A couple paragraphs of background before I get to our real solution....
Some of you might remember my shop is in the basement, and I've got uhhhh, ummmmmmm..... some water issues down there. There's some pics in this thread
about an exterior drain project ya'll helped me with a few years ago.
Then I posted about scaffolding to line/repair the chimney
, and ya'll gave some good ideas on that too. Turns out a truck mounted lift can't get into the backyard, a trailer mount can't park close enough to reach, and when I got under the roof deck to reinforce/locate the loadpath for scaffolding on the roof I found the rafters for that roof have pretty much detached from the building as the whole addition pulls away from the main structure. What do you expect? Some hack just toenailed the rafters into the old lap siding and called it good... then there's the deck, that was hung on the additions' rim joist with no flashing, and the foundation wall that is caving in.....
ANYWAY.... Once we realized we had to pull off the deck and rebuild the additions foundation wall, one thing led to another, and we're just going to start over. Pull off the addition, dig a full-width extension to the basement (bigger shop, yay!) and a 2nd full bath and mudroom.
30 years ago, I drove a bobcat on simple landscaping jobs, and later I rented a few machines with levers. How I loved the foot pedals compared to the levers.
What about today's small excavators? Have they improved the hand-controls enough so you don't burn out after half a day of unfamiliar arm motion? My town has lots of old mini excavators... all arm based. The central PA mountain I'm on is best described as "Shale glued together with clay". Should be fun..... (installing the finished trim, that is.)
Thanks for digger advice.
BTW.... "Hire an operator" you say? Not in the cards. In this neighborhood, we won't recover our cost as it is.