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Has anyone ever drilled their own well?  RSS feed

 
                                    
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I prefer rain catchment to wells...   

...but I may need extra water for trees and a garden large enough to feed up to 8 people.

I'm looking for a solution for a semi rocky (intermittent decomposing granite or sandstone) area (so most the DIY well diggers I've found won't work as they are meant for clay/sand).

water seems to be around 300' to 400' here.

I can buy a horizontal boring machine for less than the $12,000 (cheapest) well drillers want.... so before I go get either a vertical drilling rig or try using a horizontal boring machine, I'd like to hear from those of you who have done what I'm trying....
 
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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300' into rock is a serious bore I've hand driven 60 foot wells in sandy soil but you're talking about A whole different beast
 
                                    
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Brice Moss wrote:
300' into rock is a serious bore I've hand driven 60 foot wells in sandy soil but you're talking about A whole different beast



Did you run into any rocks at all?

What method did you use?
 
pollinator
Posts: 459
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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I'd really be interested in learning about others' experiences. I've seen the well drilling kits available from Lehman's and wonder about them: they seem almost too good to be true, assuming the water table is within 20' of the surface. Of course that isn't suitable for the original poster's situation. But I really wonder if the DIY kits work as advertised.
 
                                    
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chip sanft wrote:
I'd really be interested in learning about others' experiences. .... Of course that isn't suitable for the original poster's situation. But I really wonder if the DIY kits work as advertised.



Please, everyone who has drilled their own well, or who have attempted to drill their own well, sound off and let us know!

Things I'd like to know:

what equipment, what diameter, what type of pipe, how deep, what kinda of soil, what it felt like if you hit a rock, did you make it through the rock, how many rpms did you slow down when you hit the rock.

 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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sorry it took me a bit to get back,

the rig we used was kind of like a big fence post driver supported from a pulley to an a-frame above, a pointed cap was attached to a 2" well casing and a protective flange was used to keep the threads on the up side from getting mushroomed while we pounded on it. you pulled the rope to raise the pounder, and dropped it over and over again making inches of progress an hour. took us two weeks of free time to hit 60 foot.
 
                                    
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Brice Moss wrote:
...pounded on it. you pulled the rope to raise the pounder, and dropped it over and over again making inches of progress an hour. ...




Did you use water to wash out the displaced soil and bring it to the surface?

Did you hit any hard spots in the sandy soil or was it pretty uniform?

Was the water clear, drinkable at 60'?
 
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I have looked into drilling my own well and it looked like a 'cable drill' was the only low tech method that will go through rock. The Chinese used them to drill wells 1000+ feet deep centuries ago. Google ' cable drill well ' and you will see. You can find  used cable drill rigs for much less than $12,000. They were the common way of drilling before the hydraulic / rotary drills became standard. Some drillers claim to get better yields from a cable drilled well because of the fracturing the occurs from all the pounding. 
 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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seems like something was in the casing to keep the holes from filing with sand that we pulled out and replaced with the pump the cone tip just deflected off the few rocks, but that area has glacial sands hundreds of feet deep,

Mother earth news featured a cheap rig in the 80's not sure if its still made
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1984-09-01/Instant-Installations-Tire-Chains.aspx

here's an intersting article on sand point wells and more http://www.fdungan.com/well.htm
 
                                
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I've done half a dozen wells with the portable drilling rig (Hydra drill?  I walk by the rig every day, but haven't used it in over a decade).  Gets very difficult to get below 150'.  Pumping the fluids down to flush the cuttings becomes very difficult.  Going through rock is a bugger, but they do make rock coring bits, and cutting bits.  I got in a 'jam' once, and my drill bit broke, going through a 3' section of sandstone.  Time was critical (didn't want to have to set casing, and then pull it... otherwise the well would fill in with sediments) so I got some plumbing fittings, welded up a cutting bit, and welded carbide teeth on it.  Worked great, saved a bundle in money and time.

But... going thru 300' of rock... it's not going to happen.  You'd need a rig as good as the regular drillers, and a high dollar pump, to pump the fluids in and cuttings out.

One of my relatives has a road boring machine, and they can bore through solid rock... but it takes ages to do it (days).

The well I drilled for myself produced good initially, then realized the iron content was too high to use (the water would turn blood red if it set... not what you want to wash clothes with).  First year of drought, it went dry.  I ended up building an 8 acre lake instead of getting a professionally dug well.  Now I have a 6 to 8 year supply of water (if we ever got a drought that'd last that long, sure the world as we know it would be over) and gravity fed water into my house.  Gravity flow beats any kind of pumped water.
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
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no experience myself, and everyone i know who has done it didn't have to worry about rock.

i've seen some diy builds that use pneumatic tooling ends on them (i think), and going on memory, believe they said they would go through rock. 300', not sure about. Might be something you start off with bigger diameter and they you can always drop down if you get stuck.

you might be able to put something together that will be cheap, effective and fun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3CUnUrMo6s
http://www.rohrermfg.com/

or go wide
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1HIHBh5TRA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CbZ6NATSpE

not for rock
http://www.drillyourownwell.com/

pay for http://www.hydra-jett.com/
kit http://howtodrillawell.com/

Combining a few methods may serve you well 
 
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Hello twobirdstone

A walking beam drill as we call them in Australia will do the trick.  Engine driven the oval metal on outside crankshaft forces on end of the beam down and in doing so lifts the chisel. ( heavy weight)  Then when oval clears beam it drops allowing the chisel to inpact.  Cleanout is done with a flapped pipe, Chisel comes off the line and cleaner put on then the same action, then lift and clear.  300ft is childs play.  Trick is right tension on cable allways or chisel will veer off from going straight.  Peter
 
Posts: 95
Location: Central Texas, it is dry here.
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twobirdstone wrote:
I prefer rain catchment to wells...   


I'm looking for a solution for a semi rocky (intermittent decomposing granite or sandstone) area (so most the DIY well diggers I've found won't work as they are meant for clay/sand).

water seems to be around 300' to 400' here.





We are looking at properties with about the same thing going on.  I saw this video as a possibility...meant for over 300' and through rock, around $1100.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYPqklzb75A
 
                                            
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About 11 years ago I worked for a well drilling company in missouri. I wasn't the driller, just his assistant. I hooked up the drilling rod sections and kept the rig running as he did all the control work.

A well of 500ft is really deep around here. With the modern rotary driller we used (cost like $500,000 or something) we could set up and drill it in a day and half for about $8,000. That's with the pump and everything installed.

It's more now, i'm sure. Five years ago I had a guy drill my well of 300 ft. Pump, pressure tank, hydrant, and line 60ft to the house cost $6,000.

I think this is something you needn't feel bad about if you couldn't do it yourself.
 
Peter Mckinlay
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Much experienced drilling in sandstone and rock. Cheap slow and reliable is the thumper drill.  Childsplay to operate but a keen eye is needed or drill hole can wander off all over the place.  Keep your bore casing in quick follow up when travelling through loose terrain, cave in behind the drill spike can bury it beyound recovery.  The depth of 300ft is not that great.
Australian arteisen bores are usualy in the 1000 ft plus.

Cheers  Peter
 
Posts: 247
Location: Sierra Nevada mountain valley CA, & Nevada high desert
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Well drilling in the west now are like $100 per foot, The first couple feet with a hammer drill are done with a shovel, that's $300, I remember them being $2 per foot. In 1980 I had a well drilled for $10 per foot. I'm now flirting with doing one myself because of the cost.
Nothing has gone up, money is worth less and less as they print more and more and throw it at their #%%^%'s.
 
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Thanks for the links, Brice.

Brice Moss wrote:
seems like something was in the casing to keep the holes from filing with sand that we pulled out and replaced with the pump the cone tip just deflected off the few rocks, but that area has glacial sands hundreds of feet deep,

Mother earth news featured a cheap rig in the 80's not sure if its still made
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1984-09-01/Instant-Installations-Tire-Chains.aspx

here's an intersting article on sand point wells and more http://www.fdungan.com/well.htm



We will hire a well driller eventually, but there are water needs that a hand drilled well will take care of in the mean time.  I purchased a well point a few years ago, and other things have gotten in the way till now.  I'm sure the information found in the article about sand point wells will be extremely helpful when we actually try this in the spring.  I have many of the indicated trees and know from previous excavation (and serious looking) that my hill is a sandy clay composition with few rocks of any size. 
 
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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have to agree with the hydra-fab rigs .

Read a lot about actually using these rigs in africa, and most of them didn't work for long.

try these folks

http://www.hydra-jett.com/1445516.html
 
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