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Author Topic: How do you dig through clay?  (Read 10573 times)
GigaBuist
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« on: April 24, 2010, 06:59:17 PM »

It's a question that's been bugging me for a few years.  'Cuz that's how long I've owned my house.

It seems to me that the original builders of this house (around 1999) must have had to bring in a really large amount of fill to get it high enough to build on.  And, like most decisions made regarding cost, they probably went with the absolute cheapest thing possible if it didn't impact their lives.  Kudos to them for that, they were very practical. Or maybe this is just the natural soil in the area.  But if that's the case I have no idea how the 60 acre field behind me can grow corn.  Whatever.

Basically, you get 3" down in my yard and you hit clay.  Took me 30 minutes (at least) to dig a 20" deep 12" wide hole today with a shovel.

When I dropped a bunch of trees in my front yard I got a tractor out here with a 150lb-ish post hole digger hooked up to the PTO for the job.  In some areas I had to have my 200lb brother stand on the thing and bounce up and down to get a foot into the ground.

Any ideas?  One of my brothers suggested a pick-ax to break the stuff up before digging.  Perhaps not a bad idea.

Is there anything I can do to soften this stuff up?  Like maybe drop 100lbs of earthworms on the yard and let them do their thing for a couple of years?  I'm not looking forward to this every time I want to stick something in my yard.
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Headless Thompson Gunner
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2010, 07:01:00 PM »

Shovel?  No.

Pick ax?  Yes.

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Jim147
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2010, 07:10:32 PM »

I buy a 12 pack and make sure the is no one around to hear me cuss the ground as I dig.

I hear gypsum will help break it down but I haven't tried it. If I have much to dig in the clay parts here it is done by machine.

jim
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BridgeRunner
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2010, 07:18:08 PM »

Detcord.
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taurusowner
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2010, 07:34:17 PM »

Ampho.
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Tuco
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2010, 07:48:37 PM »

Ampho.

Seriously.
It's what the pros use.
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AJ Dual
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2010, 08:51:32 PM »

You could find out if the local university or college has an agricultural extension office.

They'll tell you stuff about soil conditions, if the clay is local to the area. Even come out and take a sample, or let you send them one. Doing that stuff for the community is part of their mission etc.

Although, I think they'd probably only be able to tell you what to do if you want to roto-till the whole yard, rip out all the grass and plant xyz weed which is good for the soil or whatever.

I'd suggest a 2-4 man gas powered auger.
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RevDisk
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2010, 08:52:26 PM »

Detcord.

And...



Does the job quite nicely.



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RD dot org
BridgeRunner
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2010, 09:00:32 PM »

I was just perpetuating an APS meme.  I figured the accessories could be inferred.   grin
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S. Williamson
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2010, 09:09:40 PM »

Detcord in any kind of destructive means is akin to water in cooking--necessary, but not stand-alone.  grin
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BridgeRunner
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2010, 09:17:31 PM »

Detcord in any kind of destructive means is akin to water in cooking--necessary, but not stand-alone.  grin

Untrue.

I believe marital issues could be solved by Detcord alone.   angel
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230RN
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2010, 09:17:36 PM »

How about a Claymore?

Or less.

I'm not signing this one so nobody will know who posted it.
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Ryan in Maine
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2010, 09:39:13 PM »

Without heavy machinery? Napalm-B. Tannerite. Rifle.
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taurusowner
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2010, 10:10:22 PM »

Detcord in any kind of destructive means is akin to water in cooking--necessary, but not stand-alone.  grin

Unless there's a door you need open, then it works pretty well by itself grin
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KD5NRH
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2010, 10:17:21 PM »

Mattocks are for digging; shovels are just for scooping the dirt out after you dig.
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Waitone
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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2010, 05:43:31 AM »

I've fought clay for far too many years.  My conclusion is you won't make it easier to remove; all you can do is remove only what is necessary to complete your job.

If I dig a hole I use a post hole digger.  Often even that bounces so I use a mattock to bust it up then use the post hole digger to remove only what is necessary.  There are times when I fill up a pilot hole with water and leave it for a while.  Planting trees and shrubs runs the risk of root bind if the hole is not big enough, therefore the hole is bigger than instructions say.  A tiller is a waste of time and money when the ground is as hard as I've seen it.  A two man auger is good for lots of plants.  A professional with some sort of mechanical power is best to use if you've a larger area to dig up such as a garden.

There ain't no easy way out of it.
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280plus
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« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2010, 06:13:02 AM »

https://www.asseenontvadvisor.com/awesomeauger/index.asp?did=978&refcode=aga5
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Bogie
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« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2010, 08:58:25 AM »

Uh... Where do you live?
 
And I'm guessing that the corn field wasn't processed and scraped and graded for a subdivision.
 
Corded power drill and long augur bits. Drill every few inches. Then dig...
 
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lee n. field
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« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2010, 09:47:51 AM »

How about a Claymore?



I'm confused.

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Regolith
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« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2010, 10:00:39 AM »

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41magsnub
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« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2010, 10:17:27 AM »

shaped charge first then drop a cratering charge in the hole it makes.    Evil
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280plus
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Ever get that sinking feeling?


« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2010, 03:35:13 PM »


Corded power drill and long augur bits. Drill every few inches. Then dig...
 
Exactly my thoughts with the Billy Mays auger thingy. If it holds up to the punishment of using a corded drill it might just do the trick. Gauranteed that "powerful drill" they include is a POS.
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cassandra and sara's daddy
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« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2010, 03:36:57 PM »

i real powerful drill can be a handful  if the auger binds somethings gotta give and i've seen the something be the guy holding it.
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Leatherneck
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« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2010, 03:40:05 PM »

Rent a backhoe and have good dirt delivered.

TC
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TC
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280plus
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« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2010, 03:47:29 PM »

i real powerful drill can be a handful  if the auger binds somethings gotta give and i've seen the something be the guy holding it.
I've been the something.  grin

A friend of mine broke his wrist drilling concrete with a hole hawg. The bit caught a piece of rebar and off to the hospital he went.

Smartest thing I ever saw was the South American (probably Mexican but who knows) kid drilling big holes through plywood with a hole saw and a cordless drill. The drill had a clutch that could be set to release so everytime the saw jammed the clutch slipped instead of the dude getting twisted up. 30 years in the biz and that particular method never occured to me, some foreign kid had to wise me up.  rolleyes   cheesy

I like the rent an excavator idea too though. Those teeny ones are cool. I got the one I used from Home Cheapo.
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Avoid cliches like the plague!
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