Using an auger to dig deck footings
Posted August 26 2010 - 11:51 AM
Posted August 26 2010 - 12:40 PM
i had a stump ground recently, and although i didn't see it, there is a small tracked vehicle that can reduce its width to get through a 24inch opening
i would try calling a big tree company that also does landcsape work, or a larger landscape company
the attachemnt you call an auger is often referred to as a "mole"
i was enlisted to operate a dingo equipped with fairly wide mole during an open house at the nursery i worked at, and it did a darn good job digging a hole for a tree or shrub in very tough soil conditions- since i didn't need to go more than a couple of feet, i can't say how it would doing with the depth you will need
if you can't find the retractable machine, it might be feasible to remove a gate post so a wider machine will fit through
there are also two-man augers- a motor in the middle sttached to a strudy set of handles that looks like a bow tie when viewed from above
if there is a lot of stone present, that can be a problem
but having helped plant a bunch of big hemlocks with the aid of a stand on skid steer equipped with a mole, i know from personal experience that they can save a ton of back breaking work in the course of a day- you might have to dig the last bit of it yourself, and you will want a footing that is somewhat wider than the sono tube- just how much is a question for someone else
maybe pick up a trenching spade or other specialized shovel to make your life easier too
Posted August 26 2010 - 01:16 PM
The soil in my yard can best be described as stones with small bits of gravel between them.
Excellent drainage, but the only way to manually dig a hole is with a pick axe, pry bar, shovel, and coffee can.
Posted August 26 2010 - 02:07 PM
Posted August 26 2010 - 02:12 PM
The two-man auger does pretty good for harder soil conditions. But at 48" plan on doing a lot of bending as each hole is dug. And get two big guys to run this thing in case it "bucks" from hitting roots or hard pack.
Another choice would be a hand operated towable auger. It basically looks somewhat like a teeter-totter with an auger on one end and motor on the other. While I haven't used these it does look like it could be handled by one person with the wheels chocked. At least it would have some mass to keep it from "bucking" after hitting roots or hard pack.
Might be able to get a mini track loader with an auger attachment through a 4' gate. But this will cost more per day than the other choices.
Last thought, make sure there are no underground utility lines in the nearby area.
Posted August 26 2010 - 02:15 PM
You can do 4'd x 8"w with a rented, two man gas powered auger then widen it for your sono tube.
Posted August 26 2010 - 02:18 PM
Good luck with your project!
Posted August 26 2010 - 04:03 PM
The best method is to use the smallest sized auger blade first. It won't get hung up as quickly on small rocks. When you get to the proper depth you then switch to the next biggest size. Keep doing this until you have the proper size hole. PS-You will have to remove lots of rocks by hand
Posted August 26 2010 - 04:17 PM
Recently I installed electric at some outside locations for my Ice Cream stand. I rented a walk behind Bobcat with a Ditch Witch attachment. The Bobcat has elevation arms so it could dig straight down. This was awesome when we got to the retaining wall. I was able to dig right up to the wall from the other side of it. While this machine will not dig perfect holes for your pipe, it will dig 48" down so you can easily dig it out with post hole diggers. This machine was less than 42" wide. It dug easily through a #1 and #2 gravel base and 14" of shale.
The auger is your ideal machine and they may make one for the Bobcat which would easily dig through heavy crap. Good luck. The Bob cat cost me $200 for 4 hours and was well worth it.
Posted August 26 2010 - 05:03 PM
I helped my BIL a month or so ago. 15 - 20 holes, 42" deep, 12" wide. Tons of rock and debris.
Definitely better than by hand but what a *****.
Posted August 26 2010 - 06:30 PM
He is a trucker so he was hurting for a week after we finished 8 holes (12" by 48 deep)
My wife gave me hell; "Dave, you're going to kill my father"... I said no just get him back a little. We went out there for a vacation and there were supposed to be 3 carpenters to help.
There was only 1, me. Took 5 long days to build a 12x16 with new roofline.
Now we only visit in the winter and my tools stay home.
Posted August 26 2010 - 08:09 PM
Posted August 27 2010 - 08:13 AM
I actually spoke with my brother yesterday and he was able to borrow a tow behind auger from his work that should make the job a little bit easier. He described it as a free standing struccture almost like a crane with hydraulic operating system. Should keep me from tearing a rotator cuff.
I'll be using it Monday night after work so I will report back with how it goes. Right now I'm guessing that I'll get about two holes finished and will most likely break his machine.
Posted August 27 2010 - 06:01 PM
Right now I'm guessing that I'll get about two holes finished and will most likely break his machine.