Pick Adapter for Water Line Trenches


Introduction: Pick Adapter for Water Line Trenches

About: I'm a refugee from Los Angeles, living in backwoods Puerto Rico for about 35 years now and loving it. I built my own home from discarded nylon fishnet and cement.

At times I have had to dig long, narrow trenches for water lines.  The pointed end of a pick is a good tool for that, but the pick doesn't remove the dirt as it breaks it up.  I solved that problem by making a chisel shaped adapter that fits on the pointed end of the pick.  Besides letting me remove the dirt as I dig with it, it also extends the tip of the pick to let me dig deeper trenches. 

The adapter is a piece of 3/4" diameter EMT galvanized electrical conduit pipe.  It is easy to forge it into shape with a hammer and anvil (or suitable anvil substitute). 

The wide blade end of the pick digs a trench that is wider than necessary for laying 1/2" pipe, so it wastes a lot of energy to do the job.  This pick extender makes digging narrow trenches a lot easier. 

Step 1: Forging the Tip Extender

Cut a section of 3/4" EMT electrical conduit pipe about 5" long.

Stick the pointed end of the pick into one end of the pipe and hammer the pipe down to make a tight fit over it.   You can tap it off with a hammer if it gets stuck on the end of the pick -- which it should. 

Turn the pipe section around and flatten the other end.

Weld the pinched end and sharpen it with a file or grinding wheel.   If you have no welding equipment, you can probably use it as it is, if your ground is not too hard. 



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    I have to run a water line to my garage this Summer, and I was thinking about renting a gas-digger. This will do the job nicely. Great Instructable. Ken

    Thanks, Thinkenstein, you have given me a good idea. I have a beautiful curly willow at front of my house; it is a good tree for shadow, but its roots are very aggressive, they destroy floor, walls, tubes, etc, seeking water. One way to avoid to cut down it is to make an underground (minimum 1m depth) reinforced cement wall to enclose its roots by 180º or 270º. But if you make the trench for the wall using a standard shovel, the wall will be too thick.

    Using your method I will do a more thin wall.

    2 replies

    Hm, this is a fabulous idea, Rimar! I have always wanted bamboo but know better than to put any into my yard. (it is extrememly invasive) This new pick end (which I will also use to make an irrigations system) will make a very fine barrier for the bamboo as well. I am excited! Thanks for you both, Thinkenstein and Rimar for your great ideas.

    I once saw some miniature bamboo planted in ceramic sewer pipe sections set vertically in the ground. I don't know how much square footage you want to plant, but the pipe successfully prevented spreading. Of course a big hole had to be dug to set the pipe in the ground. It has to go deep enough. Anyway, it's the same idea. Do-it-yourself concrete would undoubtedly be cheaper, and probably simpler.

    just give the tree a place it can always find water and it will stop searching eg small well few feet deep maybe drain pipe sunk into the ground verticaly or somthing