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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hadn't been on my tractor for 6 weeks, and it was affecting my attitude. So we had a big rain and it was time to clean up the driveway. It was starting to get some depressions/ruts where the tires are, and the edges were "fuzzy" due to the grass growing in.
So I did a pass up and down with the land plane, and all is well. Played with how high up off the ground the front was so that it didn't dig down too deeply. Found lots of places where I tweaked the tilt by what seemed like as little as an inch but it really helped level things out. Had a few other areas where I went "backwards"- normally the land plane moves gravel to the center, but the crown was so high I wanted to move gravel back to the outside. I think if I do this 3 times a year or so in a few years I'll know what I'm doing.

So then I went into a small field where I had dug a 5 foot deep trench during construction of my house in 2006. It was finally all settled in and it had the expected depression at the trench and hard raised areas on each side. It had grass grown over it, and when I mow it was a bumpy thing to cross. The land plane didn't do a thing. The grass was hard to break through, and the few places it caught it popped back up.

Well, I didn't TnT and iMatch for nothing so I got the box blade which weights about 800 pounds (vs. the 375 for the land plane). It did much better and cut the high sides down. But the root clumps from the grass made it imposable to smooth it all out. The last time I box bladed, it was for new construction areas so the top soil was put in a pile, and all the work was with clay. The shaved off sod clumps made working the area very difficult.

So my next try in this area (and I have to do this on a bunch more areas where I had trenches) is to first till the area to be smoothed out so the grass clumps are not a problem. I have to change the friction plates in the tiller slip clutch 1st, the've been neglected too long :(. After the tilling, I'll get close with the box blade, then finish with the land plane.

Anyway, just a comment on the days activities. This smoothing out rough areas is new for me, and I've got to figure out how to do it. It was nice to get back in the saddle again :grin:.

Pete
 

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Pete,
Running the tiller first certainly helps if the ground has been left undisturbed for several years. That landplane seems very light at 375 lbs for a 7' model, little more than 50 lbs/ft. Normally I would expect 100 to 150 lbs/ft. it should still work after tilling the problem areas though.

About using the toplink with the landplane, I have found that adjustments fore and aft are critical to keep the plane running correctly. You need to extend the toplink slightly when driving forward to put pressure on the rear end of the skids to lold them down flat on the ground. When you change directions and start to reverse you will need to shorten the toplink just enough that the rear end of the skids are not plowing into the ground. That said you need to make this adjustment every time you change directions, this is to compensate for the tendency of the implement and linkage to pitch forward and backwards about the hitch linkage. I think the more you use it the more accustomed to it you will get, just have to watch what the plane is doing and make adjustments. Glad you are getting in some seat time, that is good to hear.

Sure wish you were closer, I have a 66" tiller that I would swap with you. I have the Howard rotovator 66" and the Deere 673 72" and may need a smaller 40 to 50" tiller for the X749.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tilling the area to be smoothed out is a win. I went to a depth of about 1.5", next time will try about 2". The tiller is also a good 1st step in taking down the obvious high spots. Then I used the box blade to smooth. I'm thinking more and more that a box blade is _not_ a general purpose tool. It is best for moving dirt and digging in. The 1st pass with the box blade was to take out all the grass and roots. Then you're in dirt and the box blade can do its things.

After that, the land plane smooths it out OK, it's clear I need a lot of practice here. Both box blade and landplane are a constant adjustment process at slow speeds. I've got the needle valve on order, that will help a lot with the tilt adjustment. Right now, I have to stop every time I want to tweak the tilt. Being able to do it on the fly will be nice.

So now the problem is what do do with all the "organic debris"- the grass root clumps and grass. I spread it out with a rake. We were expecting rain so I had to move on all this. We got the rain this morning and it helped rinse off the grass.

So with things more level (and I ran over the affected areas with the tractor to be sure it was smoother- it was) I think my next step is to till things again (which will mix in the grass debris) and then seed.

I also got the last side of the garage outbuilding rough graded, and need to shoot it with the laser level and fine tune it next. When you're trying to drop 3-4" in 30 feet and then work into the exiting terrain, eyeballing it doesn't always work.

Pete
 

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I'm thinking more and more that a box blade is _not_ a general purpose tool. It is best for moving dirt and digging in. The 1st pass with the box blade was to take out all the grass and roots. Then you're in dirt and the box blade can do its things.
I bought one after reading the rave reviews of BB's over at FFBN.....thought I couldnt live without one. My bro has had mine since June and I told him to keep it as long as he needs it...as soon as I get it back its going on craigslist. Its got its place, but I've been doing jobs like yours since I've had my tractor....A power rake is worth every penny! I woudnt trade mine for anything.
I'll post pics of it done.....this pic was taken before I put the barrier and gauge wheels on..
 
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