Plastering wall of a hand dug well?

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Plastering wall of a hand dug well?

Postby sticks22 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:29 am

Im considering digging a well on our property in oklahoma. With that said as I dig,

"What is the best concrete mix to plaster the walls of the well, if I need to go this route?" Also,
"How do I go about making forms for the rings or bricks to line the well?"

In the near distant future (this summer) when the weather is warmer I plan to take some pictures of my well digging process. Look for lots of pics!
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Re: Plastering wall of a hand dug well?

Postby geordie » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:03 am

hi sticks not fully understanding why you want to plaster the well ??
it would apear the recomended process for hand digging is stand inside the pipe dig around some 3" larger then the pipe letting it sink slowly stops you getting killed by a colapse although dig deep enough you may drown by pipe i am refering to 3ft x 2ft concrete rings
comonly available in thailand not too sure where you will get them digging 3" larger is deliberate filling the outside with crushed stone or gravel to let the water soak in
my comments may be wrong but never deliberately
If it aint broke, dont fix it
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Re: Plastering wall of a hand dug well?

Postby sticks22 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:08 pm

My plan is to dig to 4 ft depth, plaster the wall of the well so it doesnt collapse, repeat and repeat again. Then dig again till water table is reached. Then form the rings, drop them in and backfill the remaining space.

I cant find cement rings around here, Ive tried to no avail!
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Re: Plastering wall of a hand dug well?

Postby MangoPin » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:19 pm

Hi Sticks,
Here are my amateur comments for what they are worth.
First, realize that this is one of the hardest things you can do! The first meter is fun, the next 4-8 are tough and the 2 meters after you have found water could be a nightmare. You may end up with a broken back but you will surely be proud of having accomplished the project.
I have ordered and witnessed the digging of a bore in Africa. I did some research at that time and picked up a few things. Water was found at 6 meters so the well is 8 meters deep. It took 3 men 2 months to dig. One of them has not really recovered yet from the ordeal. This well was lined with special perforated plastic insets from bottom to two meters above water level, 4 meters in total. Then, afterwards, the walls were bricklayed up from the 40 cm wider upper part of the well.
The casing of the well is to prevent surface water to enter and also to support the walls, especially during the construction. I guess the possibility of walls caving in is about as high as a plane crash. Still there are people afraid of flying and I would feel very uncomfortable myself 8 meters down with only dirt walls around me. The plastering you mention seems to me meaningless unless you actually use reinforced concrete. You would not want the dirt and the “plaster” to come down on you. Can mention that my African friends did not fear a cave-in but rather hitting an underground stream that would sweep them into the river 200 meters away. Since they could not swim they feared drowning there? Well…
Now, as Geordie mentions, you can lay a concrete ring, preferably at least 4 foot wide on the ground. Then dig inside, under and another foot or so away from the ring until the ring has sunk so the rim is at ground level. Then you push another ring on top of this and continue. This is a safe method but it must be very hard to dig standing inside the rings, especially to get the space for the gravel that is needed outside of the rings below highest estimated water level. Have neither done this or seen it done. You could also start to dig without the rings for a couple of meters until you start to get scared. Then put the first rings down. But they are heavy.
Since you obviously cannot find the rings where you are (same as for my African project) you plan to fabricate them. Maybe someone has a tip on this one. To me it seems not easy.
A compromise between the rings and no casing at all during the dig could be to make the hole in “terraces” with decreasing diameters. You could start with 2 meters down and diameter 2,2 meters. You will not s-t in your pants at this depth. Then you bricklay up to ground level. Continue to dig as far down as you dare now with a diameter of maybe 1,8 meters. Continue like this until you hit water. The problem with this one is that I don’t know how to get the foot of spacing for gravel outside of the bricks. Which, as I understand, only applies to the levels where ground water will stay. Same here, never seen or done this. Maybe the gravel is not really neccessary, the well will eventually fill up from the bottom, if only slower. The three wells we have in Thailand has rings from 60 cm above ground level down to slightly above normal water level and resting on a ledge. Means that the last two or so meters have no casing at all.
Now you need to continue digging while pumping out the water continuously until you are 2 meters below water surface (a standard I picked up). If you have electricity and an electrical pump (normally submersible) you need to make sure you install this correctly. Would not want you electrocuted. If you use a gasoline driven pump you have the problem with the fumes. If you use a pump at ground level, which is less efficient you also need a one-way valve at the bottom of the tube/hose.
A gasoline driven “street hammer” (In Sweden we call them “Cobra”, normally pneumatic for taking out old tarmac e.g.) would have been gold worth in my project. It was very tough for the guys to hack themselves down. Again problem with exhaust fumes though.
You will need to be two persons at least. One to empty the buckets of dirt you will be filling after two meters or so. You should also have a lifeline rope attached to you so that your friend can pull you up if things go very bad.
Maybe the best and cheapest solution would be to arrange visas, plane tickets and some allowance for my Congo friends (minus the one who has not yet recovered) and have them make it for you. They do not require any casing while digging. Makes things easier. Let me know if you need their contact details… :roll:

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Re: Plastering wall of a hand dug well?

Postby geordie » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:36 am

another option as sugested by mangopin inadvertently is in fact the matchbox technique used by early miners having had lots of people die in early tunnels someone came up with the idea of a sliding roof suport as they dug forward they worked under a sheild sliding it along with them while they bricked up behind google london underground rotherhythe station construction thats how it was built originally intended as a pedestrian tunnel
You could make a box in 2-3ft sections and start digging make up a section to sit on top of the boxes as shuttering and as you progress downwards pour a concrete wall behind you adding of course reinforcing i cannot for the life of me remember the engineer who pioneered this method he was better known for bridges the tool for digging mangopin refers to i think in england we call it a kango(generic name) concrete breaker does no one over there drill wells it sounds easier what sort of soil are you digging through

sods law is? Brunnel was the engineer try with one n spelling could be wrong first name difinately I posibly s as second letter
my comments may be wrong but never deliberately
If it aint broke, dont fix it
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