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  1. #1
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
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    John Deere 790

    Default Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique

    Hey all, I'm working with my son on his Eagle Scout project. Replacing benches and need 27 holes dug! Borrowed the neighbors PHD and have had some limited success thus far. For our next work-day, I want to improve our accuracy so we have less "tuning" to do by hand. Any experts with tips? I know the top of the auger moves away from the tractor as it swings down through it's arc and we tried compensating for this but maybe this caused more problems than it solved? I should mention, the benches are for a campfire bowl and are on a slope. Tractor is facing directly down-slope during operation. 12 inch auger for 6X6 posts, 48 inches deep (max of PHD).

    So far our process has been to start the auger on the mark and move the tractor forward partway through the hole. I suspect some of our problems are accuracy of marks but anything we can do to help the auger dig precisely will save time. Any and all tips welcome!

    A couple of photos: Worksite. Worksite visitor. My 2 sons, Eagle and Eagle candidate

    Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique-worksite-jpgPost Hole Digger (PHD) Technique-visitor-jpgPost Hole Digger (PHD) Technique-ras-njs-jpg
    Rob
    ****************
    John Deere 790, 70 FEL, 7 BH, 513 cutter and other fun stuff

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Kubota L3200hst

    Default Re: Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique

    Eagle Scout myself... First a word of warning. DO NOT LET ANYBODY WITHIN 6' OF THAT PHD WHEN IT'S OPERATING!!! It's the most dangerous thing on a tractor.

    A 2 man operation is best. 1 running the tractor, 1 spotter at least 6' away telling you when to move forwards or backwards to keep it level. After a while you may or may not be able to drop the spotter.

    Add weight (never a person) over the auger for more downforce. Make sure the auger teeth are in good shape as well. Sharp full teeth cut way better than worn ones.

    Make sure the auger is firmly on the ground before spinning it, or it can wobble badly.

  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    Ontario
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    CT235

    Default Re: Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique

    That's going to be tough. If you can put a fixed rod on top of the auger head with a tattle tale dangling from the top it will be allot easier for the operator. Like a plumb bob.
    Tim.

  4. #4
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallon View Post
    Eagle Scout myself... First a word of warning. DO NOT LET ANYBODY WITHIN 6' OF THAT PHD WHEN IT'S OPERATING!!! It's the most dangerous thing on a tractor.

    A 2 man operation is best. 1 running the tractor, 1 spotter at least 6' away telling you when to move forwards or backwards to keep it level. After a while you may or may not be able to drop the spotter.

    Add weight (never a person) over the auger for more downforce. Make sure the auger teeth are in good shape as well. Sharp full teeth cut way better than worn ones.

    Make sure the auger is firmly on the ground before spinning it, or it can wobble badly.
    Thanks fellow Eagle Fallon! Yeah, we had the talk about safety and distance. Soil is pretty easy so weight hasn't been needed yet. I'll check the teeth before we head out again.
    Rob
    ****************
    John Deere 790, 70 FEL, 7 BH, 513 cutter and other fun stuff

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Kubota L5240 HSTC

    Default Re: Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique

    Maybe increase your auger size to give you more "wiggle" room? I run 12"

  6. #6
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique

    Its a 12" auger for a 6" pole, how precise do you need to be?
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  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique

    When doing my fence I went out & got a 12" as my 9" wasn't quite cutting it. 5-6" posts. But the kicker was the mortise & tenon joint at the top for the cross piece. Needed to be within an inch or 2 for that. The bigger hole made alignment easier. More tamping to do, but it was easier as you could get the tamper where it needed to be. I assume benches will have similar precision requirements to my cross piece as opposed to normal fencing.

    If you stop the auger & observe a proper protocol, there should be no problem having your spotter come in & hit the auger with a level to make sure you are true. Make sure it's true front to back AND side to side. Easy to address side to side with TnT, but will be harder manually adjusting the side links.

    Also remember, trimming holes a bit larger sucks, but it's orders of magnitude making them wider by hand than it is making them deeper by hand.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    N. Georgia
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    B2601 FEL

    Default Re: Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique

    You could drive a long stake or your tamper in the ground at an angle and hang a plumb Bob off it to give your spotter something level to line up with. Some people eyeball level better than others.

  9. #9
    Silver Member
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    Willis,Mi
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    Default Re: Post Hole Digger (PHD) Technique

    Before digging any holes make sure you contact Miss Dig to locate any underground utilities.Its a free service. You never know what may be buried in the area your working.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member jimmysisson's Avatar
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    Default

    Linemen around here used a spotter carrying a light chain with a weight. Sort of like a pocket watch would do well. Stand back, eyeball the chain at arms length and past it to the augur. Check at 90 degrees to the last check and it will tell you which way to move the tractor. Certainly easier w a hydro trans tractor. And what's with the snake? Jim
    "Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly" Mae West

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