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Building a garden path - wacker (sp) machine?
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MakingProgress2022 · 14/05/2022 20:17

So am building a garden path. This is despite limited DIY experience but checked it out on YouTube and looked manageable 😁

Dug out solid clay soil. Put down weed suppressing membrane. Put down sub-base. So far so good.

next step is apparently to hire a wacker machine to compress the base. Do I have to do this?! Am 52, 5 feet 2 and with no heavy machinery experience….Could I just stamp on the sub-base to compress it? (Optimistic).

anyone know? Thanks mumsnet

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YorkshireDude · 14/05/2022 21:21

If you don't want to use a big, heavy, noisy machine, could you use a hand operated tamper instead? Something like this?

https://www.screwfix.com/search?search=tamper

https://www.toolstation.com/search?q=tamper&filters=category%3Ac1%7Cbrand%3ARoughneck,Hawksmoor

It will take much longer than using a machine, but it will give your arms and shoulders a great workout.

Good luck with the project.

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KangarooKenny · 14/05/2022 21:24

A whacker isn’t difficult to use, but it’s heavy so you’d probably need it delivering.

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MakingProgress2022 · 14/05/2022 21:33

Ooh that looks interesting YorkshireDude - thanks.

Kangaroo that is my worry. So they deliver it, but then I have to get it round the back of the house and then somehow use it, and then get it back to the shop. Not optimistic somehow.

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KangarooKenny · 14/05/2022 21:34

They are on wheels, you clip them up out of the way when using it.

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MakingProgress2022 · 14/05/2022 21:37

Oh! So do you think someone with limited physical strength and no experience could do it?

if not will use the hand option as YorkshireDude helpfully suggested.

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KangarooKenny · 14/05/2022 21:38

Have a look on YouTube and see if there’s any tutorials on there.

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MakingProgress2022 · 14/05/2022 21:39

Will do. Thanks!

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johnd2 · 14/05/2022 21:40

I've used several and never had one with wheels.
They are extremely heavy, and hard to manoeuvre. If your ground is not sloping and plenty of space, you can let it drive itself and your can just steer. But I think unlikely you can use it. The on off switch is on the side of the main unit so not even easy to stop in a hurry.
Good luck whatever you decide though.

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GrannyAchingsShepherdsHut · 14/05/2022 21:40

They sort of vibrate themselves along when they're running, you don't have to move them with strength, if that makes sense?

I would have thought it would be significantly less hard work than the manual ones above. And you'll get a much firmer compaction with a wacker.

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adhdpunchbag · 14/05/2022 21:45

What kind of path?

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MakingProgress2022 · 14/05/2022 21:50

thanks. it’s a path alongside some decking. About 1.5m wide, 6m long. Then, if this bit goes okay, much wider area to do.

will get quite heavy use as me and the teens are on it all the time.

maybe play it safe and go the manual route. Just wondered if you’d all say, no it’s totally straightforward, I used one for my path/patio/ etc.

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YorkshireDude · 14/05/2022 22:06

The machine wacker basically vibrates up and down, so it kind of partially floats above the ground when switched on. As others have said, that means when they're running they can be steered and moved fairly easily, but only if the ground is flat. If the ground isn't flat then you'll find out how heavy they are. And when switched off they're very heavy to drag, as they won't be partially floating anymore.

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Chumleymouse · 14/05/2022 22:20

You can get mini pacs. I have one ( belle ). I’ve had it since new and used it on and off over the years. They are just as good as the big ones but you just have to compact in thinner layers as they don’t have the weight of the big ones .

It’s 32kg. And still heavy , but not unmanageable and not to bad to drag about when turned off. It also has a Honda engine so very reliable and never breaks down .

maybe try and find someone who has one and will pop round for a few quid and just do the whacking for you. I would if you lived near me ......

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CasperGutman · 14/05/2022 22:46

Quite apart from taking much longer, a hand tamper will not be an easy option, physically. To be effective they have to be heavy, and you will have to lift it many hundreds of times to compact a significant area. If it isn't heavy you'll have to put just as much effort into ramming it down into the ground.

You will also only be able to compact fairly thin layers effectively - maybe a couple of inches - so you will likely have to cover the whole area several times.

There's a good reason why burly groundworkers choose to use mechanical kit to do this job!

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MakingProgress2022 · 15/05/2022 08:37

Oh god. Sort of wishing I had never taken this on now.

thanks so much for all the advice. Don’t know what the options are now.

ideally I would find someone local with a whacker machine to do it, but that’s as rare as hen’s teeth around here (plus kind of embarrassing to put on local FB page - seem to be the only single parent around here).

I’ll see what the options are for hiring a mini machine. Failing that it looks like thr long and painful manual route. From what you’ve all said, I don’t think I could manage thr large machine.

thankyou x

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AbsolutelyLoveIy · 15/05/2022 08:42

OP I’m little like you and (I built a driveway! I’m really proud of it too)

hiring a whacked machine is about £70 for a week and you basically push it over the ground repeatedly. I’d honestly advise you either hire it for a week or get a fella to help you because it is really heavy on tendons and I had pretty sore wrists after a couple of days. My husband and I did and hour of whacking a day and the drive looks great, totally level.

it makes things level but also much stronger - obviously more import for a driveway than a pathway

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AbsolutelyLoveIy · 15/05/2022 08:45

Just read your threads again - whacked plate would need to be pushed around to the back of your house, they generally deliver them so check that they’d bring ir around to the spot you want to whack

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Chasingsquirrels · 15/05/2022 08:47

Honestly don't think it's an embarrassing thing to put on local FB as a request OP.
I would have thought it was pretty standard to do the bulk of the work yourself but want someone to do the heavy specialised equipment needing bit.
(Equally standard to pay someone to do the whole thing).
Your parenting status isn't at all relevant to this.

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jazzandh · 15/05/2022 08:58

Hire one after posting on FB for a local teen to come and manoeuver it around for you for cash.

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MakingProgress2022 · 15/05/2022 09:02

Okay, thanks so much. Just feel a bit self conscious about it (like I started & then failed & had to ask for help, sort of thing).

ok. Have a plan. Will hire one & ask on FB for someone to come over and use it.

thankyou x

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Ohdearohdearohdear6 · 15/05/2022 09:17

My teen used the whacker here. The staff lifted it into the car for me and the teen lifted it out. It sort of drives itself.

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AbsolutelyLoveIy · 15/05/2022 09:27

You haven’t failed, it’s brilliant to be so gutsy and confident. You can do it! I only did it after encouragement and advice
on here 👌

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OrangeBall · 15/05/2022 09:34

I didn't use a whacker and my path is fine!

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SkiingIsHeaven · 15/05/2022 10:14

Using a manual tamper over that area will be very painful as all the vibration shoots up your arms

Shallow your pride and ask for help.

There are time limits on how long you should use vibrating machinery to protect you. Even wacker plates have time limits.

Whatever you decide just be careful.

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MotherOfCrocodiles · 15/05/2022 10:20

I have used one, for a patio, and brought it home in the (small) car. It was heavy and I needed DH help to bring it to the back of the house but did all the rest myself.

I also made a path once where I didn't bother. It went wonky. So don't do that.

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