Go to How Not to Build an Addition Index! This page is about Digging a Square Hole.


Unfortunately, you cannot simply take your shovel to the proposed site and start pitching sod. Life would be so much simpler if the application of brute labor solved every problem. A certain amount of brain power must be applied to the digging equation.

You will need to lay out the site with little stakes, white flags and a ball of string. You want to situate these stakes as squarely as possible. There is a simple trick to doing this that requires only a few steps.

1. Measure out four pieces of string to the length and width desired and tie them to the stakes.

2. Hammer the stakes in the ground where you think they should go.

3. Move stakes to adjust.

4. Measure, check levelness of string and squareness of corners.

5. Move stakes again.

6. Repeat 3 through 5 for a few hours.

7. In frustration, consult your wife. She will tell you that two diagonal lines drawn to opposite corners of a rectangle should be equal. She will draw the following diagram with four sides and an X in the middle.

8. You will sagely ask, "So what?"

9. Repeat 3 through 7 until your increasing frustration prompts you to begin digging, and let the stakes, flags, string and chips fall where they may.

All this brings up an apocryphal story:

Next Page

Weapon of Choice
The Square Hole
Two Ditch Diggers
The Transit
Trench Warfare

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Introduction | Decision Making | Design | Permits | Buying Materials | Demolition | Digging | Masonry | Framing | Electricity | Plumbing | Inspections | Roofing | Sheathing / Siding | Soffits | Insurance | Insulation | Fat Fireman Rule | Drywall | Finish Carpentry | Tile | Painting | Carpet | Done

About the Author:
W.J. Rayment built an addition on his house, and in the course of the project learned from his many mistakes. This on-line compendium is his effort to help you learn from his experience. The advice and stories are often humorous, sometimes silly, but always informative. for yourself or as a gift for family or friends.

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