getting into trail building, whats the best way to make dirt tack?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    getting into trail building, whats the best way to make dirt tack?

    the dirt around me has very little clay content, and digging to clay isn;t an option, my elevation is 472 and the clay level ends at about 100 feet elevation.

    my dirt is soft as a babies' bottom, and i need my jump's landing to harden, and after sprinkling it with water and packing it with a square shovel, it's still not packed very well.

  2. #2
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    Repeat your shovel packing. We sometimes have to pack stuff 3 - 5 times to get it to really hold shape. Ultimately, unless you're dealing with sand, you should be able to get the soil to pack. If you can't, there are some options, but you'll have to weigh out for yourself which is best. You can buy some clay. You can buy a soil amender to make the dirt stick together. You can buy a plate compactor to automate packing the soil you have. But....

    Ultimately nothing will pack soil like a good rain. Simulate a good rain with a water hose and then let it bake for a couple days.

  3. #3
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    In my area its too dry, even good dirt won't pack or stack right now.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    Repeat your shovel packing. We sometimes have to pack stuff 3 - 5 times to get it to really hold shape. Ultimately, unless you're dealing with sand, you should be able to get the soil to pack. If you can't, there are some options, but you'll have to weigh out for yourself which is best. You can buy some clay. You can buy a soil amender to make the dirt stick together. You can buy a plate compactor to automate packing the soil you have. But....

    Ultimately nothing will pack soil like a good rain. Simulate a good rain with a water hose and then let it bake for a couple days.
    i'll try that, thanks!

  5. #5
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    Shovel isn't likely going to pack it all that well unless you go over and over (and over and over and over) it. If you can start with the dirt somewhat damp (I tend to build after a rain when possible), get your shape, give it a once-over shovel packing, then cover with a tarp and smach the hell out of it with an actual tamper until your arms fall off. (The tarp is to keep the dirt from sticking to tamper.) Then go over the whole thing with your feet (in shoes with non-aggessive tread), inch by inch, for best results.

    Powered plate compactors are fine for level, flattish surfaces, but really don't work well elsewhere IME, particularly jumps and berms. Might be alright for a landing, depending on how flat and wide it is.
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  6. #6
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    Get yourself one of these or equivalent. I like the biggest one I can buy as it means less times "tamping" though it requires a little more muscle:

    Name:  tamper.JPG
Views: 136
Size:  12.5 KB

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-10-i...ers/1000377405

    As mentioned above, it usually is not a one and done type of thing. Tamp, water, let bake, tamp, water, let bake...until good to go!
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Get yourself one of these or equivalent. I like the biggest one I can buy as it means less times "tamping" though it requires a little more muscle:

    Name:  tamper.JPG
Views: 136
Size:  12.5 KB

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-10-i...ers/1000377405

    As mentioned above, it usually is not a one and done type of thing. Tamp, water, let bake, tamp, water, let bake...until good to go!
    i've got enough metal to weld one up, what do you think would be a good weight? im thinking 10-20 pounds

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Granny_Gear View Post
    i've got enough metal to weld one up, what do you think would be a good weight? im thinking 10-20 pounds
    10 will kick your ass just fine.

    Also, I'm a fan of wooden handles on tampers myself; could just be the placebo effect but they don't seem to beat me up as much.

    If you're going to make your own, one thing I always wanted on one was a decent landing spot for a foot. When my arms need a rest, I'll put a foot on top of the head and add some stomp to the motion. Works really well on off-camber stuff IME.

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  9. #9
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    never underestimate the power of the broad side of a 2x4 for packing dirt. my tool of choice...


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    never underestimate the power of the broad side of a 2x4 for packing dirt. my tool of choice...
    Buford Pusser style?

    Seriously though, never tried it.
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  11. #11
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    Build it up, pack it down, repeat. Works for any feature. Also build it wider and thicker than you expect. By the end you should be able to stand at the crest of whatever you made and jump up and down on it without it giving way.

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