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  1. #1

    Default Blasting stumps

    I want to remove some 6"-12" stumps from my wooded area. Someone suggested blasting them with a stick of dynamite. Now to do that you need a license. My brother suggested I just use a Timothy McVey bomb--- Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer mixed with diesel fuel, a long run of wire and a battery. Anyone ever hear of doing that?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    353
    Location
    Ohio
    Tractor
    G1800 & BX2200

    Default Re: Blasting stumps

    You need an explosion to set it off. Check out what it takes to get a license. It shouldn't be too bad. Didn't used to be.

    Dr Dan


  3. #3
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    210
    Location
    Louisa, Virginia
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Blasting stumps

    Here in Virginia, you can purchase explosives for instate personal use, only one source in southwestern part of the state. Have a friend that has gotten some and opened up some sink holes on his farm. Find a local road contractor and find out where he gets his.


  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Apr 2001
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    679

    Default Re: Blasting stumps

    Believe me - you're doing yourself a favor if you take a short course and get the right paperwork. Keep it legitimate - especially since people are so paranoid about using explosives these days. Explosives are not inherently bad - it's the bad apples that occasionally get hold of them.

    ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate - Fuel Oil) as they call it is really too messy and cumbersome for stump removal. For effective blasting you need at least a 4 inch diameter core (critical diameter depending on grain size in the slurry) - and you have to also prepare and contain the slurry. You also need to initiate a detonation - this is fundamentally different from burning or 'deflagration'. Much better off with the old fashioned dynamite - and less likely to cause yourself a serious injury. ANFO is really only used in road blasting and quarrying anymore.

    Be careful!! It is very easy to hurt / kill yourself doing this. It is also easy to run afoul of the local law enforcement agencies. If it's done right then everyone is happy!



  5. #5
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    10,248
    Location
    Triangle Of North Carolina
    Tractor
    JD 4700

    Default Re: Blasting stumps

    MarkH,

    I looked into this last year. Using something that goes BOOM! to remove stumps is problematic.

    In NC you did not need a license to buy the dynamite but there were very few places that would sell to the general public because of liability reasons. I talked to a contractor who was "cracking" rock on the road side and later talked to the owner of his company. They did not want to blow stumps for me either. They could not sell to me either. They did tell me a company that would sell but I did not pursue the matter.

    One is cost, ease of use and storage. ATF has a web site that will tell you the law/regulations on storing and transportation of explosives. PITA. I have enough land that I could store the stuff if I had to but then you run the risk of some kid getting into something they should not. So you would have to buy just enough to use in one day. PITA.

    The other problem is you apparently have to dig under the stump to blow it out. PITA. Then you are supposed to tamp in material into the hole you dug to get the explosion from blowing out and not up.
    PITA. How do you dig a hole under a pine tree with a long tap root?

    Cost I think it was going to work out to 2-3 dollars per stick of dynamite plus cord plus detonators. My father in law has blown stumps before and said it used to be much, much cheaper than it is now. I figured it was going to cost around 5-10 dollars per stump if I was lucky. I counted my stumps. I have about 100 per acre and 5-6 acres. Sooo, that is 500 to 1,000 dollars per acre or 2,500/3,000 to 5,000/6,000 dollars total. I figured I can do it easier and cheaper with my own equipment, rental equipment or just paying someone.

    There is a web site for explosive engineers. They have a book for farmers/contractors/etc who need to use explosives. It was $100. I would love to read the book but not for $100. If I was going to use boom boom stuff $100 is pretty cheap but it was one more nail in the coffin holding my idea of using explosives to remove stumps.

    6-12 inch stumps are little. You can rent a backhoe for a day that an remove the stumps easily. I have a JD 4700 tractor with a JD 48 backhoe that I have dug up oak stumps 36 inches in diameter. 6-12 inch stumps are pretty easy. An industrial back hoe would make this an easy job.

    Buy or rent the equipment to pull the stumps. Much easier, far safer, and cheaper than using explosives. I think explosives on 12 inch stumps is over kill...

    My two cents...

    Hope this helps...
    Dan McCarty


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    353
    Location
    Ohio
    Tractor
    G1800 & BX2200

    Default Re: Blasting stumps

    I used to have an auger about 6" long with a "T" handle on one end. You just made a hole about 1 1/2" in diameter under the stump, attached some fuse cord to a cap and fused the stick of dynamite. The fused stick was pushed into the hole and ya lite the fuse and ran like he#! After you do a few ya get used to how much it is going to take. The sticks can be cut into 1/4's of 1/2 depending on how big a stump.

    Yes by all means, take a short course. You need a special fiber pliers to crimp the caps and you never do it around your store of dynamite. Dynamite by itself is fairly safe. It's the caps that are dangerous. Everything has to be fiber or wood. Don't want any sparks.

    The thing is... It does an exceptionally nice job of lifting the stump. If you are willing to invest the time to learn how to handle the stuff right it's a fast, effective way to remove any stump <unless it's next to your house or barn>.


  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Apr 2001
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    679

    Default Re: Blasting stumps

    Here's the full set of regs on the ATF site.

    Search for '55.201 General' and read from there on - it'll tell you about storage requirements etc.

    There's also a good list of general questions (like a FAQ) at the site - search for 'General Questions' on the page.

    If you're just an individual, best to find a local contractor who will store for you - or just buy enough to use/dispose of that day.

    Here's another interesting part ...

    <font color=blue>16. I want to buy a small quantity of dynamite from my local dealer to use on my property. Do I need a Federal user's permit?

    No, provided it is purchased in your State of residence and not transported across State lines. A Federal user's permit is required when a nonlicensee acquires or transports explosives in interstate or foreign commerce. It allows transactions for personal use, only. [See Question 17.]

    </font color=blue>


  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    Apr 2001
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    679

    Default Re: Blasting stumps

    We used to use a set of brass tools when handling ... also spark-free.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Posts
    353
    Location
    Ohio
    Tractor
    G1800 & BX2200

    Default Re: Blasting stumps

    Yup brass is good. "Sparks are a bad thing" I always used fuse cord and timing cord. Never trusted electric caps. Dang static electricity can set em off and that makes me nervous. Fused caps are a little more stable IMHO, but it still always made me cringe a little when you crimp the cap on the fuse.

    I was working downtown Washington, DC when they were building the subway and blasting everyday. It was amazing what an experienced blaster can do. Had heavy steel mats made up of links that they laid over the area to keep anything from flying around.

    It's unfortunate &lt;as with guns&gt; that such a tool is misused because it really takes the work out of lots of projects. We removed about 50 big stumps in just a couple of days. The dynamite would just lift them about 6 or 8" into the air and you could go hook onto them with a FEL and away you went.

    Thanks for the link. I used to buy supplies from a gravel quarry that had lots of different charges for different work. As I remember it we used either 50% or 60% for stumps. Don't want to much blast - just a slow push.

    Dr Dan


  10. #10
    Platinum Member
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    Apr 2001
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    679

    Default Re: Blasting stumps

    I have to admit - I've never used fuse. Always used electric detonators. Always felt that the risk was lower and better defined. The main challenges were capacitance in the firing cable due to damage / natural capacitance and induced currents due to electromagnetic interference.

    The capacitance is fairly easy to get around - just touch the cable to ground and twist the ends together at the command/firing end while you are at the business end with the det.

    Electromagnetic interference can be harder - that long firing cable serves as a great antenna. We used to confiscate cell-phones and 2 way radios. Just had too many incidents where people flat out lied to me that they had turned theirs off. Some people just don't seem to realize that this can cost a person their life in the wrong set of conditions. You also had to watch out for thunderheads - all blasting stopped at that point.

    You also ended up with some really good buddies who you could trust - and vice versa - who would watch the opposite end of the cable for you. Had great fun for a few years doing this, then along comes the wife and kids and all of a sudden it's not so appealing anymore. At least I got the urge to make big explosions out of my system - I just see it as a practical challenge anymore, not quite so exciting as it used to be.



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