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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    I am nearing completion of my driveway project. I had borrowed a neighbor's box blade to level and our long driveway. I had a truck load (14 yards) of "flex base" (looks like caliche to me) delivered. It was fairly wet when delivered so came out in big clumps instead of a good smooth drop/spread. I had to drag it down the driveway with the box blade. I spent hours yesterday on my '52 8n smoothing things out and doing a pretty good job of leveling a couple of swales.
    Then I made repeated runs with my pickup truck to pack it down. Hopefully a nice gentle rain will arrive soon to settle it all in. The driveway has a gentle slope down to the paved road and I have a mild crown down the center. Hopefully, this will let water drain away quickly.
    This afternoon I will attempt to break up the big piles of caliche on the four car parking pad in front of the house. I have rippers/hooks/teeth/scarifiers... whatever you want to call them. I figure to break up the big piles that neither the box blade alone, nor my dirt scoop could dig up. They just skimmed over the top. It may be damp at the bottom of the piles but if I can break it up and spread it around today, by tomorrow it should be nice and dry and easier to spread and smooth with the box blade.

    So, since I'll have to eventually return the box to my neighbor I'll be in the market for my own iimplement. Hopefully, I can find a decent one on Craig's list or the local farm auction. I would like opinions and reasons on which implement would be best for me for maintaining the driveway: Box blade of landscape rake.
    I like the idea that a rake can be angled, maybe even tilted? I can't think of any other need for either, other than occasionally smoothing out ruts created in our sandy meadow when some idiot does a U-turn in the meadow rather than using a driveway or the next intersection to turn around. I figure the box or the rake could handle filling in and smoothing out the ruts.
    I would appreciate your suggestions. By the way, while my neighor's box is only four feet wide, I'll be looking for a five footer. If I get a rake, I think I'll get a six footer so that, with an angle on it, it will still cover the tire tread marks.
    Ken in Bellville, TX

  2. #2
    Super Member JB4310's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Central CT
    J.D. 4310 E-hydro

    Default Re: Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    This is the age old question, there's usually a couple of discussions on this at any given time, so I'll just keep it brief.

    If it's just to maintain driveway, I would say a wide rake with wheels.

    JD 4310; E hydro, 300CX, 48 BH, 60" box, 72" rake, 72" rear blade, cast pallet forks, 48", 61"HD & 73" high volume bucket.
    FORD 1700; 2 WD, 2600 hrs.
    JD 320; Hydra lift, 48" deck and 48" snow blade.
    2007 Dodge Ram 3500, Cummins 6.7L, Aisin 6 speed, 9ft utility body.

  3. #3
    Elite Member GPintheMitten's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Flushing, Michigan
    Kubota B2620 with BH65 backhoe, Ford 2N

    Default Re: Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    I only used a landscape rake for a small amount of time. Others have more experience with them, but I have a hard time seeing one being as effective with driveway maintenance as a box blade.

    I had long (1200') gravel driveway in the country for about 25 years and tried to do maintenance with a back blade for most of that. It worked ok. But when I used a box blade with the scarifiers in the the last couple of years of ownership, I found out that I should have bought one decades before. It was a great tool for gravel driveway maintenance.

    I could not put as much crown in with the box compared to a blade but if you had both like I did in the end, then you would be fine. I also decided that the crown was not as important after I got sufficient gravel in place.
    Last edited by GPintheMitten; 01-03-2010 at 01:12 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Middle Tennessee, USA

    Default Re: Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    I'd say a rear blade would be considerably more useful than a landscape rake for gravel. Those thin fingers don't look like they'd do well for anything aggressive.

  5. #5
    Super Star Member Thomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Kubota L2800HST w/Frontloader & CC LTX1046 & Craftman T2200 lawn mower.

    Default Re: Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    Rake w/drop down blade might fit the needs.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member turbo660's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    NW Wisconsin
    '09 bobcat ct230

    Default Re: Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    Keep in mind that a rake may be great for finish work, it won't dig in to hard packed gravel very well.

    but if you are on a tight budget, and your neighbor will let you use his box blade, the rake would be alot cheaper,
    Old enough to know better, still to young to care.

    ct230 w/FEL
    6' KK box blade
    6.5' KK box frame disc
    7' KK angle blade w/hydro turn
    5' KK 3-point mower
    '04 Yamaha grizzly 660
    '07 Honda VTX 1300
    All this & more on a whopping 6 acres

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Ford 960, 7700, TW20, 1720; IHC H, 300; Ollie S77

    Default Re: Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    I haven't actually used one, but a box blade never seemed to be the right thing to maintain a driveway - worked well to build it I'm sure, they rip down with the teeth, and they haul material around with the box.

    For maintaining a crown & preventing washboard surface, something you can angle would seem a lot better.

    I'll throw out the 3rd option - a back blade. A solid version of a landscape rake. A back blade will do a lot of either of the other 2 - it is heavy enough to do some dirt moving, and angles and you can use it swiveled backwards so it won't be too aggressive. It would be the middle ground.

    The landscape rake will do well for freshining up the driveway, I run mine up & down the driveway 2- 3x a year, and it really works nice. You'll like it.

    There will be times it won't seem real aggressive if you need to actually move some gravel, or in hard dry times.

    The box blade will tend to leave a washboard for you because it doesn't angle. It magnifies the up & down bumps as you go over them. It won't do light touchup very well.

    As someone suggested, if you can borrow the box blade, getting a rake to compliment it will be great.

    If you can only use/ afford one implement, the simple back blade might be the middle ground you are looking for.

    It's a difficult choice bewteen the 3.


  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Lapeer County, Michigan
    Ford 860, 861, Bolens GT2000, Eliminator 1700, Cub LT2180

    Default Re: Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    I have a 7' rear blade, a 6' landscape rake and a 6' box blade. Hands down, I'm able to do a better job with the box blade. I find it easier to set the edge of the driveway, without a row of gravel being pushed out too far too the edge. Even with the rake or blade at an angle, it's hard to keep the gravel from pushing out into the lawn a bit. With a box blade, I'm able to run the edge of the blade right where I want it and know that it's final. I believe it does a much better job of filling potholes, and I believe I can establish a better crown, too.
    "Remember, I'm pullin' for ya. We're all in this together."

  9. #9
    Elite Member zzvyb6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    jd 1070

    Default Re: Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    I have a 6' boxblade and an 8' landscape rake. Landscape rake does the best job every time (with a caveat): You need to have guage wheels on it so that the leveled gravel sets the plane of the road, you need to have it big enough such that it is wider than than tractor wheels when angled out, and you need to use a chain for the upper link so it can float in a level position no matter what bumps or holes you tractor runs into.

    I cut the rake to 45 degrees to comb the gravel towards the center of the road in each direction and then set the angle to zero and comb the top section flat. With a wide enough rake, you can do 1 lane of the driveway in each pass and it will be Road Commission Approved quality. The little teeny weeny rakes are for scratching dirt. Get one big enough to be proud of the result. You can hang a few hundred lbs of weight on the rake if you need to dig a bit deeper into the base.

    BTW, my box blade has the hydraulic top link and it will pull the gravel up and along. But, the rake makes it into a driveway instead of a logging road. Best driveway so far has been made with crushed asphalt. No more dust, quiet, stays put, looks nicer that crusher dust and easier on the snow plow skids.

    Use a back blade if you like roller coasters....
    There is no "I" in team, but there is a "Me" if you want to jumble it up a bit...

  10. #10
    Super Member SPIKER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Ohio, Jeromesville, Ashland County
    Jinma 284

    Default Re: Box Blade or Landscape rake?

    I've got all 3 6' box, 6' blade and 6' landscape rake. the first one I bought was the box blade, I'm glad I did. For an all around tool it is the best one hands down. as long as you know how to use it!

    going forward is for moving material, works for snow plowing moving as well as moving dirt & gravel down the drive. for final leveling work backing up works like a charm. the box blade is heavier and is less susceptible to damage for new users. (though I did manage to do some good damage to mine backed into a large stump..) A hyd top link makes changing the angle of the blade probably much easier, I dont have one so you have to make sure you tilt the blade correctly for the direction you are going. using the scarfers is only needed when digging up hard packed stuff something neither of the other two implements can or will do. Tilting the cutting edge into the dirt will pull it up tilting the cutting edge away form the dirt will level and compress the materials... (Note I say materials as I use mine for leveling dirt a LOT I bought the landscape rake last and have hardly used it... I went back to the box blade as it simply works better, note I dont have gauge wheels which may add weight to the landscape rake and help it work better...)

    the rock rake moves material only if it is loose and is light so it does not penetrate and move much material...
    back blade is similar only works better for snow and not as well for finish grading of surfaces.

    Mark M
    I may remember why I went to the other end of the shop, I'm just afraid once I get there I'll forget how to get back!

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