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  1. #1
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    I am looking into drilling a water well. I have not found any drillers that will drill a water well in Jefferson county, Louisville Ky. I may try it myself. It will be a 6" hole up to 150' deep thru solid limestone. I have a cable tool rig that is in need of a LOT of work. I also have plans for a three point mounted hydraulic rotary drill rig. The rotary drill would be much easier to build than salvageing the cable tool. The rotary drill has no hammer and would ues a mud pump to float the cuttungs out of the hole. It is not suited for a tri-cone bit as not enough down pressure can be applied. It would need some type of carbide tip drag bit. If you ever tried to drill a 1/2" hole in concrete with a plain drill motor and a carbide bit you know how painfully slow it is. Im thinking a 6" bit on a 20 HP hydraulic motor would be very slow also. Maybe it could be done with a 4" pilot and a reamer? Any well drillers out there, or, anybody know of a well drilling forum? Thanks, Danny

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    Sorry, I just can't resist:

    I don't know how to drill the well. But if you need to know where to drill, this post may help. Or not.

    http://www.practicalmachinist.com/ub...27.html#000000

    Rick

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    Danny, interesting that you are asking about a well. I too am looking into a well here and you know where. I will call you about it. It seems well drillers have all but disapeared. Check with thermal heat pump installers as they have to dig wells.

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    Try this site, they have some neat stuff. http://www.fdungan.com/well.htm How much are you wanting to spend to get rigged up? are you wanting to go in to the buisness? I drill horizonal for a living so I have some ideas about a cheap rig.

  5. #5
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    Interesting idea, but the practical application of adding and taking off 21' sections of drill pipe are daunting. I have a well on my property that supplies all of our water. Since our water strata is overlain by sedimentary deposits, it was drilled by a cable rig about 30 years ago.

    Even here, most drillers use rotary rigs now and they are essentially scaled down gas drilling rigs, with all of the equipment needed to go down about 250'. If you watch one work, you might want to reconsider building your own. To get an idea, watch videos of oil drilling rigs, as the operations are essentially the same.

    If you already know all about how it is done, my apologies, as I certainly don't want to discourage you from trying it.

  6. #6
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    I just put in a well and a Geo-Thermal Heat Pump. Here in Florida I just washed down 30' of 2" PVC, dropped 1 1/4" PVC down inside of it with a 10' well point and I'm good to go.
    we have been in a very bad drought and my water table was still 2' below grade!
    Neighbor had a well put in for potable water and they went down over 600' with 6" using a drilling rig and rotary drill. They also used a tri cutter bit. It was pretty slick, the guy had the rig all set up on a truck and had a chute set up to drop the 21' pipes back into the rack on the side of the truck when coming back out. It was a one man operation.

  7. #7
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    Danny D .Here in Mich they use a 7 1/2 " Rotary and put in a 6" pVC in it.Mine is 4" pipe , it went down 250Ft but the pipe bent at about 185 ft the driller told me.Water come up to within 35 ft of the top, so well motor is down about 50 ft only. Was fun to watch! Chris

  8. #8
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    It is surprising there are no local well drillers in your neck of the woods. I have my own opinions as to wells, drilling methods and dowsing. The subject of getting a well drilled is bound to at least revive memories of what became the longest thread and most controversial thread in the history of this website.

    In the Catskill Mountains of NY State, many of us rely on wells for water for homes & businesses. There's an age-old controversy here as to the type of well drilling rig to use. "Pounder" vs "Rotary" was a fairly hot topic of debate if you were putting down a well at your place. The Pounders are the old cable-tool rigs,. Older, slower, and a lot of people will insist their wells be drilled with them instead of the newer rotary rigs. The belief is that the jarring action of the cable tool rig "opens the veins". There is some truth to this theory, as with a cable-tool rig, the fact is that the process is slower and does not have a drill bit and stem turning at high-speed with air blasting up the hole. The people who believe in the cable-tool rigs insist the modern rotaries "grout" or "seal" the veins due to the rapis turning of the tool and stem and the air blasting up. In truth, the bulk of the well drillers around these parts all use rotary rigs- mostly built by Ingersoll Rand. To be competitive, they all have turret type "magazines" to hold drill stem and casing pipe.

    I had our home well drilled using a rotary rig as we were in a hurry to get the well in. We dowsed or witched the site, and got a good pull on the stick at this one spot. My buddy- a good dowser- said we'd hit water at about 180 feet, likely around 5 gpm judging by how the stick was acting. The rotary arrived, and put the well down on that spot. At 180 feet, we had water, but not enough of it. We got down about 300 feet on that first day with the rotary. Overnight, the water in the well "headed up" to within 100 feet of the surface. We were in shale formations, so there was clay bedding the seams. The driller came back that next morning and put down another 200 feet of well, stopping when he got into a solid sandstone formation. It was pretty amazing to me to see a rig put down that well that quickly. They had it down to a science, and the stem sections and casing pipe were right on those turrets. It was production drilling.

    My well took years to "clean up", and we would months of clear water, then get gushes of clay and mud runs as the hydrostatic pressure in the aquifer changed seasonally. This would support the contention that the rotaries did, in fact, seal the veins. Over the years, the well flow has increased, and it has given good clear water aside from the spurts of clay, and has always headed up to within 100 feet of the surface.

    I've met a couple of drillers since that time- a husband and wife- who each run a cable tool rig. They have all the work they can handle despite the fact the old cable tool rigs are slower.
    This couple, aside from being drillers, are also dowsers. They refuse to drill on anyone's property unless they, or another dowser, has "witched" the site first. They have drilled literally hundreds of wells, and never a dry hole. They claim to have drilled good water wells come on sites where the rotary rigs produced dry holes. They credit the use of the pounder and the fact they witched the site to this success. They enjoy a fine reputation and have hundreds of wells to their credit, so this is not idle talk on their part.

    IMO, in a limestone formation, if you could get your cable-tool rig working, will liekly bring in a well with good flow at less depth than if you turned loose a rotary rig. As for building your own rig, you could, but it would be a massive undertaking. Wells, even for residential use, are typically drileld at 6" diameter. That is a big bit to turn and push down into the ground and thru rock strata. If you saw a rotary rig, it is on a heavy carrier with a substantial mast and hydraulics. It has several hundred HP avialable to turn the drill stem, as well as to provide probably 300-600 scfm of compressed air to keep blowign the drill fines back up the hole and to run the hydraulics to feed the drill stem and handle the stem and casings.

    The cable tool rig, OTOH, is actually the more likely rig to repair and use. Most of them in our hills run around on single-axle truck chassis. The couple I know who are drillers have, I believe, two older Bucyrus-Erie rigs on maybe Ford 8000 series chassis. These are rigs that they can work on themselves, and cost a fraction of what even a used rotary rig would cost. If you have a older cable tool rig, IMO, repair it and use it. The costs of setting a cable tool rig to rights are going to be a fraction of what you will spend on a rotary rig.

    Building your own rotary to mount on a tractor three point hitch is, IMO, not a good approach to building a well drilling rig. I do not think the tractor is massive enough to support and kepp a rotary rig solidly centered and plumbed up over the hole. The rotary rigs do have a hammering action as well as rotating, so you would need more than a hydraulic motor to turn a drill stem. In addition, the rotaries are setup with a hollow stem. High flows of compressed air, on the order of 300-600 scfm, are sent down the stem continuously during drilling to blow the drill fines back up the hole and keep the hole clear.
    The downfeed on a rotary rig is at least as long as a length of drill stem or casing pipe and then some to allow for tool changes and similar. The downfeed pressure on a rotary is also quite heavy. In short, reinventing the wheel by building your own rotary drillign rig on a three-point hitch will not be too practical for drilling even a 4" diameter well. Bear in mind that you need a bore hole diameter big enough to get a submersible pump down, so 4" would likely be the absolute minimum, with 6" diameter being preferable.

    Joe Michaels

  9. #9
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    There are geo-thermal drillers here but drilling a water well in this county is frowned upon by Big Brother even though it will be for irrigation and a pond. Geo drillers drill to get a hole in the ground fast. They can seal off water and go right past it. I am not looking to go into buissness. Maybe spend $1000.00, drill a hole or two and then sell the rig. I just dont know how good a light weight rig will do in hard limestone.

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    On a note about the "pounder" drill rigs, this has nothing to do with wells per se. There is a company on the east coast (Ziggenfuse sp?)that does quite a business drilling holes for hydraulic elevator casings. The biggest requirement for an elevator casing is the STRAIGHTNESS of the hole. As you can imagine, if the hole isn't plumb, how would an elevator hydraulic ram travel plumb? People swear that the pounder rigs produce the straightest holes. Slow, messy as hell, but they get the job done.

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    I was raised in West Texas and have spent alot of time on cable tools. Limestone is no problem as it shouldn't cave in on top of your tool like sand can. It will also give you a good clean hole. They dont even dress bits anymore. They build them up with a hard faceing welding rod that my brother (cable tool driller) swears by. If you have a rigg that is repairable I suggest investing the time and money to do it. What Joe said about the quality of the well drilled with a cable tool is absolutely true. As far as the time involved, you usually pay by the foot, not the hour.

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    Cable tool is an excellent method if you have something other than solid rock. The water table in my area is at 100 feet. My well was done with cable tool and is down 185 feet. It's been working perfectly for just over thirty years. The water is very clear with not so much as a grain of sand.

    I've been out on several water well sites when they were being drilled and it's not something I would or could do myself. Those drillers really put in a day's work!

  13. #13
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    Hello all,
    just want to add my 2 cents here. My neighbor
    just sold out his water well drilling business.
    From what he tells me, and he had a rotary for gas
    wells, and switched to a bucyrus h-22 cable rig
    for water (actually 2 of them). The vein you are
    looking for around these parts may be only 2 feet
    thick, a rotary will drill thru it too fast, and
    won't see it.
    Also with casing, (8" here) he has it cut, to
    5' long lengths. nice clean friction saw cuts.
    The reason he tells me is that he doesn't like to
    get too far (with the bit) past the end of the
    casing, going for a straighter hole, less chance
    for a cave in as well.
    Welding the casing is a non issue, a single pass of 7014 is done in short time.

    I have seen a cable rig around here made on the
    back of an old forsdon tractor.It actually set on the ground, a full tripod is around the well,
    the tractor p.t.o. shaft running the winch and
    pittman. I believe i saw that the tractor didn't
    even touch the unit, just backed up to it and
    hooked up the p.t.o. the tripod taking the loads
    directly, unlike a mobile rig that cantilevers
    off the back.

    tnx
    Doug

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    Use the cable tool! Very simple after you get the hang of it, and nearly idiot proof. (not that you are an idiot, but all of us are once in a while, and you can't EVER be an idiot with a rotary or you may dump it over on yourself). Two tips; First, if you start drilling and decide you have to build up the end of the drill, throw in some hard gravel chips before you lower the tool back into the hole. If not the new "square" end of the bit may stick in the rounded end of the hole. Second, Johnson Well Screens published a book several years ago, titled "ground water and wells" I believe, that has a great wealth of information about both styles of drilling. You can do this thing! Rotsa Ruck....Joe

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    I'm sorry but I have to disagree with Joe D.. I've seen idiots put those riggs to the test and they have failed. Especially if it is an old Ft. Worth Sputter. They always have to go play with the big wheel. And Lord help any idiot that gets close to the cathead. Or the walking jack. Or the forge. Or forgets to grease the crown. Or doesn't put the jars on and gets the tool stuck in the hole. Or runs the bailer into the crown because he forgot to flag the sandline and is coming out of the hole too fast.

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    http://media.putfile.com/drilling2

    As you can see rotary drilling is not cheap or for the inexperienced...Typical prices here is around $25 a foot dry and $30 a foot cased...

  17. #17
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    .RC.
    That looks like a Down Hole Hammer Rig the down hole hammer does the work.
    Common out here in the west for mine sampling and blast hole drilling. Fast, And the holes can be drilled dry, No mud to rise the cost, No heavy drill string. The rigs lite easy to move from hole to hole.

    The thing is out here most water well drillers do not like to use them as the hammers are costly for holes over 6 inch and the building codes for water wells in calif require a 12 inch hole for a 6 inch
    casing and gravel fill around the casing to water level then above water level cemented to the surface.

  18. #18
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    when i was a kid in rural Virginia, I saw a lot of wells put in with rotary rigs. the reason as one driller put it was that the state of Virginia had a lot of caverns. this point was driven home when a few years later, I saw a a fellow banging one in with a cable tool rig. he hit one of those caverns, and before he could get to the brake, the machine ran away, and the whole spool was stripped. the way that cable was zipping down the hole sounded like a giant fishing real. I wouldn'thave believed it if i hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
    Before I moved to Virginia, I lived in upstate New York where cable tool rigs were more common than rotary. i guess it all depends on the geology and geography.

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    I-R- I guess I did say idiot proof, didn't I? Well I'm living proof an idiot can run them all right, just not a TOTAL idiot. I'd vastly prefer being an idiot repairing and running a cable tool than the same idiot building and running a rotary. Those big rotarys sure do look funny laying on their side with the tool string still down the hole! As is illustrated here, everybody has their opinion, and mine always leans towards the low-tech slow machines for less than expert builders and users, which I am...Joe

  20. #20
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    I drilled water wells here in michigan for about 10 yrs, In michigan the only way to drill is with a rotary, never a dry hole, we also shoot for sand sand stone, set the casing in bedrock, i know the country is very much different every were yo go, i will say if you get 200 ft of drill rod on a rotary, you better have a hell of a machine to turn it, as you will need at least a 3" rod....We have drilled a few salty wells in various parts of the state, a good operator isnt gonna plug of a good vein, now if your drilling a gravel well thats a different story, centrifical mud pump minimizes the effect a whole bunch, i have been 510 feet, and it was a choir for the machine....on average we look at around 200-250 for a good rock well....Have drilled a lot of gravel wells as well, but thats always choice #2 if the area calls for it...Oh the average price here is 10 per foot for a plastic cased well, then about 1500 for the pump and getting into the house...


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