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Making Great Ice: Let’s get started!

Thursday, 8 September 2011 - Posted by Jamie Bourassa

Let’s make some ice!  Hopefully by now your plant is up and running.  You want to make sure your floor is cooled down to at least 24 degrees F.

If you are working with a sand floor, you should have soaked the sand down about an inch at the time of turning the plant on.  This will freeze up and give you a solid base to build your ice on.

Let’s get started.

First, we want to start with very fine mists of water to seal in the complete floor.  I like to give it five or six mists to start with.  These should freeze almost on contact so you will be able to keep the mist going continuously.

Once you have done that, you can start to give it a heavier spray till you have enough ice to support a small flood without burning through to your base. After your small flood, you are ready to start larger floods.  As a guideline, my small flood is about 40 to 50 gallons.

Once I have completed a small flood on the surface, I go to about 70 gallons with my next flood.  This gives the water a chance to flow so you can tell where the high and low spots are. Ideally, you want to have the ice as close to level as possible before putting on the white paint.  Should you have a floor with painted cement or you use the full sheet layouts, you need to keep flooding until the ice surface is level.

Alberta skip Kevin Martin slides out on great ice at the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier

One step to note: depending on how much ice you carry, you may want to install your hacks at this point. If you are painting it is better to install after the white layer is done.

Ready for painting

Once you have put on a couple of big floods (about 100 to 125 gallons) your ice should be close to being level (if your floor is good). At this point, we need to lower the temperature to get ready for putting on the white paint.  Make sure it is cold enough!  Always install paint according to manufacturer’s instructions.  When installing white paint, I like to use a 14-foot boom because it does a good job and is easy to handle.  Make sure you cover all surrounding areas before applying the paint in order to keep the mess down to a minimum.  You will get a little over spray.

Time to seal it in

Your white paint is down, so now let’s seal it in.  This is one of the most important jobs because it ensures that the white won’t run or leach through.  Start off with fine mists. You can use the boom: just carry it off the ice and point the nozzles up to the roof.  I like to give the sheets three or four seals like this, and then I put the boom on the ice, tilt it upwards and give it three or four quick sprays.  I will keep increasing my amount of spray until I have 15 to 20 seals on it.  At that point I will give it a quick flood, about 40 gallons.  You should now be ready to start painting circles and installing lines.

A couple of final reminders

Remember to leave yourself enough time to do your install and don’t rush it.  The job you do right now will be there all year, so you want it to look good.

And finally, to make great ice, be sure you have enough help. Most of this process isn’t a one-person job!

Next time: painting circles and installing lines.  Keep your feet dry and your hands warm. Cheers, and good luck!




About Jamie Bourassa

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