How did they Used to dig Water Wells?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Oilpatch197, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    I've been up to this one Water well that the top of the well was Ground Level, with old rusty tin covering it, rather dangerous, I peeked and it is stone walled all the way down.

    Now exactly how did they dig these wells? How did they put the wall on the well, while they were digging down? or when the well was finished?


    and How did they dig it deeper when they hit the water table?
     
  2. Tractorman

    Tractorman Well-Known Member

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    Around here they call that a "Dug" well I'm not sure exactly how they did it but was told someone was lowered down into the well and used a bucket to get the dirt out. There are a lot of them around here. most of them have been blocked up so no one could fall in.
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Have you heard the expression, "Colder than a well-digger's grits."

    At one time well digging was a sort of profession. Usually they were men of short stature. When a site was chosen they would start digging in relays using a short handled shovel and short handled pick. When the well went below throwing out level, a bucket would be lowered to be filled and hauled out. When rock was encountered, if it could not be dug around and lifted out, a stone hammer and star point drill bit were used to dig a hole in the rock. Dynamite as put in the hole, lit and the person doing so hauled out. Sometimes they didn't reach the top and the blast assisted them out.

    Once ground water was encountered they kept digging. Usually they could keep ahead of the seepage with sending up buckets of water also with the now mud. In the morning, the well would have to be baled out to dry before they could start again. When there were the desired depth of standing water in the well in the morning they would then either brick or rock up the sides starting at the bottom and working their way up.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  4. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................They dug down until water started to fill in the hole , then they finished rocking the sides as much as feasible and then they let'er rip. Finally , in the late 1800's somebody invented the Cable Tool\pile driver type of Digger and then the oil business got started . And later on the Rotary derrick was brought on line and that's what we have currently......fordy.... :eek: :)
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Locally when drilled wells came into the area, often they were at places without electric. A torpedo-shaped, self-filling well bucked was lowered down the casing, allowed to fill and then hoisted out. Usually held about two gallons. One of my neighbors said on Monday mornings it was his job before going to school to fill up the wash and rinse kettles, and at two gallons at a time it took a while. When electric was put in, a submersible pump then replaced the bucket.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  6. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    interesting account in foxfire books about how wells were manually drilled (hammered)
     
  7. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    So If I was to dig my own well, what types of tools do I use?

    Need somthing to lessen the work!
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    A hand-dug well is about like a hand-dug septic system. Yep, you can do it, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Did I mention well diggers dying from cave-ins and other accidents, such as a loaded bucket falling on them?

    Ken Scharabok