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Digging in North / Central Texas

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Texas_Signmaker, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Does anyone have any tool tips they could share when digging into rock? Some areas of North and Central Texas have that white colored rock that will chip and shale away and it's a pain in the *** to dig post holes using a post hole digger and concrete break pole. I'm not big on using the auger because it doesn't really help that much. Any tips to digging in that stuff?

    BTW.. I don't know what's worse.. The rock, or the black tar clay when it's soaking wet and sticks to everything... The soils around here suck.
     
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  2. MikePatterson

    MikePatterson Head bathroom cleaner.

    caliche soil is a PITA. I use a demo hammer a lot of times. (MINI Jackhammer). I did make an extended chisel bit from a whore out bit. I can bust it up to 30 inches deep, plenty for post and panel.
     
  3. chester215

    chester215 Just call me Chester.

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    We have about 15 jackhammers for the drivers when the ground is frozen solid in the winter. (not this year)
    We either have a 2000-4000 w gas generator on the truck or a power inverter hooked up to a deep cycle battery and also the vehicle battery for charging.

    Amazon has cheap demo hammers for around $125.
    Link
    I Am not recommending this one in particular, just an example.

    I do recommend this generator. It gets as cheap as $249.
    Link
     
  4. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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    correct,
    caliche and/or shelf rocks are a PITA!!!
    we currently use a combo of tools
    * electric demo jackhammer, we then fabricated long neck bits to get deeper
    * A 2-man gas auger
    Have been looking at a mini-skid steer to help reduce manual labor.


    It is called "black gumbo" or "gumbo", depends on what part of TX, and yes once it gets wet you are done.
    have seen/been stuck too many times to count even in 4x4
    the bad part is the surface will look dry and have cracks in it, go walking or driving onto it and you will INSTANTLY regret your actions
     
  5. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Interesting about the little jackhammers... I will look into those!

    I can't stand the black gumbo ... That is the stickiest **** I've ever seen. Each time I was pulling the shovel out I was having to scrape off the goop with a screw driver while I was sinking and walking around with 20 lbs of goop stuck to each shoe. IN THE RAIN about 1 week after I bought my new truck... It was not a good day. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to clean everything .

    DFW is new to me... I was in East Texas for 10 years where we have "Tyler Sand". I could dig a 30" hole with post hole diggers in about 2 minutes and not break a sweat.

    I have an SDS drill. Is that comparable to an electric jackhammer or is that pissing in the wind?
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  6. Moze

    Moze Precision Sign Services

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    SDS plus is too small. You'll want SDS Max with a clay spade for the "dirt" and a chisel bit for the rock.

    Below is what I use if I only have a couple of holes, otherwise I rent a tow-behind auger. i still bring the demo hammer and bits though in case I hit rock that won't give in to the auger.

    20170525_203831.jpg 20170531_141233.jpg 20180216_150828.jpg 20181210_085904_HDR.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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  8. Moze

    Moze Precision Sign Services

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    My wife liked that Cream Ale, unfortunately they stopped making it. Agreed on the original, it's good stuff!

    I had a Bosch jackhammer and didn't like lugging the generator (and cord) around....and frankly the weight of the tool can be pretty tiring. The Flexvolt DeWalt works really well and it's comparatively light. I can easily dig a 12" x 24" ± hole or two on one battery.
     
  9. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    If you have enough time you could go organic - carbon neutral:

    texas pocket gopher.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 1
  10. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    Well, if nothing else, at least I have one reason to be thankful that I live in Illinois. The worst problems we encounter here is clay loam, tree roots, and maybe an occasional buried brick.
     
  11. netsol

    netsol Very Active Member

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    "mini" jackhammer?
    go with a full size one
    i keep one, and a weka drill in my garage (the neighbors all know where to come when they want to borrow)

    always better to have a little more power than you need...
     
  12. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I have the DeWalt SDS Max but not with that 60v battery. I like the attachment on yours, mine is just a chisel. I will give that a shot on the next hole I gotta dig.
     
  13. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    That sounds like a nightmare... I think I would get some Home Depot rental help.
     
  14. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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  15. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Moze

    Moze Precision Sign Services

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    You won't be digging any holes with an SDS Plus (too weak and no attachments). You'll need to move up to an SDS Max or hex shank.
     
  17. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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  18. Moze

    Moze Precision Sign Services

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    Ah.....why the post then? I guess I'm missing something.
     
  19. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Sometimes they are on a siesta
     
  20. We use that demo hammer whenever we have to go down to Homestead or Florida City along with a generator in the truck bed. The ground down there is pretty much like concrete. As a matter of fact, there are several quarries where they dig up the rock, crush it, and use it in concrete.

    First few times I installed signs down there using a breaker bar and posthole diggers (1) 24" deep hole took me well over an hour. I actually gave up installing down there but my biggest customer basically begged me to take up the work again as they could not find anyone reliable in that area. We currently drive 150 miles EACH WAY for them whenever they have something to install down there. I could not dream of doing so without that demo hammer. The ground is so bad, we bought Razorback Post Hole digger at Home Depot with the lifetime guarantee. I believe we are on at least our 10th one now, having only bought two or three :)

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Razor-Back-48-in-Fiberglass-Handle-Post-Hole-Digger-78006/100163896
     
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