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Digging a hole in frozen ground



 
 
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  #21  
Old December 4th 06, 07:03 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 21
Default Digging a hole in frozen ground

wrote:
I got my new barn all closed in just before our heavy freeze took
over. But I still need to put 3 posts in the ground INSIDE the barn.
The soil in there is fairly dry on the top so I am hoping its not
frozen too solid or deep yet. But I did find the shovel was hard to
penetrate it yesterday. It was really too cold to proceed with the
job anyhow.

I loved to dig as a boy in Vermont, but I gave up in frost. It's an
interesting problem. The best solution may depend on the type of soil,
its temperature, and how much ice it contains. In Korea, soldiers
sometimes used explosives, sometimes fires, and sometimes an assortment
of hand tools.

Thawing will stop when the surrounding ground draws heat away as fast as
you apply it. I think very cold ground and ashes might even stop
thawing from a fire.

Others have recommended light bulbs. That sounds simple and pretty
safe. Most of the heat from a bulb is radiant, so lining the box with
aluminum foil would reflect more heat to the soil. I'd use several
hundred-watt bulbs with porcelain sockets and wire with high-temperature
insulation. A little ventilation may be necessary to keep the
electrical stuff from overheating.

A professional solution is a trailer-mounted boiler with hoses to
circulate water between the boiler and the hole. One could use a stove,
two pots of water, and a big syringe or pump to draw water from the hole
for reheating. An infrared thermometer would make it easy to monitor
the temperature of the water in the hole.
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  #22  
Old December 4th 06, 08:31 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,317
Default Digging a hole in frozen ground

On Mon, 04 Dec 2006 14:03:45 -0500, Doghouse
wrote:

wrote:
I got my new barn all closed in just before our heavy freeze took
over. But I still need to put 3 posts in the ground INSIDE the barn.
The soil in there is fairly dry on the top so I am hoping its not
frozen too solid or deep yet. But I did find the shovel was hard to
penetrate it yesterday. It was really too cold to proceed with the
job anyhow.

I loved to dig as a boy in Vermont, but I gave up in frost. It's an
interesting problem. The best solution may depend on the type of soil,
its temperature, and how much ice it contains. In Korea, soldiers
sometimes used explosives, sometimes fires, and sometimes an assortment
of hand tools.

Thawing will stop when the surrounding ground draws heat away as fast as
you apply it. I think very cold ground and ashes might even stop
thawing from a fire.

Others have recommended light bulbs. That sounds simple and pretty
safe. Most of the heat from a bulb is radiant, so lining the box with
aluminum foil would reflect more heat to the soil. I'd use several
hundred-watt bulbs with porcelain sockets and wire with high-temperature
insulation. A little ventilation may be necessary to keep the
electrical stuff from overheating.

A professional solution is a trailer-mounted boiler with hoses to
circulate water between the boiler and the hole. One could use a stove,
two pots of water, and a big syringe or pump to draw water from the hole
for reheating. An infrared thermometer would make it easy to monitor
the temperature of the water in the hole.


If you're going to rent equipment, just use a drilling rig.
or a ditch-witch. There's no point in using finesse
when raw power will do.

But still, we're talking three postholes/footings,
not the Comstock.





  #23  
Old December 4th 06, 09:14 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 146
Default Digging a hole in frozen ground

Around here people dig holes through the ice with an augur for fishing.
Those who don't have an augur use a hatchet. Before playing with
fire, I'd just buy or rent an augur.

wrote:
I got my new barn all closed in just before our heavy freeze took
over. But I still need to put 3 posts in the ground INSIDE the barn.
The soil in there is fairly dry on the top so I am hoping its not
frozen too solid or deep yet. But I did find the shovel was hard to
penetrate it yesterday. It was really too cold to proceed with the
job anyhow.

Anyhow, I know the public utilities have a means to build a coal fire
on the top of the ground when they need to dig up something in the
street. I dont have access to coal, nor would I want to burn it
indoors because of the odor. But I can get regular charcoal. My
question is this: What is the best method to burn the charcoal to melt
the ground? Do i just burn it right on top of the soil, or should I
put some sort of metal container around it, or what? I mean in order
to deflect the heat downward, not as a safety measure. I am not
worried about causing a fire, when the nearest flammable (wall) is at
least 9 feet away, and I am not planning to make a huge fire, just the
amound needed to grill some burgers on the grill.

One other thing, would it be best to start the fire right on the
ground, or to start it in a grill first????

Yes, I know3 about ventillation to prevent CO2 poisoning. I'll leave
a door or window ajar, plus the barn has plenty of small leaks by each
rib in the steel along the roof edge. I will gradually plug those
with foam after the stalls are done.

PS. I recall the city used to place a half of a steel barrel drum over
the coal. I wonder if that helps thaw the ground, or is only to
prevent sparks from flying. I know regular coal tends to spark more
than charcoal.

Mark

  #24  
Old December 4th 06, 09:59 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 21
Default Digging a hole in frozen ground

Option 1. Electric jackhammer rental. It works on concrete. Should work
on frozen dirt.

Option 2. Pickaxe and power posthole auger.

Option 3. Rock bar, San Angelo bar, etc. 72" long, 1" diameter steel.
chisel or pointed end.
I drive them with a 50# T-post driver made from drill stem.

Option 4. Steam cleaner (watch out for the hot mud)

Option 5. Tractor with auger driven from a 3-point frame on the back

  #25  
Old December 5th 06, 01:14 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 2,492
Default Digging a hole in frozen ground

When I was in Girl Scouts, we used to do pothole cooking. Dig hole,
build wood fire, wait till it had good hot coals. Then we put in
packages of food wrapped in foil, covered that with wet leaves and then
dirt. Kept it buried a coupld of hours and then feasted.

You could do something similar with charcoal, it seems. Get some good
hot coals going, cover with wet leaves or straw, wait a couple of hours.
Doesn't seem the ground can be frozen very far down yet, and this
method would keep most of the heat on the hole.
  #26  
Old December 5th 06, 01:19 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 21
Default Digging a hole in frozen ground

Goedjn wrote:
On Mon, 04 Dec 2006 14:03:45 -0500, Doghouse
wrote:


A professional solution is a trailer-mounted boiler with hoses to
circulate water between the boiler and the hole. One could use a stove,
two pots of water, and a big syringe or pump to draw water from the hole
for reheating. An infrared thermometer would make it easy to monitor
the temperature of the water in the hole.


If you're going to rent equipment, just use a drilling rig.
or a ditch-witch. There's no point in using finesse
when raw power will do.

But still, we're talking three postholes/footings,
not the Comstock.


The boiler trailer shows that the principle works for big excavations.
For postholes I already have a stove, two pots, and a big syringe.
 




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