Galvanized steel piling

Finishing up my house. Back yard is last thing I have to do. It's got a hillside that slopes down maybe 20 degrees to the back my house. I need to put retaining walls to keep this hillside from ending up in my bedroom during next year's heavy rain.
This evening, while taking my walk, I followed a dry creekbed that had been shored up in places with heavy guage galvanized corrugated sheet metal. Looks very much like this stuff:
http://www.cajunmarineconstruction.com/Retaining_Walls.html
It actually looked pretty good to me, as I tend to go with non-traditional landscape treatments wherever I can get away with it. I liked the industrial feel, and it looked like the metal walls had been in place for at least a couple of decades with little or no corrosion.
The stuff is perfect for my application, but I don't have any experience with it. Especially whether it's something a handy guy could install himself, or even where to buy it within a reasonable distance of my house (California Central Coast).
Anybody ever work with this stuff?
-Frank
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Frank: The stuff is called sheet pile. It has to go in pretty deep, the depth determined by the soil conditions and the height. Do a search on sheet pile and you will find more info than you need. John

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On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 18:39:57 -0700, Frank J Warner

Get yourself some peices of solid steel rods about 300 feet long. Get a large sledge hammer and drive them into the earth, leaving 10 feet (or whatever you need) sticking out of the ground. Place these posts every 8 feet or so, Then get some 36 inch I-beams like they use on major bridges. Stack these behind the posts and weld them to the posts. You now have a wall that should hold up to anything except an earthquake.
If you are real ambitious, this should be a one weekend job !!!
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Frank J Warner wrote:

Fairly unlikely this would be a homeowner project because the sheet piling has to be driven deeply into solid ground.
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Frank J Warner wrote:

You need a pile driver to install this, especially in loose soil.
http://www.northeast.railfan.net/mow20.html
It is not suited to self installation and doesn't do well in rocky soil. (A pile driver is one tool that I have been meaning to get, but can't afford.)
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On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 18:39:57 -0700, Frank J Warner

I've seen it used many times, and it's NOT DIY unless people will rent you very heavy equipment - do you have truck access to the area? The stuff installs fast, they can get in and out in a day if all the prep work is done, so it might not be that expensive.
They use a heavy lift crane with a special Vibratory Pile Driver to install sheet piling - it's a paint shaker the size of a large engine block with a big set of gripper clamps on the bottom for the sheet piling, and a remote hydraulic power supply driven by a large engine.
They grab the piling with the gripper, the crane places it in position so it interlocks with the last sheet, and they turn on the shaker, which buzzes it down into the dirt like a tent peg. And if the shoring was temporary, removing them is just a matter of bringing the crane back and reversing the procedure.
Make absolutely sure that the area is clear of all drainage or utility lines, The sheet pile will go right through them like they aren't there, with possibly disastrous results.
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Hey Frank,
Sheet pile requires drive machinery of some sort, either a drop hammer style pile driver, or the newer hydraulic "shakers". The hydraulics are favoured for lots of reasons, including ease of use (precise alignment) and possibly just as an attachment on a back-hoe (rather than a crawler), and the ability to pull out the sheet piling if necessary.
The sheet must be forced into virgin material for a fair distance. If it is not deep enough, the bottom will "kick out" some time in the future, dependant on lots of weather specifics at location. One advantage to the interlocking type sheet pile is that it can follow a segmented curved line.
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 18:39:57 -0700, Frank J Warner

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"Frank J Warner" wrote

If the sheet piling is too rich for your blood, you might try mezzanine decking pans. They're narrow enough to drive without a large machine, and pretty stout. You can find "drops" all over multi-story concrete construction.
LLoyd
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