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When does cutting through rock damage bucket teeth?

Discussion in 'Excavators' started by Allan M, Dec 27, 2020.

  1. Allan M

    Allan M Active Member

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    IMG_1110.jpeg I'm cutting a fire break near the house. Under two feet of top soil is mainly serpentine (a soft, decaying rock) that breaks easily under my excavator 18" bucket teeth (11k pounds of break force at the bucket curl). I have hit a few areas that I would consider Igneous rock (like granite right in picture) that is very hard and some large boulders. I've tried to work around these. At what point will I damage or break my bucket teeth by scratching away at these hard rocks with a tooth or two trying to widen my path? Common sense tells me to not tackle rock that doesn't easily break on first draw--unless I can dig it out as a single piece. Is there rule of thumb that would let me know if I'm pushing my machine too far when trying to break through rock areas? All advice appreciated. Thx Allan
     
  2. Connor K.

    Connor K. Member

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    When your machine starts lifting, jumping around, dragging its own weight forward. Back off.. Grab a narrower bucket if you have one. I have a ripper I use for hard stuff, then I bail it out with a dig bucket.
     
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  3. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I think generally if you have the forged one piece teeth the hydraulics will hit relief before the teeth break on that size of machine. Something else could break though if you pry too hard or have the stick extended out too far. I pulled the top swing mount off on my backhoe trying to pull up frozen ground. I wish a tooth would have broke instead. It also bent the lower swing mount that was 1-1/2" thick. Luckily I was able to fix it myself but was a big job. I figured having to hire someone would have cost $3000+. Had to use some pipe to line things up initially and then had a piece of tubing machined for final alignment of upper and lower pin bosses. Thankfully there was a little clearance up and down and it went back together.
     
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  4. Mother Deuce

    Mother Deuce Senior Member

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    I worked for a decorative rock outfit that shipped decayed granite to Phoenix from a permitted site near Kingman.
    Because of the fragile nature of the rock product (weathered decayed granite) I loaded the flatbeds with a 30 ton P&H Omega.
    The crane needed an access road from working radius to working radius. I could usually load about 3 trailers before I had to
    advance the crane. This required pioneering about a quarter mile of "cat" road a week plus crane pads. Depending on the density of
    the available material that needed to fly. As I produced the road and crane pads I would load out a truck with material I could reach
    with the excavator. This project required some pretty serious excavation in places of granite bedrock. Which initially proved not doable
    with the EX 200. I stopped by a bar, out that direction where people in our industry would get together for adult beverages... after a 300 degree day.
    I related my pioneer issues to a guy I talked with sometimes and he told me to get twin tiger teeth and that they would dig it. So I did.
    Called the shop and the wrench sent me out a full set Hensley Twin Tigers. They will dig granite bedrock.
    The fracture was good and didn't beat the day lights out of the machine. They were about 35 dollars a throw for a full rack.
    In the most brutal rock I have had to dig ever, ( my highest respect to AzIron!) they would last 35 to 40 hours generally.
    Occasionally much less or much longer depending on the hardness of the bed rock. When the teeth stopped cutting I was done until I replaced them.
    The excavator held up fine. I had no issues with it. However I was the only operator. Not that I am any great wizard of excavation. I'm not.
    However... I always keep in the forefront that the machine I am running pays for our groceries, car and house. I treat them as valued partners.
    Not to be abused or treated like a sledge hammer. Good Luck with your project.
     
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  5. Don.S

    Don.S Senior Member

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    Just dont pry with the bucket and you will be fine. Teeth are a wear item and are expected to be replaced.
     
  6. Willie B

    Willie B Senior Member

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    Push the teeth into the rock like you bite with human teeth. Catching the teeth under ledge & prying with the bucket curl is a whole lot of stress. Over time the weak point will fail. Often a ripped open bucket. Consider adding material to cover the ledge, or cut away ledge with a diamond chainsaw.
    You show a sidehill cut over a gentle slope. Move the road farther to the downhill side. You want a sideways pitch in such a road to discourage rain from running down the road. Rainwater should flow off the road to one or both sides.
     
  7. Bls repair

    Bls repair Senior Member

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    B16B3148-4022-46E9-876C-48901C22FC3B.jpeg This is what can happen when you pry on rock
     
  8. Bls repair

    Bls repair Senior Member

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    Changing the direction you are digging many times will make it easier.
     
  9. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    That rock got really hot!
     
  10. Willie B

    Willie B Senior Member

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    Been there, done that. A while back I started a thread where I jumped the gun in March digging out a stump with a 12" bucket. I ripped the whole bottom out.

    Replaceable teeth are considered expendable. The rest of the bucket is not. No big thing to learn the hard way if you are a capable welder. If you need a professional to do it for you, it'll get expensive!

    I always preach there is no such thing as too big a machine. The big machine sells for a little more money than the little one, but it is tougher.
     
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  11. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    I ran a Volvo 88 in Mount Rainier National park, and it had essentially the same mounting hardware as a 35 wedge lock manual change bucket. The mechanics welded it a few times for me. I was being careful and could still tear that bucket apart. I really liked the machine, it needed a pin grabber and some tougher buckets to be great.
     
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  12. Don.S

    Don.S Senior Member

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    I have seen plenty of torn up little buckets and big buckets. Just dont pry with the bucket and you will be fine. If you bend or break a bucket on that machine just pulling then the bucket was trash or worn out.
     
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  13. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    I've done that to a bucket or two...:oops:
     
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  14. Allan M

    Allan M Active Member

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    Wille B are you saying I can tear teeth off a bucket or tear a bucket up on tree roots? I have been using my smallest bucket (18" with teeth) to dig out 12" to 24" Oak. I have to fight some of these if the roots are thick. I've been slicing away on the roots with the teeth. Sometimes it makes the entire excavator jump a bit. Am I on the edge of breaking teeth or a bucket? I always thought that steel would win over wood.
     
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  15. Tones

    Tones Senior Member

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    A ripper is a far better tool to use for getting stumps out. They will cut through the lateral roots easier than any bucket.
     
  16. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    IF you are slicing the roots, you won't break your bucket. You can shave your way though really massive roots, as long as you can do it across the grain.
     
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  17. Don.S

    Don.S Senior Member

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    Just dont pry and you will be fine.
     
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  18. AzIron

    AzIron Senior Member

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    Glad I could make the cut on that note there is disable rock its usually in a form of cleach or granite around here and not all veins are created equal fractured rock is usually the worst to try to dig cause as it flakes apart it wedges up and eats shanks. MD is right twin tigers in my experience will be the thing that gets you through digable material the best


    I have 2 buckets sitting under my shade right know one with busted shank the other a cracked frog from digging in rock and that's on backhoes and that is not in extremed well the rock was hard but we had the hammer out and a green operator I am training ate the shank cause he didn't know when to back off the frog is on a bucket I hit an electric line with a few years ago that blew a shank off I think that fatigued the metal

    On 2 occasions I have seen a tooth failure both were do to the retainer pin bending or falling out beat on rock is hard on pins to it bends the snot out them also digging rock is just abrasive and will flat wear out a bucket not to mention you can wear out a set of teeth in less than a shift

    We had a job years back we changed teeth every morning and at lunch granite was to tight to dig and to soft to hammer just had to grind it out
     
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  19. Willie B

    Willie B Senior Member

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    In my case, the stump had grown in a rock pile. It was impacted in the rock. I got in a hurry & tried to dig it out when there was still some frozen earth. Yes, I tore the bottom off the bucket.

    You can take it easy & not damage your bucket. To dig a stump, widen your circle. dig farther away from the base of the tree. Break the roots where they are smaller, then work your way toward center.
    The teeth are wedges. press them straight into the tough stuff. Do the ripping with the dipper crowd, not curling the bucket.
     
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  20. Willie B

    Willie B Senior Member

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    bucket1.jpg bucket3.jpg bucket.jpg finished.jpg I found pictures: