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  1. #21
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    667
    Location
    IL
    Tractor
    Ford 555 TLB, Xtra-Vator, pallet forks; Caterpillar 12 Motor Grader; FABTEK aerial platform

    Default Re: Digging a pond with backhoe... Need advice

    I also agree that spiraling outward from the middle is the best way to dig a pond with a backhoe (which is the wrong machine for this size pond). I agree that the OP needs to watch out for cave ins. He might want to consider terracing to reduce the chance of cave ins.
    Tracked dumpers may be good for that type of terrain but I don't like the idea of stockpiling material then loading it later. Handling the material an extra time means more fuel and more hours on the machine. Not a cost effective way to do things.
    Looks to me like the fuel savings alone would offset much of the cost of buying or renting equipment better suited to this project. I've seen track hoes with some decent life left in them sell cheap. I just saw a dragline on C/L for $3000. I've seen used dumps sell for under $2K.

  2. #22
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    15,283
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Tractor
    Several, all used and abused.

    Default Re: Digging a pond with backhoe... Need advice

    While I agree with those of you who suggest he get the right tools for the job, and realize that in the long run it will be cheaper, I'm also of the mindset that using what you have and working on it a little at a time is how I would do it.

    He has the backhoe. I think it's paid for, but regardless, it's what he has. A tracked dump truck like the Komatsu is great for what he's doing, but they are pricey. They are also maintenance machines, like all tracked vehicles, and could easily be more work to keep running then it would have been to just use the backhoe. If I have a choice, I will always want tires over tracks. I have a dozer and say this from experience.

    Buy a cheap dump truck, expect to work on it all the time, so be sure to buy one you can get parts for. Cheaper isn't better, and in most cases, costs more money in repairs and down time.

    Dig with the backhoe and load it into the dump truck. Then get off the backhoe and drive the dump truck to where you want the dirt to go. I do this all the time and have moved hundreds of yards in a day when everything is working. In time, you can move a lot of material. It's going to be more expensive per yard to do it this way, but you can live within a budget and only work when you have the gas money and time to put into it. No pressure, no stress and no debt.

    Just my way of doing things,
    Eddie

  3. #23
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Digging a pond with backhoe... Need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by EddieWalker View Post
    While I agree with those of you who suggest he get the right tools for the job, and realize that in the long run it will be cheaper, I'm also of the mindset that using what you have and working on it a little at a time is how I would do it.

    He has the backhoe. I think it's paid for, but regardless, it's what he has. A tracked dump truck like the Komatsu is great for what he's doing, but they are pricey. They are also maintenance machines, like all tracked vehicles, and could easily be more work to keep running then it would have been to just use the backhoe. If I have a choice, I will always want tires over tracks. I have a dozer and say this from experience.

    Buy a cheap dump truck, expect to work on it all the time, so be sure to buy one you can get parts for. Cheaper isn't better, and in most cases, costs more money in repairs and down time.

    Dig with the backhoe and load it into the dump truck. Then get off the backhoe and drive the dump truck to where you want the dirt to go. I do this all the time and have moved hundreds of yards in a day when everything is working. In time, you can move a lot of material. It's going to be more expensive per yard to do it this way, but you can live within a budget and only work when you have the gas money and time to put into it. No pressure, no stress and no debt.

    Just my way of doing things,
    Eddie
    I agree with you 100%. Yes, the back hoe is paid for and no I dont want to spend thousands of dollars on other equipment. I have thought about buying a cheap dump truck.

  4. #24
    Veteran Member powerstroke444e's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,100
    Location
    Near Springfield IL
    Tractor
    Several tractors/trenchers/mowers

    Default Re: Digging a pond with backhoe... Need advice

    I used a 8yard dirt pan over the weekend and was really amazed how much dirt it moved it was hooked to a M108x kubota. If you have a tractor that can a pull a pan it seemed to move dirt faster than a dump truck and leveled it well. IE load it with the backhoe and haul it to were you want.
    If it ain't smokin' it's broken.

  5. #25
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    860
    Location
    Central NH (God's Country)
    Tractor
    Kubota 1982 B7200 , L-39(2005) Kubota RTV 900 (2005) & Komatsu PC75UU2E(1997)

    Default Re: Digging a pond with backhoe... Need advice

    A good read on the trials and tribulations of digging a pond!
    Am I ever glad that my two little ponds are for the most part finished. The 7-1/2 ft deep one is 50' x 75' and the 4' deep pond is 60' diameter. I figure they hold 150,000 Gallons easy. Both are on slopes with the shallow pond being fed from the deeper pond thru this handy little 6" inline water control
    See: Valves and Gates. Valterra, Flap Gate and more
    as well as an overflow spillway on the outlets.

    I used my Komatsu PC75 UU2 excavator to dig the holes. I encountered a bit of New Hampshire rock and ledge and it was slow going in some spots. Blue clay in other spots, loose sandstone in others, a bit of pond muck, and actually a vein of nice sand. Glacial till from 10,000 years ago, I guess., but what a mix.
    I would hate to dig a pond with a full size TLB. as I went swimming twice with my excavator. I came really close to flipping and barely managed to pull myself out. An excavator is much faster than a backhoe.
    At least it was very dry this year till October, and the Ponds filled in 3 heavy rains of about 10" total rainfall.

    I moved the +1000 or so yards of dirt 1/2 yard at a time with my kubota L39.
    3 hours digging with the excavator, then a week of moving dirt and repeat for 1.5 years on and off.
    I used the fill to build a road down from the ridge to the pasture, and the rest of the dirt to grade the pasture, and fill in a scenic overlook on the ridge for a future gazebo and garden.
    Sometimes I would just keep digging making a 10' high by 25' diameter pile, but that got real discouraging when it came time to moving it., except for when I was bucketing over to the road going up the ridge, and could see progress being made.
    All this makes me appreciate what is going on at exit 3 on I93 in southern NH. It is a 28 million dollar exit ramp cut through a 100 of ledge using CAT 385 and a Hitachi 110 ton excavator , etc.

  6. #26
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    81
    Location
    Paducah, Kentucky
    Tractor
    5200 John Deere, ZD21 Kubota

    Default Re: Digging a pond with backhoe... Need advice

    Are there any local farmers with tractor and pan you could rent for a while to move the dirt across the soft ground? We did that for my step daughter's new house, using her in law's equipment. Spent a bunch of time using an 8 yard pan and an old 1086,but moved several hundred yards of dirt, to places a dump truck could not go.

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