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Drilling Fence Post Holes

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  • #339657
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    What is the best way to go about doing this for a non professional?

    Should I swing by HF and pick up one of these?

    http://www.harborfreight.com/15-hp-gasoline-auger-powerhead-with-4-in-bit-60622-9292.html

    Or do I do it by hand and use a one of these post hole diggers?

    http://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/48-in-hardwood-post-hole-digger/A-p8318263e

    or can I use a demolition hammer and loosen everything up and dig with a shovel ?

    Or is there a better way that I don’t know anything about.

    #339668

    We often use our demo hammer with a clay spade to break up the ground for digging. Also consider renting a tow behind auger, they really work well. The tow behind augers work so much better than the 1 man and 2 man augers it’s like night and day.

    Robert Shaw -Colorado Deck and Framing
    www.mysteeldeck.com

    #339670
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    We often use our demo hammer with a clay spade to break up the ground for digging. Also consider renting a tow behind auger, they really work well. The tow behind augers work so much better than the 1 man and 2 man augers it’s like night and day.

    The only problem with the tow behind augers is the space in which to get in to my backyard, it is extremely awkward and I don’t think i’d be able to get one of those types of augers back there.

    #339673
    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    How many post holes, and what kind of soil?

    I personally would not buy anything from Harbour Freight. I’d rent an auger if that’s the direction you want to go.

    I’ve dug hundreds of post holes with a post-hole-digger and digging bar. nothing wrong with this method at all. A 2 man auger is MUCH faster, but it does take some strength and technique.

    If you use a shovel, you’ll have a gaping hole much bigger than you need.

    I’ve also set 70 foot tall power poles with an 20 ton auger truck, but that’s a different story entirely. 🙂

    Delta

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #339680
    Doobie
    Moderator

    How many have you got to do?

    How much pain are you willing to endure the next day?

    Do you have a hitch on a vehicle?

    #339804
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    How many have you got to do?

    How much pain are you willing to endure the next day?

    Do you have a hitch on a vehicle?

    I think I’ll have to do a few at my place but it will be impossible to get a vehicle anywhere near my backyard. I could do them over a few days, I am not in any rush. My friend also needs holes dug so thats why I thought hey if I can get some new gear why not.

    #339810
    TonyG
    Pro
    Colorado Springs, CO

    I have used a tow behind auger, two man auger and post hole diggers. Tow behind auger is definitely the way to go in my opinion. The tow behind is fairly easy to maneuver by hand once you get it to your location.

    #339815
    Doobie
    Moderator

    If you decide to hire somebody, I used these guys for over a hundred holes in the fall of 2013. This is all they do. And when they work, it becomes quite evident.

    http://originalpostholediggers.ca

    #339816
    cranbrook2
    Pro
    Belgrave, Ontario , Canada

    I would go rent a one man auger , they are 10 times safer and better than the 2 man . It is the only way to go unless you hire someone with a tractor and auger . These augers wont throw you all over the place like the two man augers .

    #339829
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    My dad and I used a 2 man auger to drill 36 post holes for my old shop.
    It was clay and had a layer od shale the last few inches of each hole.
    I will tell you that neither of us could move the next couple days!
    I would rent one like @cranbrook2 posted. A new tool is nice to have but if you won’t be using it a lot, its just another thing to store.

    #339831
    cranbrook2
    Pro
    Belgrave, Ontario , Canada

    My dad and I used a 2 man auger to drill 36 post holes for my old shop.
    It was clay and had a layer od shale the last few inches of each hole.
    I will tell you that neither of us could move the next couple days!
    I would rent one like @cranbrook2 posted. A new tool is nice to have but if you won’t be using it a lot, its just another thing to store.

    Them 2 man augers are great for breaking arms and snapping your wrist especially when it hits a root or a rock .

    #339844
    Doobie
    Moderator

    Them 2 man augers are great for breaking arms and snapping your wrist especially when it hits a root or a rock .

    I know he’s in Whitby, but I don’t know how close to lake Ontario he is. I’m about a kilometer from the lake, and after the grass, it’s all clay laden soil. The further you move away from Lake Ontario, the better it gets, but there’s some places that also have a lot of shale in these parts.

    The guys I linked to earlier that I hired were lucky I didn’t have any shale where I live, but when I saw them work, I was glad I didn’t try doing any of it myself as I could see how hard their Toro Dingo was working.

    I did do a couple of holes over the years, and they were not easy. I still have some more to do this year, and I may hire them again if I have enough for them to do their $250 min charge.

    #339849
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I would recommend cranbrooks option. They are really manuverable aad dont cost a lot to rent. Theu are much easier on the body than the mand helds

    #339853
    kswiss
    Pro
    edmonton, AB

    Those two man augers are pretty brutal to use. If that is your only option I would get a few buddies to help you out. For two guys to do a bunch of holes it can be a real PITA.

    #339854
    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    O.K., not to be mean, but some of us here are professional contractors, right?

    I did a job not too long ago, where I hand dug, with a post hole digger and a digging bar, 92 fence posts. Wasn’t that difficult, and I didn’t hurt at all. 🙂

    I’ve also used a two-man auger, and aside from digging a hole 1.5 feet across, and 3 feet deep in about 15 seconds, there were no issues. Yes, we were both professionals, and able-bodied young men.

    Now get out there and start digging. 😆

    Delta

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #339855
    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    I would go rent a one man auger , they are 10 times safer and better than the 2 man . It is the only way to go unless you hire someone with a tractor and auger . These augers wont throw you all over the place like the two man augers .

    Now that’s digging in style! I’ve used a regular one man auger, and its not much fun.

    I’d use the biggest rental you can get into the space. The time saved vs the rental cost is well worth it, IMO.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #339865
    redwood
    Pro

    Ok, I’ll weigh in here as I would hazard to guess that I have dug more holes then anyone on this list has. My first construction job was just digging holes, by hand.

    All the above mentioned methods can work. Which one for your case is determined by the soil conditions and your willingness or not to get a workout.

    If you only have a couple of holes, just do them by hand. If the ground is hard, a digging bar or a small demo hammer with a spade bit is your best friend.

    Two man auger can be used if access is very poor. The old Stihl 2 man augers were great, as long as you didn’t hit rock. Unfortunately, I think they stopped making them because they were able to cause serious bodily harm on occasion. The newer 2 man augers are heavy and have clutches to prevent being thrown off a cliff. Unfortunately, they don’t dig nearly as well as the Stihls. They just stop drilling if they strike anything that is not just loose dirt.

    I actually have no experience with the 1 man tow behinds, so I can’t comment on those.

    About 30 years too late, I picked up the Toro Dingo and immediately fell in love. Really the only drawback to the Dingo is on hillsides. They are pretty easy to tip over. When those occasions arise, I either fall back to the 2 man auger or the post hole digger. For really deep holes, I hire someone with a back hoe driller.

    Mark E.

    Pioneer, CA

    Working Pro 1972 - 2015
    Member since Jan 22, 2013
    www.creative-redwood-designs.com

    #339873
    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    Ok, I’ll weigh in here as I would hazard to guess that I have dug more holes then anyone on this list has. My first construction job was just digging holes, by hand.

    Good post, Mark.

    When I started in the IBEW, I was, not surprisingly, resident ditch digger. I dug trenches for multiple conduit runs in industrial facilities,and even hand dug some holes 10 or more feet deep for power poles. We had a shovel with the head at right angles, for cleaning out the hole. I dug so fast that I think it was cheaper to have me dig than it was to move a backhoe onto the job.

    I built my first fence on my own for pay when I 16 years old, and it seems I still haven’t figured out how to get out the ditch, although I’m getting better at getting some less skilled labor to do those type of things for me.

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #339874

    If we have the access we rent an auger for our Bobcat…that’s the way to dig hole! If site access is poor a two man is next in line. If it is just a few holes just a manual auger and spade do the trick.

    Andrew

    A Working Pro since 1995!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #339880
    Sprokitz
    Pro
    Eastern shore of, Pa

    My dad and I used a 2 man auger to drill 36 post holes for my old shop.
    It was clay and had a layer od shale the last few inches of each hole.
    I will tell you that neither of us could move the next couple days!
    I would rent one like @cranbrook2 posted. A new tool is nice to have but if you won’t be using it a lot, its just another thing to store.

    Amen to that ! I helped a friend put a post/rail fence in with 2 man auger. Both sides of 350′ driveway…. we were both hurtin’ after that

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