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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    109
    Location
    Somervell County, Texas
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Box Blade basics buying tips

    Good Evening

    Nest spring I need to add base material to my crushed lime stone driveway and add 250 more feet to make an all weather access to the barn.

    I'm not sure but I was thinking a box blade just wider than my 790s wheel base would do the trick nicely. However, I do not know what to look for in a box blade.

    They all look great sitting in the dealers lot.

    What do I need to look for so that this the only box blade I will ever need?

    I also plan on using the blade to level my 2 acre lawn, sheer off trees and shrubs that volunteer in the pasture and the occasional breaking up compacted ground to aid in removal with the FEL.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    232
    Location
    NE Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota L35 TLB, John Deere 550 dozer, Cat D-2 dozer, Allis Chalmers HD-11 dozer

    Default Re: Box Blade basics buying tips

    <font color=blue>What do I need to look for so that this the only box blade I will ever need?</font color=blue>

    Short answer: Gannon.

    Long answer:

    Easiest way to judge how much bang for the buck you're getting is to compare the weight of the various offerings.

    Sounds like you're going to be doing a lot of grading. For sure then you need a box that has a rear blade in addition to the front blade. You can adjust the relationship between the cutting and filling action of these boxes by adjusting the pitch with the top link. Makes a box blade into one of the few self correcting dirt moving implements around. You can build an absolutely dead level road without constantly looking over your shoulder and trying to raise and lower the 3pt in time with the dips and the rises. (sure way to get a crick in the neck and a bad case of the dippsy-do's)

    The convertable type rear blades are the most expensive. With these, the rear blade is hinged at the top and can be bolted down for grading or allowed to swing free for agressive cutting. But I have a convertable type that I've never found the need to use unbolted, so if I had to do it over again, I'd opt for the fixed rear blade.

    HTH,
    Dave

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    1,862
    Location
    The Fabulous Foothills of Northern California

    Default Re: Box Blade basics buying tips

    Karmakanic did a good job summarizing what you need to look for. I have a neighbor with a JD 790 that purchased a little Gannon boxblade. Its much heavier and stronger then many of the lightweight ones available. The advantage of that is 2 fold. By being heavier, the ballast needed to help stabilize a full loader bucket is greatly enhanced. It can also act as a more effective anchor when needed while working on slopes. The other reason is that it just works better with more weight having the ability to get into the surface material and cut versus ride over the top and skim.
    The need for a swinging tail/rear cutting blade is perhaps a matter of personal choice. I don't like them and found their ability to do final grading no better then the fixed blade. Even my swinging Gannon boxblade broke both bolt landings loose and needed to be welded back up. My blade has hydraulic rippers, not a must but certainly has its advantages besides just adding more weight. I'd rather see someone install a hydraulic top link then add hydraulic rippers if given the choice. My neighbor with the JD 790 has manually adjustable links and after seeing my set up, really realizes why it is so advantageous, particularly with a boxscraper.

    As mentioned, a boxscraper really needs an adjustable top link to work effectively. While tractors come with a manually adjustable top link, using one effieicently with a boxscraper would be analogous to adjusting the front loader bucket angle with a screw jack. During the course of grading, you will be constantly changing the bite or angle of attack both the front cutting blade and rear cutting blade make with the surface. Folks who manually do it and argue its easy to do just don't know how advantageous being able to do it at will. In many cases I doubt they will repeatedly go from fully in to fully extened from one pass to the next but for final grading, you will do it repeatedly. If you don't have it, get it and consider adding two more valves, one for tilt where you replace the adjsutable link on the right side drawbar with a hydraulic cylinder (the tilt in "top and tilt" or TnT) and the third valve for an auxillary device like hydraulic rippers. Granted adding one, two or three remotes is expensive, but it will make a OK tractor, a wonderful tractor to use for any kind of rear implement use, even a mower. Rat..

    P.S. I have 2 different 72" boxscrapers. One is a Gannon (1200 lbs) and the other a Gearmore (1000 lbs). While the Gannon is heavier using bigger steel, the geometry of the Gearmore just seems a little better. I'd take either. Gearmore is available in the West only as I understand.

  4. #4
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Posts
    6,233
    Location
    SW Michigan
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Box Blade basics buying tips

    I'll further complicate things for you Neil...

    Yes, I'm sure the heavy box blades work better but the fact is the lighter ones do work. I've got a 66" King Kutter behind my 790 and it does everything I need it too. My limit is usually traction as our tractors are pretty light. All that weight of the heavy blade doesn't help traction once it hits the ground. I'm planning on loading my tires this winter.

    I have used my box to cut a driveway through an old fencerow/treeline, leveling areas, grading and most recently with rippers down I've been breaking up the areas of compacted soil from construction traffic on our property. This is my only task so far where more weight on the blade would have been big plus.

    At this point I'm not sure I could have justified all the extra $$$ for a more serious implement. If I were into professional landscaping, sure. But as a homeowner, my King Kutter has done me just great [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Elite Member Kyle_in_Tex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,044
    Location
    Giddings, Texas
    Tractor
    JD 4310,JD5420

    Default Re: Box Blade basics buying tips

    I too am a Newbie at box blades, I have a crick in my neck right now. I spread some gravel on my 500 ft long driveway and the truck driver did an excellent job of dumping as he drove. I had to come in and fix what he left.
    Here's a question. How can you drive forward without the up and down motion of the tractor effecting the blade? I found that driving forward, as the tractor goes up and down, the blade digs in and then dumps load as tractor points downward. I only had really good luck driving in reverse where the tractor was riding on flat level terrain created by the blade. Am I doing something wrong? my neck still hurts...Kyle

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    1,862
    Location
    The Fabulous Foothills of Northern California

    Default Re: Box Blade basics buying tips

    Hey Rob, definitely consider adding some water ballast to the rear. Remember too, the front wheels offer trememdous traction so if ever you find that your not able to pull your boxblade because of traction, fill up the front bucket with dirt, etc.

    Kyle using a boxscraper will take time to get the hang of, it definitely is not automatic. I don't have the motion problem you mention with new gravel, it spreads quite easily. One thing to consider Kyle is letting the box blade build up with some crushed rock. The other is to not just drop the box but rather lower it to just touching the ground and then drive off. When you drop the lever all the way down you are allowing the box to travel much further into the low areas then you would otherwise want. Once you get a driveway into a wash board configuration, it takes more effort on the drivers part to get things back to normal. I use the top hydraulic cylinder (top link) considerably when spreading gravel. Typically, I'll have it fully retracted or extended to open up a passage for the gravel. I don't want the cutting blade getting into the ground. I retract it when driving backwards and extended it almost fully when going forward. The technique will vary depending on what I'm doing. The best thing is to experiment and if you don't have a top link or even better, top n tilt, talk to Santa. Rat...

  7. #7
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    5,658
    Location
    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
    Tractor
    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: Box Blade basics buying tips

    Kyle,

    I agree with Rat that the box blade takes a bit of time to get the hang of and with some practice you will get the feel for it. As much as I would like Top and Tilt there is not a kit made for my little tractor so I have to do with out that aid. The best lesson I learned was to go slow and take small bites. As Rat was saying donít lower your position control all the way. You want to just knock the high spots down on your first passes to minimize the up and down effect of the tractor. After the first few passes there should be much less up and down and you will be able to pull a full box of gravel for a final finish.

    MarkV

  8. #8
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    107
    Location
    south NH
    Tractor
    Kubota B2150HSD

    Default Re: Box Blade basics buying tips

    Neilw,
    Asked the same question myself about 2 months months ago and ended up buying a landpride 1554. What has really helped is that the blade is almost exactly the same width as the outside of my rear tires. Grading rough ground with my 72" blade had been difficult because when ever a single tire went over a bump the tilt of the tractor caused the edge of the blade outside the tire to gouge the ground. the tire would then go in this depression on the next pass, compounding the problem. this problem does not occur with the box blade. Otherwise I would agree with the other posters, even though I can adjust the toplink from the seat, its a real pain. Sure wish I could afford a hydraulic top link.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    109
    Location
    Somervell County, Texas
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Box Blade basics buying tips

    As usual with TBN ask and you will receive. Thanks for all the input it will help in selecting a box blade and using it.

    Neil

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