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What is a Post Auger?

Phil Shepley
Phil Shepley

A post auger is a tool that is designed for the purpose of drilling cylindrical holes into the ground, and sometimes into other surfaces. The reason for the hole is typically for inserting a pole, post or gatepost, but there are many different reasons for using post augers. They come in many different shapes and sizes, from small hand augers to large augers which require a motor for operation. A common type is the fence auger, used for digging holes for fence posts, which is a job that often requires many holes to be quickly dug that are precisely the same size and depth.

The mechanical operation of a post auger can vary, and there are several different ways they can be constructed for doing their job. One of the most common types resembles a screw, more specifically what is known as an Archimedes’ screw. A yoke is turned so the tool will dig the hole straight down while the screw mechanism brings the dirt up out of the ground. A post auger is typically used instead of a shovel because the resulting hole can resemble a perfect cylinder that is better for supporting a post than a cone-shaped hole, plus the auger tends to leave the dirt that surrounds the hole more firm.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

There are other types of construction for post augers as well, including clamshell diggers, which more closely resemble two shovels connected with a hinge. The user pushes the blades into the ground with two handles, and can pull the blades together to pull dirt out of the ground. Another kind of post auger is designed as a cross between the shovel and screw types, having the two shovel blades connected so that they can be twisted in the ground via a yoke to displace the dirt. Motor driven augers tend to use the screw mechanism, where the motor will turn the post digger for easier drilling. Two-man augers are designed to be operated by two people for jobs where a motorized auger might not be possible.

The construction of post augers are as varied as any other tool, with a wide variety of materials that can be used. The blades will usually be constructed of a high-grade, lightweight metal, and the pole and handles can be made of anything from wood to hollow fiberglass, all designed to fend off wear and tear when cutting through dense or harder materials. Some also have replaceable bits, where different sized augers can be inserted depending on the size of the hole to be drilled. A popular type of these is the motorized ice auger, used much of the time for the sport of ice fishing for drilling holes through the ice. Other motorized post augers are connected to heavy machinery for digging holes through heavy materials or for construction work.

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