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Post hole diggers, as a PSA:

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  • Post hole diggers, as a PSA:

    I will repeat this in a thead all it's own, because it is VERY important if you ever think you may have holes to dig:

    One warning to anyone looking to add implements to any tractor, if you have auxiliary hydraulics, get the hydraulic post hole diggers.

    The PTO ones, that we had for many years, are not worth having, they just won't dig but where it is easy digging and then, you could almost do it by hand just as easy.

    We drilled four holes on the side of our bucket and bolt ours to it.
    Easy to put on and take off by just digging a little bit, until it stands on it's own and unbolting it.
    Easy to see get to hard to reach places and to see what you are doing, better than with those diggers on the back.

    The voice of experience here, as a public service announcement.

  • #2
    We too had problems with a pto post hole digger, not doing the job. We replaced the cutting edges for the auger, with the type with teeth. What a difference! Auger cut right through hard, dry, packed ground. It also went through shale and tree roots.


    • #3
      Double posted, post is below
      Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


      • #4
        Hmmm. We did almost a mile of fencing with a pto auger ... and had no problems. We actually got to be quite good with it -- being able to position the hole exactly where we wanted it with no jockeying of the tractor. Yes, it does require regular maintenance - the auger teeth need to be turned / sharpened / replaced regularly, particularly if you are working in rocky ground. While the hydraulic model might be easier, it is also more costly.

        "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
        - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


        • #5
          Are these the spiral screw post hole diggers on the back of the tractor? Please, what does PTO stand for. Do you have a pic of your side loader set up? Are you saying you remounted the back end digger on the side of the shovel?

          Just trying to understand without as much experience as I would like mechanically.
          Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


          • #6
            Originally posted by AnotherRound View Post
            Are these the spiral screw post hole diggers on the back of the tractor? Please, what does PTO stand for. Do you have a pic of your side loader set up? Are you saying you remounted the back end digger on the side of the shovel? Not
            PTO - power take-off. It runs of the engine the same way your mower does.

            "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
            - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


            • #7
              Yup, what ShotenStar said a PTO is.
              AR, it's the little spinning thing on the arse end of the tractor. It's powered off of the engine via a long crank shaft running under the tractor.

              Hydraulics are normally located at the front of the tractor, they are "tubes" or "pipes" that use fluid that does not compress for their power. (hydraulic fluid)

              However on a tractor you can find hydraulic hoses in other places so you can hook up hydraulic powered implements behind the tractor, like a backhoe. Those will bring hydraulic fluid to the newly attached implement and allow it to work.

              Hydraulics have more power than non-hydraulic stuff.

              A PTO just spins, it has good power but not as much power as hydraulics do.

              For augering...we used a small one-man stand on type auger to dig our fence post holes. Simple to use in general...wasn't the most powerful thing though. Especially since shale and ledge and rocks grow like weeds in my dirt. We'd auger for a minute...hear a "clunk" and then one of us would move to the next hole to start it and the other would stay behind and dig out the #%@& rock so we could come back and dig another 6" to the next rock. A hydraulic one would have worked better.

              However IMO...hiring a pro fencing company with a post pounder and having a handful of extra repacement posts laying around to replace any shattered ones is probably the best way to fence. At least then the d*mned fence line comes out straight. Boy did we screw up that part!
              You jump in the saddle,
              Hold onto the bridle!
              Jump in the line!


              • Original Poster

                When we still had our PTO post hole digger, a friend that has built fences all his life and his father before him, had to use ours when a hose broke on his.

                He told us after that:
                "Now I know why I go dig holes for people when I see they have one of those xzyz@ things right there.
                Those things are u-s-e-l-e-s-s!"
                Ours was a new one, still had paint on the shaft, because it was not worth the trouble to hook it up and then still have to keep pouring water in the hole and wait before it would dig in the harder clay.

                Glad that they seem to work for some, but if you ever compare them, well, there is no comparation and they don't cost that much.

                If you have auxiliary connectors on the back, you can do as we did, run some hoses to the front.

                Here are pictures of both kinds of diggers, ours is bolted on the bucket itself, not the arm, as in that picture on the bottom:



                • #9
                  We've dug over a thousand hole with our PTO driven
                  auger with very little problem. Thankfully our days of
                  digging holes are mostly finished. Twenty two paddocks
                  are enough. This is in rocky new england soil.


                  • #10
                    We rarely have trouble with the PTO type. But we have broken a couple. I'm not talking shear pins either. I'm talkin' BUSTED.


                    • Original Poster

                      Anyone that has used only PTO diggers just don't even have any idea of the difference, that is very large in favor of the hydraulic ones.
                      I know, we had a PTO one since 1940, then still got a new one about 1970's and were happy with them, didn't know any better.
                      Since we got this hydraulic one 5 years ago, well, let me tell you, there is NO comparation, at all.

                      Now, I have seen big fencing companies using the pounding kind.
                      I don't know about those, their cost or how much better they may be to all.
                      Evidently better enough for them to prefer them over other kinds.


                      • #12
                        Just a word of warning to any digging people, CALL FOR LOCATING FIRST!!

                        Somewhere in the front of the phone book is a universal number to call that will bring out the locator folks from all the Utility companies. They will mark gas, water, sewer, telephone, electric, whatever is buried around your place that could be a problem.

                        You REALLY want to call early, before you plan to dig by at least a week. That lead time gives them the ability to schedule your work into the workdays. Service is free for the locating, but YOU HAVE TO CALL THEM!

                        If you do NOT call, any damage you do is your expense. It is quite surprising how many places have underground services with no marking signs to be seen. It can be VERY expensive to have a whole crew out replacing Toll Cable for the Phone Company or cut a hole in a gas line and the associated dangers there. I don't think your Home Owners Insurance will cover these things either.

                        Any hole you plan to put into the ground, should have had a call in for Locating service done first thing. Mailbox installation is among the worst for hitting stuff! Knew a guy who went out to fence a pasture way out back. Never called for locators. He hit the 1200 pair Toll Cable EVERY 16ft. for over 1000 ft. But using power auger he just applied MORE power as he drove the machine along! Put out the service between major cities. Cable splicers putting overtime, matching those little wires for MANY hours, AFTER the crew found a new piece of cable to replace the damaged one with. It was a mess that just didn't seem to end for DAYS! Then he got the bill!!!

                        So better safe than REALLY sorry later, call for the locators WAY BEFORE you get working on the project. Here in Michigan, it is 1-800-MISS DIG. Other states use a similar easy name for the phone number, which will be in the front of your phone book.


                        • Original Poster

                          That is a good warning, unless you have been in your place for 100 years, like we have.

                          Still, if we are even close to an utility line, that we know are there because of the easements, we still call, just in case.
                          Now, I can witch the location of any pipeline or cable and hit it within inches, but still, we call first.
                          Some of our soil/wildlife conservation government projects require that you call them first before you start anyway and have proof of it, if you have any digging to do, even to place a sign post.

                          Here, the number is 1-800-TESTDIG.


                          • #14
                            I work for a natural gas compression company. We used to have a pipeline maintenance contract, and I handled the UFPO calls. You would be suprised what people do... one Amish guy dug a pond under and around our pipeline. The guys were doing their annual line patrol and all of a sudden... pond. The pipeline was running right through the middle of it. Had he knicked that line hard enough, it would have dug the pond for him.


                            • #15
                              ?WOW.... (shaking head)

                              I don't envy the guy who hit the toll cable.

                              When we were preparing to put in our new septic system, I KNEW there was live power cable buried in the area the tanks had to go - so in addition to calling the regular locate service, I PAID a real live locator to come our and find the cable, as well as the powerline to the OLD septic pump, which I was "pretty sure" ran along the pipe out to the soon-to-be-abandoned old system. Well, old system's pipes and powerline didn't go quite where they were "supposed" to be, so that was real handy info to have. The guy located the live cable (from meter to barn and shop) and even told me about how deep it would be - qualifying it with a stern, "you didn't hear that from me!". Liability issues...

                              SEptic guy was hard at work digging when I got home and I saw the cable(s), THREE of them - only one live, but hey, he's managed to leave them ALL draped in midair in his excavation - about 15 feet wide by 40 feet long for the three tanks. I was duly impressed by his fine touch with that big excavator. The locator guy was within half a foot on his estimated depth, too. Double-checked at the meter, and flagged the live cable - then I cut out the others for him, just to make Mr. Septic Guy feel better
                              OK, so I cheated and put the current tester on them first

                              Moral of it all is that the $279 I paid the locator was worth EVERY penny and saved us a lot of headaches and unneeded expense...

                              Oh, and we LOVE our hydraulic auger drive. Having dug way too many the hard ways, it is like driving a Cadillac after climbing out of a 48 CHevy truck.
                              Homesick Angels Farm
                              breeders of champion Irish Draught Sporthorses
                              standing Manu Forti's Touch Down RID


                              • #16
                                Not sure if I understand correctly after looking at the link Bluey.

                                Is the advantage to a hydraulic over PTO, mostly power?
                                save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by fivehorses View Post
                                  Not sure if I understand correctly after looking at the link Bluey.

                                  Is the advantage to a hydraulic over PTO, mostly power?
                                  With the PTO you don't have much turning power for the auger or down pushing power.
                                  We had three people bouncing on the PTO, used big crowbars to add pressure, you name it, for tens of years and still could not get it to dig in hard clay well.

                                  First time we used the hydraulic digger, we positioned it exactly where we wanted with great ease and it practically dug itself in.
                                  We were in some of the harderst clay around.
                                  Now THAT will put a smile in your face, after years of fighting to get holes dug in that kind of ground, barely getting in hard won inch by inch.

                                  Not only that, the posts we had set with so much trouble there 30+ years ago, treated and wrapped in black roofing paper, for a cattle shed, termites had eaten them to one foot above ground.
                                  We went with metal portable sheds this time around, that will give those termites indigestion.

                                  That little job turned into a satisfying and memorable one in more than one way.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                                    Just a word of warning to any digging people, CALL FOR LOCATING FIRST!!

                                    Somewhere in the front of the phone book is a universal number to call that will bring out the locator folks from all the Utility companies. They will mark gas, water, sewer, telephone, electric, whatever is buried around your place that could be a problem.
                                    We don't have a land line because some previous owners were digging on our place and severed the telephone line and it's ridiculously expensive to fix--over $500 they said! I was going to set one up for work but I didn't need it that badly!

                                    Luckily they missed the gas line that runs through, which they were less than five feet from.
                                    exploring the relationship between horse and human


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
                                      Had he knicked that line hard enough, it would have dug the pond for him.
                                      Not that the Amish guy would have a camera but that would make a cool "Hey guys watch this!" vid for utube.
                                      “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                                      • #20
                                        For those that have had issues with the PTO driven augers, how many HP does your tractor have / put out at the PTO? What kind of tractor do you have driving it? I've been looking at purchasing an auger, but might have to go with the hydraulic one if the PTO driven one really won't cut it.
                                        David A. Staples
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