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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Got a ratchet rake to use on the loader on my 400. It weighs about 70 lbs and is easy to install in minutes. I tested it on a short section of my gravel driveway. With slight down pressure it loosens a lot of packed gravel. In float it levels it out the gravel nicely. I only had 20 minutes to use it and it needs a few more passes to finish up. I should be able to do the whole driveway in a couple of hours. I have some small brush and a few rocks to dig out around the property so I'll see how it does with that job. I have 1200 lbs on the rear axle and chains on the rear tires so traction is good. Anyone else using one of these on a garden tractor? If so, how do you like it?
 

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I have a Ratchet Rake on my 1023E. It does a great job of aggressive raking, smoothing out dirt fill, tearing out roots, and popping out smaller rocks which I can then throw in the bucket. I use it mostly for clearing out brush. Lately, I've taken out several semi-dead spruce trees and had the stumps ground. Now I'm filling with black dirt and using the Ratchet Rake to smooth and level all that stuff. I think it works better for that type of thing than back-dragging the bucket alone. I was torn between the Piranha blade and the Ratchet Rake (understanding that they are for different purposes) and even had the Piranha on order. The production times are so backed up at BXpanded that I gave up, cancelled the order, and went with the RR, which was delivered two days after I ordered it. If I get to a point where I'm using the FEL for a lot of digging, I can see that I'll need a Piranha, but as it turns out, for my needs, the Ratchet Rake has been the perfect choice.

The Ratchet Rake is very well-made and very robust. It's pretty easy to attach. It does limit bucket use a little bit in that you can't dig with it, but is fine using the bucket as a wheelbarrow. I don't see any dents or bending in the bucket where it attaches.

Using the thing in forward is tricky...you have to get the angle just right to avoid the bucket/RR digging in. I find I use it a lot more for back-dragging, where I can easily control the degree of aggressiveness by changing the angle of the bucket. Most often, I do that back-dragging in float position but I'll add some down-pressure if I'm addressing roots or rocks, or taking down humps and bumps. It works great for that kind of aggressive dirt work without digging, but you do have to watch out for the sprinkler heads. Between the Ratchet Rake and the extensive tree-uprooting that I've been doing, my sprinkler guy is thrilled that I bought a tractor.
 

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CBsJD - That's pretty cool! Pretty rare to see a garden tractor with a FEL. I don't think I've ever see a Ratchet Rake on one! Glad to see it's working out for you!!

MacCool - Would love to see some "before and after" pics of the brush you've cleared (or are clearing). I remember that you were cancelling your order of the Piranha due to the wait time. Glad to see that you're happy with the RR. I have a Piranha, but I'd also like to get a RR. As you said, they're for different purposes, so I don't think that having both would be a bad thing.
 

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I've had a RR for 5 years now and used it extensively with my 1025r when we bought the lot we built on. I've mainly used it for clearing brush and small trees. It works really well on smaller trees as you can put it up the trunk a ways and it bites into it so the bucket doesn't slip and allows you to push the trees over. Granted, these are smaller trees but being able to push it over roots and all makes the job easier/faster.
 

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I've had a RR for 5 years now and used it extensively with my 1025r when we bought the lot we built on. I've mainly used it for clearing brush and small trees. It works really well on smaller trees as you can put it up the trunk a ways and it bites into it so the bucket doesn't slip and allows you to push the trees over. Granted, these are smaller trees but being able to push it over roots and all makes the job easier/faster.
I've done that with smaller trees, but more often than not, my experience has been that hooking them and back-dragging works better for me, given my particular trees. Having said that, I confess that my usual routine for trees from 3 inches up to a foot has been wrapping them with a chain, hooking up to the frame-mounted drawbar, and pulling the suckers out by the roots.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Experimenting with bucket angles, I found that tipping the bucket down so the large teeth in the front were at a slight back angle let the tractor work going forward without digging in. The bucket just lifts up slightly over obstructions. It digs deeper furrows though. The rake does seem easier to use when back dragging.
 

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This stuff I raked up all ended up making pretty good mulch, so I raked it into rows, and carried it back to my new mulch pile.


Before


After


Mulch


 
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