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  1. #11
    Veteran Member Wagtail's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
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    1,358
    Location
    St Helens, Tasmania, Australia
    Tractor
    JD 4105 / JD D110

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    When I prepared the ground for the cement pad for my 5-bay shed I first used my 655 tiller to loosen a layer up, then scooped away with a regular FEL bucket. Fortunately there were only tree roots to contend with. The tiller made all the difference.

    Later on my 4in1 bucket was delivered and I could really get stuck-into levelling, scraping & a wee bit of digging.

  2. #12
    Veteran Member dragoneggs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    1,204
    Location
    Seabeck, Washington
    Tractor
    Kubota BX-25D, JD circa 1990 Lawn Tractor

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    New BX25D owner here and while I have a fair amount of dirt to dig, paths to cut in on sloped property, water and power lines to trench, I can't see passing up on a BH if you have much digging to do at all. My FEL won't dig any of my virgin dirt. I have a Piranha tooth bar coming in the mail to help. I see how it is a bit of a hassle to remove the BH for 3 pt hitch use but I plan to get or make a dolly. Then I don't see it as much of a big deal.

  3. #13
    Bronze Member scobrado's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    81
    Location
    Wilsonville, Ore. USA
    Tractor
    John Deere 3038E

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    I find the box blade is really handy. You should be able to move 18" of tough dirt and rocks in multiple passes with rippers. I like mine to dig ditches using the tilt. The ditch starts our shallow, but every pass make the ditch walls steeper.
    John Deere 3038E/305 FEL/Frontier RB5060 rear blade/Frontier RC2060 rotary cutter/Harbor Freight quick hitch/Titan clamp-on forks/Priefert single bottom plow/Priefert 16x16 disc plow/Priefert 6' landscape rake/Taylor Pittsburgh Carry All/Land Pride BB1572 box blade/Fimco 40 gal. 3 point sprayer/Rankin subsoiler/Bearcat chipper-shredder/, more to come ...

  4. #14
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    864
    Location
    Maine
    Tractor
    Kubota B2620

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    I have a BH and FEL, having said that, I used my FEL with ratchet rake to prepare the soil for a VEG garden I dug out of the sand this spring. Loosened the turf and soil in layers and scooped out the spoils using the fel to about 12 inches. The used the FEL to fill in the garden with topsoil. Something worked OK as the radishes are great and the rest of the veggies are coming along! We have sandy soil here so the digging is easy.

  5. #15
    Platinum Member PhysAssist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    989
    Location
    Upstate NY- see the BIG lake- look just below it...
    Tractor
    Kubota B2320

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    Quote Originally Posted by sandyc View Post
    I have a BH and FEL, having said that, I used my FEL with ratchet rake to prepare the soil for a VEG garden I dug out of the sand this spring. Loosened the turf and soil in layers and scooped out the spoils using the fel to about 12 inches. The used the FEL to fill in the garden with topsoil. Something worked OK as the radishes are great and the rest of the veggies are coming along! We have sandy soil here so the digging is easy.
    And while a ratchet rake is useful in clearing ground, and can no doubt really loosen soil, especially sandy soil, it is no match for a Piranha toothbar, which by the way were made expressly to increase the utility and capability of BX tractors, hence the name BXpanded.com. Search toothbar, and especially the Piranha toothbar, and you will find a ton of people using them to dig, rake, and clear with.

    Our tractor is a slightly bigger (though not much more powerful, if any) kubota B2320, and after being frustrated for over a year with the weak digging ability of my loader (as a kid I drove BIG tractors with loaders and expected something more like that kind of digging ability-and now that I think of it, they all had teeth too), we ordered a Piranha Toothbar from Harry at BXpanded

    Now when we want to move soil or rocks or turf, we just drive in and up it comes. The amount of angle of the bucket and down pressure controls the depth so with just a little practice, it doesn't bog down.

    We do use our box blade to loosen and dig up soil etc, but it is only good for moving it a short distance, else it leaks as you go (or keeps digging where you don't want it to. It is the best at spreading and smoothing whatever- soil, gravel, wood chips..., but a toothbar gets you digging a lot cheaper than either a boxblade or a backhoe.

    And before I get jumped on, I have to add that neither toothbar nor the boxblade are good substitutes for a BH, in performing its functions, but as my dealer said, unless you have tons of trenching or tree stumps to remove, it's one just one more, big, heavy, expensive thing to store, maintain, and have break down.

    My dealer talked me out of a backhoe and I am very glad he did, because for less than that money, we got a boxblade, toothbar, a combo spade (though that is the implement I like least, it does have uses), and a HF quickhitch.

    I almost forgot our ballast box which I just finished a month or so ago.

    Just my. 02 (50$ adjusted for taxes and inflation).

    Thomas

  6. #16
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    1,252
    Location
    Balls Creek, NC
    Tractor
    New Holland 1720

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    Get a box blade and utilize the scarfers to loosen your soil...
    Take your FEL and then remove the loosened soil for your project...
    FEL's on compacts are designed to lift and load and not necessarily dig...
    Many on here do use the FEL for digging but it does stress the loader and frame attachment points...
    The heavier the tractor the easier it is to dig with the FEL...
    I did add a tooth bar to my tractor and it digs well but it is heavier than a BX weighing in at 3300# sans loader...
    Some inexperienced operators have damaged their tractors using a FEL to dig...
    Some have not...
    Your dealer is just trying to protect you and your investment...
    When my dealer delivered my tractor and FEL he told me that it was not a bull dozer...
    I told him I didn't need it for that...
    I had a CAT D4D sitting in the pasture...

  7. #17
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    138
    Location
    Vermont
    Tractor
    Still looking...

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    Hey thanks, guys for all your responses... Extremely helpful info. I appreciate it. I've considered a BH but maybe I'll pull back from that. I was planning on getting a box blade... Found a good used one for $350. I'm going to look at it tomorrow.

    Digging with FEL-p6140063.jpg

    Yes, our soil is very rocky, so I guess I won't risk digging too much with the FEL. I'll try to do as much as I can with the BB and then scoop the loose stuff. If I get into big rocks then I can rent a 3000 series TLB from a local rental place for $300/day. That's probably the way to go. Here is where I want to build the patio:

    Digging with FEL-back.jpg

    ...right to the left of the deck. We have a ton of ledge and had to blast a cellar hole, blast a trench to the well and for the septic. This whole hill is ledge - the Rock of Gibraltar. So I may not even be able to go down that deep anyway. Frost around here will move anything not set deep enough in the ground, so I want to get a good base for the patio stones with good drainage. I also want to put a crushed stone skirt around the whole house about 28" in width. I may be able to scoop down a few inches with the FEL as most of that material is sandy back-fill. Can't wait to get this tractor. We haven't done any landscaping around the house yet as we are still recovering from building expense. Having the tractor will save us the expense of hiring to do all this work. I also need to move this:

    Digging with FEL-wall.jpg
    Digging with FEL-front2.jpg

    These rocks (from a 200 year old wall) got displaced when the land was cleared I want to rebuild that wall. It's beautiful and meanders all throughout our 10.5 acres.

    Digging with FEL-dsc04205.jpg

    And I have this driveway to maintain.

    Digging with FEL-driveway-2.jpg
    Digging with FEL-driveway-3.jpg

    Lots of work to do!! I'll upload pics as it unfolds!

  8. #18
    Super Member JOHNTHOMAS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    5,521
    Location
    Somerset, Ky
    Tractor
    currently own F3080 F2680 B2620 FEL/BH RTV1140

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    I bought my first tractor about 10 years ago, a BX2200 FEL MMM, to be my lifetime mower with a high priced wheel barrow on the front. I bought 5 acres of hillside, rocky, ditches and trees to build my own home on. Had a man with a dozer come after I spent a month cutting scrub trees with a chain saw and he did in a few hours what was taking me weeks to do and cleared to my specs the treed area and dug up rocks car size and moved them to my chosen locations at the time. He wanted to bury them all.
    Any way, the more I discovered the little tractor would do the more jobs I took on until I wanted a bigger one and one with higher ground clearance so I discovered the world of trading tractors just like cars and trucks. I moved up in size to a B7800 FEL RFM and a BX1500 MMM (for mowing steep hillside). 3 years later started trading again and went up to an L3240, to big, traded back to a B3200 and then several trades after that to a BX25. Being a project kind of guy and moving trees, grasses and rocks and stuff the BX25 became my favorite Kubota tractor and other than the B7800 (which I used my first lots of projects and taming the land) I used more than any of the others.
    I started buying Kubota Fs for mowing so I no longer use my tractors for mowing. I currently have a B2620 FEL BH and believe I'll stop trading and keep it, for awhile. If I were to consider trading I'd go back to a BX25 because of the FEL and BH. I delayed buying a BH for years because I just couldn't justify the cost, I thought. I even posted one time here for people with BHs to tell me what they did with theirs with little to no response.
    Almost the end. I've bought 15 Kubotas in 9 years. Almost all BX and B models and one L. If I had it all to do over I'd buy a B with a FEL BH first to tame the land, have to have a B for the ground clearance at the beginning and a used BX with RFM for mowing. Then after reaching the stage of maintain and ongoing smaller projects which is basically where I am now except for the rental property with 6 septic tanks I'd buy a BX25 FEL BH. I don't think I'll ever go without a BH again nor go without a FEL. The BH is for digging. Digging everything not just the specific jobs some people have mentioned to you. Digging period. I buy trees when they go on clearance or any time I think I want another one or want to move one or my neighbors want a hole dug for a tree, grass, bush or ?? and my brother lives beside me and I dig stuff for him often. He changes his landscaping more often than I do mine.
    If your wanting to maintain your property and attack projects at your timing and not hunt for reasons not to do a change then get the BX25. If you don't think it's the right one after you buy it and use it for 2 months send me your address and I'll send you $20. If you think it is then just revive this post and tell it.
    I'm assuming your a project guy form your post and the beautiful property/home you have. BHs are for project guys.
    2012 B2620 FEL BH, 2008 F2680 2WD 72" side Discharge Deck, 2012 F3080 4WD 72" rear discharge deck, 2010/2009 RTV1140CPX , RatchetRake, Forks, ...DEARBORN 2 BOTTOM PLOW 12" ?? FOR SALE $425).... Drawbar and Horse Drawn disk 13 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab, 13 Ford Flex. 2009 Subaru Impreza Sport

  9. #19
    Super Star Member kennyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    11,470
    Location
    Westminster, MD
    Tractor
    John Deere 4110

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    Quote Originally Posted by TedLaRue View Post
    Unless the soil is quite soft, your best bet at digging would be to turn the loader to full dump position and "back blade" to scrape the dirt out while backing up. You can scrape a thin layer out, and then when you get a decent pile, scoop up the loose dirt.
    That technique is a fantastic way to bend the curl cylinder rods on the FEL or blow hoses.
    John Deere 4110HST
    FEL, MMM, Artillian 42" Forks, I-Match, Ballast Box, #380 plow (modified to fit), Markham LD-48 Grapple, Trac-Vac 854 and lots of other STUFF.

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  10. #20
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    4,044
    Location
    Holland, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota L5740, Case IH 255, Gravely 8199G

    Default Re: Digging with FEL

    Quote Originally Posted by kennyd View Post
    That technique is a fantastic way to bend the curl cylinder rods on the FEL or blow hoses.
    Kenny, what would be better? I'm a newbie FEL owner and I would do every one of these scraper options/mistakes if only to see what seemed to work better.
    Now I'm operating at lower rpm, not throwing the full weight and power of the tractor into it.

    I've leveled some heavy gravel backing up slowly and nothing seemed too unhappy. When do you know you are crossing the line, short of getting hit in the eye with hot
    hydraulic fluid?

    Personally I always go in slow, testing how things react and then try to use the least power and capacity of the tractor that will get the job done. I need to do this because I am still relatively new to my machine. I know what I don't know and it's a lot. So... what do you suggest for "back blading" with a FEL?

    don't mean to hijack a digging issue for a blading issue but I think we all want to know not only how to get the job done but how not to damage our expensive machinery.

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