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#3696 - 03/29/06 12:37 AM Digging the pond myself?
broncofan Offline
Lunker

Registered: 12/09/04
Posts: 113
Loc: Taylor,texas
I have blue clay, soil. Good! However thinking of making a pond or two, I already have 2 the state of texas over 55 years ago dug the dirt out for highways, and guess what free ponds! Not a experienced person on any of this, so maybe use tractor, and do my best, any precautions? I need, or forget it? or what? Like I said clay soil!

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#3697 - 03/29/06 06:57 AM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Brettski Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6870
Loc: Illinois
Bronco...
Huge respect for the DIY dirt guy! Funny how the stuff we played around with in art class as kids is so dang important now. When my contractor grabbed a handful of blue, his smile went ear-to-ear...mine too.
Calling all dirt-guys! (I luv this part of the show)
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#3698 - 03/29/06 07:07 AM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13263
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I guess you can do it. Early ponds were dug by using horses. Other than your life, you don't have much to lose. Working on steep slopes is scary.

Thought of renting a dozer? Every little boy, no matter what our age, has wanted to rent a dozer, clear land, and dig holes. However, it's not very efficient or cost effective. A real dozer driver can accomplish more in one hour than I could in 2 days.

The last time I mentioned this dozer idea to my wife, she just rolled her eyes and walked away.

If you do it, no matter what you use, get lots of life insurance. All machinery can kill you without ever shedding a tear.

Of course I would try it.
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#3699 - 03/29/06 12:37 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Eric_in_TN Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 160
Loc: Portland, TN
I remember as a kid one of the neighbors digging a pond with a tractor and 3 pt. "pond scoop". I've heard them called bucket scoops as well, if you guys know what I'm talking about. He dug a small catfish pond that was maybe 1/20 of an acre. It held water and was good fishing for a few years. But the pond was pretty shallow and cattails eventually took it over.

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#3700 - 03/29/06 02:35 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Happy Birthday Theo Gallus Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12352
Loc: Central Ohio
I know just what you mean as I have a pond scoop. It has been most useful for shallow ditching and (before I had a front end loader) moving small amounts of dirt. It would indeed take a long time to dig much of a pond with one.
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#3701 - 03/29/06 04:04 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Dave Davidson Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/22/02
Posts: 1892
Loc: Hurst & Bowie Texas
I have one and can't remember the real name. I used it to clean out all of the dried silt out of a small pond. My front End loader just doesn't do much digging.

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#3702 - 03/29/06 04:58 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
rockytopper Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 1239
Loc: texas
They're called a fresno. "the original paddle wheel scraper".
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#3703 - 03/29/06 08:13 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Happy Birthday Theo Gallus Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12352
Loc: Central Ohio
"These grapes - they taste like fresno!"

20-some years later, I finally know what it means.
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#3704 - 03/30/06 09:45 AM Re: Digging the pond myself?
switch Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Euless
I guess it depends on how much time you have. You could dig a pond with a shovel and wheelbarrow.

Personally, I'd rather rent a track loader or dozer.

I am not sure which is more efficient for moving dirt. I find that a track loader is easier to dig with. A dozer is harder to keep a level work area (maybe it is just me).

An operator can do more in an hour than you in 2 days? I doubt that. I suspect they may be more efficient but when I can rent a loader for $50 per hour but it costs $80+ for a contractor, I suspect I can save money driving it myself, not to mention why should I pay someone else to have all the fun?

Now, they normally leave a prettier work area than I. I beleive it is because I quit too soon. If I was getting paid $80 per hour, I'd probably spend an extra 2 hours smoothing/packing the dam face, too. ;\)

They are dangerous, take your time, do not get in a hurry. If you get in trouble, quit and get some expert advice.

I have some steep dam faces. Personally, I let the experts work on them. ;\)

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#3705 - 03/30/06 09:59 AM Re: Digging the pond myself?
bobad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Eunice, Louisiana
 Quote:
Originally posted by broncofan:
I have blue clay, soil. Good! However thinking of making a pond or two, I already have 2 the state of texas over 55 years ago dug the dirt out for highways, and guess what free ponds! Not a experienced person on any of this, so maybe use tractor, and do my best, any precautions? I need, or forget it? or what? Like I said clay soil!
Been there, doing that.

Not by choice mind you. I'm forced to go the slow way bacause my parish (county) won't allow heavy trucks on my road. So, I'm digging slowly with a disk harrow, and friends and neighbors are hauling the dirt away in dump trailers. It's been about 4 years since I started, and I'm about 50% done. I keep getting bites on getting dozers and track hoes in there to help, and that would speed it up a bunch, if only I had somewhere to put the dirt.

The most important thing you need to know is that the digging is fast and easy. Removing the dirt is the hard and slow part. I can "dig" about 6" per day if I ran my disk 8 hours a day. Piling up the dirt, loading it, and waiting for the next trailer is almost a deal killer. Good luck!
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#3706 - 03/30/06 04:51 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Dave Davidson Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/22/02
Posts: 1892
Loc: Hurst & Bowie Texas
Switch, yep, I expect any operator could do more in one hour than I could in 2 days.

Can a loader actually "peel" blue clay. I don't know. Most of them use dozers and I figured it was for that purpose. If not, why would anyone want a dozer.

Sure gotta agree about the fun part. My ideal birthday present would be renting a D9 for a day.

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#3707 - 03/30/06 05:43 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Eric_in_TN Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 160
Loc: Portland, TN
My parents have one of the pond scoops too, and I used to use it for removing excess dirt/manure from the barns and moving large rocks. They are also handy for small scale dirt moving and cleaning up creek crossings. I've heard them called by several different names, but everyone where I grew up called them "pond scoops". If you think about it they are essentially a small 3 pt mounted scraper.

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#3708 - 03/30/06 05:58 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
bobad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Eunice, Louisiana
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Davidson:

Can a loader actually "peel" blue clay. I don't know. Most of them use dozers and I figured it was for that purpose. If not, why would anyone want a dozer.
Unfortunately, no, a loader can't peel undisturbed dirt of any type. Actually it can, but it just isn't feasible. It's too hard on the loader and tractor.

A scraper is the way to go. Here's one I used for a day, but it was too worn out and loose, and kept gouging. The tractor is a 125 HP Kubota.
http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c394/bobad/Picture011.jpg
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Shrimp

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#3709 - 03/30/06 11:59 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
walboknls1 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/23/05
Posts: 47
Loc: Dallas
broncofan
take it from a guy that has tried the DIY. not really worth it depending on how big you want it. i really really would not recommend it. the equipment and as expensive as diesel is you will easily spend $100 every second or third day depending on how long you work. just try getting a few diffrent quotes and if anything i will get you the number to the guy that is finishing my pond (i tried the DIY not successfull) he gave me a hell of a price too for an acre. good luck
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#3710 - 03/31/06 07:12 AM Re: Digging the pond myself?
switch Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Euless
I was talking about a 'track loader', (a bulldozer with a bucket instead of a blade), not a tractor w/a loader.

However, I suspect you could do a decent job with a tractor loader if you loosened the dirt first with a one-way plow or a heavy disk.

Another option is to rent the equipment, DIY for the less skilled work (clearing trees, pushing/stockpiling the top soil, etc.) and hiring a skilled (retired?) operator to do the finishing work. We did this a few years back. The operator(s) would run the dozer from 7 to 3 and I'd get on it after work (or my 12 year old son) and we'd clear trees, fill ditches, etc. We rented it for a week to clean up three ponds, extended the lease another week, finally had to get a 3rd week (when another employee told me that 3 weeks = a month). Actually moved it to another farm and reworked 2 more ponds.

Get a good idea what you need done and how long it will take. There is a substantial discount for longer leases - (daily = $100/hour, weekly = $45/hour and monthly = $25/hour). Generally, 3 days rents pays for a week and 3 weeks pays for a month. So, if you need it for 3 weeks to complete your pond, you might as well keep it that last week and clear trees, shape gullies, dig that swimming pool, etc. The last week is free.

If you have a life, you probably need to line up and extra operator or two. It is hard to get 40 hours on a machine in a week if you have to take off a day here and there for business. Fortunately, between me and my 16 year old, we were able to get 38 hours on a track loader in a week (during spring break when he was out of school). Course, we were lucky, they left it at the farm an extra day before pickup.

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#3711 - 03/31/06 08:58 AM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
switch,

Good stuff you are saying. Joining this thread late, but since I am a DIY person by choice and have done three ponds with three more on the way I'd just like to add my 2 cents.

Switch is right on! Get the skilled operator for the tricky parts. Use utmost caution. It will take longer than you thought and even longer than that. Patience is key.

DIY ponds is one of the most satisfying things I have ever done in my entire life....and then catching 6 pound LMB out of that pond you built with expectations for much larger fish, well it just does not get any better than that. Good job Switch.

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#3712 - 03/31/06 09:32 AM Re: Digging the pond myself?
switch Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Euless
oops. How do you edit a message?

The daily rate was $500 - $62.50/hour.

Bobdad, no where to put dirt? Why not make the dam bigger? Most dams are 3' above water, 10' wide and 1 - 3 slope. What if you raised it to 6', made it 20 or 30' wide and changed the slope to 1-6? It would be a lot easier to mow/maintain.

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#3713 - 03/31/06 09:59 AM Re: Digging the pond myself?
eddie_walker Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 773
Loc: Just North of Tyler, Texas
I started out asking around for a good contractor to build my lake. All I ever found was that it was more than I could afford, or they were not to be trusted. I got allot of horror stories about overcharges for their hours when nobody was even there!!!

This was such a common complaint that I bring it up. Keep an independent account of the hours they are working. If they start work at a certain time, write it down. If they are there and just hanging out drinking coffee, this doesn't count. If they decide to replace the sprocket on a dozer, this doesn't count. Be sure to know what hours you are billed for!!!

Anyway. I gave up on having a lake on my place and decided to just have a small pond. I rented a small John Deere 450G dozer to do the digging and realized that it was totally underpowered to do anything with. It's fine for makeing trails through the woods and smoothing out building pads, but digging in dirt, NO WAY! I ended up usuing my backhoe for this. Dig with the hoe and haul with the FEL. It took me two months to dig a 3/4 acre pond 5 feet deep with an area that is 8 feet and an island.

While makeing my trails, I realized I had a realy good spot for a lake. I kept thinking abou it and exploreing the area. Finally I decided to buy a large dozer and do it myself. $25,000 for a Case 1550 dozer. It's 160 hp and weighs 40,000 pounds. It's comparable to a Cat D6 or a John Deere 850.

The blade is 12 feet wide and it will move ALLOT of dirt in a day. If you dig in slots, the dirt doesnt' fall off the sides of the blade and you can get it to the dam fairly easily. It's allot faster than a dump truck if your moving it several hundred feet!!!

Renting puts allot of preasure on you to get it done right away. You get a newer machine, but for a large enough machine to be practical will cost you!!!

When I'm done with my dozer, I will sell it for about what I paid for it. I'll just paint "for sale" on the blade and park it in front of my place. Sooner or later somebody will buy it.

I have a few grand into it for repairs, but figure if I sold it for scrap, I'm already way ahead on what it would have cost me to hire it out. Not to mention all the other jobs I've been able to do with it on my land.

Learning to run it isn't that complicated. There is different skill levels on it, just like everything else. Digging dirt isn't one of those hard to learn things. Grading a road or making dirt flat does take some skill and allot of practice, but who cares if the bottom of your lake isn't flat?

Good luck,
Eddie
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Lake Marabou http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=139488&fpart=1

It's not how many ideas you have, but how many you make happen.

3/4 and 4 acre ponds.

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#3714 - 03/31/06 10:28 AM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Eddie, Heading to Tyler next Friday for fish...will you be around?

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#3715 - 03/31/06 12:40 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Eric_in_TN Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 160
Loc: Portland, TN
Eddie I know of several people going the route you did. There is some danger of having to repair a final drive or other major component, but you can usually check these things out pretty good before buying. A good dozer will indeed usually sell for what you paid for it. If you clean them up a little before selling, maybe more!

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#3716 - 03/31/06 12:54 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
bobad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Eunice, Louisiana
Hey Switch,

By "hours", are you talking about hours on the hour meter?
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#3717 - 03/31/06 01:01 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
bobad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Eunice, Louisiana
 Quote:
Originally posted by switch:
oops. How do you edit a message?
Bobdad, no where to put dirt? Why not make the dam bigger?
I WISH I had a dam! I would have been finished 2 years ago! It's just a big old hole in the ground with a levee that measures 12' wide, 18" high all the way around it. I already made the levee a lot higher and wider than necessary just to get rid of a little dirt. ;\)
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#3718 - 03/31/06 01:58 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
TN Hillbilly Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 121
Loc: Greenest state in the Land of ...
The first step in any substantial DIY is tuning out the naysayers. There's nothing about pond building you can't do for yourself. Do your homework, buy a machine, play on it for a month and you'll be 85% as capable as a pro. I can't imagine trying to rent a machine and get everything done in a month when dealing with work, family and weather at the same time. Go for it.

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#3719 - 03/31/06 03:31 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
eddie_walker Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 773
Loc: Just North of Tyler, Texas
Meadowlark,

As far as I know, I will be here on Friday. At least I have no plans or emergancies comeing up. hahahaha

PM me or email me, I'd be honored to show you around and see what you think. One good suggestion could save me thousands of dollars and years of frustration!!!

Do you still have my email address?

Eddie
_________________________
Lake Marabou http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=139488&fpart=1

It's not how many ideas you have, but how many you make happen.

3/4 and 4 acre ponds.

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#3720 - 03/31/06 03:43 PM Re: Digging the pond myself?
Alligator Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 821
Loc: East Texas
ML,

Are you going to Tyler Fish Farm? I need to make a trip over there soon too...

Gator
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