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Thread: VERSATILE DIGGER FOR PLANTS, SANDSTONE, RIVER GRAVEL, COMPACTED SOIL etc

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    ranald's Avatar
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    Red face VERSATILE DIGGER FOR PLANTS, SANDSTONE, RIVER GRAVEL, COMPACTED SOIL etc

    This digger is like a cross between a crowbar & a post hole shovel. It is much easier to use than a crow bar, mattock or pick as it is relatively thin & easier than a post hole shovel as it is only 3" wide so less energy needed/spent in many ground types.

    the prototype 1 had a flat blade made from very old flat steel that my grandfather gave me in the 60's to assist in bending thin plate but as the edges were rounded I simply stored for a rainy day. It was very good at digging holes for micro tubes, mini tube stock, and maxi tubes.

    It was also excellent at squaring holes in compacted soil where it is necessary to not plant in augered holes as the plants become "potbound" in the ground and eventually die even after vigerous growth. The squaring of the augered hole of course is not necessary in sand & friable soils but is imperative in extremely hard ground. What the square vertical cut does is it encourages the roots to seek out an escape into contiguous ground and breaking away from the easy circular run until no more space & nitrients are left in the hole.

    About 15 to 20 years ago I saw an article from the top local "Landcare" guy where he had cut a post hole shovel to about 3" wide but leaving the top tread area for strength. I decided to use a leaf spring using the rounded end. The blade would have curved the wrong way & my 20 ton press could not bend it successfully. A friend had a press, oxy etc & did that little job fot me.

    The curved blade is so much better as there is much more leverage. I have had two quality hardwood handles on this current one (used daily originally & left in all weathers in my ute/pickup) but it would last a lifetime if sanded and linseed oil applied fairly regularly.
    VERSATILE DIGGER FOR PLANTS, SANDSTONE, RIVER GRAVEL, COMPACTED SOIL etc-rsz_dsc_0739.jpg
    For regeneration work this tool excells. For less weeds the planter needs a minimal disturbance to the soil to avoid "opening up the seed bank" therein the soil. To further reduce disturbance to the soil the tool is used the same way for both cuts & a curved V is avoided in the soil which levers the soil in 2 directions. With this method the broken soil is hand retrieved & some fertilizer dropped in & a skim of soil placed thereon. T hole is then watered. after seepage the seedling/sapling is planted and the remaining soil used to complete the job. Some studies have shown that many species esp regen ones can be planted below normal level (and any leaves/branches under new level removed) & the extra stem underground rewards the planter with extra roots and better more vigerous stronger growth.VERSATILE DIGGER FOR PLANTS, SANDSTONE, RIVER GRAVEL, COMPACTED SOIL etc-rsz_dsc_0740.jpgVERSATILE DIGGER FOR PLANTS, SANDSTONE, RIVER GRAVEL, COMPACTED SOIL etc-rsz_dsc_0769.jpg

    I used to use Blood & bone sprinkled around the seedling. This works to deter Hares/rabbits but unfortunately encourages Bandicoots and grass /weed growth so I have discontinued this practice. Any local leaf matter / old mulch will help balance temperature & keep moisture in to boot.

    After planting a good soaking can be advantageous but avoid a little here & a little there as the plant wont adapt to its environment. You can give a thorough soak when the plant is in stress.

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to ranald For This Useful Post:

    Andyt (01-25-2019), PJs (01-25-2019), rgsparber (01-25-2019), sossol (01-24-2019), threesixesinarow (01-30-2019)

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    rgsparber's Avatar
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    Great project! I just finished mine but I don't think it will be as good because I only had mild steel for the blade. Will look for some leaf spring material and weld it on.

    I was unable to get pictures to upload so put them on my website

    https://rick.sparber.org/NarrowDigger.pdf

    Thanks!

    Rick
    Last edited by rgsparber; 01-27-2019 at 06:59 PM.
    Rick

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    Hi Rick & thanks . Your cross bar is much more solid than my deformed bar( normal for concrete). The bar limits depth but sure is useful in compacted ground & river gravel.

    About 10 years ago, I was working on a small subdivision that had an existing dwelling & pool. The owner had a trench dug to a far side of the pool near where a large RHS post (corner support for safety fencing that had a leed flood light attached) was concreted into sandstone. The owner and manager discussed ways to get power & light into the pole without heaps of ugly concrete above ground while I was hand digging a diagonal trench from the main trench to the large slab of sandstone. They decided to share a cuppa (smoke) to discuss the best method of attack like jack hammers, diamond saws, crow bars, lump hammer & bolster etc. About half hour later they returned to find me finishing a neat daddo like groove 3" wide & the depth of the blade through the sandstone & concrete.

    Gobsmacked they were as Yoda might say. LOL.
    Last edited by ranald; 01-27-2019 at 08:16 PM. Reason: add extra

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    Ranald, I love good story like yours to go with a functional DIY tool.

    Bob from the centre of 🇨🇦.

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    ranald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manitoba Man View Post
    Ranald, I love good story like yours to go with a functional DIY tool.

    Bob from the centre of ����.
    Hi Bob, I do think most homemade tools would have good storys even if not seen by general public.

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    I tried out my new digger on some thick dead sod. In the past, I have used a 4" wide slightly rounded end trenching shovel with poor results. Very hard to cut through. A pickaxe works but is a lot of work for just going through sod. A wider sharp end shovel doesn't work well either because it makes a hole that is too large so is more work.

    The digger blasted right through with precision. I'm very happy with its performance BUT it really needs a better name.

    Rick
    Rick

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    Jon
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    I'm very happy with its performance BUT it really needs a better name.
    Pogo digger?

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    rgsparber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Pogo digger?
    How about Pogo Pick? Of course Ranald has the final say.

    Rick
    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by rgsparber View Post
    How about Pogo Pick? Of course Ranald has the final say.

    Rick
    I'm easy going and am happy with all suggestions.

    It is easier to make than name! As it is a cross between a crow bar, a post hole shovel, & a mattick/pick that cuts through large roots, sand stone, compact soil etc, I had real difficulty in posting a name. On jobsites I would simply say that needs "my special digger" to which I usually got a response like "what's that?" or "let me see it.". Many told me to patent but after much adoo about nothing, & wasting months, I discovered our biggest Telco used to make something very similar for staff (before contractors) to cut through roots around telephone exchange boxes. May be next time. ha ha.

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    Thanks ranald! We've added your Garden Digger to our Farm and Garden category,
    as well as to your builder page: ranald's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




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