Grading
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    Grading

    One of the big reasons I bought my 1025r was to re-grade some areas of my property. There are several areas that I need to slow the lawn mower down to a crawl in order to mow. It can really give the kidneys a workout.

    This morning I found an area out in the back 40 that wouldn't matter too much if I tore it up, tilled it, and then spent about three hours practicing with the box blade. After that time, I came to a few conclusions.

    1. While it's a simple enough concept, working with a box blade is really an art.
    2. I'm sure I need much more practice, but it doesn't look as if the box blade is what I want for finish grading prior to planting grass seed.
    3. The depth stop lock on the 1025r sucks.

    So, a couple of noob questions for the veterans out there. I've watched a few you tube videos, but are there any other resources for learning how to use a box blade properly (other than practice, practice, practice that is)? Also, what are your recommendations for final finish grading? Is that what a chain harrow is for?

    Thanks!

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    First of all..

    1 YES it is!!

    2 IMO, you need some kind of drag harrow.

    3 When using a rear blade or box blade, you really are not gonna use the depth stop thing. You really need to pay attention to tractors traction and just how the blade is doing. Your always gonna be adjusting the height when a 3pt is used. You might want to go say north and south then when done go east and west..

    When front tires go up over a hump your blade digs a hole and when the rear tires hit that hump then the blade makes another hump.. Yea, that crap gets fun in a hurry..

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    ejb69's Avatar
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    Take a look at land planes.
    Eric

    2011 1026R / H120 / 60D auto-connect, independent-lift mmm / 54" snowblower / 4' KK Pro rotary mower / KK 4' tiller

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Top link adjustment is very sensitive when using a box blade for final grading, especially when near level. Pay close attention to the front and back blade angles and how they both touch the ground when you change the top link length. Once you get the hang of what angles the box blade need to do what, you'll quickly master it. Roughly speaking, the shorter the top link, the more forward the box blade is angled, the more aggressive it will cut and carry material. The opposite is also true. Lengthen the too link and the BB will tend to smooth and deposit more material.
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    Fit Rite Hydraulics MtnViewRanch's Avatar
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    This will be the easiest implement to use to get your ground flat.

    Many different manufacturers of these, some better than others, but they all seem to work pretty good.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P4190015.JPG  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejb69 View Post
    Take a look at land planes.
    I second this!
    John Deere 1026R (MY 2012) Purchased April 2013
    H120 FEL with 49" bucket, Ken's 5/16" Bolt on Hooks & BXpanded Piranha Tooth Bar
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    JD 3-Bag MCS w/Honda GC160 Power "Pak"
    260 BH with 12" bucket
    Artillian 42"x3" Forks w/2" Receiver
    48" EA XTreme Duty Box Blade
    36" EA Independent Wheel Lawn Aerator w/Alternating Depth Tines
    52" Ratchet Rake
    iMatch QH

    2003 John Deere LX266
    42" Freedom Mulching Deck
    Larger LX model wheels/tires

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    I recently re-seeded about a 7,000 square foot section of my lawn and spread over 155 yards of a loam/light manure/compost mix using a combination of a box blade and FEL. I completely changed the topography of the re-seeded section and it was quite a bit of work as I incorporated a shallow drainage swail (we'll see how it works). I used the Ratchet Rake for seed bed preparation, but getting the ground flat took some work and constant referencing of level areas / structures and even hand raking in some instances to achieve as level of a surface as possible. I've seen land planes in action (never used one) and think it would be the perfect tool for flattening an area that is being prepped for seed. The ratchet rake is great for creating shallow rows that the seed can drop into and a small amount of dirt raked over the top to ensure good seed to soil contact for optimum germination. The box blade is great for moving material, chipping away at dirt piles and loosening compacted soil. I was thinking about trying a chain harrow as well since the soil that I was working was loose, but could only find a 4'x4' drag locally and think that a 4'x8' would be a better choice, but I don't have any experience or knowledge that would have helped me determine what dimension is truly ideal. I wonder if a quality tine rake would be as good (or better) of a seed bed prep tool in comparison to something like the ratchet rake?

    Sure wished I had a fit-rite TNT kit on my 1026 when I was working the back blade, I adjusted it several times depending upon what I was trying to make it do... It's on the list, but a 60D is ahead of it on the list!

    Curious to know from those that have experience putting in lawns from scratch (brining in soil, leveling / grading, etc.) what are the essential and best tools? FEL & box blade to move dirt, land plane to level, and tine rake to finish rake it? Would a pulverizer fit in somewhere here? I know a Harley rake is a great tool, but $7,000-$10,000 is way too much for one attachment unless it's making you money or being used often.
    John Deere 1026R (MY 2012) Purchased April 2013
    H120 FEL with 49" bucket, Ken's 5/16" Bolt on Hooks & BXpanded Piranha Tooth Bar
    60D (7-iron) Autoconnect MMM
    JD 3-Bag MCS w/Honda GC160 Power "Pak"
    260 BH with 12" bucket
    Artillian 42"x3" Forks w/2" Receiver
    48" EA XTreme Duty Box Blade
    36" EA Independent Wheel Lawn Aerator w/Alternating Depth Tines
    52" Ratchet Rake
    iMatch QH

    2003 John Deere LX266
    42" Freedom Mulching Deck
    Larger LX model wheels/tires

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    AWK
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    Interesting thread. I picked up a Frontier BB2048 Box Blade last weekend and learned it will take some practice! I was easier then the FEL to level, BUT.... still not at the level I like. However, I am sure I will always need to break out the hand rake.

    AWK
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    John Deere BW15326 Front Blade
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    The best thing you can do for yourself if you're going to be grading is buy a top and tilt kit.

    The thing with a box blade is that you need to adjust it. Tilting forward cuts deeper, tilting back smoothes material well and leaves a nice finish. Depending on the surface you're working, you may need to make these adjustments very often. On my driveway for example, gravels will wash and collect in certain areas. I need to take a deeper cut to pick up material in those spots, but may need to deposit that gravel again 10 yards away. That means shortening the top link, picking up gravel, moving just a bit and lengthening the top link. That's a lot of on and off the tractor to do, so what really happens is you set it somewhere close to a happy medium and get so-so results because that's a lot less time consuming, or fight with it being set wrong to get the results you really want. With a top and tilt kit, you can make those changes without ever getting off the tractor, or even stopping. It makes grading so much easier, it's like having a different machine.
    -Blake

    Your mileage may vary.

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 56FordGuy View Post
    The best thing you can do for yourself if you're going to be grading is buy a top and tilt kit.

    The thing with a box blade is that you need to adjust it. Tilting forward cuts deeper, tilting back smoothes material well and leaves a nice finish. Depending on the surface you're working, you may need to make these adjustments very often. On my driveway for example, gravels will wash and collect in certain areas. I need to take a deeper cut to pick up material in those spots, but may need to deposit that gravel again 10 yards away. That means shortening the top link, picking up gravel, moving just a bit and lengthening the top link. That's a lot of on and off the tractor to do, so what really happens is you set it somewhere close to a happy medium and get so-so results because that's a lot less time consuming, or fight with it being set wrong to get the results you really want. With a top and tilt kit, you can make those changes without ever getting off the tractor, or even stopping. It makes grading so much easier, it's like having a different machine.
    My method varies a little bit...

    During the beginning of a job I have the blade tilted forward to cut/scarify and collect more material. To deposit, just lift the 3PH as much as needed to deposit the material where it's needed. As the job gets more and more to my liking, the angle gets reduced as to carry less and less. Eventually I'm at a point where the BB is only smoothing. Still a bunch of adjusting, just not as often. With a TnT, you never leave the seat, all your adjustments are done "on the fly", and you tend to do a much better job a lot quicker. 56 is right, it's like having a different machine.
    - Jason

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    2720 w/ 200CX FEL
    , Ken's weld-on hooks, Fit Rite Hydraulics Top and Tilt kit, Artillian forks.
    1954 60 - getting full restoration, 1964
    110 round fender in the shop for crustoration
    Ferris IS3200Zzero turn mower

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmo2 View Post
    Dieselshadow is my Hero.


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