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It won't be til next summer that I get started on the "round the 3/4 acre" layout (gardening isn't my thing). I expect I'll dig the trench, fill it with stone, topsoil, cornflakes, or whatever, then the track, crusher fines, etc. But I'm not looking forward to all that digging, and Mr. Lowerback certainly won't approve anyway. So what kind of help is there for me? A trencher? Garden weasel?

Any ideas and advice would be appreciated.

jack
 

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You can different depth from a sod cutter. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif







Toad
 

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Thats all I do is cut the toad away,,I mean sod. then concrete roadbed. lot less work.
 

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Unless your soil is solid clay, all it takes is a garden hoe. You only need a "trench" of about 2-3", at least in these parts (Colorado). Compared to all the fill dirt I had to bring in, and rocks (many rocks), the "trench" wasn't even considered an effort.
 
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Posted By Del Tapparo on 08/07/2008 6:54 PM
Unless your soil is solid clay, all it takes is a garden hoe. You only need a "trench" of about 2-3", at least in these parts (Colorado). Compared to all the fill dirt I had to bring in, and rocks (many rocks), the "trench" wasn't even considered an effort.




Well if you have thous types of problems then you need this for about $4-600.00 a day. Remember to refill!







Toad
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have to admit the backhoe has a certain appeal, although tending a bit toward overkill. The sod cutter looks interesting but a lot of my lawn is rather lumpy from the riding mower so it might not give a flat enough surface. The ditch witch would loosen the soil, but not remove it, so I'm not sure it would be a real "labor saver". Maybe the trusty ol' hoe will be the best way to go. Or a trencher.

Thanks for the suggestions.

I really like that sod cutter!
 

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I always recommend explosives.
 

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Posted By Torby on 08/08/2008 6:39 AM
I always recommend explosives.




I could have used that idea last week!!
When I started digging a trench for my roadbed.
However, I also just found out that the poles that will support my roadbed, are about 6" from the main comcast cable buried in the back yard!
The cable locates right along the very edge of part of my trench!

Hope to continue digging this weekend sometime. Much needed rain the other day!
And no motivation to do anything when I get home from work. Despite the fact that is in the low 60's when I get home - 6:30AM.
 

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I rented this "Bed Shaper" to dig a trench for my Invisible Dog Fence.







It worked well and the depth was adjustable. Might need to make a couple of passes.

Craig
 

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BEFORE!!!!!!! you dig... CALL DIG-SAFE! I know a fine fellow that was just pushing a fence post in the ground to attach a break-away mailbox to and he hit the telephone line and it cost him a pretty penny in repair costs and FINES $$$ for not calling Dig-Safe FIRST!!!!

Every community should have some telephone number you can call to have the location of buried utility lines, pipes, and cables. The service is FREE if you call and MANY THOUSANDS of DOLLARS if you don't and you hit something!

CALL!
 
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Posted By sheepdog on 08/08/2008 7:59 AM
I rented this "Bed Shaper" to dig a trench for my Invisible Dog Fence.







It worked well and the depth was adjustable. Might need to make a couple of passes.

Craig




Sheepdog,

Now that is sweet!

Toad
 

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Posted By KCHahn on 08/08/2008 7:45 AM

However, I also just found out that the poles that will support my roadbed, are about 6" from the main comcast cable buried in the back yard!
The cable locates right along the very edge of part of my trench!




Please do remember that cable locaters are not very precise. Depending on the particular device used and the skill of the operator, the lines they paint on the ground can be +/- a foot, maybe more. That's why they typically say carefully hand dig within 36" of marked utility lines.

I remember a case where the telco had marked their cables and a fence contractor simply used the telco lines as a guide and painted their guidline 6 " from the telco paint. They had this huge tractor that shot 12 foot long, two inch pipe into the ground like a giant nail gun. Almost every pipe hit a phone cable, severing thousands of pairs of phone lines. Those pipes went right through 4" PVC conduit and 3000 pair cables like a hot knife through butter. The repair bill bankrupted the fencing company.

Your best bet is to carefully dig around and actually find the real cable. Then, when you know for sure where it is, continue with your digging project. In my area, Comcast has a nasty habit of only burying their cables 4-6 inches (we have no frost line here). That makes them real easy to hit.
 

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Couple of years ago township was installing storm drain pipe in front of our house. Had the Call Before You Dig people come out and mark the lines. Backhoe dug 1ft from the marked gas line and pulled it up. Wife called 911 and even the call taker could hear the roar of the leaking gas.

I use what looks like a pick axe with a flat blade instead of a pick on the end, for digging trenches. Same thing forest fire fighters carry. Works real well. Forget the proper name of it.
 

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Have not had the chance to do any more layout work. Either too hot to work, raining, or just too tired to do anything!
Might continue this weekend, if things permit. Working slower, to avoid any possible problems. With clay that's almost as hard as rock, digging by hand is gonna be a problem! Have an idea to look into, so digging MIGHT not be needed in the section I'm working on.
Depending on how the current project turns out, I'll either continue with current method, or start using the "typical" roadbed method(s), of a trench with crushed granite added etc.....Granted, it may take longer, then again, maybe not. But, I'll probably avoid the potential problems I'm facing now.
 

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Ward,
If what you are using has a double end it is a “Mattock”. I used one to dig trenches for my RR in NY where the soil was known as “Hardpan”. That is mostly clay with rocks mixed in. It worked pretty well for shallow trenches. I needed the pointy end for deeper penetration.
Now I live in NC in the “Sandhills” area. I thought I was done with heavy digging. Just stick a shovel in the sandy soil and lift. Then I hit something like reddish concrete that even the pointy end had trouble penetrating. I asked a local fellow and he said “Oh, that’s just ‘Cleach’, It’s sort of like clay that’s been baked dry and hard.”
Everyone should take note of the advice on the “dig safe” marking program. Down here in NC, I found the electric service to my house about 12” from the painted line. No damage was done, as I was being careful with the posthole digger. Back in NY they required that the electric service be installed 36” deep with a warning tape buried 6” above it. Here the service was 12” down; I was a little surprised by that. So dig with care and get to enjoy your RR./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif" border=0>
Regards,
 

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Could always build the roadbed and then add fill dirt in the form of bagged (or bulk) to the edges and bring the ground up. Even though this layout doesn't exist anylonget, that's how 90% of the track was laid.




The whole layout area was built up to meet the track and create the grades for water diversion. This did create the need for bridges and trestles but, IMHO, they always add to the effect of the GRR.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The award goes to Old Toad Frog for suggesting the sod cutter!

I'm still 9-10 months away from actually starting the RR, but I stopped down to the local rental place today and asked to see what a POWER sod cutter looks like, so I could get an idea of whether that would be the way for me to start down the slippery slope into outdoor railroading. What an impressive unit! 330 pounds of throbbing, pulsating, shaking, vibrating, roaring metal with this nasty-looking blade thing threatening to slice 'n dice whatever gets in its way. And all I have to do is walk behind it and try to coax it into following the path I will have marked off. For $80/day, I can take my time and let the neighbors wonder what the he** I'm doin' with that monster. I'll bet I can charge admission.
 
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No award needed, I ran them when I had a landscape bis! They work great!! Hope they told you, you can change depth! And if you want to roll the grass back up or square it to place it some where else on your lawn or just make a sign to sell it.
It will cut it up very nicely I think you will find.
Toad
 
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