Canadian Rental Service

Features Tech tips
Drill sideways

Increase auger versatility with horizontal drilling.


June 2, 2020
By Mike Hale sales and marketing manager, Little Beaver

Topics
Wet and dry drilling attachments turn a standard mechanical drill into a tool for getting under obstacles with minimal landscape disturbance.

Sometimes the easiest way to get through a problem is to go under it. Whether installing landscape features, fencing or cable, obstacles like sidewalks and driveways can present a challenge to simple trenching methods.

Manual methods are always an option, but today’s rental customers are looking for ways to make their projects easier. With a horizontal boring drill attachment, they can easily tackle obstacles with very little landscape disturbance.

By offering an attachment that pairs with a mechanical earth drill, rental centres are providing more options so customers can conveniently complete more projects. The drill and attachment combination makes it easy to accomplish just about any drilling – vertically or horizontally.

Attachment requirements
Many mechanical drills currently on the market lack flexibility when it comes to adding a horizontal boring option, so it’s important to do some homework up front to ensure the necessary features. The main component required to transition a drill from vertical to horizontal drilling is a flexible drive shaft. This allows the operator to orient the handle to the appropriate angle for horizontal boring.

Depending on a customer’s project and planned use for the drill, rental centres can help determine which horizontal boring kit is most appropriate – a dry auger kit or a wet drilling kit.

Sidewalk Boring: Dry Auger Kit
When drilling shorter distances – such as under a sidewalk – a dry auger kit is recommended. This option allows users to bore four feet in less than a minute. Some manufacturers offer this kit as a five-foot auger with a three-inch diameter bit.

A three-inch diameter hole provides a perfectly sized channel for most low-voltage electrical, plumbing and water lines, making this kit a great choice for small-scale landscaping projects. Beyond that, contractors and homeowners can easily install landscape lighting wire, water softener lines, sprinkler systems, gas lines and more.

Dry boring is fine for short distances, but longer jobs are best accomplished with wet-boring kits.

Driveway Boring: Wet Drilling Kit
With a wet drilling kit, rental centres can provide customers with a solution to bore up to 50 feet. A wet drill can bore under a 30-foot driveway in as little as 10 to 15 minutes and eliminates the need to break up established concrete or go around large pieces of cement.

As its name implies, the wet drilling kit requires the use of water. Low water pressure flushes the dirt and lubricates the hole to avoid collapse.

Often the kit comes with a variety of water drill bits, typically ranging in size between two and four inches. Similar to the sidewalk drill kit, a three-inch bit creates a large enough hole for most landscaping needs. When boring more than 10 or 15 feet, it’s recommended to start with a two-inch hole for better control. The opening can then be expanded with a wider bit for larger installation requirements.

Wet drilling kits require a garden hose, a water pipe for the length of the bore plus 15 feet, along with necessary couplings. Rental centres should consider pairing these additional accessories with the auger kit rental, offering customers a one-stop-shop approach to completing a project.

Tips for Horizontal Boring Success
When it comes to soil types, here’s a general rule of thumb: if the soil can be shoveled manually, it can be removed with horizontal boring. The biggest obstacle users will come across is rocks in the soil, which will stop the drill from penetrating. If this happens, remove the drill and move to a different spot or drill a few inches lower. The typical drilling depth for horizontal boring – under both sidewalks and driveways – is six to eight inches.

If customers are drilling in sandy soil, it’s important to insert the guide pipe or wires right after the hole is drilled to avoid collapse.

A common outcome for first-time horizontal boring users is an uneven, downward-angled hole. While this doesn’t necessarily make the hole unusable, it’s not ideal. To avoid an uneven bore, remind customers to dig a level guide trench. The starter trench should be long enough to fit the entire auger and only slightly wider, ensuring the drill doesn’t move around during operation. Before use, it can be evaluated with a level to guarantee a straight bore. The drill should be positioned in the very bottom of the trench and pressure should be continuously applied while drilling to maintain a tight fit.

No matter the scale of a customer’s project, it’s important to gather all the details and necessary equipment before beginning. Increased versatility equals increased profits and by adding horizontal boring attachments to rental offerings, the potential of renting out a larger machine escalates. With the right equipment, horizontal boring can be a breeze.