Jumping jack compactor a must have??

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by mrusk, May 28, 2006.

  1. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    I got a big job coming up with 25 stairs. The run is 50 feet, and the rise is 14 feet. I originally was going to a stair then a ft of pavers, and so on. Now i am thinking of doing five steps then a walkway, and so on. Either way i am going to be working in a tie area. I'm thinking it will be easier to get the compaction i need with a jumping jack style compactor. Do any of you guys have one and how much do you use it? I currently have a wacker 1550 plate compactor. My business is split 50/50 paver/walls.

    Would a jumping jack be a worth wild purchuse?

  2. tylermckee

    tylermckee LawnSite Member
    from wa
    Messages: 248

    A jumping jack is nice to have, it can get in tight areas a plate cant, and usually can compact a lot thicker lifts than a plate. It would be a good purchase IMO.
  3. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Matt, the ramming action of the jumping jack is beneficial in some instances, but in my opinion, it can over tamp in others. When building steps, the jumping jack can push the block out of place.

    Bench cut and use the pedestal method and your 1550 will be fine.
  4. coyotekid

    coyotekid LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    Regardless of the usefulness of a "jumping jack," it's the worst invention on the face of the planet in my book! I used to run one as a laborer on an excavation company crew, and there's no piece of machinery that will beat you up more--period! They sure are hard on operators...

    If you get one and haven't run one before, please be dang careful--wear steel toed shoes if you can. One wrong move, and your foot will be mashed to bits--I've seen it happen!
  5. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 837

    I really think that your experience is based on one old POS machine. The new machines are easy to use and transmit little action to the user. The 4 strokes are also quiet. We tried Wacker, Dynapac and Bomag. We went Dynapac mainly because they were trying harder and aftersales service is good.

    Have a look here:


    We use it when building stone steps a lot and when we step up the bottom of a wall. Totally invaluable and doesn't move everything around like a platey. We also use plate compactors a lot but there is a number of jobs that only a JJ will do. Remember, to get the same compaction as a Jumpin Jack you will need a 1200lbs PLUS plate compactor.
  6. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    One reason i am pushing for the JJ is that i am always afraid of not getting the sub base compacted enought. Also i would rather compact in bigger lifts. Its all about being mechanicalized! I will proably hold off on buying it for a little while, but i defienetly want to add it and a big plate compactor to the arsenal in the next year!

    I think i am going to break the job up into 5 section of 5 steps. With walkways in between. I just worked it out and it seems like i could do the steps pedal method use only around 4.5 cubes of versa lok. Its not that much more block than i would normally use and i think it will save me sooo much time. This is the biggest job i've ever done.

  7. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 837

    If you are always afraid of it you will probably never screw up a good wall with a lack of compaction. A good ethic I believe...and I've made some good money tearing down POS walls that have failed through settlement.

    The disadvantage with a JJ is the small area/size of foot, a bit slow at times but in the scheme of retaining walls and most homeowner work thats Jackschmidt because you can do 12" lifts with the JJ.
  8. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    I build a lot of srw and use a plate tamper. It is a stow older model the largest 1 they make , and you can feel the ground vibrate some distance away. it gives a much more even compaction area. I would not use a jumping jack in the hardscaping business. Let the boys along side the road on major excavation jobs use them , such as backfill on utilities, etc.
  9. Pavers Plus

    Pavers Plus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    I can not believe that some of you guys talk down on Jumping Jacks the way you do. It has specific purposes, of which it is not meant to be used for the compaction of an entire patio. You also will not want to use directly next to your newly constructed walls/raised patio, as it can push the wall out if you are not careful.

    The jumping jack can be used (should be used) on the sub-base (clay soil sub-base). It will knock air pockets out of the clay. For those of you that use your 3200lbs plate on the sub-base, you are not doing a whole lot of anything to the clay soil. The plate is good for vibrating the stone/sand to compact it. The jumping jack Rams the cohesive soils.

    Also, the jumping jack can be used for tight areas, corners and for against foundations of a house. Also, the jumping jack is essential for compacting the sub-base of a retaining wall.

    Also, while I'm at it. For those of you who haven't stepped up to the larger plate compactors, what are you waiting for. I'd say the minimum you'd want is probably about 4500lbs/force. You will get much better compaction and can do bigger lifts. I have a few contractors that have actually got 2-3 size plates now. They have a 7800lb reversable tamper for just base work. A 5800lb tamper for base and on top of Techo-Bloc pavers and a 3200lb tamper for on top of all other brand pavers. One has even dedicated his small plate to using a pad on it. The 5800lb plate will break most manufactures products because of the low quality pavers being put out. Techo-Bloc's seems to be the only one that can withstand the hits of the 5800lb tamper. Plus, that mid size plate is very, very fast and hits hard. I didn't mention this yet, but the guys bought the 7800lb tamper after seeing AND feeling how firm the gravel got using it. They actually tamped with their small tamper then tamped with the big one to see what happened and they were shocked that the gravel base actually went down another 1/2" -1". When it was time to tamp the pavers with the regular plate, the plate actually jumped and hopped as if it were on solid concrete and not the typical vibrating normally when the base was tamped with the smaller plate.

    They justified the extra cost of the machine by knowing that it would be hard for their employees to cheat the lifts of compaction. They also can tamp 6-10" per lift......., so their production rates have gone up.
  10. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 837

    Exactly, small plate compactors are good for paving in very small lifts. However these are mostly not reversible and a real PITA when doing retaining wall footings.

    To be honest, when we are building retaining walls we would use a big platey if we could but numerous times we have tried and the vibrations just bring the hill down on you. Bear in mind that we often have 12 to 20 feet back slopes and you can get buried bad. The JJ will also cause a trench to collapse if it is unstable but nowhere near as bad as platey. I used to hate Jumpin Jacks but had to face reality and thats is get the right tool for the job and put your personal preferences and opinions aside.

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