How to blade gravel without 3-point float?

   #31  

Frogmore

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Jun 22, 2009
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Pacific NorthWet
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Kubota B2620
I believe (based on the experience of many people here and other tractor forums) that if you spend enough time (and ruin enough driveways) you can get good enough to make things look better when you are done than when you started.

I know the first time I used my neighbors box blade I discovered it wasn't just set it down and go forwards and this was on an already level and flat area. I figured it would take many tens to hundreds of hours to get reasonably good at it. I didn't have the time for that.

I bought a LandPride GS1548 grading scraper. There is a learning curve with it. But even at 0 hours I was getting better results. After 10 or so hours I got good with it. Now, in a couple of hours I can do 1/4 to 1/2 mile of driveway. I use the rippers to dig out any potholes. Then I go over the whole surface multiple times, without needing to adjust the 3PH much at all. This mixes all the material and makes it look like new. My last pass with the GS is at high speed with it lightly grazing the surface. I then follow that with a chain harrow at high speed to smooth it out more. I then drive over it without anything, again at high speed. To compact it a little and because I can, and it is fun to see just how smooth it is.

I am sure there are many people that could achieve similar results with a box blade or rear blade. I do have two rear blades, a standard 5' one and a better 6' one that also tilts and offsets. I use the big one for making/cleaning the edges/ditches. I have used the smaller one for snow. Neither one would do a good job maintaining my drive.

Sometimes it isn't just the operator, having the right tool for the job will make it easier for any operator to do a good job.
 
   #32  

DieselBound

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Aug 9, 2016
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Arlington, WA
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Frogmore is right, one needs a lot of time on a BB to understand how best to make it work.

I've got a LOT of hours operating BBs and am able to do with it what I need done. The biggest tip that I could give, and I need to constantly remind myself, is to GO SLOW. One doesn't see construction-level grading done fast. It's a lot of adjusting to keep up with the changing surface. I end up running backwards for finish work.

Bonus tip (already mentioned, but worth repeating): hydraulic top link!
 
   #33  

dstriplett

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Aug 27, 2016
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NC
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LS XR4145
I have a draft control (which is what I think you are really talking about vs float) on my tractor but I seldom use it. It comes in handy for initial grading but once graded it's easier to me to just feather the blade using the lift control. I'll attach a video link of how I maintain our gravel drive and how I adjust the box blade. You'll get the hang of it after a few tries. As others have said, speed is not your friend here. Probably the most important adjustment is going to be your top link. For a really smooth pass, lengthen the top link and use the rear blade on your box blade to feather out your work. It works like a champ.
 
   #34  

fried1765

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I took it as curl meaning bucket cylinders are retracted and bucket bottom is flat on the ground or the edge is up some, not bucket is dumped all the way around with cylinders fully extended.
My mistaken interpretation!
 
   #35  

smiley

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Dec 7, 2003
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Upstate NY
Unfortunately I don't have a photo of it anymore but years ago I added removable, about 6 ft long, adjustable, angle iron skids, turned up in front bolted to each side of my boxblade. It had a piece of upright angle about 8" - 10" long bolted to the skids just ahead of the blade, with bolt holes an inch apart to adjust blade height up and down. As long as you have some loose material in front of the blade, it does a decent job of leveling.
Smiley
 
   #36  

Graemet

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Dec 2, 2012
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Christchurch
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Ford
I use mine at an angle to leave a windrow in the middle, grade both sides like this then turn blade around facing back wards and drop it then run down the drive and it spreads ok normally after rain so not to lose the fines.
 
   #37  

beenthere

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Southern Wisconsin, USA
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I just bought the MF 1723E with loader, blade, box-blade. I bought it with the expressed intention of grading my gravel driveway. However, it seems the 3-point hitch does not float. Now every bump and pothole has been multiplied several times. The driveway is far worse than before; one bump becomes several bumps and gouges. The 3-point height is so touchy that it drops or jumps with the 3-point speed turned full turtle. I have tried going backwards too.
What am I doing wrong?

I grew up on fullsized tractors and have years of experience pulling a blade with a JD 4010.
The 3pt only floats.. no down pressure. It will only "hold" a position.
You need to adjust the blade to "float" on what material you are trying to spread.
Easiest is to have adjustable wheels on the blade to set for depth of cut.

But turning a blade around and setting it at an angle and making several passes pulling material (gravel) in from the sides to the middle, and then spreading back out with blade set straight across.

Keep playing with it, and you will get it to work the way you want it.
 
   #38  

Hotpot

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Aug 31, 2017
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Lancaster, ohio
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International 354
My draft control is the key to my box blade use. I was amazed when the results i can get when i discover it. Gravel drives it wroks awesome. Lose dirt is wonderful. i use it on almost on all my box blade work.
A top hydro top link is a must for the Box blade also.
 
   #39  

Katahdin

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Dec 19, 2010
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Scarborough, ME
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Yanmar LX4500, Toro z420
I don't have draft control but yesterday re-worked 300 yards of driveway that hadn't been graded in several years. The aggregate is 3/4" crushed concrete asphalt shingle mix.

First I used the aggressive side of a rear blade to angle the edges of the drive back towards center. This put back gravel I had been snow plowing off since winter.

Then I put on the Box Blade and dropped the scarifiers and shortened the top link all the way, then used the lift control to just rake the scarifiers across the driveway with as many passes needed to loosen everything up. I never let the blade touch the driveway with the lift control.

Then I pulled up the scarifiers and extended the top link all the way. This allowed me to pull the BB across the loose gravel to smooth it down.

Final touch was to use the non-aggressive side of rear blade to angle gravel from the side to the center to form a slight crown.

Good results for several hours of work and I only used simple top link adjustments and lift control.
 

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   #40  

JWR

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Hi have never heard of a 3 point without float. They all float. They have no down force other than the weight of the implement - definifion of float. You are dropping the lever all the way?
Quite true -- all 3pt hitch systems I ever saw use hydraulics ONLY to lift and go down on their own only by gravity (or something pulling them down like a plow digging in deeper and pointed downward. Draft control is intended to deal with that secondary downward pull. )
Whatever other issues are involved here are almost certainly a learning curve mentioned by others above.
 
 
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