1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Boulder Buster

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by RobertCT, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. RobertCT

    RobertCT LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    Anyone familiar with Boulder Buster, or the process of drilling holes into boulders that protrude in lawns and detonating a light charge that breaks off the top? The goal is to remove low lying stones in the lawn to mow it.
  2. Kate Butler

    Kate Butler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    Sounds like something that would require Federal explosives licensing. Up here, I know a guy (licensed) who'll do it damn near for free - just for fun.
  3. RobertCT

    RobertCT LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    Send'em my way! Actually, it pops the top with a light charge
  4. jimslawns

    jimslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    That sounds like another license I need :)
  5. greywynd

    greywynd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    It doesn't actually use a 'charge' in the explosives sense, it uses a 12ga blank, same idea as a shotgun shell. As far as using something like that for removing rocks protruding up on lawns....I'm not sure they would work all that well, because the idea is that the boulder needs room to expand around it. If the force couldn't go out, it would be wanting to send the mechanism up....not a real safe idea, IMO. If you're going to the effort of lugging a drill to the site to drill the thing in the first place, use a jack hammer instead to 'knock' some of the top of the stone. Just so you know, I have a portable drill and have had for 10-12 years, I use it for non-explosive rock removal, similar to what you describe. I didn't buy a boulder buster, even though I demo'd one for a few days 4 or 5 years ago when they first were available through my drill supplier. The sort of stuff that they seemed to work well on is small enough that I can move it with my excavator anyway, and there isn't nearly as much control as I have with the drill and accessories (I can break a rock in a straight line with it, as long as I do things right)

  6. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    There was a new product at Expo last fall , I think it was called the Micro Blaster..no license or federal permit needed. Drill a hole in the item to be removed, insert a load into the device, slide it into the rock, walk away 15 feet, and pull the string..pow! Pretty quiet, and very cool. Reloads are around .95 each in case quantities of 100. The whole kit was only $375.00..I'm going to look for the info..I couldn't think of a needed reason to buy one at the time, but I'm going to pick one up this summer, I found some needs..lol..
  7. RobertCT

    RobertCT LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    Greywynd makes some good points and is correct in general principle on how it works.

    I was quoted a price of $1800 for a days work ( 7 hours on site) to use a boulder buster on my property. I have never seen it done and do not know the results. I am concerned about whether I can remove the broken tops without heavy equipment? The company did mention using jack hammers in conjuction with the boulder buster and does have a good reputation.

    I simply want to top off rocks I know to be small to medium size boulders in an established lawn ( In new England these are left over from glacial period ). I just purchased a Scag Tiger Cub 52 " and would like to avoid damage to the mower I may encounter with these rock outcrops at the higher speed coompared with the garden tractor.
  8. greywynd

    greywynd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    There would be a couple of options depending on the size/shape of the rocks that you are trying to 'cap'. If they are shaped like an egg, for example, what I would suggest is to dig out around them to expose them better, then drill holes from the side on a slight downward angle in a line....I have devices called 'wedge and feathers' that slide into the drill holes, line them up right, drive them in with a sledge hammer, and 'pop' the top will crack off. Once it's separated from the body of the rock, it can either be removed, or broken up smaller to remove it.

    If it's fairly flat, then the process would be a little different, if it's large, it might need to have a few lines of holes drilled and wedged off....each rock is a little different.

    This happens to be one of the things that I can (and often) do...I have a portable drill unit. Where I live it's only a half hour or so drive to the edge of the Canadian shield, and right in the midst of cottage country, so, I get calls for this for small removals for additions, lawn 'smoothing' like yours, and other things.

Share This Page