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How do you dig a grave?

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Answered 2008-12-10 17:22:17

Ask someone how deep a grave is. The answer they give you is 6. WRONG! The modern grave is only 4 feet deep. Why? Caskets used to be made of wood instead of the modern means. You were basically burying a wooden bubble that, after it decomposed, would collapse. Burying it 6 feet from the sod (top layer of soil where most of the grassroots are) would ensure that it wouldn't create a sink spot on the ground. The way people are buried today has much improved. The body first goes into an expensive casket that is usually very pretty. Typically made with wood or steel, but very polished and made to look nice for the funeral. You can buy cheap caskets, but base prices start around $800 and can go up well past $4000. After this, the casket is placed in a concrete box with a flat lid. Some box & vault companies offer a "vault" where the lining of the lid has the same type of tar used to place windshields in cars. This stuff is very sticky and never dries. It seals the concrete and is very hard to break through for an excavation. This concrete box ensures that it will not sink and thus means it does not need to be buried as deep. A typical grave is 4 feet deep, 8 feet long, and 3 feet wide. To start, we need to remove the sod. Sod is tough and holds together pretty well so we need to lift that up first. Think of it as cutting brownies out of a pan. You start by using a shovel that has a flat blade and cut the sod outlining your grave as well as straight down the middle. You then cut across every 11 inches. You will now see that you have 16 pieces of sod. I usually arrange my grave digging like so: ____________________
|*Grave*|***********| 3 Sheets of plywood
|*******|___________| for the sod and dirt
I then pry up the sod with the shovel and shave off a little on the bottom to make them flat. Remember, the thinner they are, the lighter they are, but I would keep at least 5-6 inches. I think start to place them in a semi-circle around in sets of two as they are coming out of the grave 2-across. I then can start to dig. Now, you much remember that you are placing something back into the ground so we have to compensate for the displacement. I've found that we can dispose of the top 2 feet of dirt and then shovel the rest in the middle of the semi-circle to fill in the grave after the casket and box have been lowered. Just digging the dirt is usually done with a spade. Keep at LEAST a wheelbarrow of dirt from the top 2 feet as you may need it in case you run out. Always have extra dirt on hand. There you go, the grave is dug, but definitely not done. If I open a grave a day before hand, I usually place 2-3 sheets of plywood over the whole so some idiot doesn't fall in and then cover both the hole and the dirt with a pinned down tarp. The mortuary that helps setup for the casket where I live have artificial grass rugs to place over all the dirt so it still looks nice for the funeral. After the service is done, everyone has gone, and I get my check, I can start to fill in the grave. Filling in is pretty easy. Try to stand in the grave and use a square-nosed shovel to scoop the dirt and pull it towards you. After you get close to filling it, you want to have the dirt 3-4 inches from the top of the grave. Try to compact the dirt with your boots. We now want to start placing the sod back on. The way I have done it is filling it in so the sod is sticking up a couple inches, placing 1-2 sheets of my crappy plywood on top, and then pushing the sod down by driving over the grave a couple times with my 1-ton dump truck. Done correctly, the grave should be mildly flat. The grass is matted after using the ply wood so I usually use a blower to fluff the grass and blow away any excess dirt. Then, arrange the flowers everybody left and you're done!

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