Cable Tool Drilling, Percussion Drilling, The Pounder, and other names, some not so nice, is what this style of well drilling is called. It has been taking place for thousands of years. I’ve read that the Egyptians drilled with oxen or slaves walking around in a circle and raising the stem and letting it drop. Their deep wells could take several generations to complete. Incredible.
So why do Cable Tool Drilling in modern America? Every couple of months, someone calls me up and asks if we have a Cable Tool Rig and if we can drill their well with this method. That person knows something. The ‘something’ is that the 12″ to 16″ up and down action of the plunging of the drill stem that weighs somewhere between 2000 to 3000 pounds, causes a toilet plunger effect of sucking in the water from the fissures and then pushing out the water in the fissures, right around 45 times a minute. This develops the well and almost always creates MORE WATER! into the well.
The #1 reason why every well is not drilled with a Cable Tool Rig is that the process is very slow. The cost of overhead these days makes it almost impossible to be competitive with this method. So why is there a resurgence in Cable Tool Drilling across America – and throughout the world? Why am do I – and my son in California – own Cable Tool Rigs and KNOW that this a great business move?
- The cost of Rotary Drilling Equipment has gone out of site in the past few years and in crazy California where my son lives and works, the emissions situation is beyond any kind of sanity. These rigs are gasoline powered – usually – ours are – and this equipment isn’t yet regulated by CARB (California Air Regulatory Board). So, no one can afford for big expensive Rotary Rigs to go and drill 40′ to 60′ holes in gravel and or boulder stratas. Here in Colorado, we’re going to use our Cable Tool Rig for selected shallow wells that need to be deeper than we can excavate for Gallery Wells. But the big deal is that we are going to try our best to NOT leave carbon steel in the ground. We will reverse out the steel and gravel pack around the PVC well casing as we come out of the ground with the steel casing. We’re specifically rebuilding the rig we just purchased for this purpose with large hydraulic jacks. We’re also planning to flat price these wells.
- The cost for a Rotary Rig to steel case wells is very expensive. No matter how we prepare our clients for the extra expense if THEIR ground collapses and needs steel casing, the cost and time of the situation is always difficult, for both of us. A Cable Tool Rig has SO much flexibility that we will be able to move our Rotary Equipment onto the next site and keep drilling while we can use the multitude of advantages that a Cable Tool Rig offers to complete the collapsing well – at vastly less cost.
- In SW Colorado, there are some wells that we have to complete that only produce about 1/4 GPM or 350 gallons per day. Using a Cable Tool Rig to go into those completed wells and surge them, or develop them further, will be extremely effective, AND something no one else that we know of does in our area. Almost always surging a well will get it to produce more water.
- The last ‘new’ reason for offering Cable Tool Drilling is for the old wells that need to either be deconstructed and legally abandoned, for the artesian wells that need to be plugged, and for old steel cased wells that were initially Cable Tool Drilled that have stopped producing water, to either rework and/or deepen those wells. There is no machine that is more flexible than the Cable Tool Rig . . .
The above video is my son Kharom’s rig – JAK Drilling in Middletown, CA – just purchased early 2020.
The rig on the trailer is a rig we purchased out of Texas late 2019. The best we can tell, this is a 1955 Keystone 50, a tad bigger than my son’s rig. We have named this rig, Jael – She Pounded With Determination.
These ugly / beautiful pieces of iron are a variety of Cable Tool Drill Bits.
This is the longer and heavier mast that we are building early in 2020. We’ll try to post some more pictures as Jael comes together.Next Page: Drill: Drilling Comparison Page