What's the best way to dig a really big hole in the bush?

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:07
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Thinking somewhere between a shovel and a mini-excavator but I don't really want anything heavy.

Maybe some kind of tripod/pulley system and I can use the ute to convert horizontal force to vertical.

Thinking about digging for water, probably wont but interested in any ideas....

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Alan


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Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:20

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:20
Alan,

Depending on the size of hole you are looking at digging, have you thought about a hand auger?

Dormer Soil Samplers Augers

Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:25

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:25
Thanks Kev,

I like the principle. I should have been more specific - I'd be looking at moving 2 or 3 tonne or more.

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Reply By: yarda - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:34

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:34
How deep are you talking Alan?

A few feet in a river bed, or a hundred foot deep bore hole?

A post hole shovel, scissor shovel, or post hole auger will get you down a meter or more pretty quick.

If it's deeper, I can only warn that in Victoria, at least, the fine for drilling a borehole without a permit is substantial (10,000 from memory), and the driller has to properly case the hole and log the details of the drill with the Gov.
That's why it's rare to see any of the old manual bore drilling tripod rigs around.
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Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:42

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:42
Hi Yarda,

I'm only looking at about 3 or 5 metres down conical shaped (inverted pyramid). I cant go straight down as I want to sift through the adjacent soil. Standard pindan red dirt.

Thanks for the warning about fines.

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Follow Up By: yarda - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 17:04

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 17:04
Sounds like you are trying to be the next open-cut mining baron!

I don't know what you are allowed to do in that situation but I suspect a mining or exploration permit may be required?
Dunno- just seems to be a bloody big hole, but with some sweat, a shovel, crowbar, an extension ladder and buckets and ropes, you could work your way down over a few days.
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Follow Up By: Member - Michael A (ACT) - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 17:58

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 17:58
GELI - yeah - bloody big hole n lots of noise

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Follow Up By: Nev (TAS) - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 19:19

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 19:19
Or superphosphate and diesel.... May not quite end up being conical though :-)
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Reply By: Slow one - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 18:12

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 18:12
Alan,
I see you want to go between 3 and 5 metres. I am sure you know about the danger of ground conditions. So now you have to dig and shore up the sides.

You could use a motorised hand auger, and then use a drum on a tripod as you suggested, to lift the mullock out with the vehicle. If you aren't going to shore up, make sure the ground is good or have a very big cone.

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Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 20:03

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 20:03
Thanks Slow one, I'll look into the motorised augers.

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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 19:18

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 19:18
Hi Al

What size hole, 6' x 6' x 3'............who you trying to get rid of.........



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Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 20:03

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 20:03
lol, life's not that bad mate :-)

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Follow Up By: Member - David&Erica - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 21:30

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 21:30
Geez . . .only 3" deep, they will be found pretty quick.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 07:58

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 07:58
Hi David,

When I went to school, this was the foot symbol ' and this was the inch symbol ".

My size hole is 6 foot deep, 6 foot long and 3 foot wide.

That would even make it deep enough so the dingos could not smell anything......lol




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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 23:39

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 23:39
Inverter, electric jack hammer, shovel.

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Peter
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 12:15

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 12:15
Yes Peter, Alan , I use that and after years of looking for a better approach I have come to the conclusion that this is the best approach.
However just using a matock is about 1/3rd as good rising to about 1/2 as good if you have helpers.

This assumes of course that dirt is not something like soft sand and also you cannot reasonably get a digger to the spot.

I actually dig a sort of trench which gets deeper at one end , and makes removing the dirt easier even though there is more.

I use a 1500w modified sine wave inverter running a Hitachi 3/4 size jack hammer straight off the car with either a spade or chiesel tool if rocks are involved.
Each 1/2 hour need to start car to recharge battery.

Before getting My own I used to rent a full size Kanga but found that the effort of lugging it wasn't worth the increased capacity
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 23:50

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 23:50
1. Get a really big shovel.

2. Tell Massie there's a really big bone buried in the spot requiring a hole.

3. Get Mick to dig the hole.
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 11:21

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 11:21
John I've seen Mick try and dig a hole before, let's just say I haven't got all day :-)


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Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 12:32

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 12:32
Alan mate 3 to 5 meters is a well in any terms.

My brother is a windmill doctor, and he cleans wells for a living.

Let me tell you 3 to 5 meters is a big hole and that does require quite some shoring up.

Give you some idea.

A few years ago, my brother was typically charging $100 a foot to clear a standard 4 foot diamter well shaft....I am sure the price has gone up since then.

He and his off sider used to recon they where doing all right to do 4 to 6 feet a day using shovel,bucket and windlass.
NOW remember this is a hole that has already been dug, the shaft already shored up and is filled with more or less lose material.

Now remember for each meter of a 4 foot diameter hole you are shifting about 4 cubic meters of material..as it lies..off the shovel that works out to be arround 6 cubic metres of material..if that is dry sand, that works out to be arround 2 to 3 tonnes, if its wet it could be as much as 6 tonnes.......PER METER DUG

Now untill he recent illness, he was a vigorous little man with a savage shoveling action and well hardened to this work.....and energiser bunny in a big hat.


So..how do you recon you are going to go.

Now...there is a good reason why these shafts are cut at 4 feet......because that is how much room a short man needs to work


now if you are to free dig, without shoring...you will need to dig a hole at least twice the diameter as the depth you are to dig to......that is a F@#$%!G BIG hole.

Now...ya typical heavy rigid tip truck has a 10 meter bin and carries about 12 tonnes maxed out.

so I recon If I was contracting to fill a 5 meter conical hole, I would be safe in quoting 4 trick lodas of fill.

So alan..what exactly are you trying to do.

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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 18:44

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 18:44
It would seem Bantam that either way I am going to have to practise with the shovel.
I can't see myself shoring the sides either so will have to have a large diameter.
Basically I have seen a lot of potential water sources in my travels over the years and would like to open some of them up.
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Alan

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 20:12

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 20:12
Hi

Slightly irrelevant but 1 cubic meter of sand (quartz dominated) actually comes in at around 1.5 tonnes, not 0.5 tonnes as suggested. Density varies with composition (i.e. grain size, mineralogy, moisture content) but you'll have trouble finding any "dirt" less that 1 tonne per cubic metre. Using a density of 1.28 for "silty loam", a conical hole 5 metes deep with a 3 metre wide opening on the surface will equate to about ~ 15 tonnes of material requiring removal.

As indicated by others it wouldn't be safe to go so deep with such a narrow opening without support on sides. If you go wider at the surface the volume/tonnes goes up exponentially.

I have a feeling the novelty of doing such a thing by hand even with some mechanical assistance would wear off very quickly. I dug 20 holes in the Little Sandy Desert week before last (~0.6 tonnes per hole). Fun factor = zero..but positive was exercise and a few marsupial mole tunnels observed.

I don't know of anyway to assist the digging process with a vehicle (have a few ideas but as we are not allowed to mention these I wont :)

If you do find a way ..make sure animals can't be trapped in the hole i.e. more digging and provide a ramp. Enough open hole death traps out in the bush now ..don't need any more.

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Greg
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 22:43

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 22:43
Yeh I was perhaps being a little generous in my estimates of mass...this sand might be fluffy dusty stuff........but I think the point is.....thats a lot of stuff to shovel no matter which way you look at it.

cheers
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Reply By: Axle - Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 12:37

Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 12:37
G/Day Alan,....Mini excavator mate! ,if you could get one to whatever site, and even then it would be a trick in sandy type soil, Go down three metres, batter the sides out to 45deg,..then ramp in and dig the last bit out of the centre....forget the shovel!, you will be dead by the time you get to 2mtrs!, good idea though...not sure of the legalities.


Cheers Axle.
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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 20:40

Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 20:40
Quick and easy...........................FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Reply By: Member - mike g2 - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 10:30

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 10:30
Hi, you've got my curiosity- why digging a big hole? if its water, don't really need to- can do this by several other means (eg; condensation). if its some sort of prospecting/mining, may be fair enough. for rubbish disposal- carry out is better. ays need to consider environment as well- is it necessary to dig the hole? etc..
anyhow, choices are clear- by hand or some form of mechanical device such as hoe, auger etc.
MG.
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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:48

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:48
Hi MG,

Something like in this picture I would be interested in returning to it's former glory (not the dog, she's still not middle aged yet)



Maybe not this one, but there are many like it.

Cheers
Alan

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:52

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:52
Camels will love it :)

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 21:05

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 21:05
I could put a "do not drink" sign up?

No seriously you are right - I used to think they were nice fluffy things, and would grab out my camera etc...
Maybe a chain-mesh fence.

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Follow Up By: Member - mike g2 - Friday, Apr 25, 2014 at 11:02

Friday, Apr 25, 2014 at 11:02
Ahh! now I see says the blind man... want to clear out an old soak/ well. large area looking at it. all prev suggestions would do the trick bar the home made explosives! way too unstable unless your a sapper.
old pull plough/scoop/grader blade sounds good as well. try any farm in country and look around for what might suit-shouldn't be too hard to weld up a link to suit the towbar on back of 4B and drag along behind working in concentric rings...farmer will be glad of a few bob to take it (or a 6pack)
MG

ps: like your rig photo on the hill.
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Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 20:11

Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 20:11
Alan,
if you have a helper one option would be the old horsedrawn scoop found on many farms
just subsitute the horse with a cruiser
these things were used to dig many dams in the past
just need somenoe to drive the cruiser while you weigh down on the back of the scoop
actually best get a big(heavy ) mate to go with you and drive the vehicle yourself.
even if the ground is a bit hard to get the scoop to dig in it makes it easier to remove shovelled dirt from the hole
cheers
Howard
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Follow Up By: equinox - Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 21:49

Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 21:49
Cheers Howard I googled a few scoops, they look like that they could help - even as you say they just make it easier to shovel later.

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Apr 25, 2014 at 21:16

Friday, Apr 25, 2014 at 21:16
Alan,

Considering some of the places you frequent, this is what you need.



All you need now is to talk Mick into leaving his quad bike somewhere, and loading on the Dingo. With a few lights you could work all night!!!

Bob.

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Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Apr 26, 2014 at 13:22

Saturday, Apr 26, 2014 at 13:22
Wow that's a beauty Bob. I'm sure that will do the trick for sure!!


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