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  • Digging post holes advice

    I'm about to start digging post holes for a fence. My neighbour will be helping and we're thinking of renting a 2-man gas auger.

    12 holes, ~8" in diameter, 2' deep.

    The guy at home depot almost talked my neighbour out of doing it, he said it's a crazy amount of work once you hit clay.

    Does anyone here have suggestions? If I'm willing to sweat for a few hours - will I get it done, or should I not even bother and hope for the best trying to find a contractor to do it?
    Andrew Smith
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  • #2

    Re: Digging post holes advice

    Dig an exploratory hole with a shovel if there is moisture in the ground and few rocks you should be fine, if the clay is dry or if there are rocks get a contractor or the auger will more of a merry go round than a drill.
    Jerome
    Canada's South Coast

    Port Colborne On.
    Every loaf of bread is a tragic tale of grains that could've become beer.......but didn't....

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    • #3

      Re: Digging post holes advice

      rent one of these. way easier
      Last edited by scooby074; 09-15-2018, 11:42 AM.
      nnieman likes this.

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      • #4

        Re: Digging post holes advice

        Where do you rent one of those?
        scooby074 likes this.
        Andrew Smith

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        • #5

          Re: Digging post holes advice

          That wheeled thing really has a lot of advantages over a two man auger. Either way keep lifting the loosened material out as you drill, you don't want to have to dig a stuck auger out of the ground with shovels.

          Clay is not too bad. Shale is the killer. That and rocks, of course.

          You may want to reconsider the 2 foot depth you mentioned. It's really not deep enough for our climate.

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          • #6

            Re: Digging post holes advice

            Never use the 2 man auger.....its a good way to get real hurt.
            One of thoise hit some clay and threw me and my helper - a good 450 lbs.

            If you are going to diy it, rent the 1 man - you will still want 2 men.

            I dig holes with a clamshell and a metal spike/pick/prybar.

            2 feet is not deep enough for your fence.
            It will fail.
            It should be below the frost line.

            Call perfect posthole and get a quote.
            Theres prob other post hole & fencing contractors under the yellow pages.

            Nathan

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            • #7

              Re: Digging post holes advice

              https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5HnNbp_j7JQ
              When I was building fences I started renting one of these after being thrown around by a 2 man. It has a torque shaft between the power head and the power unit so it avoids throwing you around. The last few years I was renting a walk behind BOB CAT. The one by Scooby also works well but you need a little more room than the Little Beaver. Both have hydraulic drives so if you get too deep you can easily reverse the auger. I agree that the 2 ft deep hole is a little light but have never gone below the frost level and in SW Ontario is about 4 ft. In Ottawa it is 5 ft. I always aimed for 3 ft and have built a lot of fences and have never had one blow over. If you hit clay. Sometimes a little bit of water will soften up the hole. The two man augers do not have a reverse for the auger so if it gets stuck, good luck. A big pipe wrench will turn the shaft out

              Brian
              If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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              • #8

                Re: Digging post holes advice

                2 ft is deffinetly not deep enough for a fence post unless you only want it for amonth or two. 3 ft min 3.5 with 4" gravel in the bottem is best. You can make the job a lot easier by soaking the ground with water first if it is still hard fill the hole with water and come back tomorrow.
                Bob just past Ayr

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                • #9

                  Re: Digging post holes advice

                  What kind of fence and what will it be used for?

                  The hand held augers are very sensitive to the type of soil present. There are times when starting with a small hole and then going to a larger hole might be a plan.
                  Egon
                  from
                  The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                  • #10

                    Re: Digging post holes advice

                    I rented a stand-on hydraulic unit like this - super quick and easy, no bodily abuse:

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                    • #11

                      Re: Digging post holes advice

                      Originally posted by AndrewSmith View Post
                      Where do you rent one of those?
                      The usual suspects. United Rentals and Home Depot should have them. Make sure you specify the "One with the motor hanging on the other end". Sometimes they call them "Towable Augers".

                      Many of the small rental companies have gone to them too. So much safer than the old 2man augers.

                      A Dingo (as pictured above, mini stand on tractor) is also a good option if you can find one.

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                      • #12

                        Re: Digging post holes advice

                        One thing I never understood is how do you are supposed to dig a deep hole with a dingo. The auger there is barely over a foot long, and even together with the shaft it's maybe 4 feet.

                        I used it once and it was not a happy experience. Those things are so short that you have to move the machine as you dig the hole or else you'll end up with an angle. We hit clay and weren't able to go below 2 feet.

                        On this property I'm hoping there isn't a lot of clay. But of course you never know.

                        I'll ask whether they have the "One with the motor hanging on the other end".

                        Call perfect posthole and get a quote.
                        Theres prob other post hole & fencing contractors under the yellow pages.
                        Everyone is booked for a long time (some even for the season). And I've been reading unpleasant stories about what these sort of contractors do when they run into complications. It sounded like they typically have the equipment and the experience, but as soon as it gets hard - they either give up or quadruple the quoted price.
                        Andrew Smith

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                        • #13

                          Re: Digging post holes advice

                          You should be able to get 3' with a dingo. You do have to keep the auger plumb by moving the machine, same as with just about all augers attached to machines. Even 3pt mount augers on tractors, just due to the nature of machine attachments moving through an arc as theyre lowered.

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                          • #14

                            Re: Digging post holes advice

                            Originally posted by scooby074 View Post
                            rent one of these. way easier
                            Was at an auction today where one of these sold for 175 with two different augers, honda motor.
                            Rob

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                            • #15

                              Re: Digging post holes advice

                              I started using the one with the motor hanging on the end on our current fence and after a few holes I took it back. Works great on nice flat land but any angles or rough ground and you have to fight it to keep the auger going straight. Might be easier with 2 people but my neighbor was too busy watching so I’m not sure. I took it back and got the stand on hydraulic which I think you are referring to as the dingo. I had the remaining 20 or so holes dug in a matter of a few hours. You do have to move the machine as you are drilling to keep it straight but it is so much easier than man handling any of the others. The other person can clear dirt away as you are drilling. Just stop the auger before getting in there with a shovel to move the dirt away. It is well worth the money to rent. Home Depot is just over 200 I believe for 4 hours.
                              Jamie www.turneddesignsbyjamie.etsy.com

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