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Thread: Permanent portable hole

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Permanent portable hole

    That's why I dug my hole 5'. It gets pretty cold here is Wisconsin. The sono tube (cardboard concrete form) prevents the frost from catching the edges of the concrete and pulling it out of the ground.

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  3. #12
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    Default Re: Permanent portable hole

    One thing we did with the second hole was to take a bolt and drive it through the PVC about 4 inches above the end that makes the bottom of the hole. The pipe we slide in goes down and sits on it. Any moisture that gets into the hole (from the top of the pipe or around the edges of the ground hole) gets down into the gravel at the bottom and soaks down. Even if the bottom of the hole stays wet (for whatever reason), the inserted pipe does not get frozen in and we can get it out without any problem.
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  4. #13
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    Default Re: Permanent portable hole

    So is it better to have a hole that's open at the bottom resting on layers of gravel and river rock etc. for water to drain?

    Or better to close it off with cement so that water can't push up in the first place?
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  5. #14
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    Default Re: Permanent portable hole

    Mine were built by putting some concrete in the hole, putting the PVC in, and then filling around the PVC with concrete, all at one time.
    I've done two this way, in Ohio, with zero issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by deonb View Post
    So is it better to have a hole that's open at the bottom resting on layers of gravel and river rock etc. for water to drain?

    Or better to close it off with cement so that water can't push up in the first place?

  6. #15
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    Default Re: Permanent portable hole

    If you are in a location (like we are) where the ground freezes, then thaws, then freezes, then thaws, then... The ability to drain off any moisture that should find its way down there is a plus. Other locations don't have that problem and a closed end system will work.

    Our building code includes a "clean rock base" on any poles (fence, flag, etc.) that are placed in the ground. The code (and general practice) helps prevent wooden poles from rotting due to them standing in moisture. (Moisture in wood is a great draw for termites, wood ants, etc.) We are not using wooden poles for anything here, but the practice is a good one for our location.
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  7. #16
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    Default Re: Permanent portable hole

    Quote Originally Posted by deonb View Post
    So is it better to have a hole that's open at the bottom resting on layers of gravel and river rock etc. for water to drain?

    Or better to close it off with cement so that water can't push up in the first place?

    The "open hole" concept works better IMO. I have been using this method for my mega tree holes (I have three in different parts of the yard) since I got started in 2008! They all still work perfectly.

    I have also been using this method for making sections of removable fencing for jobs for years now. It allows a section or two of fencing to be taken out so vehicles or equipment can be moved onto the property when needed for maintenance and then the fence is put back when done.

    The best one I have found is to take a piece of PVC pipe that will allow your metal pipe to fit inside it with a close fit. The length is determined by the frost depth where you are. I use a frost depth of 4 feet here in upstate NY so I end up with a piece of PVC that is around 6 feet long for the sleeve.
    I dig down approx. 5 feet for the PVC pipe. I also use a bolt through the PVC at around 4 and 1/2 feet to prevent the mast from going too far down and getting stuck.
    My "base hole" for the PVC is around 12 to 18 inches in diameter (using a post hole digger of auger drill or sometimes having to use a backhoe depending on the dirt and rock in the ground). We try to drive the PVC into the bottom of the hole for a foot or so but sometimes have to dig down the 6 feet and set it on the bottom of the hole. I will drill a few 1/2" holes in the bottom of the PVC pipe if it is not sitting on gravel just to be sure that the water will drain out of it.

    Then use gravel to "fill" the PVC up to the bolt in it so water will drain and put anywhere from a few inches of gravel to a foot or so in the bottom of the hole around the PVC pipe. A 12-inch sonotube around the PVC makes a convenient form to allow for the concrete to be poured as well as allowing the dirt to be placed back around the sonotube prior to cementing it. I may use a larger sonotube if the soil is loose or sandy to ensure that the whole thing will not shift in the ground over time.

    I cut the sonotube to make the top of the concrete be a couple of inches below the ground level and the PVC to be just about ground level or an inch or two about the top of the concrete. I just use a PVC cap on the pipe when it is not being used for a mast or post to keep stuff out of the pipe. A film of grease keeps the cap from sticking. Or one can use a cover plate or any other form of cover that they prefer.

    You can also insert bolts or anchors into the concrete when pouring to use for mounting a base or anything else you will need such as your counterweight mounting.

    My "holes" have held up fine for 10 years now and I know of fence posts that we have done over the years (I would say close to 20 years now) that are also working just fine.

    The gravel allows water to drain away and I have gone so far as to use a wet/dry shop vac to suck debris out of holes that the covers were not placed on or for one reason or another had gotten "crap" into them.

    They make perfect long-term holes for a lot of projects. Yes, it is some work to do the installation of them but once in they last a lifetime!

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