Digging trenches

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Digging trenches

Postby mikesbytes » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:10 am

Any cyclists into digging trenches? Last time I dug one, I'd said I'd never do it again.

Need to dig 9mtr trench for an electrical cable. Options seem to be;
1. Hire a digger for $265. Problem, it needs a trailer to transport and I aint got one and I don't have a towbar, so the costs go up.
2. Buy a good trench shovel and do it by hand.
3. Pay someone else to do it.
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by BNA » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:39 am

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Postby sogood » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:39 am

Consider it to be part of your core and upper body training! :lol:
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Postby tuco » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:55 am

Since you haven't had much rain, I'd pay someone to do it. The ground would be like concrete.

If you do it yourself make sure you use those gloves you're flashing in your avatar.
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Postby Mr888 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:33 am

I use to dig trenches day in & day out whilst I was a labourer, working towards my building degree.

It's easier to use a pick-hoe first to loosen up the ground, then followed by a shovel. A good quality spade shovel is the key. Try using your feet and weight to push the shovel into the ground (almost like standing on it). You'll get it done in no time. I should have a spare shovel lying around if you need to borrow one (I'll check the shed).

Electrical cables need to be at least 300mm deep, so it shouldn't be that much effort. Most of my sparkys and telecommunications subbies all do their tranches by hand (most of the time).

The going rate for "day labour" is about $250+GST or a lot lower for cash. Ask any building cadet. I've got heaps of references if you ned some.
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Postby Mr888 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:37 am

Oh I forgot. :oops: If you run into rock you will not be able to dig by hand, in which case you'll need to hire a rock breaker or kanga = $$$

BTW: will you need to cut through any concrete (eg footpaths)?
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Postby bda20 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:13 pm

Electrical should be at least 600mm below ground level so your job just doubled :roll:
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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:13 pm

Yeh 600mm deep for electrical.

Leaning towards digging it by hand. Too much trouble getting the digger.

I'm not expecting to hit any rock, as I haven't hit it when doing plumbing and if I do, I'll smash it with the digging bar. No paved areas, all grass.

Last time I dug one, I dug it at normal spade width and stood in the trench, broke up the soil with the digging bar. I've since been given an old trenching shovel.
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Postby europa » Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:49 pm

Whether you use a crow bar or a trench digger, the important thing is to break small pieces off the side of the hole rather than try to bite too much off in one hit. Keep the trench clean as you go, work with a steady rhythym and you'll be amazed at how quickly you get it done - bit like riding up a long slope.

Of course, paying someone to do it doesn't hurt anywhere near as much :D

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Postby Mr888 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:02 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Yeh 600mm deep for electrical.

Leaning towards digging it by hand. Too much trouble getting the digger.


I thought you were putting in some telecommunication cables as live electrical cables should be left to licenced electricians. (that hopefully love riding bikes too...relevance to this forum). Not a DIY job

There are no real standard depth for telecommunication cables, but we keep it at 300mm as a minimum. Power cable is definately 600mm minimum. If you are going that deep though, remember to "dial before you dig 1100". Be carefule of accidentally hitting water, stormwater, gas and other electrical lines, especially in older areas of Sydney. I've come across water pipes that were only +-50mm below ground level :shock:
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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:13 pm

The sparky has to put the wire in, but you don't need to ba a qualified electrician to dig the ditch.
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Postby Mr888 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:54 pm

ah-ha it all makes sense now...it's true you don't need a licence to dig a trench, but not that many sparkys will let you dig it for them either (OH&S and liability issues...so I've been informed)

Let us know what you end up doing. It would have been good if some sort of contraption was made that allowed you to dig the trench with your bike...bike pulling plough :?: :shock: :lol:
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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:11 pm

He wants me to dig the trench
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Postby tinstaafl » Sun Feb 04, 2007 3:51 am

mikesbytes wrote:I've since been given an old trenching shovel.
May I suggest that you sand and sharpen the shovel and keep it oiled as you work. It is also a good idea to sand the handle and oil it with Lindseed oil.
A sharp smooth well oiled trenching shovel will cut through the earth so much more easily and a smooth well oiled handle will slide through your gloves with much less effort.

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Postby pospete » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:13 am

tinstaafl wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:I've since been given an old trenching shovel.
May I suggest that you sand and sharpen the shovel and keep it oiled as you work. It is also a good idea to sand the handle and oil it with Lindseed oil.
A sharp smooth well oiled trenching shovel will cut through the earth so much more easily and a smooth well oiled handle will slide through your gloves with much less effort.

Robert





That makes excellent sense even tho it does sound particularly kinky. to go a step further you could cover yourself in baby oil too.



It sounds fun to me, I'dd just go for it, and i could break in my new shovel too! LOL. Just think how much upper body strength and stamina you will get from doing it.
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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:24 pm

Digging the trench has commenced, the header is currently being worked on.

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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:31 pm

Trench digging status update Sunday 3rd March 2007

3mtrs * 600mm That's hard work

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Postby pospete » Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:01 pm

If I were you I'dd start it on Sunday 4th march instead :lol:



Idd have offered to do it, but the cycle ride over would be a bit of a killer
Last edited by pospete on Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby heavymetal » Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:01 pm

Did you apply for a trench digging permit :D Otherwise you'll have the council around having a go at you about digging a trench without a permit.






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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Mar 03, 2007 9:20 pm

Opps

Must of been the 85k I did this morning, I was so slow I'd assumed that it was the following day.

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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Mar 03, 2007 9:25 pm

bicyclewa wrote:Did you apply for a trench digging permit :D Otherwise you'll have the council around having a go at you about digging a trench without a permit.


Rabbit infestation.

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Postby matagi » Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:13 am

mikesbytes wrote:
bicyclewa wrote:Did you apply for a trench digging permit :D Otherwise you'll have the council around having a go at you about digging a trench without a permit.


Rabbit infestation.

Burn plenty of Glycogen

Should we start calling you Emperor Nasi Goreng, then? :lol:

Will you be putting in a wall to deter the rabbits? :P
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Postby mikesbytes » Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:16 am

matagi wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:
bicyclewa wrote:Did you apply for a trench digging permit :D Otherwise you'll have the council around having a go at you about digging a trench without a permit.


Rabbit infestation.

Burn plenty of Glycogen

Should we start calling you Emperor Nasi Goreng, then? :lol:

Will you be putting in a wall to deter the rabbits? :P


Rabbits are a good source of protein and there small enough to put on the BBQ. I need plenty of energy now, cos I just rode through RNP on another epic ride and the trench is calling.

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Postby sogood » Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:13 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Rabbits are a good source of protein and there small enough to put on the BBQ. I need plenty of energy now, cos I just rode through RNP on another epic ride and the trench is calling.

Don't know how you do it? Where did you find the energy and glycogen store to do all these?
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Postby mikesbytes » Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:44 pm

Benifit of cross training I guess.

Dug 1.5 metres and then had to go shopping and I've just got back. If I can dig another 1.5 metres tonight I'll be happy. Very sore but happy.

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Postby matagi » Sun Mar 04, 2007 5:35 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Rabbits are a good source of protein and there small enough to put on the BBQ. I need plenty of energy now, cos I just rode through RNP on another epic ride and the trench is calling.

That's ok if they are farmed rabbits, which have more fat on them. However, wild rabbits will be too dry if you barbecue them - better to cook 'em up with plenty of garlic and red wine and serve with mashed tatties to soak up the resulting sauce (oh, and a green salad) ..... yummo!
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