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  1. #1

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

    Default back blade for grading/swails

    Hi all,

    I am trying to get a new lot and pasture graded and seeded soon. The final grade around the new house and drive is pretty poor, and I finally sent the guy with the bulldozer home. I am now at the point of "If you want it done right, you gotta do it yourself"

    So if the mud, red clay, dries up by this weekend, I'll be moving some dirt. I need to get a few percent grade away from the foundation and driveway, and create several swails. A while back I tried using a box blade to cut swails, and tilted it by the adjustment on the 3 pt. The results were slow, and not what I had hoped for.

    Before I go out and buy a back blade, I'm wondering if a tilted and angled back blade will give me better and faster results. If I make multple passes in the same direction, will I be able to create a side-to-side slope easier than with a tilted box blade? I hear alot about using them to move snow, but what about dirt/clay? Any thoughts on whether a standard duty (TSC/ Agri-supply type) blade will hold up to this use?

    It seems like I can get the job done with a FEL, box, and rear blade, but I'd really like to hear from anyone who has successfully used these implements to do this. If a rear blade is no better for this task, I'll save the money and finish up with the FEL and box.

    THANKS!

  2. #2
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Posts
    6,233
    Location
    SW Michigan
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    Mike, I just got a rear blade so I don't have a lot of experience yet but here's my take...

    My blade is the standard duty King Kutter. Not terribly heavy. I have found it will dig and move previously disturbed soil like around our new house. I tried a section that had old weeds still growing and it just pushed the weeds over, didn't touch the dirt at all. I suspect that by ripping things up with the box blade scarifiers it would work, but then you've already got the box blade on so why not use it.

    Again, not a lot of experience yet. BTW, I did get the rear blade primarily for snow removal [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    1,055
    Location
    WVa
    Tractor
    Kubota L3710, Ford 5600, Case MB4/94, Kubota B6200

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    I think weight is the key. I've got a 9' Bush hog back blade that has the weight to do the job, but all the adjustments are manual. I use it on my Ford 5600. What I've learned in grading several hundred yards for a fill area is you really need hydraulic tilt to speed things up and enable you to fine tune the blade position to get the slopes you want.

    Replacing the adjustible box beam tilt adjustment with a hydraulic cylinder is on my list of winter projects. With that grading slopes will much simpler. FWIW, the dozer operator you had should have been able to do the job if they knew their stuff.


  4. #4
    New Member
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    Sep 2005
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    0

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    Ummmmm....

    I'm [img]/w3tcompact/icons/blush.gif[/img] to ask this question...but don't have a dictionary...might not get it right anyway...

    What's a swail?

    Doesn't seem to be part of my Western Pennsylvania vocabulary...[img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    By the way I REALLY don't know...

    Bill in Pgh, PA

  5. #5
    Super Member Inspector507's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    5,785
    Location
    Central Ohio

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    macher'
    actually it should be ....swale

    swale

    n.
    1. A low tract of land, especially when moist or marshy.
    2. A long, narrow, usually shallow trough between ridges on a beach, running parallel to the coastline.
    3. A shallow troughlike depression that carries water mainly during rainstorms or snow melts.

  6. #6

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

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails


    My father and in-laws are all from east OH and west PA, and they all say swale/swail. Of course they also say "gumbands" (rubberbands), "youn's" (all of you), and "crick" (a creek)


  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    1,598
    Location
    Greene Co, Arkansas
    Tractor
    JD 1050 2wd, Case 580D 2wd

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    It's a wide shallow ditch type thing 6-12 inches deep and 10-12 ft wide Give or take a little variation in the numbers.

    What I've found when cutting swales with the box is to cut down the middle of where you want it a few times and then begin sloping the sides with one tire in the previous cuts. The box will fill in the _| section of the cut, leaving a nicely graded area. Less playing with the hitch. Just an idea.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member PitbullMidwest's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    944
    Location
    SE Iowa
    Tractor
    1998 Kubota L2900GST

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    I've cut swales with a back blade on a JD 3020 and had moderate success. What worked better for us was a pond scoop. The "bowl" can be shaped pretty quickly with one and the final grade is done with your box blade. We controlled the digging depth with a chain between the scoop and the upper 3 pt link.

  9. #9
    New Member
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    Sep 2005
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    0

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    <font color=blue>My father and in-laws are all from east OH and west PA, and they all say swale/swail. Of course they also say "gumbands" (rubberbands), "youn's" (all of you), and "crick" (a creek)</font color=blue>

    Hey! I worsh my face and scrub my teeth too! Drink pop, not soda, and when I want to go where the action is I go downtown...but we pronounce it different that it is spelled...and I can't spell it like we say it . [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Oh...I guess I vote for the box scraper over the back blade for swailing...

    Bill in Pgh, PA

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    1,055
    Location
    WVa
    Tractor
    Kubota L3710, Ford 5600, Case MB4/94, Kubota B6200

    Default Re: back blade for grading/swails

    A less known definition is a terrace used in permaculture. The terrace is imperceptibly sloped toward the down hill side. The idea is that the swale can intercept water coming off a hill and by spreading it out on the almost flat surface of the swale tremendously decrease the water's velocity and give the water time to sink into the soil rather than runoff.

    In arid area this a technique of capturing water in the soil. In temperate areas, it can solve erosion problems on hillsides.

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