Rake or Blade?: John Deere Review  -- John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum and Review Rake or Blade?: John Deere Review -- John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum

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 11-05-2001, 08:14 Post: 32954
Kevin Squires



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 Rake or Blade?

Okay, I need your opinion yet again. You haven't steered me wrong yet, so here goes! I own a JD 4100 (Gear). I need to use it to plow snow AND grade a rather steep gravel driveway from time to time (steep enough that everyone who walks up it complains that they get winded).A few questions, I guess. Will I need to buy a York rake AND a rear blade? Will a rear blade do both jobs adequately?Secondly, when using a rear blade for snow plowing, does pushing it backwards work better than pulling the snow forward? If the answer is push backwards, should I look for a flat blade rather than a concave shaped blade?Thanks in advance. Kevin






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 11-05-2001, 18:22 Post: 32965
DRankin



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 Rake or Blade?

From the standpoint of my puny amount of experience, I have not found a need for a rake yet. If your drive is loose gravel like mine, you certainly can do 90 percent of the shaping and grading with a rear blade. But consider a chain harrow (turned spikes up) for the final leveling and grading. I have one and I think it works pretty slick. In terms of blade shape I don't think I have ever seen a commercially produced flat blade and it would be hard to imagine what benefit it might bestow over a concave blade. I am sure there are others out there that can relate more experience as to which direction is best to operate the rear blade in snow. I am going to try both ways as soon as I have enough snow.






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 11-06-2001, 07:09 Post: 32982
TomG

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 Rake or Blade?

I do those jobs with loader, blower and box scraper, so what follows is mostly hear-say. Many people who use rear blades for snow removal drive backwards to avoid leaving packed tire tracks. They have blades that rotate 180-degrees. It's also handy to have a blade that angles so snow comes off one end of the blade. Otherwise, snow ends up where it was already plowed and snow that was already plowed has to be moved again. Almost all blades are moldboard types. You really want something that curls snow, gravel etc. ahead of the blade. With a flat blade, a blade sat at a good angle for cutting would likely just push material over the top of the blade. Here, gravel means 'pit-run,' which is a mixture of sand and small stone. It freezes solid and is pretty indestructible. Before freeze-up, any blade, loader or snow blower without large skid-shoes just digs into the gravel. Holding a blade off the ground with the 3ph doesn't work very well. Every time the front wheels go up a hill or over a bump, the blade goes down, often digging a divot. Trying to 'ride' the 3ph apparently takes more skill than I have. However, a blade with tilt can be set flat enough so it rides mostly it's back and won't dig-in (it may not cut very well either). Or maybe they can be set sharp enough so it scrapes rather than curs. Similarly, a loader bucket can be curled back so it mostly rides on its back. If it's then floated, the bucket will push snow without the blade digging in. That's mostly the way I remove snow until freeze-up when I can use the blower. This digging in stuff applies to both snow removal and gravel grading. It's a bit of a trick to create an even surface with a blade, a bit less of a trick with a box scraper, and even less with a rake--especially one with gauge wheels. A drag can be useful for smoothing. A drag can be made from two lengths of light I-beam with chain-link fence between them.






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 11-06-2001, 10:15 Post: 32987
DRankin



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 Rake or Blade?

Agreed. The skid shoes are indispensable when plowing snow.






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 11-06-2001, 11:22 Post: 32990
Art White



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 Rake or Blade?

Forget the landscape rake and just buy a good blade with skid shoes.






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 11-07-2001, 05:36 Post: 33006
TomG

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 Rake or Blade?

Yep, I'm with Art. Rakes make cleaning and smoothing very easy, but few individuals have enough on-going landscape work to justify having one. Everything necessary can be done with a blade, but it may take some time to get the knack of it. I have a box scraper rather than a blade, but then I do most snow removal with a blower. I haven't tried, but I don't think scrapers would be very useful for snow removal. Of course, with some of the snows we get here, blades aren’t all that that useful either. If I got a blade, I'd get a very good one. It should weigh a lot and have every adjustment imaginable. There should be provision for end-plates as well. My own opinion is that a basic box scraper is more useful than a comparable priced blade for grading but not snow removal. The blade I'd want costs a lot more than my scraper but probably not more than my scraper and blower together unless the blade had hydraulic everything. I do have a hydraulic top-link for my scraper and wouldn’t be without one. The issue of end-plates is important. A lot of grading work involves cutting material from high spots and moving it to low ones--that's what scrapers are good at. Without end-plates on a blade, material comes off the blade ends and makes a windrow. To move it, you have to go back and pick it up with the loader, dump and then spread it. Scrapers also weigh a lot compared to a moderate priced blade, which is desirable because a light blade won’t cut much except for snow.






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 11-08-2001, 19:38 Post: 33041
Roger L.



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 Rake or Blade?

I've always been fascinated by back blades. Right now I own 4 back blades and 2 box blades... and plan on getting another back blade this Fall. No, I'm not a dealer; just a gadget kind of guy. My ground is steep, rocky, and snowy. I use the blades for maintaining the dirt road as well as removing snow.
I've had two rakes. They did not do well on my ground because the teeth quickly clogged with rocks, twigs, and weeds. Given the friction of the teeth to moving the material down the rake's length, no angle seems steep enough to shed the debris. When I do get it to work right the result is a windrow which has to be picked up by hand. If you can scoop this stuff up with your loader bucket then my hat is off to you. So rakes haven't worked for me. It could be my ground. The only time I've seen them work is when spreading gravel on a clean surface.
I think a good blade is second only to a loader as a versatile tool. There are two groups of blades. One at around the $300 dollar range and one for about the $900 dollar range. So far I haven't found a really good one at the inexpensive end. And nothing I wanted in the middle. I think there ought to be one at the 500/600 dollar range but I've not found it. I've an Excel spread sheet that I started to make up just to compare some blades for my own use. You might find it useful.
Your 4100 would do well with a 5 or 6 foot blade. No larger. Regardless of price, all blades should be able to reverse cleanly without fouling the tires or lift arms or changing the blade attack angle. There just isn't any excuse for a design that won't do those things. The better blades have quick pivoting adjustments for angle, tilt, and offset. I'm a believer in end caps which are useful in dirt for countouring and sloping roadways. I've never seen a flat blade and can see no advantage in it....but can tell you that subtle differences in the curvature of a blade can make a big difference in performance.
I plow snow just like anything else, by pulling the blade through it. Deep snow requires chains. If it is slushy or heavy the blade angle has to be steeper and then one quickly discovers the value of a blade with swinging offset. A reversed blade is used for backing into very heavy loads such as piles of compacted snow or rocks. The tractor has tremendous traction in this mode and you can break drivetrains by trying too hard. Its useful for shifting a big pile a short distance though. You can also pull a reversed blade in the forward direction for fine finish work. We do it this way to manicure the local baseball field in the Spring.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > John Deere Review Forum

Thread 32954 Filter by Poster:
Art White 1 | DRankin 2 | Kevin Squires 1 | Roger L. 1 | TomG 2 |




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