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How big to dig! (outhouse question...)

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  • How big to dig! (outhouse question...)

    I am hoping to clear a camp site and build an outhouse this summer. Our property is off Shulin Lake Trail. I am wondering how I should size the hole.

    I have a wife and 4 kids, and I am sure my brother, and parents and friends will all use the cabin that we will eventually build, but it will be mostly a weekends getaway.

    Are there any standard sizing guidelines out there or do we just dig until we just don't feel like digging any more?

  • #2
    Originally posted by samwe View Post
    I am hoping to clear a camp site and build an outhouse this summer. Our property is off Shulin Lake Trail. I am wondering how I should size the hole.

    I have a wife and 4 kids, and I am sure my brother, and parents and friends will all use the cabin that we will eventually build, but it will be mostly a weekends getaway.

    Are there any standard sizing guidelines out there or do we just dig until we just don't feel like digging any more?
    For the most part, there is no set size in my opinion. Mine is 4ft. deep, 4ft. wide and 4ft long. If you are going to have a few people there at anyone time, I would suggest making it longer and making a two holer. Just make sure you board up the sides so it doesn't cave in. Also, I keep a 5gal. bucket of lime to throw down there to keep the smell down and oddly enough, ashes from the woodstove does the same job. Good luck
    JOHN

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    • #3
      I feel your pain. We are declaring our outhouse "full" this summer and digging a new one. Here's to hoping the ground is reasonable for a PHD and shovel to get through!

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      • #4
        Due to stalagmite problems associated with the winter use of an outhouse, you may want to look at other options IF there are that many people utilizing the facility. A bucket with a plastic liner can be closed up and stored in a 55 gallon drum then hauled out in the winter when it is frozen solid. Still put it in an outhouse with a sealed seat and a vent pipe. Just an option.
        I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
        Bill Hicks

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        • #5
          outhouse

          Click image for larger version

Name:	Chad Bear 042 (Small).jpg
Views:	1
Size:	84.2 KB
ID:	2479534This one is a two seater, hole is 6x4..about 7 deep, than we hit gravel.The first hole lasted 25 yr,s,What we did is to lay two R,R, ties down dig down between them mount house on top, That way when gets full can just slide on to next hole..Also as John said shore up sides, plywood or pallets, will work too, or it will sluff in on you,The vent is on outside{back side not in photo} just piece of pc pipe went into opening of hole before we back filled dirt aroud the bottem. Note: notice the up hill into door,If i did it again with my snow load 6-8 ft.. i would have put it up another 2-3 ft off ground..see in the spring when everything melts goes to the lowest spot, and will fill the hole about half way up with water, It does drain down by end of May, Just a thought
          Remember, Mother nature has no forgiveness for stupidity.
          If you don't care where you are, your not lost

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          • #6
            We seem to have a couple feet of top soil, then I expect to hit sandy clay. This should be pretty easy digging, vs gravel, so we should be able to get a good size hole dug. My boys love to dig...

            I was thinking of using railroad ties and make a crib of sorts to support the sides. If pallets will will hold up I guess I could do that too.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by samwe View Post
              We seem to have a couple feet of top soil, then I expect to hit sandy clay. This should be pretty easy digging, vs gravel, so we should be able to get a good size hole dug. My boys love to dig...

              I was thinking of using railroad ties and make a crib of sorts to support the sides. If pallets will will hold up I guess I could do that too.

              Pallets work good and most times you can get them for free. Check out the free section of Craigslist or many of the businesses around post road will give them away.
              JOHN

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              • #8
                Originally posted by samwe View Post
                We seem to have a couple feet of top soil, then I expect to hit sandy clay. This should be pretty easy digging, vs gravel, so we should be able to get a good size hole dug. My boys love to dig...

                I was thinking of using railroad ties and make a crib of sorts to support the sides. If pallets will will hold up I guess I could do that too.
                Be real careful, though. Unshored trenches have killed a lot of people. A trench is an excavation that is deeper than it is wide. OSHA has regulations against unshored trenches deeper than 5 feet. Itís been said that itís not the unstable looking trenches that kill people, because people respect them and shore them. Itís the stable looking trenches that kill people who are willing to take a chance in them.

                My plan is to first dig a hole 4 1/2 feet deep. Then Iíll drop a box, 6 feet tall, with no top and no bottom into the pit. Then, Iíll put a ladder in to allow easy entry and exit. The idea will be to continue digging and allow the box (more like a sleeve) to continue down with me for the last foot and a half.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by rifleman View Post
                  OSHA has regulations.
                  for digging a latrine out in the woods of Alaska, if it caves in guess it'll double as a burial plot. But I do like the idea of dropping a box in after the hole has been started which will help things from sluffing in
                  Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
                  "Rebellion is in my blood, I was born an American"
                  Μολών λαβέ

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                  • #10
                    I cribbed my hole with RR ties and then used log screws to secure them. Then built the outhouse on top, very solid. I made the crib twice as long as the outhouse so I could slide a cut 55 gal drum in and out. I am in the MSB and there are ALOT of requirements for an outhouse...even an remote one so I chose to use the drum to avoid problems. I pull and burn the barrells twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. I have a family of four plus a few friends every weekend of the year except freeze up and thaw out.

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                    • #11
                      I used a length of 36" culvert and buried it 6' below the surface to the bottom. Having a neighbor with a backhoe helped a little. In the spring the water table is high enough to flush the toilet, so to speak. It works great.

                      Garness Industrial on 64th sells Super Bugs. If you need to make the pile go down that stuff works really well. Wait for warm weather, though.

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                      • #12
                        Craigslist Free section

                        FREE PALLETS/FIRE WOOD (anchorage )

                        Date: 2011-05-11, 2:12PM AKDT
                        Reply to: sale-y6j4f-2375694444@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]


                        free pallets or fire wood. come by and take a look safelite auto glass 5650 old seward hwy or call Josh 602-5386 can text or email pics
                        JOHN

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rifleman View Post
                          Be real careful, though. Unshored trenches have killed a lot of people.
                          This was why my plan was to build cribbing and dig under so it lowrs as we go. Just like the brooklyn bridge...

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                          • #14
                            Have you ever seen one too deep................? I sure havent.........
                            ďWe have digressed from a Nation of Revolutionaries to a country of entitlements"

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                            • #15
                              dig it all the way to china so ou can give birth to more asians.
                              Semper Fi!

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