A Very Boring Day In Michigan!

As regular readers know, Michigan is about to embark on installing an awesome Garn wood heating system in his back forty…this lovely number he had delivered over the winter…

Michigan tells us in his own words the process so far….. and gets two points for providing the riotous headline!!- Mr. EOS’s words: FANTASTIC, on both the project (he wants to be there) and the headline. There’s a future for you in blogging Michigan!

To get utilities out to the new building we didn’t want to rip up the driveway and trench the front yard up so…

We chose to go with the underground boring option and it worked out well. They had to bore from the back yard under the garage floor and then through the concrete wall in the mechanical room.

Boring bit (this one is called a “duckbill”) with carbide teeth is used for the initial bore and cut through concrete wall. The “duckbill” contains sensors and transmitters so it can be “steered” by the operator to the predetermined point. It’s quite accurate.

Next, a coring rig is mounted to the wall with an anchor and a 12” bit is used to bore through the wall. It took about 20 minutes to cut through this 8” wall.

Once the wall core is removed, the duckbill is pushed through a bit further to change it out for another tool head.

The duckbill has been removed and a reamer head is attached. This will allow the utility pipes to be attached to it and pulled back through the initial boring while spinning and spraying an expanding clay solution to form a supporting wall for the final bore. The center of the reamer remains stationary while the outside spins. You can see the angled spray nozzles at the back of it.

Utility pipes hooked up and spraying begins while pulling back. We’re pulling 4 pipes at once here; one 4” and three 1 ¼” schedule 80, heavy wall pipe.

Pulling and spraying continues until the head emerges from the original point of entry. This boring machine has a 11 thousand pound pullback strength.

You can see the clay solution begin to spray out as pullback begins.


Their job is complete and mine will be to trench from the 4 foot depth point that they kindly marked for me, out to the new building.

We’ll be waiting and watching for the next installment Michigan. Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop. Just let us know when the first wood burning party is and we’ll be there!

4 thoughts on “A Very Boring Day In Michigan!

  1. Love these good old boy posts. The Garn is an impressive tool for staying off the grid. Might take a generation to pay back the savings but if one more house can be self-sustaining, I say yes, go for it. If you were in Minnesota, I’d get to say you could gopher it!

    Interesting post Michigan. Quite the process.

  2. I am sooooo jealous. What was the distance for the underground boring? Will the Garn really save enough to mitigate the costs of the boring, or do you have that kind of equipment in your tool shed?

  3. Sign me up for the reality show. I’m in.

    The Town of Greenwich, CT recently tried directional drilling to connect a new water line to the remote buildings at Tod’s Point – for $600,000. Due to large glacial erratic boulders under the tidal pond, it was a disaster.

    (When I asked why they didn’t just drill a well, the answer was no body suggested that.)

  4. The directional boring job I had to hire. The total length from the Garn to the furnace plenum will be 135 feet, 40 of it bored under the garage floor and outside just a bit. I’ll finish up with the backhoe beginning at the frost depth point and the boring intersects.

    The price of propane has been hovering around $2.10 a gallon here and we have a 1000 gallon tank. We usually have to purchase at least a couple of fills per season and at that price the Garn and associated costs could make the ROI in as little as 5 years depending on propane costs that I don’t expect to plummet anytime soon.

    The wooded portion of our land parcel is about 40 acres so we have a sustainable source for wood and can probably fuel the Garn with just deadfall. At the current heat load calculated for the Garn and talking to other owners we anticipate using about 5 or 6 full cords per season. The Garn’s gasification technology makes it 87% efficient and it doesn’t burn and smoke all the time; you just fire it a couple of times a day depending on the heat load verses the temperatures outdoors.

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