Alan Evans

Forged Post Hole digging bar

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Following on from a digression on another thread (enormous tongs) I thought some may be interested in a beautifully balanced blacksmith made Post Hole digging bar I inherited from my father.

It is 1016mm (40") overall length and fire-welded up from three pieces. You can see one of the scarf traces on the transition between head and shaft.

Ø28mm (1.125") for the shaft, which was upset over a few inches, and 38mm (1.5") square for the head, both wrought iron, and it is tipped with a bit of (blister?) steel.

Alan

post hole digger 1.jpg

post hole digger.jpg

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So that's what that is. I grabbed a couple of these from my grandfather's garage when he passed but since he lived on the coast of Lake Ontario fairly close to Canada, I just figured they were ice breakers.

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I still use one my Dad had made from a large truck axle - its about 2 inches in diameter, 5 feet long, with a flat point like a giant screwdriver and heavy.  Yet, if you need to work through hard ground, or pry something, it's always worked.

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2 hours ago, Mberghorn said:

So that's what that is. I grabbed a couple of these from my grandfather's garage when he passed but since he lived on the coast of Lake Ontario fairly close to Canada, I just figured they were ice breakers.

Could well be an ice breaker. We even have some relatives dotted around Canadia from both my parents families...but I doubt they would have bothered to ship that back!

Good for whatever digging was required in hard ground. All the weight at the pointed end makes it easier to hit the same point of impact with the subsequent stabs. Well for me at least!

Alan

 

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Fair point, Alan. I guess I forgot that a tool's purpose is whatever you can use it for. Like a flat head/pry bar/chisel/scraper/scribe/punch, etc.

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Thinking about it you probably would not need the hard steel tip for an ice breaker...but I dare say no one would have two such things, one soft specifically for ice when the hard ground one would do both jobs!

Bit like that song from Fiddlers Roof...one staircase for going up, one for going down, and one of them going nowhere just for show!

Alan

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Around here we call them pinch bars. Great for digging in our rocky ground. My mentor Ike Doss made them from truck axles with one end like yours and pointed on the other end. He tempered the ends back to blue and they would keep their edge for a long time.

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one of the most useful tools on a farm large or small, plus machine shops, auto truck service on & on, never pass one up at a yard barn sale if cheap.  I have pointed, small flat, large flat and about any other design ever seen, 4' to 6'in length even one that went through a barn fire that bends like wet noddle, love watching people when they go to use it. 

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My dad has one he got from his father.  who had it made from a old truck axel.

It has a square point on one end  and a flat blade on the other. We have used it digging on many a hole.

I will have to keep my eye open for a axle to make one.

Mel

Edited by Melw45
spelling

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Mel, also keep an eye out for torsion bars. They make great prybars and digging bars. 

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For what it's worth .....

 

"Pinch" Bars, were originally used to move railroad cars on sidings, ... by prying in the "pinch" between the wheel and the rail, ... to position them alongside loading docks.

As many a 4 men with Pinch Bars could work simultaneously, ... though 1 or 2 were usually sufficient for "spotting" empty cars.

 

.

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The ones we use here (mainly for making holes in the ground but for any kind of prying really) look very much like Alan's but the handle is octogonal and the business end is wedge shaped not pointed. You turn it every time you lift it so the edge has a new direction. This helps in avoiding that it sticks in the ground. The edge is also stronger than a point when you use it the way SmoothBore describes and not only for RR cars.

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On 6/16/2017 at 1:19 PM, Alan Evans said:

Thinking about it you probably would not need the hard steel tip for an ice breaker...but I dare say no one would have two such things, one soft specifically for ice when the hard ground one would do both jobs!

Bit like that song from Fiddlers Roof...one staircase for going up, one for going down, and one of them going nowhere just for show!

Alan

obviously it could break ice but the many that I have made and seen for breaking ice are about 4 inchs wide at the edge.

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