Battle of The Post Hole Diggers

Powered diggers are excluded.
Which is the better choice for various soil condition in your experience?
1. The manual auger that you twist until you get a full load of soil to dump:
http://www.hooverfence.com/tools/adjust-augers.htm
(Needs room for handle, but can go very deep by using pipe to extend it)
or
2. The clamshell-type post hole digger, like this dandy by Fiskars:
http://tinyurl.com/cna8js
(reportedly reaches over 4 feet)
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the power drive rotary one the auger lifts the displaced soil. can be rented.
if you only have a few holes to make it really doesnt matter
incidently a diamond core bit on a heavy duty elerctric drill works well too, espically for rocky areas
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Get the one that has an attached trailer. I used on of those one-man augers to drill 8 holes for a privacy fence... NEVER AGAIN.
It works quick in sandy soils like mine, but it's 15 seconds of sheer terror...
There's no other way to work the thing except to ram it to full throttle and hang on for dear life... Lucky I had sandy soil, but I did find where the old farmer dumped his rocks in a wet hole... That is, when the auger tried to rip my arms off!
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On Jan 29, 3:54 pm, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

...And I thought you were going to give him a bad time for not reading the first line of the first post. I'll leave that so someone else. :)
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edit:  I'll leave that TO someone else.  :)
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On Jan 29, 11:57 am, snipped-for-privacy@invalid.com wrote:

Ah yes, I am anticipating hitting more than my fair share of rocks, sadly. I'll be sure to get a spud bar or digger bar to break some of them up.
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*I have never used the manual auger. I have used a regular clamshell posthole digger and like the Fiskar ad says I have had to widen the hole to go down to 4' or more. I expect that the Fiskar steel model is a little more expensive, but could be a labor saver due to a narrower hole circumference. One thing I have found useful is a heavy steel bar to loosen up the soil as I go down deep.
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John Grabowski wrote: ...

You'll soon rue the day you chose the steel handles as you continue to have to lift the suckers out of the hole every stroke...(ga,amhikt :) ).
What little you might save in shaving the side of the hole an inch less is more than made up for w/ the weight. The extra heft is of some help in hard ground, but keeping them sharp is better.
I take the wood handles hands down of the pairs here unless think might be abusing them (prying out rotted-off end of old tie or something such)...
--
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snipped-for-privacy@invalid.com wrote: ...

What he said from same reference point... :)
Even in sand when it gets really dry you'll do no good w/ either unless soak it up some. Fortunately, rocks are unheard of here until far below posthole depth, anyway...
--
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On Thu, 29 Jan 2009 11:29:44 -0800 (PST), mike
-snip-

Never used that style but I saw a pair like it in a HD a while back. The Fiskar's might be different, but by gawd the ones I saw weighed 40 pounds. [just guessing from memory- don't hold me to that] They were 3-4 times as heavy as the wood handled clamshells in the next row.
I've dug my share with a clamshell, and if you've got rocky soil that's definitely the way to go. When we were setting telephone poles we often only used the power auger to handle the pole- 2 of us could dig the hole with a clamshell and a bar nearly as fast as the auger- and we made a much cleaner hole.
Sandy soil is ok for an auger power or hand operated.
BTW- I've never had any trouble making a 4' deep hole [for a 4x4] with regular clamshells and a spud bar.
Jim
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Augers are extremely hard work. The tool is heavy, the soil is heavy and your back will suffer accordingly. Clamshells do the job, but are slow, slow, slow. Many years ago, the phone company trucks were supplied with a matched pair of special shovels for post holes, referred to as 'spoons' by the technicians. The handles were some 6' long IIRC. When I was using my trusty clamshell digger for setting the posts on a business sign some years ago, a friend stopped by and sympathized about the difficulties of going below the three foot depth. A short time later he came back with his 'spoons' and in a half hour or less had both post holes well below 4 1/2 feet. I have no idea whether such tools are available today, but that one demo was quite impressive.
Joe
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-snip-

A *pair*? Maybe that's why we never used ours.<g> There was one on our line truck and 3 of us tried to use it and never cared for it.
Our territory had an area that was pure sand where we used the truck auger- the rest of the area was more rock than soil & we dug them with clamshells. I never saw anyone use the spoon(s).
Jim
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A short time later he came back with his 'spoons' and in a half hour or less had both post holes well below 4 1/2 feet. I have no idea whether such tools are available today, but that one demo was quite impressive.
Joe
these?
http://www.cable-lashers.com/id77n.html
also Joe
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The round one looks like the one we carried on our truck. I think it was an 8' handle. [Just noticed the 10' clamshells- There's some real quality-- but $200!!]
Jim
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I think you nailed it!
Joe
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Joe wrote:

put my most annoying employee on it. He learned fast not to be a pain in the ass after digging a few of those. After a few years bought a Digger Truck that dug them in 5 minutes, except easements. OshKosh was still the only option. Matter of fact use to buy from Dave, owner of Aerial Service Company.
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can\'t make them THINK"
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A couple years ago I fenced the backyard which involved digging a couple dozen or so postholes to about 40 inches deep. My soil is mainly clay (with maybe 6 inches or so of black dirt on top) but here and there were rocks or gravel, mostly from earlier construction or debris. Oh, and roots. I started out with the clamshell and then a neighbor lent me an auger type digger. I came to greatly prefer the auger, and used it whenever possible. Less effort and less jarring. However, it did not deal well with obstacles. When I hit roots or sizable rocks I had to get out the clamshell, and sometimes a digging bar too. So for me, it was good to have all three. (That's what you wanted, right? A rationale for buying three tools?) You're working that hard, don't stint on tools. -- H
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