I've posted a number of questions on this forum as I planned for my crawlspace-to-basement conversion project. Most of which were about inane details that I thought were major issues. Anyway, I am actually doing work on this now. I knocked out the first column, pulled out it's footing and formed out the new footing in it's place (only a little deeper). The county inspector was out yesterday and gave me his blessing and I will be mixing concrete tomorrow. So, it's time for another question about something that is probably not as significant as I am thinking it is. I'm using Quickrete pre-mix concrete (the 4,000 PSI product in the yellow bag). My question is how stiff or loose to mix it. I know the ideal amount of water will yield a stiff mix that will take some work to get the air pockets worked out. On the other hand, more water will make the concrete weaker but easier to work out the air. Should I go with a stiffer mix and just try to work out the air pockets with a 1x2 until I think I got it all? My concern is that I tried that recently with some concrete weights I formed up for a lawn aerator and they looked like swiss cheese when I removed the forms. Thanks for the input (past and present).