How to check ground elevations cheap? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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How to check ground elevations cheap?

I have drainage problems on my property and want to add underground drain pipes to remove the excess water. I donít really want to buy a Survey Transit because Iíll only be using it once and I only need the elevations to find the low points.

I saw some workers using some sort of electronic device to mark fence posts that didn't look too expensive.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #2 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 02:34 PM
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A cheap level with built in laser

A spirit level with a laser on the end, mounted on a tripod will allow you to spin in 360 degrees and make marks on stakes you set in the ground where your questions are:
https://www.ebay.com/p/Big-Roc-Tools...3886519&chn=ps


A telescopic sight from a rifle secured in a tripod would work, but you would need to level it out first.


A 100 foot garden hose with a clear sections on the ends would work to show where level is when the bubbles are on previously made level marks:
https://www.buildeazy.com/waterlevel.php



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot about the water level. I used one before many years ago for a very short distance, but I know I can buy a 100 ft tube pretty cheap and I think that might be the way to go. I have about 200 to 250 ft to drain to a dry creek. I don't how far a laser will go will show up in the sun light, but it would be nice if it could work at a minimum of 50 ft and a 100 would be even better. I took photos of the areas that were underwater during the last big storm, but it would only be an estimate to use them since its all dried out now.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #4 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 04:58 PM
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Laser pointers are cheap!

There are green lasers that show up better than red on daylight:
https://www.crimsontrace.com/about-o...-green-lasers/


The green laser pointers are cheap:
https://www.ebay.com/i/123531061589?chn=ps


A flat plate on a tripod that is leveled out or use any level surface where you could spin the pointer 360 degrees. Tape the pointer to your construction level and use that to point at your targets. Work in low light, dusk or dawn rather than high noon for best results. I would prefer the laser over the water level, less fuss, more fun.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
I have drainage problems on my property and want to add underground drain pipes to remove the excess water. I donít really want to buy a Survey Transit because Iíll only be using it once and I only need the elevations to find the low points.

I saw some workers using some sort of electronic device to mark fence posts that didn't look too expensive.
There are several ways you can determine if you have enough elevation to provide drainage. There are cheap transit levels or you might rent one. You could also purchase a cheap laser pointer and tape it to a level. The level would be close enough for that purpose. What you need to do is see to it you have at least a 1/4" per foot drop from your French drain to where it comes out. You could purchase or rent a water level. That would be very accurate. Walmart shows one of those for 34 bucks.
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post #6 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 07:32 PM
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Just like I said ......

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
There are green lasers that show up better than red on daylight:
https://www.crimsontrace.com/about-o...-green-lasers/


The green laser pointers are cheap:
https://www.ebay.com/i/123531061589?chn=ps


A flat plate on a tripod that is leveled out or use any level surface where you could spin the pointer 360 degrees. Tape the pointer to your construction level and use that to point at your targets. Work in low light, dusk or dawn rather than high noon for best results. I would prefer the laser over the water level, less fuss, more fun.

What Steve said, I said in this post just above......

I guess it's more important when a Moderator says it ......?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #7 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
What Steve said, I said in this post just above......

I guess it's more important when a Moderator says it ......?
For the most part I just read the posts of the OP. It's none of my business what others are giving advice so I never read your post. We just had the same idea.
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post #8 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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What Steve said, I said in this post just above......

I guess it's more important when a Moderator says it ......?
LOL, Yes I heard you. Thanks.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #9 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 08:15 PM
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Ok, that's how you do things .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
For the most part I just read the posts of the OP. It's none of my business what others are giving advice so I never read your post. We just had the same idea.

That's won't work for me because I don't want to repeat another's ideas without giving them credit where credit is due. I would also find it next to impossible to follow the thread and it's direction without reading all the posts, especially when I am going to reply, but that's just me ... apparently?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #10 of 27 Old 04-18-2019, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
That's won't work for me because I don't want to repeat another's ideas without giving them credit where credit is due. I would also find it next to impossible to follow the thread and it's direction without reading all the posts, especially when I am going to reply, but that's just me ... apparently?
Mostly my problem is I don't have much time. I just couldn't read every post and sometimes I don't read an OP's post all the way through. Sometimes I just read enough to assess the problem they are having which is a common problem a lot of people have so reading the post all the way through isn't necessary especially if they post a picture. Then I don't wish to argue with any experienced person on their methods. Everyone has different methods which neither way is the only way and someone else's method the OP might understand better or is equipped better for that way. All we can do is throw ideas out there.
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post #11 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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I was looking for my stuff and found this black & Decker BDL220s laser level. I haven't tried it yet out in the sun and I'm hoping that I'll be able to see it at 100ft. I have had this many years and never really used it so I don't remember how well it worked.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #12 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 06:18 PM
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How does it work?

It says it's good for hanging pictures, but you have a different application:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/BLACK-DEC...YaAgFnEALw_wcB
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post #13 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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It says it's good for hanging pictures, but you have a different application:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/BLACK-DEC...YaAgFnEALw_wcB
That's what I was afraid of. Thanks

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #14 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 06:28 PM
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Got Amazon prime?

These are all cheap and you can get one by APR 21 with Prime:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=green+las...f=nb_sb_noss_2

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 04-19-2019 at 06:32 PM.
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post #15 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
I was looking for my stuff and found this black & Decker BDL220s laser level. I haven't tried it yet out in the sun and I'm hoping that I'll be able to see it at 100ft. I have had this many years and never really used it so I don't remember how well it worked.
You might have to wait until nearly dark to use it. I've got a level somewhere that has a laser built into it. I didn't recommend it because it's only about 18" long. Even a 4' level with a laser taped to it is a little iffy if you could get accurate information from it. The slightest bit out of level over a span of 100' could make more than a foot off. The laser you have shown would only be good for a small room.

At this point you just need to find out if the project is feasible. At 100' the pipe will need to drop 25" from one end to the other. Actually doing the job you can just make sure a 10' pipe drops 2 1/2".

Another option since you live in a pretty arid location is to make a cement lined hole with a grate over the top and put in a sump pump. Then you could just run some 3/4" pvc for the output.
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post #16 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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I have some photos of the actual areas under water but theyíre on another computer that I donít have access to right now. I do have this photo of my septic tank and leach field which is all inside my dog run fence.

My main problem is that the previous owner had a road put in around the leach field that is higher than the leach field to keep people from driving over it. I added the fence to keep my dogs from running off. The whole leach field is underwater when it rains a lot and Iím afraid that it will collapse with the weight of the water on top.

My property line is way out at the tree line in the distance which is also a wash area and the lowest point. You canít see it in this photo, but there is a drainage ditch about 250 ft to the left. I want to get a 4Ē drain pipe out to that to that ditch which head straight to the wash area. I have a huge area to drain and I donít think a pump and hose will work. Actually, Iím thinking I might even have to have 2 - 4Ē pipes.
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JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.

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post #17 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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These are all cheap and you can get one by APR 21 with Prime:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=green+las...f=nb_sb_noss_2
Thanks, I'm going order one right now. I figure even if it doesn't work, I can still use it for other things.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #18 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 09:58 PM
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If you're in a hurry .....

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Thanks, I'm going order one right now. I figure even if it doesn't work, I can still use it for other things.
https://www.deckmagazine.com/design-...-water-level_o
There's always the clear tubing or the garden hose. I would make a water level anyway to verify the laser findings.... easy enough to do.
I always like a backup plan, sometimes more than one ..... that's jusr me.
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post #19 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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https://www.deckmagazine.com/design-...-water-level_o
There's always the clear tubing or the garden hose. I would make a water level anyway to verify the laser findings.... easy enough to do.
I always like a backup plan, sometimes more than one ..... that's jusr me.
I ordered the 1000 meter one which would be great because it would work better if I can establish the final elevation point to see if my drain is even going to work. My property is fairly level and I am thinking about bringing in a couple of truckloads of top soil to raise the surface of my leach field above the road. My neighbor says his property always floods during heavy rains and I want to be careful not to cause any more of my water to go onto his property.

Anyway, the one thing Iím puzzled with is how am I going to locate the laser point at the end? I guess I could use a full sheet of plywood to locate it and them make the adjustment to my measuring pole.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #20 of 27 Old 04-19-2019, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
I ordered the 1000 meter one which would be great because it would work better if I can establish the final elevation point to see if my drain is even going to work. My property is fairly level and I am thinking about bringing in a couple of truckloads of top soil to raise the surface of my leach field above the road. My neighbor says his property always floods during heavy rains and I want to be careful not to cause any more of my water to go onto his property.

Anyway, the one thing Iím puzzled with is how am I going to locate the laser point at the end? I guess I could use a full sheet of plywood to locate it and them make the adjustment to my measuring pole.
With the laser you might get a helper to hold a 1x4 with a yard stick attached to it. It's like if you have the laser 2' off the ground and it hits at 3' on the yard stick the ground level drops a foot. If it hits above the yard stick you might just have the helper mark a like where the laser hits and measure it.
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