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  • Underwater Chainsaw???

    I would like to remove three dock pilings...approximately 12 inches in diameter...but they must be cut off at the bottom of the canal....in approx' four feet of water...at low tide. Hiring a crane on a barge to pull them out is simply much too expensive. Any thoughts on this problem?

  • #2
    I am sure that there will be all sorts of good suggestions posted. In only four feet of water, why not use a handraulic bow saw? I think you can still by them-they were called Swede saws or pulp cutters. A four footer and a couple of spare blades, (they have hardened teeth now,) should cost about $30.00. Better yet, there have got to be some hanging in the rafters of garages around town.
    Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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    • #3
      A steel tri-pod with pads on the feet and a 3-5ton chain hoist.Apply tension,all the hoist can manage and let it sit.Check it daily adding tension as it allows.A large turnbuckle could be used inplace of the hoist as well.

      A friend and I removed six 8" piles this way,his were in only 6' deep so the hoist alone did the trick.If they were deeper a high pressure pump and wand would be needed to wash down around the pile at the same time it was being pulled.
      I just need one more tool,just one!

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      • #4
        I guess being underwater rules out electric chainsaws How far away from the bank are they? Could ya hook something big to them via a chain (a big one)and pull them over sideways until they either break or pull out? You'll need something big ie dumptruck, 4wd 150 hp+ tractor,dozer with a winch. Good luck !

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        • #5
          Our local power company uses hydraulic chain saws on thier bucket trucks. Check with the tool rental plces around you. If nothing else, contact the Army Corps of Engineers if it is a navigation hazzard.
          Last edited by Al Messer; 06-06-2008, 10:21 AM.

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          • #6
            Underwater chainsaws do exsist in both air and hydraulic drives. Stanley tools makes a hydralic one. They can be found on ebay see 370052397858 for a current listing) although pricy for a one time use. You might be able to rent one through a local dive shop or You might hire a comercial diving company for an hour or two to do the job for you
            Last edited by Frederick Harvie; 06-06-2008, 10:24 AM.

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            • #7
              A couple of plastic 55 gal drums chained off to the pilings at the water level at low tide, wait till high tide and use a garden hose hooked to a long section of pipe to help "Jet" the piling out. If you have enough of a tidal change, and the poles are not too deep, they should come right out. If you cut them off, the remaining submerged obstruction will ruin someone's day at some point in the future.
              Mac

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              • #8
                CD's

                Have a word with some ex-Navy Clearance Divers. They should be able to do it - perhaps even to "blow" them (with "Coretex").

                That sort of stuff is what they are trained for. A "passing-out/qualifying" test here in OZ - years ago - was for them cut a railway line in half with a manual/ordinary hardware Store hack-saw!! Under water!!. They - or at least some - were the under-water/diver version of Special Forces and were 150%+ fit!!.

                Many Harbour/Port/Wharf etc. maintenance contractors have divers specifically trained for this sort of work.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by rmack898
                  A couple of plastic 55 gal drums chained off to the pilings at the water level at low tide, wait till high tide and use a garden hose hooked to a long section of pipe to help "Jet" the piling out. If you have enough of a tidal change, and the poles are not too deep, they should come right out. If you cut them off, the remaining submerged obstruction will ruin someone's day at some point in the future.
                  +1. Piles get pulled out all the time by ice and tide.

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                  • #10
                    Why wouldnt a gas chain saw work underwater? Get some hose , like a hair dryer hose, and connect it to the air intake and make some kind of fuel filler cap with a hose going to the hair dryer hose. Your only cutting 4 posts, it only has to run about 5 mins.
                    I would bet that the ignition is water tight. At least moto cross motor cycles are and its the same thing.
                    Or you can spend the $1K for the underwater version

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                    • #11
                      Years ago I worked for an outfit that specialized in underwater blasting and salvage work ( I was just a deckhand). They had a couple of all stainless hydraulically driven saws that had parallel reciprocating blades. I can only recall them being used a few times. Usually we jetted pilings when they needed to be removed. There was a pretty big pump on the boat that provided water through a pipe that was run alongside the piling and into the seabed. A line from a boom was tied around the top of the piling, and enough strain was taken that the boat would heal a bit, jetting commenced, and out came the piling.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ahidley
                        Why wouldnt a gas chain saw work underwater? Get some hose , like a hair dryer hose, and connect it to the air intake and make some kind of fuel filler cap with a hose going to the hair dryer hose. Your only cutting 4 posts, it only has to run about 5 mins.
                        I would bet that the ignition is water tight. At least moto cross motor cycles are and its the same thing.
                        Or you can spend the $1K for the underwater version
                        It's an interesting thought, but my guess is that even if the ignition is waterproof, and even if you could get the air intake to work at that depth, the sticking point would be the cooling fan. Most motorcycle engines do not have a shrouded cooling system, but chainsaws do, and once underwater, I think the flywheel fan would bog it right down.

                        But the whole discussion makes me wonder how difficult it would be to rig up a home-brew air or hydraulic saw using a cheap electric as the base. One of these days maybe I'll play with that.

                        My first vote would be to try floating or lifting them out before sawing them.

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                        • #13
                          Blow them out hydraulically, where the piling itself becomes the piston. Bore a hole lengthways through the middle of the piling (Home depot & others sells Greenlee 4' extended drill bits for running electrical wiring, weld or bolt on an extension)

                          Machine up an adapter bung to pound into the hole, connected to a pressure washer pump. The 12" diameter end of the piling becomes a 113 square inch piston. Even 50PSI will cause 5600 pounds of lifting force to be applied. Air or water will begin to leak around the piling eventually, loosening the piling also.
                          Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                          ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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                          • #14
                            If the bottom is fairly flat and a little soft, this would be fun to try. Chainsaw the pilings off as short as you can at low tide. Get about 20 12' 2"x6"'s and cut them down to 6', bevel the edges, and then using biscuits or dowels make a big wooden barrel without a top or bottom that can be placed over the pilings and then pump out the water. This would make a cofferdam with a dry bottom, and then you could just cut it down with your chainsaw. It would take about $100 worth of wood if you had to buy it new or if you are lucky you may already have it in a scrap pile. Though it would be heavy, you could roll it around, and flipping it up would be pretty simple in the water. If you do this and it goes well, make sure you put the video on youtube. If it does not go well, you might just win $10K on funniest home videos.

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                            • #15
                              Well I'm cheap and spend more time than its worth to do something. So if I had a one time deal like that I'd try using a gas powered portable tree trimmer, only turn it upside down and stick it in the water. Ya know one of the 8 or 10 "chain saws that mount on a weed wacker. $150 from ho-d-poo (aint that how the southeererrs prounce it?) Homedepot

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