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Finished the tire grooving this past week and sent the tool onto @MattL on Friday. I thought I'd post a summary of my experience to help others. Comments apply to a 1025r with R4s and might not apply to other sized tractors.

Design
As mentioned earlier, I started with another design posted here with a few modifications. The changes were avoid creating a point that might break off. No one mentioned this happening, but I wanted to play it safe as I deal with hilly terrain and a gravel drive with large #3 limestone. The modifications were to keep any angled edges closer to 90 degrees and away from 45 degrees.

For example, if you groove the lug lengthwise from end to end, the center of the tire ends up with two 45 degree points when the groove protrudes the edge as shown on the left. Same thing happens if the cross hatch is at the angle in the lug.

Previous Design​
Modified Design​
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Groove depth
I chose to groove the rear tires with a deeper groove than the front tires. The rears were 3/16th and the front 1/8th.

The original tool setting depth was good for the rear tires however I chose to make the front only 1/8th inch since the lugs are smaller. I included a groove from the rear and front tires in the box with the tool so the next person could see the depths.

Duration
It took about an hour per tire. In total, about 4-5 hours to complete with getting tools and thoughts together. It would be quicker if it was just the lengthwise groove in the lug, but the cross hatches took additional time.

The edge cross hatch is 3/4 inch from the edge of the tire at the closest point. Each tire was measured and marked before grooving which consumed some time.
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Effort
Grooving was done across two sessions due to limited time and daylight. The rear tires were done in the first session. I ended up sore the next day in part due to the constrained space (ground to fender) to work and holding the tire myself (wedged board between ground and tire). I also was initially pressing too hard on the tool trying to go quickly. I slowed down partway through allowing the tool to do its job with the heat.

For anyone who hasn't done it, it was like running a knife through a large chunk of cheddar cheese. That's the best analogy I could think of only it doesn't smell like cheddar cheese.

Air Temperature
Someone said previously that it is easier to groove when warmer. It was between 40 and 60 when I was grooving. This is probably true though I couldn't really tell. Additionally, and I may be wrong, but I felt that when it got cooler that I didn't get as clean an exit from the lug when grooving all the way to an edge.

The picture below shows an exit (top of the cross hatch) when it was warmer (upper 50s). As I finished the front tires, I was getting a thin edge that wasn't cut entirely causing me to have to groove again going in the other direction. Could be temperature as it was getting colder quickly at the time.
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Lessons Learnt
  • Let the tool do the work - Going just a little slower allowed the tip to pre-heat the rubber so that I didn't have to press as hard to move the tool through the tire.
  • Have a comfortable seat - a hard crate is not ideal given needing to apply pressure to move the tool and hold the tire. My butt was sore after the first session doing rear tires. Needless to say, I had a foam pad when I did the second session.
  • Tire holding - I used a board as a stop between the ground and tire on the rears. As @Kennyd said in his original post on grooving, having a helper to press the brake would be good.
  • Finish one "type" of groove before moving to the next. It was much quicker to do all the cross hatches on one side of the tire, then reposition myself to do another, then reposition again, etc. Trying to do the entire lug at once was a lot of moving around. I suggest doing one entirely to confirm the pattern, then switch to each type of groove.
  • Front tires were a lot easier than the rear due to being able to turn the steering wheel to get the right angle with the tool. I was glad to have started with the rear tires as they were more difficult due to constrained space.
  • Warmer air temps probably make it easier or at least will shorten the duration to groove.

Summary
I'm happy with the outcome. My wife contributed to the project as we explored various patterns before beginning. We're both happy with how it looks. Time will tell how well it works.

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Discussion Starter #102

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'20 1025R, 120R, 54D
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You will be amazed at the increased traction (y)
Is this traction increase only realized on snow? Does it help in soil and mud?
 

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@ryegrass They look GREAT!!! Thanks for sending the tool, last I checked I'm currently last on the list, so if anyone else is interested, post up. I hope to get to it over Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanks again for sending, I'll post up when I receive it.
 

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Is this traction increase only realized on snow? Does it help in soil and mud?
Soil I can't answer, but no it does not help in mud-the grooves fill up and you just end up tracking it in your place of storage. This is primarily a mod for ice and snow since R4 tires are like slicks in those conditions.
 

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Quick update: The tool was received on Tuesday, I hope to start getting groovy with it this afternoon after picking up my new TSC BB. As of now, I'm the last on the list, so I'll keep it till it needs to be passed on, if anyone else is looking to do the same.

Also noting: My wife is excited, she's planning on "helping" me groove the tires... with her name. Happy wife, happy life. :)
 

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Today's update - day didn't go as planned. Picked up BB from TSC, that was a success, but while unloading it is where the day turned. My inlaws rental property had an incident that locked out the weekend's renters (failed attempt to break in ruining the keyhole on the door) that needed to be remedied. So a 2hr one way ride and replacing some door locks chewed up the rest of the warming daylight. Tomorrow I hope to get to it! Good evening everyone, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!
 

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Also noting: My wife is excited, she's planning on "helping" me groove the tires... with her name. Happy wife, happy life. :)
That's brilliant!
With me being the resident Bison and Badger fan, if I could groove their logos into my tires so my neighbors would be forced to have these logos in the residual snow.
Heh, heh, heh. That takes the trash talking to a new level!

How difficult would it be to follow a stencil?
 

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That's brilliant!
With me being the resident Bison and Badger fan, if I could groove their logos into my tires so my neighbors would be forced to have these logos in the residual snow.
Heh, heh, heh. That takes the trash talking to a new level!

How difficult would it be to follow a stencil?
Make sure you 'engrave' the picture in mirror image so it comes out correctly in the snow.
 

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Make sure you 'engrave' the picture in mirror image so it comes out correctly in the snow.
Just like my branding irons! It'll be entertaining to watch my wife try and do a mirror image of her name! I can already see the steam pouring from her ears 🤯 and confusion 🤷‍♀️ for her... When its done, im guessing its going to look like a 16mo's first picture with crayons on a menu at a restaurant... and on the table, and their teeth. This is something I should video!

At least the chaos in pattern should provide for some good traction!
 

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Finally got around to getting groovy with it! It took a little over 3 hours, two beers and of course two cigars (since to me, tractor = cigar time) and I'd call it a success. Overall I went with a pretty simple pattern and as has been mentioned before the process is much easier when you just let the tool do the work by allowing the tip to "preheat" the rubber as you push it though. Only used the blade that was installed and it's available to ship to the next person.

Thanks again GTT community for making this available and for being a great resource for these tractors!
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Just bumping this- with snow coming this week, the tool is available and the list is empty. Im happy to send it off to its next home if someone wants it. Otherwise, its going in to my deep tool storage next time I get around to cleaning my garage...
 

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A post snow update:

The grooving made a difference, a noticeable difference. They are not perfect or even close to snow tires, but if I had to make a comparison it would be like going from summer sports car tires to mild all seasons. You're still going to slide, but grip/traction "recovers" much much faster. The grooved R4s arnt radial R3s, but its evident they're no longer JUST R4s as well. I spent most of my time in 2WD and only needed 4WD when there was a massive amount of snow loading the plow (rolled up, compressed and higher than the top of the plow), and I was starting from a stopped position. Definitely recommend the grooving of the R4s relative to spending $600+ on new versa turfs if the R4s have a ton of life left in them.

PS: its also fun to see the groovy work that you did in the tracks in the snow!
 

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I think I’d like to try it. Looks like a fun project. I guess someone PM me the details of what to do.
 

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I’m on the list. Coming to me next Thanks.
 
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