Grading Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills?

   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills? #1  

joea99

Platinum Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2014
Messages
624
Location
Marbletown NY
Tractor
Kubota B21, JD 240GT
Home owner with a Kubota B21 TLB, Woods box scraper and EA rock rake.

Attempting to level, more or less, an area of mixed soil and LOTS of rocks, ranging from "eggs" to a foot or more. Some are rounded, like "river rocks" some are sharp edged as if newly broken up. Might be "fill", but that is not documented and if it is, is many decades old. Lets throw in hidden roots and whatever root balls I may have missed when clearing out fairly dense woods. Mixed soft and hard woods from saplings to 24".

Did not expect this to be "easy" but, did not expect it to be this frustrating.

Thought that after a few passes with box scraper scarifiers "deep" and manually removing the "big rocks", I'd eventually get to the point I could begin "leveling" with the scarifiers less aggressive or removed. Not happening as there always seem to be "more rocks", just big enough to present problems.

But, the bigger issue seems to be "depth control" and "tilt" control, which, for the most part, seem very difficult to manage, even with the hydraulic top and tilt.

Thinking the rock rake might be a better solution, as far as getting the rocks out anyway, tried that. Right now I am running in reverse, with the rake pointing "aft", main reason being those "spring tines" can bend quite a bit on bigger rocks and might use my head for target practice. The other reason is allows me to push the debris out of the tractor path making a second pass simpler.

So, that said, what I see the problems being are
1 - the tractor pitches both side to side and end to end, and the implement "follows at a distance", so I would have to move extremely slowly and make almost constant adjustment to the implement. Maybe keeping the implement "high" and making many more passes is the answer here?
2 - the rocks that seem to "spring up out of the ground" in anticipation of my implements arrival cause the implement to "bounce".

I'm off to HF for some cheap magnetic spirit levels, currently "on sale" hoping that attaching them to the implements will allow me to address #1 a bit more precisely.

It's entirely possible the equipment I have is simply not well suited to the task, but, I'm pretty much stuck with what I have as hiring someone or renting for the week or month (at the pace I work at 70+), is not in the cards. Especially as I have a house addition in the plans.

Not sure if I'm looking for tutorials, advice, or just venting, but, there it is.
 
   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills? #2  
Decide what your desired end result will be. Get estimates from two or three guys who do this kind of work. I do not believe your equipment is up to the job. You could probably do it given enough time. You may be pleasantly surprised how cheap it is to have someone with bigger equipment come in and do the job. I was.
 
   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills? #3  
If you have more rocks than soil there is only so much you can do to remove them and end up with level ground. As you are finding out each one you pop up allows more to show. Also since you have roots that grab your implement as you go this makes it even more difficult.

You would be better to have soil (without rocks!) brought in and cover the rocks.
 
   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills?
  • Thread Starter
#4  
Decide what your desired end result will be. Get estimates from two or three guys who do this kind of work. I do not believe your equipment is up to the job. You could probably do it given enough time. You may be pleasantly surprised how cheap it is to have someone with bigger equipment come in and do the job. I was.

I've done that in the past for other tasks. One reason I started trying to do more things myself.
 
   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills? #5  
Do you have gauge wheels on your rake? They help keep the rake running level instead of following the pitch of the tractor.
 
   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills?
  • Thread Starter
#6  
If you have more rocks than soil there is only so much you can do to remove them and end up with level ground. As you are finding out each one you pop up allows more to show. Also since you have roots that grab your implement as you go this makes it even more difficult.

You would be better to have soil (without rocks!) brought in and cover the rocks.

There is more dirt that just "fill in between the rocks", but, there are a lot of rocks.

I've been told before that hauling in dirt is the way to go, if looking to make usable yard space.

Problem being there are lots of people selling "screened top soil" for lawns and raised garden beds, at breathtaking prices, but not many selling "clean fill", which is more what I would want for this situation.

The idea here, to start with, was to create a level enough area to place a Woodland mills HM126 band saw mill and start making boards for future use. Shed/barn/garage or some hybrid using shipping containers.

It may be simpler, for now, to bring in some crushed stone with fines, ("road base", "item 4", "crusher run") and compact that down, wide enough for the mill and a walkway, and get on with it things.
 
   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills?
  • Thread Starter
#7  
Do you have gauge wheels on your rake? They help keep the rake running level instead of following the pitch of the tractor.

I have them, never used them. Thought about it in this case, but understood they were mainly for "finish work", like preparing a lawn or some such.

Might was well give it a try. Hope springs eternal. I think I spelled those right.
 
   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills? #8  
After a flood we had more rocks than dirt. It took years to sort them out.
We still have giant rock piles.

With the box blade and ripper, you have half the implements you need on your TLB.
The other tool is a rock bucket to pick up the rocks and leave the dirt behind.

Get one the same width as your dirt bucket, but with long rounded tines in front.
Houle and Bradco make the best ones. They are all SSQA, so will fit your B21 TLB.
You may have to shorten the width.
good luck,
rScotty

Screenshot 2024-06-15 at 12.14.20 PM.pngScreenshot 2024-06-15 at 12.11.51 PM.png
 
   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills? #9  
Here is an example of the right type of rock bucket. Note the long rounded tines. A subtle difference, but it does twice the work of the rock bucket wit flat tines. We have both types.

The flat tine type - like you see in the previous post - will work. Better than nothing. I don''t know of any other way to sort rocks than a FEL rock bucket. We do have a decent heavy rock rake thatis a good one with flip-down blade, tilt, and trailing wheels. But it won't do anything with rocks at all.

Screenshot 2024-06-15 at 12.23.24 PM.png
 
   / Box Blade and Rock Rake (a.k.a. york rake?) not really doing the job. Operator lacking skills? #10  
...

The idea here, to start with, was to create a level enough area to place a Woodland mills HM126 band saw mill and start making boards for future use. Shed/barn/garage or some hybrid using shipping containers.

It may be simpler, for now, to bring in some crushed stone with fines, ("road base", "item 4", "crusher run") and compact that down, wide enough for the mill and a walkway, and get on with it things.
If you have a commercial saw mill in the area, and if they are willing to sell sawdust and wood chips, I found that a few loads of those over rocky uneven land is a quick way to get a level pad. They decay with time and create soil. But other than that the crusher fines are a good option.
 
 
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