How to dig deep post holes with water?

Getting old, had bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome surgery recently. I therefore cannot use the post hole digger like I used to. Don't want to use motorized earth auger. Don't want to use hired labor. I want to dig 4 foot deep, 10 inch diameter post holes. The soil is grey clay, hard as a rock when dry, gooey when wet. I was thinking about using high pressure water via jet system of some kind to erode the soil and a trash water pump of some sort to suck the water out as I work the hole. I was thinking the water can be recirculated as the soil from the pump is accumulated in some container within the system. There is no sense in inventing this system for my use if there is information for this kind of tooling at a DIY price. Would you folks kindly give me input on aspects of this idea that I might not have considered and suggestions on reasonably priced parts (preferably obtainable used) I could use to cobble up such a system? I am certain there are commercial systems such as these. I would like to take a look at their info just to get some ideas. Any links to info? Thank you for your time.
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trg-s338 wrote:

Just curious, what is the problem with using a power auger? Or even one mounted on the back of a tractor? 4' is a pretty deep hole. Most people THINK they have dug 3' holes and they rarely are over 30 inches deep.
s
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That's the first time THAT ever happened.

While I can't help but admire your ambition, I think you should consider having your head examined.

http://www.kencove.com/fence/postdriver.php -----
- gpsman
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Depends; that would never work here. Well, it would, until the first rock or root. I bought a 3 point phd, and still the rocks are a challenge I hit some on my last project that called for the backhoe.
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The posts will be 12 feet above ground???
How many holes?
In tough situations I've used a 5ft prybar to break up soil, pull loose stuff out with post hole digger, repeat to proper depth. The weight of dropping the prybar does part of the work. But then again, it takes work to raise it.
What you are trying to do is gonna aggrivate that surgery. Wait till you're capable, hire someone or don't do it seem to be your options.
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trg-s338 wrote:

I've always hated using a post hole digger in hard clay. My grandfather used the end of a heavy bar to break up the clay. I used to dump in a bucket of water, return in an hour to remove the mud with a post hole digger, and dump in more water.
A garden claw can make the job easier. It can be used as a sort of drill. It has four tines and a handlebar a little like a bicycle. I turn it to loosen the clay at the bottom of the hole, remove the loose stuff with a post hole digger, and loosen some more with the claw. My claw is three feet long.
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Thank you for the input from all. I am building a permitted patio cover in my backyard but I am trying to minimize the noise factor in my construction because I have two neighbors who are very averse to noise and I am trying to avoid further conflict and maintain the peace, so to speak. I am also trying to keep costs down, hence my wanting to do the laborious parts. The job is not such a great rush, I suppose I could slowly chip at the work using some suggestions previously given. I am trying to dig to 4 feet because the top 2 feet is considered a moving/erodeable layer and the stable soil is below that per the soils studies by the city. Thanks again.
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trg-s338 wrote:

You know, it only takes about 10 minutes per hole with the proper equipment. A small tractor makes little noise. And during the day, they don't really have a complaint. They could always get a job and be gone.....
s
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The noise from a gas power washer and the water stream will be anoying since it will be a loud slow process. You will have alot more expense than paying someone to do the job in 1-2 hours with an auger, plus the mess you will make blasting. 4ft down unless frost is 48", you go to maybe -35f or you have peat soil which you dont, Id say you are overdoing everything.
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re: "I have two neighbors who are very averse to noise and I am trying to avoid further conflict and maintain the peace, so to speak"
Prior to starting the digging, bake them a cake, invite them for a barbeque or buy the lady of the house(s) some nice flowers.
Explain to them that there will be one day of noise, two at the most. Apologize in advance and include an invitation for a Surf & Turf dinner on the newly covered patio once the project is complete.
If you did this for me, I'd let you make all the noise you wanted, just because you made the effort to "keep the peace" - in advance.
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You need a shovel spoon, 7' or 8' like linemen used years ago for telephone poles. Check these out at: http://www.hydroninc.com/pdfs/180_183.pdf
Joe
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I don't know how well it will work with wet clay, but I've dug 4' deep post holes and even buried a 55 gallon drum as a dry well with not much more than a shop vac.
Granted, I've got sandy soil with few roots, so shaving the side of the hole with the shop vac hose was a breeze. I was able to dig the dry well hole straight down, just slightly larger than the drum and drop it right in. There was next to no backfill to deal with.
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Well, first off no such thing exists.
Second off, I doubt you could cobble up anything workable that involved recirculating the water. The dirty water would quickly ruin any pump capable of producing enough pressure to do what you want that you could afford (i.e. a homeowner-grade pressure washer). Using only clean water, it would take THOUSANDS of gallons to burn these holes in the ground. You think your neighbors hate you now??? Wait'll you flood their basements with muddy water.
For a mere fraction of what just the pressure washer would cost you, you can rent a trailer-mounted power auger that an 80-year-old woman could operate from the local big box store. They're counterbalanced so you don't have to lift much, and the trailer takes all the jolts from hitting rocks. They are also far more powerful than any one-man or two- man auger.
Even in the sandy soil I have, the one-man auger is too much. Next time I'm renting the trailer auger, or just digging the holes by hand.
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On Apr 20, 8:49am, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Thank you all for the sobering input on my "technological approach." My neighbors are super grumpy old folks that are around all the time in my super quiet neighborhood. I think I'll just settle for chipping at the job of digging the holes with the bar, posthole digger, and maybe that spoon shovel suggested by Joe and others. Maybe a half a foot per day every couple of days over a couple of weeks might keep me from overstraining my wrists. The sight is not situated such that I could get a mini-loader with auger attachment or a trailer mounted power auger in there. Thanks again.
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The trailer mounted auger is only about 4' wide, and easily maneuvered by hand.
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On Apr 27, 12:24pm, snipped-for-privacy@invalid.com wrote:

Overkill was the first thought that came to mind, and anyway, I wouldn't want my neighbors to call Homeland Secur...
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