For some of you this may be basic information, but for those who don’t know how to dig a post hole this tidbit could save you some work and frustration.
To your left are the “tools of the trade”. The 2 go together like a bow and arrow – you need both to get the job done.
The post-hole-digger on the far left is the obvious one. I’ve seen customers at Home Depot buy fence to install and logically they grab a post-hole-digger. But the steel digging-bar is the companion tool that together with the post-hole-digger makes things happen.
There are a couple of digging-bar types out there. For general post hole digging I use the one that has the round tamper at one end and the dig blade at the other.
Work The 2 Tools Together
The key concept to understand here is that the digging bar does the hard digging and loosening of the earth, and the post-hole-digger basically scoops out the loose dirt.
Work layer by layer. Use the blade end of the bar to loosen 3 or 4″ of earth and pry any stones you come across. Now take the post-hole-digger, scoop out the loose material and rinse and repeat. I toss the stones to the side as I dig so I’m left with a clean pile of earth to backfill with. Before long you’ll get to the depth you’re looking for.
The round tamper at the other end of the bar is to “tamp” and pack the earth as you backfill around the post you’re setting. Make sure you do the backfilling and tamping in layers so as to get thorough compaction from the bottom to the top.
Post-hole-digging does not have to be such a nasty job. Work these 2 tools together to show that hole who’s the boss.
These 2 tools are not expensive and make nice additions to a well-rounded tool collection. In future posts we’ll look at other ways to use these tools to make your work easier.