Hard Packing a

Even when teams are filling the bags to a pretty consistent thickness, high and low spots can still show up under the scrutiny of a level. The solution is simple. Hard-pack the bags in the next row on top of the low spots and pound the puddin' out of the bags on the wall that are too high. By hard-packing, we mean pack every can dumped into the bag with your fist or a quarter-pounder. It really is just a question of over or under-filling, or pounding it harder or lighter (Fig. 3.39).

3.39 (right): Examples of a hard-packed bag and a scooched bag.

3.40 (below): A pole compass with articulating arm. Note the attached level.

Scooching

This is a technique for "soft-packing" a bag. When you want to make a really skinny bag, you may have to scooch it. After every two cans of dirt are added to the bag, smack the sides of the bag with both hands at the same time to compact the dirt from side to side. Be gentle when you toss in the dirt so you don't bulge the sides out again. You can also squeeze the bag stand tighter at the top, narrowing the opening. The bag will imitate whatever shape the opening resembles.

Hard-packed bag

Hard-packed bag

Our early bag stands were round at the top. For the 50-lb. bags it didn't make too much difference, but for the 100-lb. bags and the way-too-big bags, the giant round hole at the top caused the bags to balloon out like a laundry sack. They were insatiable beasts, swallowing entire wheelbarrows of dirt in one gulp. They were impossible to move. That's when we discovered scooching. Redesigning the bag stands made even the "way-too-big" bags manageable. We are living proof that humans can outwit a bag of dirt.

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