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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    JD 4100 HST

    Default Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    I have been looking at what it would take to build or obtain a small ice resurfacing setup to maintain a small skating rink on the lake behind my house. From what I can tell, the small units are just a box with a sharp blade in them that scrapes rough spots off the top of the ice.

    (They also have a water tank and spreader bar with towels that spread a thin new layer of water, but that part seems easy to build).

    So my question would be would be how suitable or adaptable would an off-the shelf box blade be for this?

    1. Depth of cut adjustment is important for ice resurfacing. I know that typically you would use the 3-pt to control the cutting depth, but for ice resurfacing, I am imagining resting the side plates directly on the ice with 1/16" of an inch or so of the cutting edge protruding below. Can the blade on a standard box blade be adjusted relative to the side plates like that?

    2. I am not sure what the angle of the blade used for ice resurfacing is. I think a standard box blade would be too steep of an angle.

    3. The cutting edge in box blades is typically spec'd as being sharp and hardened. Is it razor sharp? Would I have to sharpen it. I know that ice resurfacing blades are typically stainless but I could live with maintaining a regular steel blade by coating it with oil after each use.

    I am thinking that worst case, I will have to make some kind of blade angle and depth adjusting mods to a standard box blade.

    Anybody ever try this?

    - Rick

  2. #2
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    A homemade zamboni? One of our members, Von, used to have a real one; don't remember hearing of any homemade ones, although it undoubtedly could be done.
    Bird

  3. #3
    Elite Member Tig's Avatar
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    The County, Ontario, Canada
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    Kubota, B7100HST-D

    Default Re: Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    I'm not sure it will be that much use.
    I would say clear a spot and get the kids out skating. Use a pump to flood it afer use. Keep it clean especailly if a thaw is in the forecast. Let mother nature be your guide. She will decide when you can work on the rink.
    I have made outdoor rinks on lakes and in my yard since I was 10 years old and now my kids are grown up.
    The worlds longest skating rink is in town here. They clear the snow with plows and brushes and then they flood. I think a pump is all you really need.
    A rink does not have to be table top smooth all the time to be lots of fun.
    By the way, the hours I spent building rinks were some of the nicest of the winter. Standing out in the yard with the hose in the quiet of the night. Very peaceful if you dress for it.
    Steve

    The best things in life are not things.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    JD 4100 HST

    Default Re: Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tig
    I'm not sure it will be that much use.
    I would say clear a spot and get the kids out skating. Use a pump to flood it afer use. Keep it clean especailly if a thaw is in the forecast...
    Yep, have already done that using a hose from the house. However its a PITA to drain and put away every time so it doesn't freeze. So I was thinking just putting a water tank on the back of the tractor to carry the water.

    Once I do that, I might was well add a simple spreader/towel bar to make it a bit smoother. So looking at welding up the frame for the tank, I stated thinking it might be nice to have the scraping function, so then I started thinking about a cheap box-blade as the right starting point since it already has a frame and three-point mount and most of the steel in the right shape I already would need.

    - Rick

  5. #5
    Gold Member streamin's Avatar
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    Conroe, Texas. Franklinville, N.Y.
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    Mahindra 5035 HST

    Default Re: Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    Just wondering how you know when the ice is hard enough to hold the weight of the tractor?? I would be a little leary....

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    Here are some of the smaller units that I have seen that I would like to kind of copy:

    Ragged Point Industries
    Custom Ice Rinks - Resurfacer
    Ice Rink Engineering

    Zamboni actually makes a couple of 3-point mounted models, but they are clearly more complex and expensive than I need:
    ZamboniŽ Ice Resurfacers
    ZamboniŽ Ice Resurfacers

    - Rick

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    eastern panhandle of WV
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    Kubota B7800 with loaded R-4s

    Default Re: Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    Just curious, but if you were using say a 55 gallon drum of water, how much time would you have before freezing would become a problem. Just curious as I don't live in a climate where the temps are below freezing for really long periods of time.

  8. #8
    Elite Member Tig's Avatar
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    The County, Ontario, Canada
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    Kubota, B7100HST-D

    Default Re: Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    On the canal they drill a hole with an powered ice fishing auger and drop a pump in. They use gas powered pumps but an extension cord and a sump pump works great.
    KubotaSteve, I've cooled garbage cans of water in -20 and it takes quite a while to cool the entire bucket. I would guess more than an hour. The top will freeze quicker and a nozzle can freeze real quick. Zambonies heat the water to prevent nozzle freeze.
    Keeney, Any gizmo I ever tried to use froze as bad as the hose. That's why I favour an extension cord and a sump pump. Lots of water will level it's self and the pump can go back in the house. Hardest part is drilling the hole, but they make machines for that too.
    Steve

    The best things in life are not things.

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    Aug 2004
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    North of Mtl,Que,Can (Ste Adele)
    Tractor
    MT180D

    Default Re: Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    I vote for the sump pump also.
    If you don't have a check valve installed it will self drain when you pull it up out of the hole.

    Another good trick is to have a wooden box frame around the ice hole to keep slush out and cover the hole with 2 inch blue or pink styrofoam insulation.
    That way the hole never freezes over so you only make one hole per season!

    Around here we make our holes when the ice is about 2-3 inches as it is real easy at that point.
    Later on we can get up to 16" and that's hard going. (chain saw makes it easy)

    Shucks, you could even leave the pump under water and it would never freeze.
    Only the water in the pipe where it made contact with the cold air would freeze, so dump the whole thing into the water and attach a cord to the hose end for easy retreval once you have remouved the insulated foam lid.

    Naturally you want float valve mechanism bypassed or remouved.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    JD 4100 HST

    Default Re: Box Blade Used as Ice Resurfacer?

    Yes, I have an ice auger. A manual one works fine for a hole or two, I did think of pumping from the lake. I figured it would be about as much hassle hauling the pump down and up and a shoter hose as the longer hose.

    The attraction of using a tank on the tractor would be that it gets parked in the garage which is kept above freezing, so no messing with thawing out frozen water hoses. The hose to fill it could stay in the garage too.

    Not worried about the tank freezing. In my experience, even a five gallon bucket takes several hours to freeze solid. The top might skin over in half an hour, but to get fully solid all the way through takes a lot longer. Depends on the temp and the wind. A 50 gallon tank wouldn't be a problem unless left out overnight or something.

    Plus to get the best, smoothest ice requires spreading the water out in thin, repeated layers. Just dumping it out of a hose in 1/2-inch deep puddles leads to all sorts of issues as the top skims over first.

    The scraping part of resurfacing is important if you want to get rid of all the lumps and bumps from bits of snow and slush that freeze on the surface. Its difficult to get all the snow perfectly cleaned off of such a large area with just a snowplow without resorting to manual brooming, so when you flood it, any remaining snow turns into slushy ridges (with tire tread patterns).

    Like I said, any ideas are certainly appreciated, but I am leaning towards a more sophisticated resurfacing machine on the back of the tractor. I can then leave the plow on the front and clear the drive and the rink and then resurface the rink each time it snows without changing attachments.

    - Rick

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