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  1. #1
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    New question here. Full Bench Cut procedures/tools

    Hi, this is being typed on an iPhone, so please exuse the spelling mistakes. With that out of the way, I was wondering what the tools needed and procedure of making a full bench cut trail. I have looked around, but the only thing that I have found is what a bench cut is. Also, if anybody has tips for building in dry, sandy, and rocky soil that would help a lot. Thanks!

    -TheAngryTomato

  2. #2
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    Get on the IMBA website and read all they have on trail building. Buy the books, hit up the national forest service also, they have a free DVD that is pretty good and some other stuff. Follow rules that are in the book!!!!!

  3. #3
    Builder of Trails
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    I highly recommend buying Trail Solutions - IMBA's Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack. This gives you practically all the information you need to learn how to build a bench cut. Outside of actually being shown what to do in person by someone who knows how to bench cut trail, it's the next best thing.



    Recommended tools are pulaskis, McLeods, rogue hoes, & maybe a pick mattock and a rock bar if it's really rocky.

    For rocky soil, trail construction depends on a few things: desired trail difficulty rating, rock size, embedded-ness of the rock, etc.

    For sandy soil, you want to build the trail tread at less than the Half Rule and not right at it. Keep your grades shallow and not steep.

    For dry soil, standard trail building techniques apply.

    Good luck!

    D

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all the advice. I'll try to get that book when I get some cash...I'm pretty much broke from skiing (I only have a summer job, still 15)

    -TheAngryTomato

    EDIT: By the way, does anybody know where you can get some of the above mentioned tools for cheap? Some of these tools are over $100 for one tool.

  5. #5
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    ZAC tools could be your best bet.

  6. #6
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    Some full bench cut suggestions

    Here are some things our group, building multi-user trails, has learned about building full bench trails.

    The new tread should be outsloped and the new backslope should be feathered into the hillside. The outslope and the backslope allow the water to smoothly cross the trail and continue down the hill. Leave a little too much outslope (approximately 10%) so as the tread compacts it will work its way down to something closer to standard outslope (approximately 7%).

    Build lots of grade reversals into the tread so the water can only flow a short distance down the trail before being forced off. A grade reversal every 30-50 feet makes a trail much more sustainable. If the grade reversals are done correctly, they feel like fun swoopy areas.

    Trail tread is built not so much by digging as by scraping. Loosen a layer of dirt with the benching tools (mattock, pulaski, rogue hoe) and then scrape away the loosened dirt with McLeod. Digging too deep on the first pass may result in loosened soil at the center of the tread (bad for the trail) or in having to widen the tread to get down below of the level of the digging (too much work).

    We strongly believe that working from within the trail tread builds better quality and less environmentally impactful trails. Standing downhill of the tread and scraping the dirt downhill not only tramples the hillside but tends to create a partial-bench trail, which either leaves the downhill edge of the trail loose or as the tread compacts, creates a water-trapping berm. We scrape the loosened soil into a pile on the tread with a McLeod and then scatter the soil evenly downhill with shovels.

    Here is an easy test you can use to determine if you are building partial bench trails, whatever method of construction you are using.

    Full vs. Partial Bench Test - Use a McLeod and try to pull the mineral soil at the downhill edge of your new trail into the tread. On a properly constructed full-bench trail, without applying heavy pressure, the hoe blade will just skip along the surface. On a partial bench trail the hoe blade will pull large quantities of soil back onto the tread.

  7. #7
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    Technique not tools

    The mentioned tools are the best and most versatile for the job but you can still do great trail work with less expensive tools. A pick mattock (rocky soils) or cutter mattock (rooty soils) work well and cost $25 at Home Deport or Lowes. A heavy garden hoe, will have to be used more carefully than a McLeod, but will still do a great job and costs less than $25.

  8. #8
    Don't worry, be happy!
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  9. #9
    HIKE!
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    One thing I'd like to comment on, AngryTomato is 15 yrs old! That is awesome. Kid, you wanna go to the IMBA Summit in Park City!? Is that even feasible for you? Let's make it happen. Arm a 15 year old with the right info, the ability to talk to land managers, and get projects on the ground, oh the potential!

    http://www.imba.com/news/news_releas...summit_08.html

  10. #10
    Its got what plants crave
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAngryTomato
    Thanks for all the advice. I'll try to get that book when I get some cash...I'm pretty much broke from skiing (I only have a summer job, still 15)

    -TheAngryTomato

    EDIT: By the way, does anybody know where you can get some of the above mentioned tools for cheap? Some of these tools are over $100 for one tool.

    Maybe try Harbor Freight? Not the best quality but cheap and it will work.


    www.harborfreightusa.com

  11. #11
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    Pawn shops? It's not like you need a nice, new shiny shovel for McLeod for digging in the dirt. I've picked up a lot of such tools at pawnshops, goodwill, habitat for humanity, and other second hand venues.

  12. #12
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    If you are working on federal lands you might ask the land managers if you can borrow tools. Sometime they have left overs from fire fighting.

    If you do buy a mattock from Home Depot, buy one you think you can swing for several hours. I love those guys that pick up the monster tool and can't swing it after 15 minutes. With a lighter tool you can learn to swing it on your off side much quicker. The Home Base version is nice since you can knock the head off and stick it in your camelback for the ride home.

    If you are like the other 15 year-old I have the pleasure to dig next to, you are going to kick hinney and have an eye for flow! Have you thought about running for President?

    Welcome to the brother and sisterhood of dirt!

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