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#174100 - 07/16/09 04:39 PM How to compact clay without machine?
Laurie Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Pine, Louisiana
Last weekend we built a small pond, 18' x 24' x 3' deep, filled once with hose but was dry within 24 hours. We think the problem is failure to compact properly, as we have nice heavy red clay that holds water well in our neighbor's old, established ponds. The area of the pond basin is too small to contain any heavy equipment. Any ideas for improvising a way to compact the clay? We don't have livestock. I tried riding my ATV around the pond floor for a couple of hours and it seemed to compact the clay / soil a bit , but I'm hoping one of the pond experts can offer a better solution for compacting, in a pretty small space, without machinery.

Thank you!

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#174120 - 07/16/09 05:26 PM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Laurie]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13429
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
The USUAL recommendation is for 2 ft. of well packed clay. How much did you use? Be sure to pack in layers as you go.
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#174129 - 07/16/09 06:48 PM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Dave Davidson1]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4128
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...

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#174132 - 07/16/09 07:23 PM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: RAH]
Theo Gallus Online   content
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12369
Loc: Central Ohio
It's machinery, but you could rent a jumping jack.

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#174158 - 07/16/09 09:55 PM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Theo Gallus]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4128
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
jumping jack = rammer

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#174196 - 07/17/09 06:34 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: RAH]
Brettski Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6874
Loc: Illinois
they do work...man, do they work
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#174214 - 07/17/09 08:47 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Brettski]
Theo Gallus Online   content
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12369
Loc: Central Ohio
How's that shoulder, Bski?
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#174220 - 07/17/09 09:11 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Theo Gallus]
Brettski Offline
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Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6874
Loc: Illinois
Never gonna be the same.
So Laurie knows, I used one of the jumping jack compactors and did NOT follow correct usage. Grabbing the wrong side of the machine's handle during compaction sets a bone jarring shockwave thru the body that might....just might....demand arthroscopic surgery a few months later to remove damaged tissues.
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#174231 - 07/17/09 10:02 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Brettski]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4128
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Grabbing non-macines the wrong way can get you hurt even worse...

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#174286 - 07/17/09 02:33 PM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: RAH]
Jeff Walker Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/11/06
Posts: 285
Loc: Southern Illinois (KY border)
 Originally Posted By: RAH
Grabbing non-macines the wrong way can get you hurt even worse...


I think grabbing a lot of things the wrong way can get you hurt even worse!
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#174400 - 07/18/09 12:13 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Jeff Walker]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
Laurie, a pond that size if you cannot get the clay to hold the water a liner is very feasible...
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#174422 - 07/18/09 07:48 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Jeff Walker]
Ric Swaim Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/24/03
Posts: 1902
Loc: Surry Co NC
 Quote:
Originally Posted By: RAHGrabbing non-macines the wrong way can get you hurt even worse...

I think grabbing a lot of things the wrong way can get you hurt even worse!

Sometimes it's just the "grabbing" that does it.
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#174444 - 07/18/09 10:06 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Ric Swaim]
TOM G Offline
Lunker

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 2086
Loc: Dawson Tx
Laurie,Welcome to the forum.18 x 24 feet,I would put down a liner and be done with it.What are byour goals for the pond?
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#174681 - 07/20/09 07:49 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: TOM G]
otto Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 1074
Loc: texas
Laurie

Tom G has a good idea for that size it might be a good idea to consider a liner.

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#174731 - 07/20/09 01:47 PM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: RAH]
PFV Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 87
Loc: North Texas
 Originally Posted By: RAH
jumping jack = rammer


AKA - Whacker-Packer!! And yes, if you don't use it properly, it will give you a purty good shaking.
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#175188 - 07/22/09 06:26 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: PFV]
otto Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 1074
Loc: texas
PFV

That thing will give you a good shaking no matter how you use it.

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#175618 - 07/24/09 11:46 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: otto]
Littlestfish Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/10/08
Posts: 29
Loc: BC Canada
I also have a small pond that is about 18 by 20 by 5 -6 feet deep. It was built on a slope and has a 3 foot high clay dam built up on one end. As it is a very moist spot the dam didn't get compacted properly when it was built.

I don't want to use a liner as there is a very small spring in the bottom of the pond and I rely on this to water a large garden.

I have had some success with a baseball bat. As the water level has gone down over the summer and the bank has dried a bit, I've followed up on this first compaction with a sledge hammer and the back of an axe with a heavy head.

It's a lot of work but it seems to be working. We are having a very hot dry summer here and all the ponds in the area are already down to the lowest I have ever seen them. My pond is at the same level it was in January during the wettest part of the year, before I began compacting it and inserting bentonite into the softest mushiest places in the dam. (There is a thread on how I did this titled "An Easy Way to Fix Some Leaks".)

My pond is about 16 inches down from being completely full, which is pretty good considering I have used at least 10 of these to water my garden. But I am still working on it as I think the small spring should keep it completely full if it wasn't leaking at all. So every day I am out there for my 15 minute work out, going whack whack whack, in the hopes I will get it so it stays full, next summer.

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#175622 - 07/24/09 11:55 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Littlestfish]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13429
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
If your water table is stable, the spring should keep seeping. If the water table falls below the bottom of the pond, it will suck the water from the pond.
_________________________
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#175731 - 07/25/09 12:16 AM Re: How to compact clay without machine? [Re: Laurie]
eddie_walker Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 773
Loc: Just North of Tyler, Texas
 Originally Posted By: Laurie
Last weekend we built a small pond, 18' x 24' x 3' deep, filled once with hose but was dry within 24 hours. We think the problem is failure to compact properly,


How did you build the pond? If you dug a hole in the ground, then the undesturbed soil is already compacted in most cases. If you built a dam, how did you build it?

Where did the water go? did it soak into the ground? Did it go through the dam?

Compacting soil is a science that can be very expensive, but it is not the same as making sure your soil will hold water. Saying that it's red and that your neighbor has a pond that holds water doesn't have anything to do with the dirt on your land.

To properly compact clay soil, you need a way to both mix it up and vibrate it. A sheepsfoot roller is ideal for clay, but as also mentioned, a jumping jack works great too. You are not just beating the soil so it will become hard, you are mixing it up to create an overlapping, solid barrier. If there is sand, rock or roots right under the clay, it wont matter how much effort you put into compacting it, it's gonna leak.

Find the leak and figure out why it's leaking. Compaction might work, but it could also be something else. Until you know why it's leaking, you will never be able to fix it.

Good luck,
Eddie
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