Trench Bottoms: Back Hoe  -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum and Review Trench Bottoms: Back Hoe -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum

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 05-26-2001, 08:15 Post: 28593
TomG

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 Trench Bottoms

There seems to be some interest in back hoe operation so I thought I'd comment. The thing that took me the longest to get the hang of is keeping level trench bottoms. Iíll describe what I do, and maybe somebody has another techniques. The problem is that you dig by pulling the dipper back, but the dipper moves in an arc. If you're digging with long strokes, you get a scalloped trench bottom. In addition, there is a 'best bucket angle' for digging. The bucket angle changes as the dipper moves through its arc and becomes wrong unless corrected. However, correcting the bucket angle makes the scalloping worse. I have two solutions. The first one is to dig in soft soil, and then there isn't a problem. The bucket fills with short dipper swings, so scalloping isn't a problem (and not good to drag full buckets). In harder earth where the dipper strokes are long, I start the dig, and then 'bump' the curl to increase the bucket angle and almost immediately bump up the boom to raise the bucket. That manages to keep a fairly level trench bottom. It does take a little practice to coordinate the three functions, and it's probably easier with some loader controls than others. However, the practice is worth it. The first several trenches I did, I ended up walking the trench bottom with a hand shovel to even it out. I don't really want that job.






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 05-26-2001, 16:42 Post: 28599
Paul Fox



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Clean trench bottoms do take some finesse. If it's critical (like say, for a footing or a formwork trench), I'll usually dig a little too deep, and then knock some loose stuff in and drag the bucket over it to smooth it out. Otherwise, I can usually coordinate the boom, crowd (aka dipperstick) and curl to keep the bucket angle where I want it and "sweep" the last couple of cuts and get a pretty clean bottom. That's where joystick controls really shine.






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 05-27-2001, 01:34 Post: 28619
droz



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Of course, if you are doing a footing, you do not want loose soil underneath so you don't want to dig any further than necessary. Backfilling a footing trench is frowned on.






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 05-27-2001, 08:10 Post: 28635
TomG

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Droz's comment should be noted as good advise for us novices. I don't think I'd tackle footing trenches with my present skills for those reasons. Frowning inspectors don't inspire much happiness in me. I imagine Paul is talking about minor variations, and gee a smooth trench bottom does look good. I'll have to remember using the bucket bottom to smooth out the bottom. The controls on my Kelley B600 are combined boom/swing on left and dipper/curl on the right with two stabilizer controls in the centre. I haven't used the hoe since late summer, but the way I remember is that the combined dipper/curl makes it possible to smoothly adjust the curl almost without interrupting the dipper stroke. I believe the boom is first in the open centre flow and takes precedence over other functions. Pulling the boom up while holding the dipper on seems to stop the dipper until the boom is released. Small up adjustments on the boom can be made by short 'pulls' on the boom control. I havenít seen other tractor hoe controls so I don't know if there are more convenient types. I am trying to think through whether a self-leveling bucket, similar to some loaders, would work or not.






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 05-27-2001, 09:04 Post: 28638
Paul Fox



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Point well taken on footing trenches. I picked a poor example. I've only done one foundation trench, and it was in sand fill, and it was a nightmare! The few times I've "cheated" on a smooth trench bottom was for sewer lines, where consistent pitch was important. My apologies to anyone who was misled by my poorly thought-out post.






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 05-27-2001, 20:12 Post: 28649
By the Brook Farm



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 Trench Bottoms

Quick question re: footings. Why would the bottom of a trench that is going to have a footing poured in it be considered "critical"? As long as it was the proper width and depth, what difference would it make if there were minor differences? As long as the top of the footing was level who cares what the underside of the footing looks like. I understand the need for virgin gound under a footing. The reason I'm asking is that I will be digging one in a few weeks. Once the concrete was poured, you could level the top of footing, maintaining a minimum thickness and elevation. What am I doing wrong here?






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 05-28-2001, 00:33 Post: 28660
droz



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Well, of course, it doesn't really make any difference if there are variations, except that if it is a footing depth of 8 inches in one area and 12 inches in another (I don't know how thick the footing will be), you will be wasting a lot of concrete. But your are right in that the surface will be level.






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 05-28-2001, 07:39 Post: 28669
TomG

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I think that variations would complicate applications where re-bar is used, but I don't know if building codes would apply. However, I guess I should figure some of this out before trying to get a permit for a bathhouse at our camp. I've got a much better grasp of electrical codes than building codes. Maybe there's a 'building codes made simple' book. What I do know is that I'll have to mix the concrete using water from a not very productive dug well, or truck it from a river. I can just see myself with the work half done and a mixer full of half-wet concrete and then the well goes dry. Yikes, I don't even want to think about it. I'll have to be really fine with the footings trench, or slab-on-grade leveling. Wasting concrete here could be more than just a cost aggravation.






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 05-29-2001, 07:55 Post: 28709
JeffM



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 Trench Bottoms

TomG, after many hours of practice I can finally get a flat trench bottom with a hoe or excavator, but I'll be dipped if I can effectively explain in words how I simultaneously use the boom, dipperstick, and bucket to accomplish this. Kind of like explaining in words how to swing a golf club - and after many hours of practice I still can't do that well at all. Think I'll stick to backhoes and loaders. :>)






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 02-25-2003, 00:39 Post: 49945
ashley
2003-02-25 00:00:00
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 Trench Bottoms

i run a 5T excavator i pick a mark on the boom just above the bucket at the right depth and keep it in line with ground leavel, practice running bucket teeth 2" above ground without digging through the full boom swing






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Back Hoe Forum

Thread 28593 Filter by Poster:
Art White 1 | ashley 1 | By the Brook Farm 1 | droz 2 | jeff r 1 | JeffM 1 | Paul Fox 2 | Ted at Abbeywoods, LLC 1 | TomG 6 |

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