previous
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • Video: Install a Fence
    Video: Install a Fence
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Solid Deck-Framing Advice
    Solid Deck-Framing Advice
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Video Series: Install a Rock-Solid Tile Floor
    Video Series: Install a Rock-Solid Tile Floor
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Gallery: Custom Flooring
    Gallery: Custom Flooring
next

How to outsmart a rock

I had to install a post next to a porch stairway. After creating as small a hole as possible with my #2 shovel, I struck a 1-ft.-dia. rock at 26 in. deep (the length of armpit to fingertips). Moving the hole was not an option, and widening it would undermine the stairway footing. Lying prone on the ground, I could just reach the rock and move it around, but no way could I lift it out of the hole.

As I expected, attempts to get a rope around the dumb thing failed miserably. I’m pretty good at knots, but not from this awkward position. I had no netting to slip under it; the dumb rock was down there laughing at me.

So I sat there in the dirt thinking defeat was obvious. The rock wins. I thought, “Too bad this thing isn’t wood; I could float it out.…” Bingo!

I started putting small amounts of dirt back into the hole, rocking the rock back and forth to get dirt under it. After about five minutes of this routine, the rock floated up to the surface, defeated. The dirt was easy to remove because it was loose. Rocks float, providing the “water” is thick enough.