Box Scraper Beginners guide to using a box blade

   #1  

canoetrpr

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I'm not writing one but I'm hoping that starting this thread will do so by answering some basic questions I have about box blade use.

These might sound silly to you but I really do need help - so bear with me.

I bought a Woods HB72 box blade. Nice solid thing. I had an unmaintained driveway with some pot holes, a big hump in the middle from car tires staying in their 'tracks' etc. It probably had seen new gravel back in the 1990s.

Enter box blade.

- Scarfying I found easy. I shorten the top link and in a couple of passes things are loosend up.

- To scrape, I lengthen the top link and it scrapes quite nicely and fills the box quickly.

I struggle a bit with what to do with the load that I have just scraped. Sounds like a basic question but I thought I would ask. Do you just spread it as you are moving forward, or, turn the tractor around and pull it back over the area you scraped it from and re-deposit it by gradually raising the blade?... or something else?

If I'm scraping a 300 ft drive, if I am not spreading as I scrape, I'm going to leave about 10 little 'hills' on the drive. Do you just go back and spread them after?

- Levelling - thats a nother story. I cannot for the life of me seem to be able to level the driveway. What position should the blade be in for levelling? Should my toplink be all the way out, all the way in, or somewhere in between? How high would you raise the rear blade off the surface of the drive while doing levelling pass?

I thought I knew what I was doing. Figured I would lower the 3PT a bit as I felt that I went over a high spot and then raise it a bit after picking up some material from the high spot. Is this generally what the rest of you do also?

- Dragging material. I've found when I drag material it tends to quickly mix up with the ground I am dragging it over. I'm guessing that my toplink is set to long or my 3PT is set too low and I am doing too much scraping. What is the best position to drag material in so that you are just moving it and not scraping.

- I have a landscape rake with guage wheels. It seemed to work a bit better for the levelling pass but after a little bit I found that the welds on one of the wheel assemblies had cracked. I don't know if I somehow adjusted it wrong or something or the design was bad. I'll post a picture or two.

Figured I might as well ask how one adjusts the guage wheel hight if using a landscape rake or a box blade.

Can't tell you how much I'd appreciate your help.
 
   #2  

Fug1000

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I just got my boxblade a few weeks ago and I haven't used it yet but I will be watching this thread... I need answers to all your questions too.:)

'Cept my driveway is 900 ft.

Inquiring boxblade newbs want to know! :D
 
   #3  

daBear

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Your tractor should have a "float" position for the 3pt. On my Kubota it is all the way down. That enables the box to follow the ground and will eliminate the constant up and down movement you are doing to create those hills. Make sure it is level from side to side while raising it from the ground. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish you may or may not need the scarifier teeth in. If you are removing material the teeth need to be in. If you are trying to smooth and dress, remove the teeth, and lengthen the top link. Raise the box until it is just off the grade and experiment with it.

It is not that hard to get the knack of a box blade, but you need to find the float position first, then practice, practice, practice.
 
  
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#4  
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canoetrpr

canoetrpr

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Wait a second! Did you say the 3PT has a float position? I had no idea about this. Our tractors are virtually identical.

If I put the 3pt all the way down you say it will float? Hard to believe I've missed this as the float is pretty obvious on the loader valve, but I'm going to have to give this a shot.
 
   #6  

wushaw

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Gentelmen you have a float position in all positions on your 3pt. Our tractors do not have hydraulic down pressure only whatever weight you put on it.

Canoetrpr, what ya can do after ya get a good loose pile of material is extend your top link all the way and drag the material till it empties into all the low spots, the fwd facing cutting blade will not be cutting and the rear facing cutting blade will be doing the smoothing.

With the top link extended all the way the rear of the BB will only be like 6" off the ground when in the full up position so just be aware of where you drive when in this position.
 
  
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canoetrpr

canoetrpr

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wushaw:

Do I understand what you are saying correctly?

- extend the top link.
- fill the box with the 3pt pretty much all the way down.
- once the box is full raise the blade so that it is just off the ground and drive forward letting the material fall into low spots.
 
   #8  

3RRL

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Ok, I'll give it a shot...

- Scarfying I found easy. I shorten the top link and in a couple of passes things are loosend up.
Right. That is what you want to do anytime you have a "hump" or hard spot to cut off. Then you can drag it away with the blade. Put the scarifiers up, out of the way or even upside down when not in use.

- To scrape, I lengthen the top link and it scrapes quite nicely and fills the box quickly.
Right again, except sometimes either lengthening or even shortening might produce a slicing cutting with the front blade. It depends how much your front cutting blade sticks down below the side panels. Somewhere in the middle of that adjustment is where you want to set the top link so that the front blade barely, if at all cuts. The rear blade would also sit about the same as the front, so now it can smooth. They are even.
If I want to scrape aggressively or more like cut, I tilt the box forward a bit, shortening the top link so that the front blade cuts more than the rear would smooth.

I struggle a bit with what to do with the load that I have just scraped. Sounds like a basic question but I thought I would ask. Do you just spread it as you are moving forward, or, turn the tractor around and pull it back over the area you scraped it from and re-deposit it by gradually raising the blade?... or something else?
That's your choice.
Do you have a spot to drag it to on the road or area you are scraping, such as a low spot you want to build up or fill? If not, drag it to another spot out of the way where you can get to it later with either the boxblade or your fel bucket and move it.

If I'm scraping a 300 ft drive, if I am not spreading as I scrape, I'm going to leave about 10 little 'hills' on the drive. Do you just go back and spread them after?
Yes, spread them out after or move them with your fel bucket like I said above. Sometimes you will find "low" spots on the road you want to fill and compact to make the road more level.

- Levelling - thats a nother story. I cannot for the life of me seem to be able to level the driveway. What position should the blade be in for levelling? Should my toplink be all the way out, all the way in, or somewhere in between? How high would you raise the rear blade off the surface of the drive while doing levelling pass?
I touched on this above where somewhere in between is the spot you want for finish grading. Not necessarily leveling, so I assume you mean finish grading to get a smooth finish, right. Leveling would mean (to me) to cut off the high spots and fill the low spots. I set the blades so they are about the same, meaning the top link somewhere in the middle to achieve this blade position. Then I drag the box. What this does is the front blade slightly cuts off any standing ridges while the rear blade is smoothing the dirt out. But the front is not aggressively cutting. One important thing to remember is to compact those low spots you filled, or when you go through them with the boxblade, it will sink/cut deeper in those areas unless you've firmed it up by compacting.

I thought I knew what I was doing. Figured I would lower the 3PT a bit as I felt that I went over a high spot and then raise it a bit after picking up some material from the high spot. Is this generally what the rest of you do also?
Yes, to a point.
When you say a "high spot", what do you mean? Like a hump in the road that you want to cut off or is it a gradual rise and fall in the road that you can live with? If it is a hump and you want to cut it off, the best way is to lower the scarifiers and grind up that hump until it is loose to the point where it's level with the rest of your drive. Then drag the box over the loosened soil and drag it away or spread it to a low section. You can also do this in reverse by using your boxblade as a bulldozer blade. Be advised that you can bend the the drag links this way, so be careful. I bent mine but reinforced them so they are super strong now. I use this technique frequently because it produces great results. By bulldozing in reverse, the rear blade cuts off the dirt and leaves a perfect path for your tractor tires to follow. There will not be any humps or bumps that way. Plus, if you are contouring the road, the tractor tires will sit on the contour you just cut. Your blade will remain constant, as long as you don't take too much of a cut and stall the tractor or bend the lower drag links.

- Dragging material. I've found when I drag material it tends to quickly mix up with the ground I am dragging it over. I'm guessing that my toplink is set to long or my 3PT is set too low and I am doing too much scraping. What is the best position to drag material in so that you are just moving it and not scraping.
That middle top link position I was talking about where the front blade and rear blade are sitting equally from the ground. So neither one cuts or drags, but they are both the same position. This may or may not be the middle of your top link, but should be somewhere near it. Just depends where the top link ends up with the blades in that position. But the key is to get the blades in that position no matter where the top link is.

Figured I might as well ask how one adjusts the guage wheel hight if using a landscape rake or a box blade.
You can adjust the leveling or guage wheels so that the tips of the rake or the tips of the blade barely hit the ground when on a level surface. That way your implement can still work by engaging the ground, but no more that you have it set at. How it works...the wheels now ride on a smoother surface than in front of the blade or rake, so it keeps the implement relative to the smoother surface you have just created. This is much the same principle I was talking about using the boxblade in reverse as a bulldozer. The surface behind is now smoother the the surface ahead and your tractor wheels ride on the smoother surface keeping the boxblade relative to the smoother surface.
But back to the guage wheels, I don't use mine so much once I've finished grading and smoothing the road. Once it hardens up and is compacted, I just drag the box in the neutral position described above and use "float" on the 3pt. Then it follows the smoothness of the (already) smooth road and just dresses it up. What I use the guage wheels for is spreading a lift of dirt at an even level or amount. So I set the guage wheels to be 1" lower than the cutting blades and grab a boxful of dirt or gravel and spread. I then spread an even 1" lift until the box is empty. I use the fel bucket to move the material to those areas I want to use this spreading technique so I don't lose too much material trying to drag it a long ways.
 
   #9  

jbrumberg

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3RRL AKA Rob is the guru of box blading :D! Jay :)
 
   #10  

wushaw

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Rob pretty much explained it better than I could.

Canoetrpr, since you have hyd top link now with adjustability on the fly use small inputs to get the desired cutting angle.

Keep at it and be patient, drink a beer and set back and look at what you want to achieve.
 
 
 
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