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How do you dig a grave?

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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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