Or is it really true that Belle cement mixers last……forever?
Well, you can’t say I haven’t tried. My belle cement mixer is dented because I hit with a scaffold pole (Occasionally I forgot to clean it….), it’s rusty because hitting it slightly damages the paint….(more than slightly actually), the mounting is cracked (it fell off the truck once…), the gearbox leaks oil, but I can’t remember ever topping it up, half the welds are broken on the mixing blades because I hit them with a hammer to clean them, one of the wheels is held in with a champagne cork, its been sandblasted a few times and I even painted it afterwards….once. disclaimer!
It helped me to build my house, heck it might have even built your house! AND, I bet that it will be quite happy to build my next one too.
So, it has every right to look a little battered then. I bought it as an apprentice back in 1988 I think, shoot, thats over 23 years ago! I wonder how much it has mixed altogether?
Thousands and thousands and thousands of mixes have gone through it. Concrete, mortar, lime mortar, screed, vermiculite, you name it; my faithful old belle cement mixer has gobbled it up and spat it into a barrow for me. Never missed a beat, even now in its battered state, I know that it will keep on turning that drum. (You can click on any of the photos in this post to see big close ups)
As a full time builder for more than two decades I have relied upon this trusty workhorse and it has outlasted all other tools bought during those early years with the exception of my favorite shovel.
Electric cement mixers were always considered the ‘poor cousin’ to the more expensive ‘proper’ cement mixers, driven by an engine. But I was a teenager and the fact that petrol mixers were much more expensive than electric mixers mattered.
I also figured that I wouldn’t work anywhere that didn’t have an electricity supply, and I was right. In more than 23 years, I have always been able to get power to the machine and of course at the clients cost!
I laugh when I see blokes pulling their arms off trying to get an old petrol mixer started and thats without their additional service costs and having to buy petrol for the bloody thing!
My Belle mixer has also been my concrete mixer and has mixed a heck of a lot of concrete over the years. I used to do a lot of extensions on the back of terraced houses or places that had awkward access. This meant that getting ready mix concrete from the front to the back of the house, could be a bit of a gamble time wise. Mixing your own concrete allows plenty of time to move it and place it, without worrying about a bloody great big pile of concrete sitting in the road quickly going off.
I don’t know about you, but I used to dread the sight of several cubic meters of concrete pouring out the back of the concrete wagon. Will it never stop I used to think, or sh*t, did I get it right, that looks like an awful lot of concrete! Then there was the ever threat of a problem, rain, too much sunshine, twisting an ankle or any one of a dozen other things that means the concrete sets on the road! Thankfully I never had any real problems and did always manage to get it all done, but shoveling several meters of concrete is hard work.
Using your own concrete mixer and mixing as you go is still hard work but it is less stressful. Providing you have a good guy on the machine, you can mix a pretty impressive amount of stuff using a Belle as a concrete mixer.
Mostly though, my cement mixer provided my ‘muck’ or bricklaying mortar if you want to be ‘posh’. Tons and tons and tons of it, hundreds of tons in fact. All of which I then picked up with a little trowel and put it on top of some bricks. Funny kinda job really :-).
In recent years the Belle has led a more gentle life, more fitting for a machine in its twilight years, close to retirement (or is that me….) and that was to mix up lime mortar for me. A job that it does well. So, no more cement for my cement mixer, oh no. Lime only from here on in. No more sand blasting or bashing the drum with a lump hammer (ouch!), just nice and steady lime mortar thankyou.
I might even get around to topping up that gearbox one of these days, there does look to be rather a lot of oil on the outside. Still, thats one bit that hasn’t gone rusty……..
Oh, I forget now where I bought mine from, but you can start your own story by getting your own Belle cement mixer at Screwfix with this Belle cement mixer link, there is free delivery as well. If you want to pick one up you could try Machine Mart as they are a few quid cheaper, follow this Belle concrete mixer link to check their prices. Chuck in another £18 and they will deliver it for you too, but then the price goes slightly over the Screwfix price.
Incidentally, I am not sure why these guys call the Belle a concrete mixer. Concrete mixer, cement mixer ’tis exactly the same thing!
Have you got a more battered lookin Belle mixer? Go on, post a pic in the comments, who knows, Belle might be reading this and decide to give us new ones for all this good publicity (hint, hint Mr Belle!)………
Very very important disclaimer…ok, well a little bit important!
Of course you should not:
- Hit your Belle cement mixer with scaffold poles to clean it
- Hit the mixing blades with a hammer
- Ignore servicing your machine
- Ignore oil leaks
- Overload it because it’s Friday and you want to finish early
Generally speaking just don’t be mean to it, OK? Otherwise it might break and then you will get upset, right? And you might blame me…… back to top