excavator for digging graves

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by exmarkhp, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. exmarkhp

    exmarkhp LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 20

    Last summer I received an account to mow a small cemetary that required that I also dig the graves. I dug them by hand. This year I am bidding on another account just for the grave digging. I am looking for opinions for the best piece of equipment to do the job. I have never used any type of excavation equipment so I am not sure what will fit my needs. I just know I don't want to use a shovel this year. I have talked to a few dealers and they recommend that I go with a backhoe loader. They feel it is more versitile. I have been leaning towards a rubber tracked excavator because of it's compact size and better digging ability. What would everyone recommend and what size tractor would do the job?
     
  2. I have friends that dig graves, they use a small john deere 40 -50 hp tractor with a backhoe attachment. They have tried other pieces of equipment and this works best for them and they dig around 350 graves a year.
     
  3. exmarkhp

    exmarkhp LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 20

    My dealer was trying to sell me a 30 horse yanmar tractor with a case backhoe attached to it. He said it was a 6' hoe. Would this be big enough to get the job done. I want to make sure that I get something that is small enough to be manueverable but not underpowered or slow. I would be upset if it struggled to dig the hole when needed. Thanks for your input
     
  4. TerraFirma Excavating

    TerraFirma Excavating LawnSite Member
    Posts: 163

    Whatever you decide upon, you need to make sure it will minimize turf damage. Keep it light as possible or use as big as wheels as possible to reduce ground pressure. I think a tracked machine (or any skidsteer style machine) MAY disturb the turf more than a tractor would.

    6' dig depth may not be enough. I don't know how deep you have to excavate for the graves, but 6' dig depth will not give you very much reach at max depth. You may end up moving the machine multiple times to complete one grave. If loose material sloughs back out of reach, you'll have to hand excavate it or move the machine around to the other side to reach it.

    I think I'd look at a tractor large enough for a 8'-9' backhoe with turf tires. You could drop the backhoe and pull a finish mover as necessary. Not quite the size I'm talking about, but a JD 790 tractor (27 HP) can mount a 7.5' backhoe and can utilize a mid-mount mower. Available in 2WD or 4WD also. Tractor weighs ~2000#, but not sure about the backhoe attachment.
     
  5. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    guy here uses an OLD terramite.
    he has a special bucket on the backhoe. it's really wide.
     
  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,129

    A six foot max. reach would be inadequate for digging a six foot grave. If you plan on digging 6' deep a machine with a 10' dig depth would be as small as I would go. The max. dig depth is rated by max. depth directly under the hoe and that isn't usable reach. A backhoe would be more convenient as you could dig and move dirt around with one machine. If you needed higher production digging perhaps a compact excavator would outdig a compact backhoe, but you might find yourself needing two pieces of equipment which would offset by far the increased efficiency of the compact excavator by itself.
     
  7. exmarkhp

    exmarkhp LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 20

    Thanks for all of the replys. I am going to seriously look into a backhoe. I was originally thinking of using an excavator because I felt it would work better at digging and loading a one ton dump truck. I figure this would allow me to back fill by just backing to the hole and dumping. Some sites this would work and it would only be efficient if the vault was placed the same day. If not I would be riding around with a load for awhile. What size bucket and how much digging power would be needed. The site is mostly sandy soil with occassional rocks.
     
  8. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,129

    There is a special bucket just for grave digging. The hole need to square and flat and the bucket made for that provides the long lip that is needed for grave digging. I would pick a machine with a 10' dig depth and suitable breakout force (with the conditions described that should be easy, then buy the bucket that fits the machine. I use Werk Brau quick couplers and buckets, excellent quality.
     
  9. xcopterdoc

    xcopterdoc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 752

    When I worked for a rental company, I set one up for a guy. It was a T6 Teramite with a 3ft bucket, turf tires. Worked great.. still using it after 6 years.
     
  10. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    it wasn't munden's was it??
    that' the company here that has a t6 with turf tires, and a special bucket???
     

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