Dale Hodgins wrote:A few don'ts. Don't use a shovel that gums up. Don't work with a heavy bar unless there are large rocks. Don't use heavy tools where light ones will do. Never dampen clay.
Use the right tools to do it dry. On tough clay, that is already damp, you want to slice through it, not mush it up and have it stick to the shovel. Use a square spade that doesn't have sides. Sharpen the tool. On hard dry clay, use the lightest pick that will do the job. When working a face, place a bucket under your work so a good portion falls in. This saves a step. Clean up as you go. Don't walk on materials that are loose. Clay will pack and require more clean up energy if you walk on it.
The biggest energy saver is this. Determine the spot where it will be easiest to get to your maximum depth. Concentrate on getting there . Now you can stand on a flat surface and hack materials down. A scoop shovel makes floor clean up easy. I like to do deep stuff in a series of level shelves. Don't spend all day standing on a slope. A man in good shape should move a few tons per day when it's done right.
When clawing a face to a floor area, I like to lay a half sheet of plywood flat on the floor so that any materials that miss the buckets is easy to clean up. This is doubly important if the clay is rocky. Chunks of rock protruding from the clean up floor can stop the shovel dead. This is hard on the body, tools and production. The shovel slides effortlessly along smooth plywood. Never use a round mouth shovel for this since it wastes energy.
I did about 3 tons of backfilling today during a 90 minute run.