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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.. :thumbsdown:
 

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Take a look at land planes.
 

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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. :good2: 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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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.
 

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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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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.
 

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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.
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.:thumbup1gif:
 

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TNT is nice and all but I would like to have hydraulic rippers too. Those are more time consuming than a manual top link.
 
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$4000...! I love adjusting the manual rippers, I don't know where my head was!
Good exercise too. We all know how nice it is to get on & off the tractor time after time after time after time after time. :good2: You can always go with a ROBB. I believe that you can get one of those for less than 2k. :thumbup1gif:
 

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With the re contouring I have done on this rock pile of mine, I have found it makes it easier to do with multiple implements depending on what is needed at the moment or for a specific needs of the area you are working on.....

I don't have a box blade or land plane. But do have a sub soil tool, to break up ground, remove rocks and roots. I use my 5' cultivator 3pt tool, 5' back blade and FEL to move dirt, and home made de-thatch 3pt tool to help finish grade and prep for seed....

I'm sure there are better tools, that would take less time, but I have 1/5 the money in the tools I have compared to purchased price of other tools....

Some times it just takes persistence and time with what you have to get it done....
More seat time is always good....

Good luck
 

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My recent grading project was easier than most because I have sandy clay to work with, no rocks only a few roots.

I started by setting the rippers full depth and the the box tilted slightly forward. Each succesive pass was overlapping so the rippers dug into a new spot each time. Once the rough grade/elevation was attained at about 2" higher than I wanted, I flipped the rippers upside down to keep them out of the way and tilted the box forward as far as possible. This scraped the surface down to clean up the troughs left behind from the rippers. All the while this was scraping up a large pile of material which was later spread in another area that I was building up. Next I tilted the box back to a little back of level to smooth it out a little more. Although it looked good here it wasn't ready for sead so I chained up a wooden pallet weighted with a cement sidewalk block and dragged that over and over and over until it looked just fine. Yes, I would love a TnT but by time I get one I will be done the major stuff.
 

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Still curious to hear from those that have experience putting in lawns from scratch (bringing 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.
 

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I use my box scraper and rippers to get a good rough on the land then switch. I don't know the name manufactures have put to this tool, mine is home built. I just drag it in circles and figure eights and it scraps off the high clogs and deposits them into the low spots. I would love to have one of those land plane types but what I have works so well I don't think I'll ever get around to building the plane style.
 

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I use my box scraper and rippers to get a good rough on the land then switch. I don't know the name manufactures have put to this tool, mine is home built. I just drag it in circles and figure eights and it scraps off the high clogs and deposits them into the low spots. I would love to have one of those land plane types but what I have works so well I don't think I'll ever get around to building the plane style.
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NEAT.......
Great concept..... :thumbup1gif:

I'd like to see a video of it in action....... (hint, hint)

Good luck
 
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