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Thread: Post hole digging

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
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    2,349

    Default Post hole digging

    When I was a younger feller' dad decided that we needed a fence around the yard. There was an alley on one side of the house and he wanted a bit more privacy than a wire fence would provide. So we started digging post holes for 4x4 posts with one of the scissor type post hole digger. You know, the standard type that does not work once you are about 1 1/2 foot deep. Needless to say I have not had a good appreciation for digging post holes since.

    Well, a friend told me about a different type of post hole digging device that was once found in just about all hardware stores. Probably before all the good old hardware stores sold out to Ace and such.

    Anyhow, I polled my neighbors for this drill type post hole digger because I could not find one in our local stores.

    If you see one of these at a yard sale you might pick it up. I just dug 4 holes in about 1/4 of the time it would have taken using the "high profit margin, dont work well" type diggers that are for sale in Lowe's now.

    Click for larger photo.


    The clay in our soil here can stop most people from getting anything done in dirt by hand. I thought about renting a gas powered type but I'm too cheap to do that!



    The one on the right can open and dump the dirt. Its only drawback is that the slide for opening up the bit is very low on the handle requiring one to bend over way to much. But, I would still use it over the common types out there now.

    Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Bruno, Arkansas and Tallahassee, Florida
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    948

    Default PHD's

    Rock...Another source for a really top quality phd of the type you show is at military surplus outlets. The army has a kit that engineer companies use to build temporary encampments that is a large case with about a dozen d handle shovels, hand sledges, and a super nice drill type phd. I also am sold on how well these work. I have one that is not as sturdy as the military type, that I use on my place in Arkansas. The secret that I have found with the clay soil and rocks there is to get the ground wet in the place you want to dig and it drills like butter.
    Jim (KB4IVH)

    Only fools abuse their tools.

  3. #3
    gnm109 Guest

    Default Fencing? Too much work for me. I'll just pay someone/

    I can't do that sort of labor anymore. That being the case, I hired a licensed contractor to install 400 feet of three-bar white vinyl fence around my front yard. He dug about 50 holes in 20 minutes. He had a small Caterpillar skip loader with a gigantic hydraulic motor mounted on the front. It was powered by the hydraulic pump on the loader using some hoses that were about 1-1'2" in diameter.

    The hydraulic motor itself was about 2-1/2 feet long and 12" or so in diameter. The shaft that drove the tool to drill the holes was a hexagonal stub about 8" long and 2" across the flats. I wish I had thought to get a picture of it.

    He could drill a 12" diameter hole 2-1/2 feet deep in 20 seconds. The ground was wet but I don't think it would have made much difference with that rig. Ha~!

    The entire job was completed in 4-1/2 hours with three men. I watched my neighbor do the same thing himself last year. It took him all of two months of weekends. No thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Mohegan Lake, NY
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    187

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rockrat
    I thought about renting a gas powered type but I'm too cheap to do that!


    Spring for the machine rental...WELL worth it. And yes, I'm a major cheapa@@ too


    I installed 100' of 6' chainlink fence for a dog pen a couple of years ago...But screwed it up, and between buying the materials, tool rental, and calling in a pro to fix my mistakes...It would have been cheaper for me to just have the fence guy do it in the first place. AND he would have been finished in 3 days, not the two weeks in August it took me.

    Some things it pays to have the pros do.


    Andy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Grand Blanc Michigan
    Posts
    3,628

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rockrat
    ... with one of the scissor type post hole digger. You know, the standard type that does not work once you are about 1 1/2 foot deep...
    I never had any trouble going deeper. Dug 48" deep holes for freestanding antenna bases. 'course, helped that the holes were 10" diameter.

    I had the auger type also, but found the clamshell worked better for me, even for fenceposts.
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    52N 122W Western Kanuckistan
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    Default

    I am going to build a powered auger for the front of the Land Rover. Pounding is too much work in this sorry excuse for soil we have. I can't dig by hand unless I want to do one hole per week and we have some more fence to put in. I haven't yet decided whether to make a front PTO for the Rover or to drive it with the 15 horse Briggs I robbed from the spare lawn tractor. Either way it shouldn't be a very difficult build and I only need holes about 6" diameter. I already have a very stout 15 to 1 worm drive transmission designed for at least 10 to 15 hp.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Germany
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    Default

    Evan, If you build a fence post auger make sure you have a reverse on the auger. I don't know what type of soil conditions you have there. But if there are any roots or sizable stones you will need a reverse.

    I live in the Black Forest of Germany and the gound is very rocky and we have lots of tree roots to deal with. I rented a very high end hydraulic post hole auger to use on my excavator to dig holes. I could only dig about fifty percent of my holes with this auger. I ended up getting a 1 meter long chisel custom made for my hydraulic hammer. I can now punch a hole in the ground anywhere in about five seconds. Works perfect.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    Huntsville Ala
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    Default

    Yeah, I can attest to the frustration of getting the auger type hung under roots.
    Building my fence several years ago I rented a power hole digger, and along the back of the lot where several trees lived and the ground was soft, I soon learned it was easier to just dig with the clamshell, then have to stop, remove the powerhead, and untwist that auger out by hand.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Maine
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    6,698

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    My grandfather had an assortment of the auger type on his farm. Worked great. Of course it helped that the soil was very sandy and free from rocks.
    ----------
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Western New York U.$.A
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan
    I am going to build a powered auger for the front of the Land Rover. Pounding is too much work in this sorry excuse for soil we have. I can't dig by hand unless I want to do one hole per week and we have some more fence to put in. I haven't yet decided whether to make a front PTO for the Rover or to drive it with the 15 horse Briggs I robbed from the spare lawn tractor. Either way it shouldn't be a very difficult build and I only need holes about 6" diameter. I already have a very stout 15 to 1 worm drive transmission designed for at least 10 to 15 hp.

    Boy talk about BRANDING. Evan I just read your post as "I am going to buile a solar powered auger........." I guess, at least in my mind, the greenies have made the word powered into solar powered

    Don't rule this out when digging of any sort. I dug a 4'x4' by 7 feet deep hole using this tool to break up 6" of dirt depth at a time and then a shovel and bucket to remove the dirt. I dug up a 3'x3' hard packed driveway just to see how deep the gravel went in about 3 minutes. These Garden Claws are tremendous aides to digging. You simply screw it into the ground and it breaks it up.
    Last edited by Your Old Dog; 04-02-2010 at 05:48 PM.
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