I paid $325 for a rusty 6’ box blade for my 28 HP tractor at a big farm equipment auction a few weeks ago. I’ve been itching to use it and finally got to use it this weekend. This was my first attempt at using a box blade. I admit I had no idea what I was doing and after doing this project, I still don’t know much. Having really enjoyed the TBN forums, I thought I’d post pictures of my road repair project. Any suggestions from you BB experts out there are greatly appreciated. I have 300 feet of gravel road in serious disrepair.
Here’s the upper 150 feet of the road looking from the property entrance. That rut running down the right side is not a ditch; that’s a washout in the road. There’s another ditch at the far right side along the edge of the brush. The width from ditch to ditch is 15 feet. I placed a board over the rut for perspective. This rut runs the entire length of the upper 150’ section of the road.
I set the box blade at a fairly severe angel as shown below. I began with the scarifiers at their highest setting. I shortened the toplink to give the forward blade some bite. My intention was to drag dirt from along the ditch on the right side into the rut.
I tried various settings for the scarifiers. I had trouble getting the pin in the middle hole of one of the scarifiers. When I pulled out the scarifier and looked at it, the middle hole was drilled off center – some great workmanship, huh?
The scarifier on the low end of the blade kept glogging up with dirt up so I ended up turning it upside down. I ended up turning all the scarifiers upside down. I seemed to get a better bite without using them.
I had some concern about the size of my box blade. I have a 28 HP tractor with a 6’ box blade. I had observed that most people with tractors my size have smaller box blades. I didn’t have any trouble with traction when working on the upper section of the road. I must say that having 4WD for my small tractor was essential. There was a point when I had accidentally turned off the 4WD and I lost traction. There’s no way my tractor could pull this blade using 2WD. Later when I was doing more leveling than digging I did have some traction troubles when my blade was full and I was in lose dirt/gravel. However in these circumstances I would raise the blade slightly until I got better traction and then continue. I just learned to keep my hand on the 3PH lever.
When I purchased the blade I was looking for a blade that was wider than my tractor. I found the extra width very handy for digging the ditch along the roadside. I can dig outside the width of my tires which keeps me from having to run my tires on the opposite side of the ditch. This way my tractor can stays level with the contour of the road.
These pictures show the road at the point where I have filled in the first 75 feet of the washout. Though it may be hard to see, the remaining length of washout can still be seen beside the tractor tires. A nice wide road is starting to form.
About two months ago, the section between the washout and the tree line on the left side was filled with pine trees up to 3” in diameter. We removed these with a chainsaw and pruning loppers. That was before I bought the 2004 John deere. Now that I have a tractor I don’t use the chainsaw and loppers as much. When digging along the ditch long there was a 3” pine stump about 18” high. I tried something I read on TBN. I lifted my box blade a little off the ground, backed into the stump and pushed it over. When the stump popped back up inside the box, I lowered the blade and pulled forward. The pine stump easily popped out of the ground.
I then encountered a 3” hardwood tree in the way. I figured this tree would be too large to take out with the box blade. However I at least had to try to remove it. I raised the FEL about 3 ft and drove forward and pushed the tree over. I used the FEL to push the tree down to the ground. I then drove past the tree until the top of the tree was lying on the ground pointed at the back of the box blade. Next I backed into the end of the tree with the box blade. As I backed up, the box blade lifted the end of the tree up causing it to stand back up. With the tree now standing back up, I lowered the blade fully and backed the blade into the tree. To my amazement the blade just pulled the tree out of the ground, tap root and all!
There was another similar 3” hardwood in my way. I had knocked the tree over a little bit with my FEL. I then backed into it with the blade just below ground level. The blade dug into the tree. When I tried lifting the blade a couple inches, the tree came up with the blade. I backed up a little bit more and then lifted the blade with attached tree a couple more inches. I continued alternating backing up and lifted the blade. The blade just lifted the tree right out of the ground.
I bought the box blade for the purposes of grading my road. I had no idea that I could clear brush and saplings with this handy tool! I am quickly falling in love with my box blade. I need to clear an 8 foot wide strip of 1” to 3” pine trees on each side of a 1000 foot section of road. I look forward to tackling that job with my box blade.