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Old 09-05-2006, 04:33 AM   #1
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I have to dig a trench...


Okay, this may seem like a dumb question, but I'm basically lazy and hope someone can tell me there is an easy way to do this. The only digging experience I have is a bit in the garden so I have no idea what tools might be available.

The electrician was here to quote me on updating my garage electrical. It's knob and tube which comes out of the top of the house and goes above over to the detached garage. He tells me the new stuff should be underground and so he needs a trench (as in he doesn't dig trenches so I have to).

Can anyone tell me if there is a tool other than a normal old shovel that I can use to dig a trench 18" deep, 12" wide between buildings that are less than 10' apart (not big enough for Bobcat to get in in other words)? Is it easier to dig wet ground than dry? There is lawn and I assume some clay under it.

I wish I could find a kid or someone to do this for me, but no luck so far and I am trying to save my bad back from extra work if I can.

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Old 09-05-2006, 08:14 AM   #2
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I have to dig a trench...


Unless you find another electrician that will dig te trench, then you will have to. I'm not sure if a walk behind trencher would work for you.
Maybe try the rental store and see what the smallest one they have.
If I were your electrician, I would dig the 10' trench.
Why do you need a 12" wide trench anyway?

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Old 09-05-2006, 03:57 PM   #3
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I have to dig a trench...


I agree. It shouldn't need to be 12" wide. 3" would be enough to lay a conduit in. One shovel width would be how wide I would dig it. Do it over several days if it is too big a job for you. 10' is not very far.
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Old 09-05-2006, 05:26 PM   #4
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I have to dig a trench...


I have no idea why it needs to be 12" wide. I've seen the cable and it's probably an inch. It's too bad it's not a bit smaller as there is an old gas pipe that goes exactly the route I need to go that I'd hoped he could just fish the wire through but apparently it's too big.Maybe he was just pulling numbers out of his hat when he gave me the dimensions (or he figured I needed some exercise).

As to why he won't dig...again, not sure but I suspect it's because trades folks are in such short supply around here that they don't have to do anything they don't want to. I doubt I'd want to pay his rate just for digging either.

Thanks for the suggestion to ask at a rental place. I hadn't thought of that and they just might have something that will do the trick.
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Old 09-06-2006, 10:02 PM   #5
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I have to dig a trench...


Grab a round pointed shovel and start digging. The 10' space you have to dig is too short to allow any machinery in. You might get a couple feet dug with a trencher but the ends would need to be done by hand anyway. It won't be that hard just go for it. Like mentioned you don't need that wide a trench. A shovel width is plenty wide. You only really need about 6" width.
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Old 11-24-2006, 02:09 PM   #6
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I have to dig a trench...


i'd use a pick and shovel to dig trench then put a plastic ducting in with rope in so you can fill the trench in and your electrician can pull new cable through, unless it's armoured cable and you can put that in the trench on it's own. i would put sand around it . if you put a ducting in you could always use it for any other cables you ever need to put through without ever digging your trench again..happy digging
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Old 11-24-2006, 03:15 PM   #7
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I have to dig a trench...


It's easier to dig wet ground. Put a second pipe in with a string through it for future use (phone, cable, fibre-optic etc. A trencher (Ditch Witch around here) will be able to cut it too. You just have to turn it around to get at the end you started from. Might be a bit pricey for such a short distance though as they usually have a minimum charge out.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:47 AM   #8
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I have to dig a trench...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
Okay, this may seem like a dumb question, but I'm basically lazy and hope someone can tell me there is an easy way to do this. The only digging experience I have is a bit in the garden so I have no idea what tools might be available.

The electrician was here to quote me on updating my garage electrical. It's knob and tube which comes out of the top of the house and goes above over to the detached garage. He tells me the new stuff should be underground and so he needs a trench (as in he doesn't dig trenches so I have to).

Can anyone tell me if there is a tool other than a normal old shovel that I can use to dig a trench 18" deep, 12" wide between buildings that are less than 10' apart (not big enough for Bobcat to get in in other words)? Is it easier to dig wet ground than dry? There is lawn and I assume some clay under it.

I wish I could find a kid or someone to do this for me, but no luck so far and I am trying to save my bad back from extra work if I can.
Go to a "rent all shop" and ask for a Ditch Witch. Tell them the size of the ditch you need to dig and they will show the size Ditch Witch you need. It looks a lot like a chain saw but much bigger. This is most definitely the lazy mans way of digging a ditch. Be sure to ask for instructions on how to use it. They are dangerous machines.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:24 AM   #9
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I have to dig a trench...


Dusty really?
Unless you are legitimately disabled then stop being so lazy. I am going to shame you into this.

I'm a small 50 yr old woman. Last summer I dug a trench 200 ft long ...by hand and then back filled it with stones.

By the time you go to rental store and back you will be done.

Don't do it when the ground is heavily saturated or bone dry either
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:15 AM   #10
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I have to dig a trench...


Don't forget to have the underground utilities marked before you start. And I'm with creeper; if you're not disabled, you're just lazy. I'm 63 and my wife is 60. We just finished up two years of building our own log home. By ourselves.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:39 AM   #11
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I have to dig a trench...


Oh, DEAD THREAD, I command you, be reborn and breathe new life!

For all we know Dusty himself is in a trench.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:44 AM   #12
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I have to dig a trench...


Poor Dusty.....
Silly me, I didn't look at the date
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:58 AM   #13
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I have to dig a trench...


Its all good, I got halfway through a response about trenching shovels, complete with photos before I noticed
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:12 AM   #14
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I have to dig a trench...


Hopefully "Dusty" has gotten this trench dug and the electrical all in place by now, even with a tablespoon.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:45 AM   #15
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I have to dig a trench...


Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper View Post
Dusty really?
Unless you are legitimately disabled then stop being so lazy. I am going to shame you into this.

I'm a small 50 yr old woman. Last summer I dug a trench 200 ft long ...by hand and then back filled it with stones.

By the time you go to rental store and back you will be done.

Don't do it when the ground is heavily saturated or bone dry either
All by yourself and you hit no rocks or concrete and you're in Ontario? Was it an inch deep?

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