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Drilling in Challenging Texas Environment


Location: Llano River Mason County, TX

Bit(s): Super Jaws® T140 Overburden Bit for 6 5/8” OD Casing

Type of Hole: Water Well

Hole diameter: 7 ¼” inches (184 mm)

Hole depth: 81 feet (24.7 m)

Formation type: Highly unconsolidated formation of gravel, sand, and fractured limestone

Rig type: IR T3

Air (Pressure / Volume): 350 PSI / 900 CFM  (24.1 bar / 425 l/sec)

image006MASON COUNTY, TX – When Steve and Pam Bolt of Sonora, Texas purchased acreage on the Llano River in Mason County they knew they had some work in store for them. The land required a lot of time and energy to clear and clean-up the property after several years of growth and non-management. After putting in the time, their efforts paid off when they were able to add a custom built cabin as their vacation home on the river banks.

However, one aspect of vacation living still remained. The home needed a water source to serve the Bolt’s personal and landscaping needs. They hauled water for a few years but a long term solution of drilling a water well on the property was required. The Bolt’s called in a water well company to drill but unfortunately the company was not successful. The difficult unconsolidated Texas ground conditions resulted in the hole caving-in after drilling only 10 feet and the operator had no other solution. The Bolt’s were in a bind.

Disappointed but not beaten, the Bolt’s contacted President Clark Abel of Abel Water Systems in San Angelo, TX based upon his expertise in difficult drilling conditions. Clark discussed the complications of drilling a well in the unconsolidated formation of gravel, sand, and fractured limestone. He further detailed that a well location situated close to the river added additional issues to the well planning and drilling process. Clark explained how this well would take special equipment and careful drilling in order to be successful.

Abel Water Systems contacted Kathy Wagoner from ToolHand, LLC of Menard, TX to discuss the complications of drilling the well. ToolHand suggested running the Numa Super Jaws® Overburden Drilling System. ToolHand informed Clark that the Numa Super Jaws System sets the well casing simultaneously while drilling the hole. With its unique wing design, the Super Jaws bit goes inside of casing and its wings extend out further than the casing OD. This allows Super Jaws to drill and advance the casing at the same time to prevent hole collapse in unconsolidated formations. Another benefit is the wings retract back into the guide body for extraction of all tooling while leaving the casing in place. Saving time and money for drillers.

image004ToolHand and Abel Water Systems agreed the Numa Super Jaws Drilling System was the perfect solution for the Bolt’s water well. They designed a well plan that incorporated a T140 Super Jaws System for setting the 6 5/8” casing and taking into account the close proximity to the river. Clark presented Steve and Pam with the well plan, pointing out the dependable performance of Super Jaws drilling through unconsolidated ground conditions. The Bolt’s agreed to proceed so they could get running water in their vacation home.

It was now time to get to work. Abel Water Systems, ToolHand, LLC and Numa field technical support were all welcomed on the drill site by the Bolt’s. The IR T3 rig was set up and the Super Jaws System was prepared for installing the 6 5/8” casing. The unconsolidated river formation was as tough and unpredictable as expected but it was no match for Super Jaws. Numa’s bit was able to drill and case the complete hole in one easy application. The 81’ (27.4 m) water well was simultaneously drilled and cased in about four (4) hours.

“Super Jaws opens new markets in which we haven’t been able to drill before. It allows for drilling in any kind of unconsolidated formation, such as riverbed rock,” commented Kathy Wagoner of ToolHand. “Also, Numa provided great field support on this project but, as Abel Water Systems will attest, Super Jaws was real easy to deploy and use.”

The Bolt’s were delighted with the results and amazed with the successful drilling. The Super Jaws well now provides plenty of water to supply their Mason County vacation home and property. There was only one way to give the Bolt’s the water well they required. So when ToolHand and Abel Water Systems had to be right, they choose the Numa Super Jaws overburden bit to get the job done for their customer.

For more information on Numa products and services, please email us at [email protected], call us on 860.923.9551, or visit our website at

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