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Post hole digger - 1 or 2 man?

m2akita's picture

I am looking to get a gas powered post hole digger/ auger in the near future.  Wondering whether to get a 1 man or 2 man digger.  Will be using this for mostly for fence posts and deck posts.


Would be nice to have a 2 man for the extra power, but then that would mean that I need another person to help work the machine.  Does the smaller 1 man digger have enough power?  Can one person operate a 2 man digger.


Any thoughts or experience?  I used a 2 man digger once about 8 years ago and dont remember much ( except just about crying becuase we kept hitting rock and having to hand dig).


Thanks for any info.


 


 


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #126728, reply #1 of 48)

Get a bosch electric jackhammer with a clay spade and a clamshell digger.

I have never had much luck with the gas powered augers.

I even have a pto auger on my little kubota that I never use if I have a clay spade and a clamshell digger handy. If my three point hitch could push down I might change my view of the tractor auger.

One root or rock and the rotary auger has trouble.

Nothing stops an electric clay spade plus you can use it to dig ditches,etc.

Karl

(post #126728, reply #4 of 48)

The bosch jack hammer is an interesting idea.  Im not ready to put down that type of money though ( although if I reach far enough I might be able to twist my arm).  The only other problem with the bosch is that the fence post's are going out in a farm field.  Dont think that the generators that I have would be able to handle the bosch.  Will have to look into that.


Thanks for the idea though.


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #126728, reply #5 of 48)

I started out with a makita electric demo hammer that worked great til I wore it out digging out crawlspaces and parts weren't availible. I bought another makita and it was a big disappointment.

IMERC recommended this one to me
http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-11316EVS-SDS-Max-Demolition-Hammer/dp/B00004SUPW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1217786091&sr=1-2

and it is AWESOME with a clay spade. Lightweight, powerful, easy to use in close quarters and any position. Read the reviews on the amazon page to get a few other testimonials.

Anyone who finds regular opportunities to dig in hard packed, rocky or root filled dirt would benefit from owning one of these with a clay spade.

I don't know what a gas auger costs but these are a lot more versatile.

I run mine off a small generator with no difficulty.

My rental yard has a cool looking one man auger that has a teeter totter of sorts. One end of the teeter totter is a gas engine and hydraulic pump. The other end has the auger so they counterbalance eachother and the length of the teeter totter keeps the auger from from spinning the machine and operator around the hole.

I last looked at one five or so years ago but it was surprisingly cheap to rent.
I thing the teeter totter also acted like a trailer tongue so you towed the entire rig behind your truck.
I doubt the whole thing weighed more than 500 lbs.

Karl

(post #126728, reply #17 of 48)

I thought you where talking about the big yellow bosch demo hammer/ jack hammer.  Ive got a demo hammer ( I dont think its as big as the bosch you listed), might have to pick up a couple of those shovel bits and try it out.


 


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #126728, reply #28 of 48)

Farm field?


Why not find a fencepost pounder to rent or sub the work out to  local farmer who has one?


"Perfect is the enemy of Good."    Morrison

 

(post #126728, reply #29 of 48)

Around here, where the ground is rocky, you can count on about 50% less life from posts pushed into the ground hydraulically because they tend to split when driven. Then they start rotting.

Scott.

Always remember those first immortal words that Adam said to Eve, “You’d better stand back, I don’t know how big this thing’s going to get.”

(post #126728, reply #27 of 48)

Got the older model and never, ever regretted buying it. Great tool!

(post #126728, reply #2 of 48)

I made the mistake of buying a one man Tecumseh powered 8" auger many years ago.  Like you said, it worked fine, if rather slowly, until it hit a rock of any size.   As most of the ground in my area has a fair amount of loose flat stones in it,  the auger was pretty useless, even with two men. 


I should've asked around, maybe going to the utility company's yard one morning when the crews were coming to work.  I later learned that they put in a lot of power poles, digging six feet into the ground by hand when they can't get the truck mounted auger into position.


I could also have visited a local fence company, to find out what they used to dig their holes with.   Their methods would have been the same as the utility company.


In those days, about twenty years or more years ago, both crews dug by hand with a post hole digger and a steel point...when the auger couldn't get in position.


So, the simple answer is that unless you hire someone with a heavy duty auger, either one mounted on a truck or something similar on a tractor, you're better off digging your holes by hand.  You can use an offset post hole digger, substituting a heavy steel point/bar to losen the rocks and pry them up. 


Or you can go at it with pick and shovel, digging larger holes than what you need so's you can get down to depth. 


Man powered post hole diggers will rapidly wear out anyone, except a silver backed gorilla or someone who has been doing it daily for months. 


The best method I've found is to use a 6' long steel point to loosen the hard dirt, then jamb the offset post hole digger down there, to shape the hole better and lift out the loose dirt.


I take a folding chair with me and a jug of iced tea.   I ain't planning on breaking any speed records or building a new set of shoulder muscles either. 


Edit: Karl's idea sounds like a winner.  I'm going to make a note of that tool for the next time I need to get a hole dug.  But I'd still keep an offset post hole digger on hand, to clean out the hole more easily.


 


Edited 8/3/2008 1:25 pm by Hudson Valley Carpenter

(post #126728, reply #6 of 48)

Im trying to stay away from the human powered post hole diggers!!!  The one I have is getting worse and worse ( the engine needs a tune-up) :).  I just dont have it in me to hand dig all the holes that I will need.


My thoughts where to use the gas powered digger and than switch to human power when needed.


 


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #126728, reply #16 of 48)

I'm trying to stay away from the human powered post hole diggers!!!


I'd get on the horn to any and all pole barn companies and fencing companies, see if they'd be willing to bring their truck mounted auger out and dig holes for an hourly rate. 


Could maybe fit you in between regular jobs if you ask nice.  More likely get a positive from a pole barn outfit, I'd imagine.


There are sometimes private contractors who put in power poles with the same rig. 

(post #126728, reply #37 of 48)

this is supposed to be good for steel t posts:


The automatic T-Post Driver was first developed by Dan Rohrer in response to a fence builder who was complaining about his back and wishing for a "wonder tool." In less than a month, the first Man-Saver was manufactured and sold.

Since then, Dan has developed a series of drivers and expanded their capabilities with various adapters that allow them to drive almost any shaped post on the market up to 3.5" diameter.  Ideal for all your farm & ranch fencing, vineyard fencing and highway department post needs.
 
These post driving power tools are now patented products, still manufactured and sold from the same Central Oregon location where it all started in 1997.


Rohrer Manufacturing's post driver is an excellent, affordable alternative to bulky hydraulic or back breaking manual post drivers.  This lightweight, portable t-post driver is ideal for farm, ranch, vineyard, sign and highway fence, post, and marker installations.





"Never pick a fight with an old man. If he can't beat you he will just kill you." Steinbeck 

"If you have enough energy you can solve a lot of other problems." - Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway.

We have an abundant supply of domestic natural gas. Let's get busy solving problems.

(post #126728, reply #38 of 48)

Sounds pretty good.  How much?

(post #126728, reply #41 of 48)

Basic model that will drive t-posts runs about $450.


 


google "man saver" for the website.


 


Check out the video of it in action.


 


I've got some fence to do on a small farm I bought last year and I am seriusly looking into one of these for the t-post pounding.


That thing and a gas compressor would pretty much put you in the fence bidness.


 


Edit: if you already have a tractor and get that BellTec unit to do the corners and the line posts you'd pretty much be able to do almost any fence by yourself or just with the help of your kids.


I'm not sure I recall just what type of fence you are putting up but StayTuff has some good wire product and has a good website with some tips on fence building.



"Never pick a fight with an old man. If he can't beat you he will just kill you." Steinbeck 


Edited 8/10/2008 7:17 pm by intrepidcat

"If you have enough energy you can solve a lot of other problems." - Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway.

We have an abundant supply of domestic natural gas. Let's get busy solving problems.

(post #126728, reply #7 of 48)

I've never used one, but based on the experience of others a trailer-mounted auger is the way to go.


It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way. --Rollo May


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #126728, reply #30 of 48)

I wouldnt be so fast in knocking those one man diggers. I was drilling with one once (the brand Lowes sells), I hit a rock and it threw me over the top of itself.


Must've been pretty funny to see since I weigh about 2 bills.


 


 


 


Family.....They're always there when they need you.

 

Family.....They're always there when they need you.

(post #126728, reply #31 of 48)

Mine had a very low reduction gear on it.  It might've dislocated a shoulder but nothin' much more than that.


BTW. You can buy and ice auger for it and do pretty good, lake fishin' in the dead of winter.  Contrary to rumor, some guys do actually catch some fish that way.

(post #126728, reply #32 of 48)

I dont stand on water in August, and I dont stand on water in January.


Seems like every week during the winter I hear a story about rescuing some guy off an ice floe.


 


 


 


Family.....They're always there when they need you.

 

Family.....They're always there when they need you.

(post #126728, reply #34 of 48)

So for the immediate use ( or as immerdiate as I get to it), I'm digging the holes to put up fencing for horses.  Probably be fencing in ~ 5 acres, I dont really know.  Will know when my wife tells me.  Some of the area that the fencing will be going through is wooded so I know that a tractor may not be able to get in there.


Do have access to a tractor with hole digger attached to the pto.  Only problem is that its an old model is somewhat hard to get a staight hole into the ground.  Also, the owner only has a 12" auger which is a little big for fence posts.  Suppose I could pony up and buy him a smaller auger or go in with him on a better digger.


I was also thinking possible uses after putting up our fences, such as fences for a customer, or post holes for decks.  Dont think a tractor or skid steer would go over to good for that.


 


 


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #126728, reply #36 of 48)

 TM48 POST HOLE DIGGER

TM48 Post Hole Digger

Belltec Industries TM48 Post Hole Digger mounts easily on three-point tractors with over 28 horsepower which have at least two hydraulic remote valves. Our machine's design and performance go way beyond today's tractor mounted post hole diggers.

Our unique system transforms a three-point tractor into a drilling machine capable of doing what the big truck rigs do: drill accurate, straight holes (to a depth of 5 ft on a single auger) in almost any drilling condition, including solid rock and concrete.

If drilling holes is a problem for you, we have the solution. Whether it be hard, dry ground, rocky soil or solid rock. We can drill it.

"Never pick a fight with an old man. If he can't beat you he will just kill you." Steinbeck 

"If you have enough energy you can solve a lot of other problems." - Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway.

We have an abundant supply of domestic natural gas. Let's get busy solving problems.

(post #126728, reply #43 of 48)

I'd like to see that digger 'drills holes in solid rock' around our place - solid diabase that did this:


bobcathammertip.jpg picture by tjcbreaktime


to a Bobcat hydraulic hammer


Jeff

(post #126728, reply #44 of 48)

buy one, try it out and report back


:)


 


Well, you know how sellers make claims about their products....


 


 


"Never pick a fight with an old man. If he can't beat you he will just kill you." Steinbeck 

"If you have enough energy you can solve a lot of other problems." - Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway.

We have an abundant supply of domestic natural gas. Let's get busy solving problems.

(post #126728, reply #3 of 48)

I'll take a power auger over hand digging any day, but rocks and roots can make them almost as hard to use as hand digging. Of course, with no rocks and roots, life's good! Faster and easier than hand digging.


If I got to the point where I needed one all the time, I would think seriously about a hydraulic attachment for a bobcat, etc. Or a dedicated self contained post-hole digger. 


If you're set on buying a 1 or 2 man, just go for the 2 man and just make sure you have help. The 1 man units will beat the hell out of you in a hurry.


 

(post #126728, reply #8 of 48)

(post #126728, reply #9 of 48)

Was on a job where they were installing fence and deck, had a tow behind one man deal like this.


http://www.toolfetch.com/Category--Grounds_Maintenance--Augers--Earth_Augers--DIRTDAWG-9HON.shtml


Took a couple of hours to dig everything after marking, I was impressed! Made it look easy since this was turf, don't know how it would work in rocky soil or rough terrain.


I've seen 'em at the rental yards, think they were yellow so probably another brand.


 


Everything will be okay in the end.  If it's not okay, it's not the end. 

 

Everything will be okay in the end.  If it's not okay, it's not the end. 

(post #126728, reply #10 of 48)

As far as I'm concerned, those are worthless unless mounted on a tractor with PTO. I have used two like that, a two man one , and a couple one man ones.

Unless you have clean sand - no clay no rocks, no roots, anything with out the tractor for leverage and ballast will hurt somebody and needs three men at least.
That way you have one person to stay with the injured body while the third one goes for help.

;)

I would rather dig by hand than use one of them again.

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #126728, reply #11 of 48)

"As far as I'm concerned, those are worthless unless mounted on a tractor with PTO. I have used two like that, a two man one , and a couple one man ones."

Amen to that. Some years ago I rented a one-man and found that it can easily spin 220 pounds and fling it several feet (after I hit a big root). I now prefer the hydraulic-powered augers that hook up to crawlers and bobcats. They cost more to rent but they do the work 10X faster than a hand-held and there is much less hazard to the operator.

(post #126728, reply #12 of 48)

We had one on a Ford tractor that screwed itself in between a couple rocks and stood the tractor on it's hind end! Spent a half day digging it out

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #126728, reply #13 of 48)

"We had one on a Ford tractor that screwed itself in between a couple rocks and stood the tractor on it's hind end! Spent a half day digging it out"

Well, for some places dynamite may still be the best choice! I've had auger bits get stuck but was always able to reverse out with a little nudging from the power lift.

(post #126728, reply #14 of 48)

Yeah, one out of four holes would need some tweaking and reversing. Coomon enough that I only commented on the one we got stuch bad. It was funny seeing that tractor stand up on it's hind legs like a stallion dancing

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #126728, reply #25 of 48)

>>>That way you have one person to stay with the injured body while the third one goes for help.

Hmmmm... Ya think that might be why my wife still gloats to friends how I made her run a two-man auger while she was 7 months pregnant? (On a hill, in the hot sun, with rocky ground) I've always wondered....

...but we're still married. I'll pass on your thoughts... I'm sure she'll enjoy the extra ammo.

Thanks (sort of),

Scott.

Always remember those first immortal words that Adam said to Eve, “You’d better stand back, I don’t know how big this thing’s going to get.”