View Full Version : stupid install Q's

Mike M
05-16-2007, 11:05 PM
I live in an untapped market, so I don't think I can find a facility to rent a trencher made for lighting cable. I bought a "slammer" and have some nice shovels, but I can't imagine doing 200 feet of turf manually (recent request by a customer).

I need a trencher built for the job. This is a question I already posted a while ago, but again, what product is the way to go? I can invest some money, but I am just starting out.

Also, I pounded some 1 inch conduit under a sidewalk, but what exactly is the most efficient and professional way to do this? I was told an auger, but what kind?

Thanks in advance,


Oh yeah, does anyone out there sharpen their manual install tools?

High Performance Lighting
05-16-2007, 11:21 PM
Get yourself a nice heavy duty long flat blade garden spade and forget about the power tools. 200' is not that long . I have done 6 acre projects alone by myself with no power tools and with my trusty garden spade and hand trowel only. I'm working on two multi acreage properties right now . One for a very famous musician who'd you all know. Both of these are pre-wire during landscape construction jobs so some of the labor is saved by installing in sprinkler trenches if i'm lucky enough to be on the project the day the landscapers have the trenches open, the rest is all hand dug with trenching shovels and an occasional pick ax. I'm busting my ass out there and you are complaining over a 200' run. Really it's not that bad and it goes fast with a flat blade through turf grass. Get her down about 6". I don't know what kind of "slammer" you got but where I'm from that word has several different connotations none of which are pretty or suitable for this forum.

Chris J
05-17-2007, 01:17 AM
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :cool2:

05-17-2007, 01:45 AM
We have the ez trench. We don't use it much, but when we do, it's well worth it. We bought it about 3-4 years ago for around 2 grand I think. I think now most Home Depots actually rent them, so if a trencher is really needed you could check there. Don't buy one...it's not worth it for the few times you'll break it out. As far as getting under walkways....we do the same thing....Just pound some pipe through if it's needed.

05-17-2007, 02:14 AM
Hi guys, I also hand trench all my stuff. Ya know some days you just feel lazy. I have given some thought to a trencher, Possibly the line ward brand. But most of the time I group multiple strands of wire in 1 trench usually next to a foundation where you just aren't going to take a machine. For getting under walkways check out a product called EZ-SLEEVE. The thing is freekin awesome. You can pound a sleeve under a walk in a matter of a couple minutes.

David Gretzmier
05-17-2007, 03:20 AM
jeez, the guy asks for advice on a trencher and you guys lecture on laziness. you kill me. no wonder so few folks post here. If the guy wants to make his day easier, let him buy an ez trench. it's not about calling him a whiner, "I do 2 acre jobs by hand in the snow by myself uphill etc", it's about time savings.

it is simply quicker to use a sharp spade than to do the ez trench and then clean up the mess it makes.

I love hard work, but when I look across that yard, and it ain't rained in a while, let's just say it is not very fulfilling to me to spade 200 ft of hard soil. I'd love to have a small walk behind vibratory plow for runs across turf. those guys that lay cable for the cable companies have them and they are QUICK.

Mike M
05-17-2007, 06:48 PM
I bought this installation tool (file attached), but I had to cut my turf with a stick edger, then use my manual edging tool, before I could use this, and it was still tough going through. We've been having a drought, and I'm going through centipede turf. Should I sharpen this thing?

I don't mind manual labor, as long as I'm using the right tools/methods.

Should I soak the turf first, too?

Thanks, guys.

05-17-2007, 07:46 PM
I have wet the turf at times and it sure makes things easier.Where did you get that tool and how much was it?

Mike M
05-17-2007, 09:36 PM
Florida Outdoor Lighting sells them (look on line), and Cast offers one, also.

Chris J
05-17-2007, 10:15 PM
It will help to sharpen it, but it will also cut through burried cable and irrigation pipes a whole lot quicker. The wider the blade, the harder it is to get into the ground. I modified one by cutting off the corners to make it a little less strenuous to get into the ground.

05-17-2007, 10:16 PM
in the time it took you to write this post and read the thread Mike G is right. You could of been done hand trenching it with a flat spade. I got the half handle with the D handle and its about 8 or 10 inches wide. Once you learn the trick and get in a groove you can do it in usually one good kick and lift motion and then go back and tuck it in every 40 ft or so. Usually by the time you load your machine... bring it on site... unload it... start it. Use it... clean up the mess it made you could of been done digging.

Chris J
05-17-2007, 10:21 PM
Those short handle spades kill my back. I prefer the long handles. Guess I'm just getting old.

David Gretzmier
05-18-2007, 07:38 AM
man I would love a long handled spade with big nice foot pads. I wonder if gemplers has one?

David Gretzmier
05-18-2007, 07:42 AM
yep, just checked, tried to copy picture here, no dice. gemplers.com. did a search on thier site for spade. about 82 bucks ( no shipping in there) with footpad and full steel handle. ooh, I may be getting that dude.

05-18-2007, 08:43 AM
I find you need a shorter throw to lift the turf/bedded area with the shorter one. My back hurts at the end of the day no matter what I use so it doesnt matter.

I been working on effieciency latley. I have been flagging when we first arrive on site latley and let a laborer start digging while I set up fixtures and splice and such.

In V ERY loose beds we find it much faster with the wider wolverine tool and one guy opens the furrow and the other guy tucks wire in. If we gotta place more than 2 wires a narrow irrigation trench shovel works well. Pull back mulch and just dig it. This works well for us in sand too.

Mike M
05-18-2007, 09:30 PM
Is this what you guys are talking about? I think mine is too freaking wide!

Mike M
05-18-2007, 09:40 PM
Or this one?

David Gretzmier
05-19-2007, 02:19 AM
In mulch and sand I use the hook end of a long crowbar and just drag it once or twice. use a rake to recover.

05-19-2007, 11:52 AM
a mini pick ax will do that in sand very well but if you got multiple wires we find the irrigation shovel faster and gets the wire in deeper.


Thats what I use for 90% of our burials. I find the super wide ones are hard to get deep enough and end up slowing us down. Maybe our soil is just harder. I couldnt imagine someone like paul with that rock in tx using anything really wide either.

Chris J
05-19-2007, 06:54 PM
It's funny, we carry all of the above mentioned tools and different guys prefer a different tool. I prefer the long handled spade, I have one guy that prefers the mini pic ax, and another guy likes the wide "custom built" job that we have (very heavy, but cuts 14" at a time). My suggestion is to just try them all. Some will work better in different situations. The proper tool will get you through any job a whole lot quicker.