trenching with a mini skid

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by bearmtnmartin, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. bearmtnmartin

    bearmtnmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 342

    I have been asked to price 2000 feet of ditching for 6 inch big O pipe. Seems like a job for my new toy, the Ditch Witch SK650 I just bought. Never having really used a trencher before, I'm wondering if anyone can tell me very roughly how many feet per hour I might make? I plan to rent an 8" wide trencher, and the depth will be about 3.5 feet. The ground is pretty good going, silt loam and clay loam with no rocks. I am open to any advice, since all my digging experience is with a bucket on the end of a stick attached to another stick.(OK, excavators)
    Thanks
     
  2. 74inchShovel

    74inchShovel LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    6 inch pipe in a 8 inch ditch is a tough fit. Is it PVC or black flex pipe? Trenching can be fast but they seem to choke in anything but good ground, especially 3.5 ft deep on a low horsepower machine. I used to own a DW 3700, a 45 horse machine and it would do that job you describe in 3 hours, providing there was no rock, or adverse digging condtions. You might get it in 6 hours if it is a straight run, but if your going to drop PVC in the ditch I would rethink. Good luck!!
     
  3. bearmtnmartin

    bearmtnmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 342

    well, its big O, so its flexy. should I use a wider trencher, or is my mini not big enough. Thanks.
     
  4. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    Why are they using Big O ?

    If the place is going to see anything heavy I would be going with solid. If your using Big O then you have to use sand for bedding and burial.

    As for ditch width I would go with minimum 10 inches because if you have cave in it will be easy to shovel out.

    I never really seen a ditch witch used. One of the utility contractors in the area has one and never gets used.

    The easiest way to do the job is with a mini excavator atleast you will beable to dig out the rocks. Who knows what you are going to hit.

    When the muni installes water services into peoples property you never know what your going to run into. A blasting contractor is on speed dial if it is known to be rocky the blasting contractor is on standby on the jobsite.

    You could be trenching along thinking wow its going good then all of a sudden crang your stopped dead you hit a rocky patch.
     
  5. bearmtnmartin

    bearmtnmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 342

    as I said, there are no rocks. Its just a big O cross drain in a farmers field.
     
  6. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,118

    Put some straw under and on top of the pipe before back filling, that's quite the investment in plastic to bury and think that it won't plug up with silt in 6 years.

    Chain type trenching is the only way to go, even open trenching with a hoe can make or break a drainage system.

    One of my customers rented a Vermeer trencher, he was doing 500 foot lengths in 2 hours, soft soil at a depth of 3 feet.
     
  7. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    If its a farmers field then a trencher would probably be the quickest. Sling out the muck quickly throw in the pipe before the trench caves in backfill.

    I hate working with Big O any contractors I worked for avoided using it.

    Use make the trench wide as you can without taking too much time. The worst thing is uncoiling the beast and stretch it out then you step to close to the edge and the trench falls in a little.

    Good Luck who knows you might find some surprises :laugh:
     
  8. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,118

    Uncoiling them big ass 300 footers is a chore, I've always doe it with one end tied to the track shoes, while me and my old man shove a long pole through, and start rolling it out.
     
  9. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    I found leaving the coil in the sun to soften it up a little helps. Tie the one end off really well then start stuggling keeping the coil upright and rolling it out then turn around and see the other end coiling back up again :mad:

    Glad I don't have to deal with that stuff anymore :laugh:
     
  10. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,118

    We always let it sit in the sun too, then it starts to smell really fragrant, like a lady sometimes.
     

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