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  1. #1
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    2,929

    Default Beginner back hoe operations - Hoe 101

    OK, not a very original title.

    I would like to start a discussion of back hoe digging/excavating.
    I have dug around and removed stumps, put holes in the ground more or less wherever I happened to want them without much concern for accuracy - basic stuff.

    What I would like folk to share tips on is things like;
    "How to start a trench or pit going straight down, starting right THERE and working towards the tractor".
    "How to finish a vertical end of a trench or hole at the tractor end."

    It probably comes down to working to stakes, layout strings, etc., and how you measure off where to set the tractor down to start with.
    Are there any useful rules of thumb that have anything to do with the length of the boom, dipper, or what ?

    "How to work towards a level bottom"
    Would be nice to know too, like which part do you try to get to the target depth first and do you level it out from there just by looking at the boom ?
    Do you "Think level bucket bottom" when scraping the bottom to level ?

    Stuff like that.

  2. #2
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    2,827
    Location
    Iuka Mississippi USA
    Tractor
    3550 Fard Backhoe and a 1948 Farmall Cub,

    Default Re: Beginner back hoe operations - Hoe 101

    First thing to learn is machine positioning, Lots of firts time operators on jobs will put themselves in a corner. I had dad teachmen and started out on a TLB like he did many years ago then move to an excavator. Im not the best at grade digging really deep, Only had 2 on a few jobs and they were short runs. But they were and 40 foot deep.

    Baiscally you start your hole keeping the bucket fairly close to you machine. Its easialer to see it and see your cut and to control. Like mi excavator at home its 12000 outfit when trenching I only move back about 5 to 8 feet epending on trench depth. Same wit hthe old Industrial TLB. Once you get your depth, you just trim som of the top of the trench out so you can see the bottom then start at the bottom and get a feel for flattening out you bucket teeth with the egde being parrallel to the trench bottom.

    just take a little bite at the bottom. Then when your even with top cut advance the machinethen start all over. Its hard for me to explain but it goes pretty swiftly. My dad who has laid 100s of miles of concrete and ductile iron pipe is great at it as well as my older brother. I trench aobut 10 feet deep at the most right now. I worked on a job that had a pipe line run run across it. ALl the 300 Komatsu and 330 Catsd had paint marks on the stick to let the operator know when he was withing a foot of target depth.

    I load alot of truck s wit ha 120 Hitachi and an old Drott hoe some times and have learned to cut my floor pretty close my brother and dad do it nearly perfect lol. Its good to know because some places we load theres not a dozer or grader to mop the cut.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Raspy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    899
    Location
    Northern Nevada
    Tractor
    NH TC29DA Bolens G14 Skytrac 5028 Dodge Cummins Jeep Rubicon Grizzly 700

    Default Re: Beginner back hoe operations - Hoe 101

    Reg,

    Best theing is to just start in and get the feel of it. Know where you are going and where you are starting. Plan before you start to not get the tractor trapped and where you can put most of the spoils. Cutting a square foundation or ending a trench at a wall will require digging from a 90 degree angle at the end. That's fine. Be careful if you have a cavein and think you can drive back over the ditch. This could lead to getting seriously stuck! Best to dig from alongside the ditch. You might have to "pull" the spoils back from the edge of the ditch with the bucket as you go if there isn't enough room for the pile. Point the bucket straight down, drive up over the pile, reach down and pull backward agressively.

    You could paint a line on the ground if you need too, but pretty soon you'll just be "driving" along and things will begin to work out. I like making long sweeping turns so the condiut or pipe will go in without 45s or 90s if possible. As you go, get used to scraping the bottom with the bucket teeth to rake it flat. This takes a little practice but is the final step before moving on to the next position about 3 to 5 feet forward. Don't reach as far as you can with the bucket and don't work as close to the tractor as you can either. you won't have the right leverage, smoothing will be harder and you'll get cramped in the ditch, tractor, spoils area. Choose an RPM that gets the work done without racing the engine. Some guys like to run at redline, but not me. I find about 2000 or 2200 RPM gives good speed and is OK to listen to. Once you get comfortable and relax you can get some speed up and really move some dirt efficiently with a series of repeitive motions like writing or eating or walking. It's fun.

    I like to lay a red marker tape at about 1 foot above any utility piping as I fill in. Some hand work with a hoe is required for this. Any rocks you want to get rid of can go in at this stage, above the tape and below the surface. Then drive in the ditch as soon as it's full enough to help tamp it down, as you fill. If you need to get across the ditch with the tractor or a car, fill in a short area after the piping is in. I like to assemble all the pipe on conduits layed across the ditch. Then just pull them out, one by one, and the piping settles into the ditch. Don't drop any rocks in that might damage it.

    Oh yeah, have fun. Why else would you be doing it?
    John

    I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt.

  4. #4
    Elite Member CurlyDave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,097
    Location
    Grants Pass, OR
    Tractor
    JD TLB 110

    Default Re: Beginner back hoe operations - Hoe 101

    The very best thing you can do is to get this book:

    Amazon.com: Operating Techniques for the Tractor-Loader-Backhoe (9780911785012): Gary J. Ober: Books

    Skim through it once quickly just to get an idea of what all is covered, and then the next time you have a specific job, read the section on how to do that job before you start.

    An hour of reading before you even fire up that machine will save you many hours of fixing beginner mistakes.
    40 Acres on a hill - fantastic view. JD 110 TLB, 4-n-1, 12" bucket, 18" bucket, Addington thumb, rock bucket (doubles as root grapple)

    Not only do we not understand the universe, if someone explained it to us, we would not know what he was talking about.

    Isaac Asimov

  5. #5
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Beginner back hoe operations - Hoe 101

    Quote Originally Posted by CurlyDave View Post
    The very best thing you can do is to get this book:

    Amazon.com: Operating Techniques for the Tractor-Loader-Backhoe (9780911785012): Gary J. Ober: Books

    Skim through it once quickly just to get an idea of what all is covered, and then the next time you have a specific job, read the section on how to do that job before you start.

    An hour of reading before you even fire up that machine will save you many hours of fixing beginner mistakes.
    I have that book and highly recommend it. Not only will it save you from mistakes it will help to keep you safe!

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