable concrete mixing bag. Make sure to buy the same weight in concrete that you want your stone to weigh, so that you have extra in case you spill some or make any other mistakes along the way. You will have some extra because the water you add to the mix will account for some weight too. For example, if you are making a 150 pound stone, buy 150 pounds of concrete. For a solid mixture, add about 1 to 1.25 gallons of water per 80 pounds of concrete mix. Combine these two parts completely so it is a smooth mix, not soupy and not clumpy. If it is soupy add some portland cement or more dry concrete mix.
Once you have everything prepared, add the mixed concrete into the mold. You want to add the mix in small batches. I prefer to add the concrete in about 90 pound increments because it is standard for concrete mix to come in 80 pound bags and the water accounts for about 10 lbs.. Once I add 90 lbs in I will shake the mold and slightly bounce it in the tire to get the mix to settle. I then mix up more concrete and once I add the next batch I will probe a broom handle up and down and stir some to blend the two mixes together then I will shake the mold and slightly bounce it again. I do this until the mold is filled. Once it is completely filled I will add some more mix to slightly over fill the mold. I will then let it sit for 10 minutes or so and then go back to the mold and press some slightly dry mix into the mold if water has settled to the top. This will help to force some water out. There are times when I will press a brick into the full mold thus pushing some of the mix tighter to the side of the mold walls helping to make a smother top surface. If I do the brick technique I will also top it off as I described above. I will then tap the mold with a rubber mallet around 25 to 50 times driving more water out. you will probably need to add some more dry mix to the top after the tapping to keep it the water from settling to the top. To much water on the top can cause weakness on that part of the stone or an excessive flat spot or both.
That should do it, if you do have some holes in the stone you can patch them with concrete resurfacer. I make sure I wet the stone prior to adding the resurfacer and I only add it to the holes. I then take an old damp t-shirt and pull it across the filled holes. This will help to push the mix in the holes and wipe it off the solid surface of the stone. You really don't want the patch on the sold surface of the stone as it will most likely come off on your tacky wile your lifting the stone. I hope this works well for you as it has for me and good luck with all of your stone lifting.
Please remember if you would like to have the best possible stones made I have spent hundreds of hours developing this information and you may check some information on our video page
I hope you enjoy the rewards of making and using Slater Atlas Stone Molds and Stones.