Turf Care Equipment
Digging into different soil types needs a great deal of thought
It’s important to pair the proper points and blades with a project’s soil types
October 30, 2023 By Joe Haynes
Choosing the right points and blades for an earth auger may seem like a small detail, but it’s a critical step in any hole drilling project. The right choice increases productivity by lessening equipment wear and decreasing maintenance needs. Outfitting an auger with the proper points and blades makes drilling easier and protects the auger flighting from excessive wear.
Some manufacturers offer multiple styles of points and blades – but not all are the same. To make sure each project goes on without a hitch, choose the best points and blades for each soil type.
Loamy soil & dirt
Loamy soil is a generally soft mixture of sand, silt and a small amount of clay. For this and other soft-ground drilling projects, look for points and blades constructed with cold-rolled steel and a hard surfacing around the edges.
Some manufacturers offer points and blades with bolt-on connections. This allows operators to easily switch out the points and blades when soil conditions change or maintenance is needed, offering increased versatility and decreased project downtime. When the blade dulls, some manufacturers offer reversible options. The bolt-on connection makes reversing the blade simple and the new, sharp edge is used throughout the project.
Abrasive & dense soil
Some soil types are harder to drill into than others. Abrasive soils, compacted soil and loose rock require stronger points and blades to lead the auger. For these, some manufacturers use carbide – a stronger alternative to steel.
Operators should pair carbide tip points with hard-faced blades, carbide blades or chisel points with a carbide blade for abrasive soils and soil where impact is possible. A carbide tip point and a chisel point with a carbide blade are optimal for compacted rock. Operators facing hard pan and frozen soils will find best results with a carbide tip point and a carbide tip blade.
Compacted rock & hard pan soils
Points and blades like hard-faced blades, carbide blades or chisel points make drilling through rock and hard pan soil easier. Look for a manufacturer that pours and moulds the points and blades as opposed to welded metals. A single poured component is stronger than a welded one and better for harder soils.
And, keep in mind, these points and blades are often paired with a specialty auger, so pay attention to any additional equipment needed. Some manufacturers have multiple blade attachments for their specialty augers, especially those used in heavy-duty applications. An auger with multiple blades chews up the soil more and breaks it down more thoroughly, making it more effective for drilling through harder soils.
Most heavy-duty augers, points and blades also need to be run at a lower RPM than their counterparts for the most effective drilling. Check gear ratios and speed recommendations before starting projects with compacted rock and hard pan soil, especially when using specialty equipment.
Keep points & blades on hand
Some projects require operators to dig through multiple soil types. In these types of situations, or when operators want to move between projects more easily, it’s sometimes easier to keep both the standard and carbide points and blades on hand. In situations where the soil changes mid-project, switching to a more appropriate point and blade helps prolong the work life of both the blade and auger.
The key to choosing the best points and blades for a specific auger is to double check these parts are the right type and size. The width of a point or blade is based on the size of the auger it’s attached to. For example, a four-inch blade won’t fit on a 10-inch-diameter auger and vice versa. Choosing the right points and blades for each project doesn’t just rely on knowing the soil conditions but knowing the type of auger that will be used, as well.
Choose the right points & blades
Points and blades aren’t just another piece of equipment to cross off the checklist. To make sure hole drilling projects succeed, work with an earth drill manufacturer to choose the best points and blades for any soil type.
Joe Haynes is president of Little Beaver.
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