Cutting/trenching ice

   / Cutting/trenching ice #1  


Veteran Member
Feb 21, 2005
Central WI
We have a project coming that involves laying out several miles of PVC tubing in a lake. The plan is to launch in winter so that placement is precise. The issue is how to cut through 10-12" of ice quickly and efficiently?

We'll want about a 3" minimum width so a stump grinder is likely out. My thought was to simply build a wheel and teeth and use a brush hog gear box to spin it from my 540 rear. I have seen ratios of 1:1.47 in the Northern too listings so I assume 540 becomes 800 with this setup?

Length of runs may approach 2,000' and total will approach 22,000'

Do I counter rotate to keep the blade in, or forward rotate to help motivate the tractor? I would need to rig down pressure to keep the wheel in the ice if I went to forward rotation.
   / Cutting/trenching ice #4  
Ken.. I would think a round blade would bind alot,,, thats a very long run..if you were to run off course just a little and have to adjust,,Well kinda like a circular saw pinchs in a piece of 2by4 if you try to streighten out a cut,,,

How about a hyd. chain saw ??? this way you could mount it offset on some sort of setup off your 3pt... ???
   / Cutting/trenching ice #5  
I would jerry rig some kind of 3pt attachment with two chain saws on the end of it. Zip tie the throttle on, lower the 3 pt till the 20" bars cut through the ice then take off in what ever slow gear you have to.

You could do this with a very light weight fwd tractor.

I have a 4' asphalt cutter wheel for my bobcat, but it weighs 12000 lbs total.
   / Cutting/trenching ice #6  
i have an old 1to1 gear box off a cotton stripper. It runs a wheel with tiller teeth and cuts an 8 inch trench andabout 4 inches wide. It also piles the soil to one side.
Ill get a few pics of it when my wife gets home.
   / Cutting/trenching ice #7  
If you use a chain saw remember to modify the chain.:D
   / Cutting/trenching ice #9  
Ditch Witch makes an "Earth Saw" for their trenchers. Basically a carbide toothed wheel capable of cutting through soft stone or frozen ground. Since you're obviously in an area that experiences some pretty serious frost conditions, you can probably rent a machine equipped with the saw installed.
   / Cutting/trenching ice #10  
Radical different approach - dual mounted, adjustable width, high pressure water jet cutters. If they can cut through steel, ice should be a breeze.