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  1. #11
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    163
    Location
    Deep Creek Lake Maryland
    Tractor
    None In decision Mode

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    macher

    This off topic, but thought you might enjoy!

    2 Cajun friends passing by:
    "Hello, LeBlanc, I see you're walking a new dog. What happened to your other dog?"

    "Goodday, Jacque, well my old dog finally passed away and I was so lonely I just had to get another."

    "I'm sorry to here that, LeBlanc. Say, what did you name the new dog?"

    "Fido."
    "Fido? What kind of name is that?"

    "Well it doesn't mean anything really I guess."
    "Why then did you choose that name?"
    "It was easy to spell…

    P-h-y- - d-e-a-u-x."

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    206
    Location
    Illinois
    Tractor
    New Holland TC45D

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    I use a rear blade for everything and have never owned or used a box blade, so my advice is rear blade techniques that have worked for me (although they might work for box blading too).

    The best way is to rough the swale in with the FEL. It has power down so you can force the bucket into the ground a lot easier. With the FEL cut perpendicular to the swale then use the blade at an angle to run lengthwise along the swale. I angle the blade so it is windrowing the dirt out of the swale. Once you are happy with the finish, back-drag it with the blade. I have used this technique on lawns and driveways with good success. Of course it does take some practice but it sounds like you have plenty of area to practice on.

    JT

    P.S. Make sure the edges of your swale are 1 mower width wide to avoid scalping or gouging.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    532
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Tractor
    Kubota L4610, BX2230

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    But, do you red up the garage when it needs cleaning?

    Regarding the swale, I'm about to find out how that center dig approach works, since I need to cut into a 2-3 ft. bank for a driveway ramp, and figure it's kind of the same thing.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    21
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Tractor
    3710HST

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    thanks all,

    The weatherman says I have 2 dry days coming up to do the work, so I'm going to try roughing it out with the FEL, then finishing with the box blade. It doesn't sound like the rear blade is going to do much that I can't do already.

    And thanks for the reminder about the width of the mower.... good idea.

    Mike

  5. #15

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    I have been building a house the past 15 mos and I have needed the use of something like a blade or box.

    I ended up borrowing a 5' blade and I found it to work very well as long as the soil was soft. I did end up putting several blocks on it for weight to help dig down some, but where the soil (clay mixture) was packed I had a no effect other than skimming the grass off the top... Grrrrrr

    If you're going to buy something, I suggest a box blade with removeable teeth so you can cut and move.

    Here is another suggestion...

    I have a neighbor up the street that brought over a 8' disc that I was able to pull with my Yanmar 1500 easily and disced up the front and side yard and then I took 2 or 3 RR ties and dragged it around to level off the dirt. This works great for large areas and where you need to pull in a little dirt.. used your box or blade. Very simple and quick, 2 days and you will have a very level yard ready for seed.

  6. #16
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    3,750
    Location
    Stowe, Vermont
    Tractor
    Kubota L3240HST, KX-121-3S

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    Mike -- In my experience weight is the key. My first tractor was a lightweight B1750 with a light KK blade. It just skimmed the surface. But the first time I used my L3010 with that beefy LP 2572 blade I accidently lowered my driveway by a foot! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/shocked.gif[/img]

    I've done what you're talking about around my wife's garden so the snow melt doesn't wash it away every spring. Slow going because of rocks, but with a little experimentation and the desperation that comes from the certain knowledge that my wife will never okay another implement purchase, I got pretty good at it! One thing that made it much easier was the telescoping lift arm adjustment on my kubota. The blade tilt is adjustable only in 15 degree intervals, while in many cases I needed much less than that. Also, my TNT made it a cinch to go from really aggressive to meek and mild without leaving the seat. Would have been a real pain without it.

    I'd send you a pic of the garden slope, but it's under snow and will be till next May.

    Pete

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    21
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Tractor
    3710HST

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    Its me, the original poster...

    Thanks for all the help so far. Based on the advice, and some experiments, I'd really recomend that you rough things out with the FEL (much faster that trying to cut it with the box), the finish it with a box blade (although I suspect a rear blade would be equivelent).

    I only got through a small fraction of what I had envisioned this weekend (know the feeling?). I started with areas that were closest to the house and driveway, and quickly found out that these were were tricky areas to grade. I have about a 20x20 concrete pad outside of my garage (rest is gravel) and I discovered that the lowest point on the pad is several inches lower that the surrounding grade on all 4 sides.

    I believe I straightened it out in front of the house, hopefully "good enough". I didn't cut the final swale/ditch behind the house, so I'm really hoping for dry week, so I don't end up with a pond.

    To complicate the issue, there are HUGE piles of top soil in the path of where the remaining swale needs to go. A blessing and a curse. I took the majority of the weekend moving the topsoil into my yard, bucket by bucket, and still have another 8 ft high pile to go before I can even start to cut more swales.

    I'm realizing that the height of the foundation/garage/driveway pad relative to grade is going to make for some creative landscaping.

    Sigh....

  8. #18
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    1,396
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Tractor
    Kubota L1-20 DT

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    Hey Darren I have seen those "Terraces" from the air when doodling around here and sort of assumed that is what they are for.

    Now I know !!

    I often see them in open paddocks with a dam.

    I have a small dam but being do dry, the grass all dies, then we get a storm and all the soil washes down the hill.

    I have though of some terraces like you describe, but al afraid they will stop as much water getting into the dam except in long periods of rain.
    (Our main chance of rain filling the dam are big, quick storms)

    Cheers

  9. #19

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    Hi fella's
    It is interesting how language varies here in south oz we call swale, contour banks. (i don't know what you call them up there neil in QLD.) Just recently i was working with a person from QLD and she asked me to go and get some steal pickets, I did not have any idea what they wanted. It turned out we call them star droppers, posts perhaps to others.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    1,021
    Location
    Arkansas
    Tractor
    TN70D, 4wd, 16x16 trans

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    Mike,

    I have seen several discussions that have expressed points of view that the box blade is a good for all tool.

    I don't agree. For ditching (call it a swail if you wish) the rear blade is the job. And as mentinoed above you need a heavy blade. After all the 3-point hitch can not create any down force so the weight of the blade does the trick.
    Why you need a rear blade rather than a box blade is the ends of the box blade get in the way for this application.

    I think some of the negative feel for the rear blades are based on experience with very light duty blades that weight little.

    I have a 9 foot rear blade that weights over 1000 lbs. This is a great tool for ditch forming and is very effective. Much faster than a box blade, but then the box blade is better for smoothing dirt and gravel.

    Also as stated above the hydralics are very helpful. My unit has the capability of adding hydraliucs and thats on my short list.

    If you dont need to do a lot of this work then maybe you can rent a used one from a local tractor dealer for a small cost.

    Fred

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