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Newbie needs help - box blade or tiller

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 25 Indiana
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2007-11-05          147755


We'll be moving into our new house soon and we've got lots of landscaping ahead of us - bare soil all around the house, some loose with backfill, some just scraped and a bit hard. New swale that is also scraped and hard (a fair amount of clay). I'll need to break all this up so we can grass seed it. We're also planning all sorts of other

I've got a 1 year old Kubota 2350 with FEL and MMM. I'm pretty sure I'll need a box blade, but should I also get a tiller attachment? The Kubota dealer says to get a 48" box blade, what size tiller should I consider?

I'd appreciate any advice!



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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
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2007-11-05          147770


Docspencer,

If you're tilling next to the house, or next to any concrete slabs, you'll be better off with an offset tiller. The offset tiller leaves one tire track, with the advantage of reaching out away from the tractor.

You should be able to handle a 4 footer, especially if you have a hydrostatic transmission.

The King Kutter tiller is a very good machine, and should be available locally, at your nearest Tractor Supply Company (TSC) store. I highly recommend them....other than for the lousy paint they come with.

Joel ....

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Lwayne
Join Date: Sep 2007
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2007-11-05          147771


docspencer: Most box blades come with ripper teeth (scarifiers) so unless you have a real hard packed situation that your tractor won't pull it I would guess a box blade would work fine. If you have pulling problems you can always remove one or two rippers, or adjust their depth as need be. Remember, though, that anything (even a tiller) hitched to your 3 ph is going to make it very hard to get an all-over smooth result. When the front axle goes up the rear of the tractor goes down, causing ruts. The more area you have to work the easier it is to get smooth results with a box blade because you can continually hit it from different directions, though they still tend to dig in without gauge wheels. Backing up on soft soil frequently gives you better results because the blade is essentially "in front." A tiller is going to give you a more finished look but chances are you'll still need to do a lot of leveling. On the other hand, If you don't have any other use for it, pulling a heavy timber or steel beam does a great job of leveling too. Best of luck. ....

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Lwayne
Join Date: Sep 2007
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2007-11-05          147772


docspencer: Just having read Joel's message I would add that your tractor's 3 ph is likely adjustable enough to give you the offset he's talking about. That would work on any implement. ....

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 25 Indiana
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2007-11-05          147773


Thanks for the suggestions - as I said, even though I'd like to think I know what I'm doing, I'm very much new to this.

Quick question - I'm going to buy the box blade new. Is a TSC brand okay? The Woods seem pretty pricey. Any features I should keep an eye out for?

From what I gather from these comments, I might try starting out with a box blade and see how that goes, especially if I can experiment with the depth and number of teeth. Really, all I need to do right now is rough up the ground, level some, and break it up enough for grass seed. In most places the clay isn't bad enough to cause a major problem. In other spots, well I guess we'll find out. The box blade is the cheaper of the two, and I can always it on the driveway, too.

If the box blade isn't enough, I can then consider a tiller. Are there other uses for the tiller after I get done around the house?

Again, thanks for all your suggestions! ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2007-11-05          147774


Generally speaking, the cheaper models are cheaper because they have less steel, as much as 100 pounds lighter, and use cheaper construction methods.

You will want as much weight as you can afford within the design limits of the tractor you are using.

On the other issue, I have gone to the big box tractor store with the money in my pocket for a box blade and not bought because a very close inspection showed the whole thing was assembled out-of-plumb. ....

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
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2007-11-05          147775


That makes sense. In your opinion, are Woods or Land Pride worth the money? ....

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DRankin
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2007-11-05          147777


I ended up with a Land Pride box blade (got lucky and found a used one) and I am quite satisfied with it.

I have used other Woods products and found them top notch also. ....

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Lwayne
Join Date: Sep 2007
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2007-11-05          147778


I use an 84" King Kutter, which is about the cheapest on the market. Certain attachments, such as those that I pull in dirt, gravel, etc. I don't spend gobs of money for because they get pretty beat up in short order anyway. I'm not saying quality doesn't matter, just that I buy machinery to use, and I don't need contractor grade. So far I've been lucky not having anything too problematic. A lot of abuse comes from the driver's seat. If I haven't torn apart my 7' box blade with 50 hp I doubt you'll tear apart a 4' with 20 hp. Now loaders are a seperate matter. The cost between medium and heavy duty isn't that great; and it's something you'll notice every time you use it. The same is true about hp. The cost for additional hp isn't that great when buying a tractor within each series. Frequently you can end up with 40-60% more tractor for 20-25% more money. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2007-11-05          147779


I too use mine to use it. If you're the type that likes to take a lot of pride in your stuff and willing to keep it nice and clean, buy the nicer stuff. If you're the type that's like most of us, go cheap.

As far as buying a tiller for grading only and no gardening, it would be a waste to buy something that will be used a few times (and you'll be amazed how many NEW and old friends you'll make when word gets out you have a tiller).

I would rent the tiller assuming you're not happy with the grading job, then use your multi-purpose box blade to finish it up. And that way you're not causing excessive wear and tear on the SCUT trying to blade it. ....

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 25 Indiana
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2007-11-05          147781


I like the idea of renting. I'll probably buy the box blade - just need to decide which one. Beyond that I'll rent.

I called around and it seems there's a wonderful invention called a harley rake. The Kubota dealer and the rental place both say its god's gift to landscaping work. What's your take on this? ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
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2007-11-05          147788


Harley is actually a brand just like Kleenex is to facial tissue. Most guys just call them Harley rakes though.

The generic terms are power rake, power box blade or preparator. I have a 6' wide one. And yes they are amazing. As is the price! About $7500. Around here they won't rent them as it can really take a toll on a tractor if not used right. And they're expensive to maintain as the bearings in the machine run in dirt and can wipe out. Typically I'm hired by dozer guys to go in after them and grind the surface to get rid track marks and fill low spots and grind high ones. It doesn't replace the box scraper by any means. But I can say it has gotten me many jobs that my big bobcat could not have accomplished in the same time frame if I were to have used it to shave down hard-packed clay. I also use it to mainatain a 1/2 mile of crushed stone private road. It does a much better job than my full-size Galion road grader. Even the guy that put the road in 40 years ago said the road has never been in such great shape and smooth too since I started working on it.

I also use mine as a rototiller to prepare my buddy's garden. It's not as "pretty" or produce a fine texture as a rototiller, but works nonetheless.

Be sure you have enough weight on the front before you rent it for your SCUT. These items are very heavy---mine's about 1200 lb. and sticks out about 6 feet behind which addss a lot of leverage to lift the front end even with 130 lb. front weights. If not, just rent the entire setup. ....

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bobkro
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 28 Mill Spring, NC
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2007-11-05          147801


Docspencer--

I'm in the same boat you are: New to tractoring, with a BX2350, and some hard packed clay instead of a lawn. I had tried hydoseeding earlier this spring, but the grass died out in the summer, largely because of the packed clay.

I decided I needed to break up the clay thoroughly, so I bought a 40 inch Bush Hog rotary tiller. It weighs about 400 pounds, and works great--absolutely pulverizes the earth so that it looks like landscapers top soil. I added gypsum to the soil before I worked it, to help breakdown the clay over time.

As part of his service, the dealer cut the drive shaft to fit the 2350 (it needed to be shortened, as I suspect is usually the case). The operators manual gives an explanation of how to do this yourself with a few tools, but I was certainly glad to let the dealer do it (correctly).

Purchase price was $1295, but I could not be happier with the equipment. For me, that's a good deal.

bob ....

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bvance
Join Date: Jul 2004
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2007-11-06          147805


I have a Woods for my BX2230 and love it. I also have the hardest clay in the world and the BX will rip through it with all 4 teeth down with no problem at all.

What do you need a tiller for? Is it to till every year for a garden then that would be great. If you want a tiller just to loosen the soil to move it around, don't bother. Just get a box scraper with scarifier teeth and you will be fine. I used a 50hp Skidsteer with a tiller and of course I had down pressure with it, and it would not even dent the clay. And remember you will not have down-pressure with your 'Bota.

A box scraper is the second most useful tool behind your FEL. You will use it a lot more than you think you will.

Brian ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-11-06          147807


Docspencer; I'm a fan of Land Pride equipment, other than some Deere all my three point stuff is LP. I've got both a box blade and a tiller. As has been said the box blade with scarifiers will tear up the hard pack soil and drag it around to level things up then use the tiller to make a fine seedbed for whatever you want, lawn or garden. I find myself having the box blade on the three point whenever I don't have a mower, tiller or somethiong else on the tractor, it is a great counterweight for the loader. Frank. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2007-11-06          147818


Doc, by chance do you have any idea what your soil is like further down than the top 3 or 4 inches? If this new land to any packing type action (lots of animals or farm equipment or water) you probably do not have what is called a hard pan. Yet if you do, you need to take care of that first. Have you dug any holes for trees or post and hit a layer of ground about like rock? It is much simpler to solve this before your grading is done. kt ....

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 25 Indiana
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2007-11-06          147851


The property is a former christmas tree farm, so I would guess there hasn't been too much serious packing down on the soil. I remember when they excavated for the basement, they ran into a fair amount of class, but the guy that ran the excavator said he's seen much worse - about average for where we are (west central indiana). The digging for the basement wasn't any worse or better below the surface. Probably the only real packing has been the result of the excavation equipment.

As I said above, we've been planning on buying a box blade one way or the other - as someone said, it's probably the single most useful implement other than the FEL. I'm still torn between Woods, Land Pride, and the TSC brand(s). I'll figure it out.

I found out I can rent a harley rake for $90 a day and I'm assuming renting a tiller for the Kutota will be a bit cheaper. Cut up and fine tune the leveling with the new box blade, then a day or two running the rented rake or tiller. From what you guys are saying, this should set up a wonderful seed bed.

We're really running up against a wall to do this AND seed. You think it's okay to wait for all of this until spring? ....

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kthompson
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2007-11-06          147853


Doc, here (coastal South Carolina) we would put rye grass in now and come back next spring with summer grass. As to the brands of box blade, you probably will be pleased with any one you buy just as long as you are able to get parts for it. I did a lot of hard work with bigger tractor than your's with a no name brand and it did great. kt ....

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 25 Indiana
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2007-11-06          147856


To all of you who are telling me that "off" brands are okay to buy - thanks.

It's a quite useful toy that I get to buy now and I don't think I'll be beating it up all that badly - dressing up the driveway every so often and some landscaping work for the next few years. As someone said, I'll probably the most popular new guy on the block after I get it.

While I'd love to buy other toys - the harley rake or the tiller it's hard to justify the cost on those. Better to use the money on other toys - like tools for the new wood shop!

Again, thanks for all the advice.
....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
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2007-11-06          147859


$90 for the day is a bargain no matter how you cut it. I get a $300 min. at $75 an hour.

A lot depends on the lay of the land, type of soil, drainage issues, etc. You can and probably should do it now to get everything pretty much the way you want it, and again in the spring.

Whether you use the rake or the tiller do yourself a favor and don't go more than a few inches or less at a time before you move the dirt to another spot. The reason is settling. If you have the power rake, I'd run it all over the affected area of the property to loosen it up a bit and make scraping easier and quicker. Then over the winter come spring you'll know if you need to do it again or where the bad spots are. Settling due to being wet for awhile can lose up to 30% of the original elevation.

But I'm jis' sayin'. ....

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docspencer
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2007-11-06          147862


sweet advice, earthwks. I'll try to find a weekend to do it this fall then again in the spring; using the winter to scope out spots that'll need extra attention - same advice I got from the guy that did our swale and the ground work around the house.

I agree - the rental price for the power rake is pretty resaonble - plus I get to play with the tractor.

I'm learning all sorts of stuff. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
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2007-11-06          147863


Sounds like your excavator guy is a v-e-r-y smart guy! :)

Did you hear that Kenny and Frank? ;) ....

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lbrown59
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 931 First Organized Permanent Settlement In The Northwest Territory.
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2007-11-07          147905


<<

If the box blade isn't enough, I can then consider a tiller. Are there other uses for the tiller after I get done around the house?
****************************
The main thing I use my tiller for is to till up fine dirt for landscaping projects.
It's much easier to smooth out and level fine dirt than it is to smooth up big hard dirt or mud clods.
The end results using tilled dirt are better also.
My second use is for breaking up soil before grading.
About the only thing I don't do with the tiller is plow for a garden.

If i had a Box blade I would have to buy a tiller too, but with the tiller i don't need the box blade.
>>
....

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lbrown59
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 931 First Organized Permanent Settlement In The Northwest Territory.
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2007-11-07          147906


so I bought a 40 inch Bush Hog rotary tiller. It weighs about 400 pounds, and works great--
1*absolutely pulverizes the earth so that it looks like landscapers top soil.

Purchase price was $1295,
````````````````````````````````````````````````
1* Exactly why I bought a 48'' tiller with the 2 BX1500s i have on order.
Tilled earth is much easier & quicker to work and ya get better results.
2* I guess i didn't do bad at $ 1100 for a 48 inch. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-11-07          147907


Just be sure to, as EW mentioned, keep the tiller up and don't till up anything more than about 2" maximum, anything more than that and your just wasting time and effort, the compaction that will result will undo all if not most of your savings.

If you have a box blade with scarifiers you can get a better grade, and a LOT faster than with a tiller and a rear blade.

Best of luck. ....

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 25 Indiana
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2007-11-07          147910


Huhm. A bit of a dilemma. It sounds like the box blade does a better job of leveling and I would have at least one other use for it - the driveway. On the other hand, the box blade won't really break up the big clods as well as the tiller. I've also been told the box blade won't work so well in grass. I assume the tiller will work great in grass. The blade is considerably cheaper.

Arghhhhh.

I think I'm back to my original plan - buy the box blade. Then if we don't like the condition of the soil after breaking it up and leveling, we rent a tiller and see if its worth buying one. It's a bit hard to swallow the $1100 to $1200 for the tiller to buy it.

Maybe Santa will give me one next month?

Seriously, you all have given me good advice and lots to think about.

By the way, the guy that did our swale IS very smart and GOOD. He also did our septic system. ....

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Murf
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2007-11-07          147911


I think the big problem is there's more info required here than a few lines can convey.

Here's the Readers Digest version of the straight poop, in crayon.

A box blade (BB) will do a far better (and faster) job of leveling and grading, than almost anything except a dozer, period. A BB with a rear blade that can be fixed in place, will do an outstanding job of breaking up clods and smoothing soil than almost anything else.

A rototiller will certainly break up grass, but it will also leave it behind in big mats which will make finishing a real PITA. With a BB you can quickly and easily (in most cases) shave off the turf and be on to doing your grading in no time.

A trick we often use, albeit for larger areas than a lawn, is to spray the entire area in Round-up or similar, then after it is all dead, we (with a permit) burn off all the dead plant material. This works very fast and leaves a perfect starting point.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
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2007-11-07          147913


Doc, not always but often clods happen due to working the dirt with it being too wet. Depending on the clay you have it may never be dry enough to crumble as some other soils will. I have used both box blade and rear 3 pt blade and to me they each have their advantage. For major dirt moving the BB is best due to sides. It is also stronger for it's weight due to design. It also allows both pull and push action with no change of the set up. However you can not rotate them or tilt them any more than the linkage on the tractor moves it. I would think the BB would be the best option for you and if you do need to till it renting would be the way to go unless you will have other work for the tiller, such as a garden or food plots. kt ....

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
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2007-11-07          147914


I didn't realize I could shave off turf with a BB. That really endears me to it. Now to start making calls around town to check out prices on BBs.

By the way, I love the crayon! ....

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lbrown59
Join Date: Sep 2004
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2007-11-07          147915


One thing I do with my tiller is back it into a dirt pile and till it up.
You can't do that with a Box Blade.
I find it's easier to start out with fine dirt than it is to break it up after spreading it in the area you're working on.
With the fine dirt all you need to do is drag a drag of some type over it to smooth and level it out.
The fine dirt makes the fine Finnish work easier and does a better job.
You can't run a drag over dirt that has rocks sticks and clods in it and get a smooth finish. ....

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docspencer
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2007-11-07          147916


That's a good tip for the tiller - our swale work created a lot of soil that the guy pilled up in rough burm shapes. Some of its loose, but has clods of turf and some chunks of clay. When I rent the tiller, I can back it up into these piles and cut it up and this should help it compost over the winter. Come spring, I can have fun moving and shaping the burms. ....

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Murf
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2007-11-07          147918


Doc, in order to shave turf off, or to pulverize clods of dirt, you MUST have a BB with a rear blade that can be fixed in position and not just free swinging.

In my case my BB weighs a little over 1,000 pounds, if I run over a clod, it won't be a clod for long! Also, since a rear blade has no sides it's nearly impossible to drag material very far, with a BB you can move material over a distance quite quickly if need be. We routinely work with material that is full of clods and lumps, they get taken care of in the normal course of grading, no extra steps or implements involved.

I must admit though, the comment "You can't run a drag over dirt that has rocks sticks and clods in it and get a smooth finish." has me a little confused, I don't know how a tiller removes debris so I can't help there.

A drag does nothing but smooth out what is already there, it will not reshape or alter grades, to do that you need a blade of some form. If you are planning on doing much in the way of moving earth you will also want a fairly heavy blade, it has to be heavy enough to bite into the earth rather than riding up over humps and bumps.

Best of luck. ....

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auerbach
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2007-11-07          147919


If I may be permitted to say this, you're starting at Step 2: "What equipment should I get?"

Step 1 is "What is to be done?" For instance, swales are likely there for a purpose and shouldn't be interfered with. Do you want a lawn? Hedges? Trees? They won't grow in clay, so will that be a problem? Should you have the clay removed and grading done? Could you order a dump-truck load of topsoil and spread it with your FEL and a low-cost rear blade?

For Step 1 it would be a good investment to hire (in order of professionalism and cost) someone from a garden center, a landscaper, or landscape architect to do a walk-through and advise you what needs to be done to suit your objectives. Then decide on equipment and supplies to do that. ....

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
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2007-11-07          147924


That's a good tip for the tiller - our swale work created a lot of soil that the guy pilled up in rough burm shapes. Some of its loose, but has clods of turf and some chunks of clay. When I rent the tiller, I can back it up into these piles and cut it up and this should help it compost over the winter. Come spring, I can have fun moving and shaping the burms. ....

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docspencer
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2007-11-07          147925


I guess going back to original steps is a good idea at this point.

I'm not reshaping the swales - merely wanting to grass seed them to prevent washout and so they blend in visually. I think I just need something to cut up the soil, smooth it out to get it seed ready.

Around the house - some back fill which is already broken up, just needing some leveling and contouring (or some such term). Parts have only been scraped to create drop from the house. These parts - like the swales - I'd like to cut up and level in preparation for seeding.

We have given serious thought to having some top soil hauled in just for around the house - both for the grass seeded areas and for the numerous planting beds we'll be putting in.

The guy that did our soil work did a great job so I really won't be moving alot of soil. Here and there I'd like to feather out some, but no major changes.

Does this make sense? ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-07          147926


Based on what you have told us, yes you are 100% on track. ....

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docspencer
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2007-11-07          147927


This is a wonderful forum and you all have been great. If you are ever in the West Lafayette area, I'm buying! ....

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Murf
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2007-11-07          147929


Doc, yes it does sound like you're on the right track!

In fact you should see if you can get the use of, or make, a 'pulverizer'. It is a very heavy section of steel I-beam with the two flanges facing down and teeth along both flanges, then usually followed by a spring-loaded roller which breaks up any little clods left and lightly packs the earth in preparation for seeding. See the link below for more info.

They work VERY well for minor grading and the type of work you are looking at doing.

If you were closer I'd gladly let you borrow one of mine.

Best of luck. ....


Link:   Land Pride Soil Pulverizer

 
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kthompson
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2007-11-07          147938


Auerbauch, there are some clay types in my state which will grow grass and some that will grow nothing. I for one did notice the clay reference and trusted Doc to know it was a clay that would work for a lawn...that being said...I could have been ASSUMING too much. Hope not. kt ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-07          147942


I had one of those pull type pulverizers made by Gill. There is no comparison to it and a power rake in the quality of work product! ....

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bobkro
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2007-11-07          147949


Doc--

Pls note that the advice you are getting is from seasoned vets who generally use heavy-duty equipment--which you do not. Your BX2350 is limited in what it can do, in comparison to the equipment used by most of the folks on this chat site.

I'm not suggesting that you are getting poor advice--far from it. I would suggest that you need to tailor the size and type of implement that you get to the capability of your BX2350's 23 HP.

b ....

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bvance
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2007-11-07          147950


As always, Murf is right on with his comments. He's forgotten more than most of us ever knew about this kind of stuff. You will never go wrong in following his advice.

In my opinion, and I know I will get some disagreement with this comment, a tiller is really only useful to deep till garden plots to ready for vegetable planting. Or in some cases on really hard soil to till down only 1-2 inches to get a grass seed bed, but a BB with teeth will do this just fine as well.

For any homeowner the most important attachments for your tractor are a FEL, mower and BB. For the vast majority of us that's all we will ever need.

Brian ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-07          147951


Brian I'd like to show you our blue and brown clay we have here south west of Detroit near the Ohio border! When its dry it gets so hard that my backhoe can't penetrate it---the teeth just scrape over it like it was concrete. Even the power rake with its several hundred carbide teeth initially have a hard time cutting through it.

I used to try to use the scarifier teeth on the BB but they like the backhoe teeth just slide over it. The power rake (or tiller) makes work so much easier and you don't get clumps that can occur using the BB alone.

However, if you have not-so-compacted soil, or even semi-moist clay, or loose soil then yes, you're right a BB will work just fine. ....

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bvance
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2007-11-07          147954


EW,

The hardest clay? Now be careful:) That might be an interesting argument in itself!

If you can't break through with your BH, how can a tiller get through it? What do you mean specifically when you say a Power Rake?

I put a tiller on my dry clay with a 50HP Skidsteer with downpressure and the clay turned and looked at me and said: "A little higher and to the left just a bit please....ahhhh, right there!" I barely scratched the surface.

Brian ....

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kthompson
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2007-11-07          147955


Doc, you will find there is more than one tool to do most any job. You will find most implements can be used for more than you thought and as you use it you will learn how to do more with it. You will find the most proper implement normally will do the work faster or easier but that does not mean you can not get as good or at least very suitable results with a different implement.

One commnet on rear blade that they do not do as well in moving dirt as does a box blade due to it not having ends on it allowing dirt to spill around it. I agree with that but just for info there is at least one company who offers bolt on ends for rear blade making it better for moving dirt. You can adjust a rear blade to where it will cut a ditch, or roll hard dirt and such I don't think you can do near as well if possible as with a BB. However, for most people and with a small tractor believe the BB is better option. Unless you will have additional need for tiller or such really believe you can do what you want with BB and time. You may be forced to take it little by little but that equals seat time! You can always buy bigger but that does not mean it makes sense for YOU. kt ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-07          147957


Brian, by tiller or power rake I meant that that's what Doc had mentioned that he can rent. I don't own a tiller. And if I did I wouldn't be inclined to use it on our clay---probably break the tines with shock loading.

And I didn't mention that my 78hp bobcat (New Holland really--like my avatar to the left) with a sharp cutting edge "said" the same thing when I tried it :)

The power rake commonly known as a Harley rake is a departure from a tiller in the sense that a tiller has long, thing blades or tines that cut or chop the soil. A power rake (like mine) has a 6' x 8" dia. rotating steel tube that has several hundred 1-1/2" tall carbide "finger tips" that chew the compacted soil bit by bit. It counterrotates to the tractor direction so that as you drive forward it lifts and throws the material forward. If you tilt it like a landscape rake it will windrow to either side. It also has adjustable/removable side wings like a box blade but cannot move material statically like a BB, rather it rolls it ahead. It's got two big gage wheels in the back. I use it to grind big tree roots left over from stumps grinders, remove buried debris like cinder blocks, bricks, concrete chunks, etc. Was even able to regrind and redistribute fresh asphalt grindings that were compacted by dump trucks.

If you have a chance to use a power rake--do it. You'll wonder how you got along without it. Anyone who sees mine for the first time in use--including other contractors---call it simply amazing. Don't get one for a skid steer though as you don't want to drive and compact where you raked--get a 3pt type. If you take the gage wheels off you can get within a fraction of an inch of an obstruction like home's wall. ....

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bvance
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2007-11-08          147960


EW,

Thanks for the explanation...sounds like a very useful tool. We'll argue some more about our hard clay later. :)

Brian ....

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candoarms
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2007-11-08          147964


Doc,

You've received a great amount of advice from the members of this group. I would like to add a few things, but I don't disagree with anyone.

Waiting until Spring is a not a very good idea. None of the implements suggested here work very well in mud. Doing this work during the Fall, or during a dry period, is always better.

I use a tiller to loosen the soil before attempting to move it with the box blade. This makes quick work of any soil moving project. However, if your soil is rocky, or contains construction debris, a tiller won't work too well.

If you have low spots that need to be filled in, a box blade will work great, provided that you don't have to travel a long distance. If you have to travel a long distance (more than 50 feet), it's better to take soil from one spot and load into a trailer, or a truck. The soil can then be transported to the low area and dumped. The tractor's loader and box blade will quickly level off the area for you.

In many cases, I am able to level off an area with just the tiller. Most tillers have a heavy, adjustable rear gate. If you adjust the rear gate properly, it will do a very good job of leveling off the area. Keeping the gate completely closed is best for leveling uneven ground, but it also eats up a lot of horsepower as the tiller quickly fills up with soil. Keeping the rear gate closed also provides a very fine finish, as this allows the tiller to continually rework the soil.

Joel ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-08          147965


Here's a power rake in action. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-08          147968


Joel, as "Hardwood" (Frank) would say "put your helmet on 'cause we're gonna butt heads". I really have to differ on this 50' rule. BTW applying any rule to outdoor work, is...well...obsurd and uninformed.

I do a lot of residential grading---small and big lots-- and 50' is nothing for me to pull dirt with a BB. When I regrade my 1000' private road I start at one end and pull!

And there is no logic in loading a truck and/or trailer to move that small amount of dirt. I can move and finish grade 40 yards of screened topsoil in short order. Your suggestion takes much more time, effort, resources/equipment and even more importantly adds unncessary compaction.

There is many a job that I leave the bobcat home and use ONLY a box scraper strictly due to compaction issues.

Then there's logistical issues---what if I can't get a truck or trailer in or to a certain area?

Case in point, a local wanted his front yard graded but didn't want to pay for it (imagine that). He had a small New Holland that he just bought with a 4' box blade. I thought of it as a toy more or less. He had about 100 yards of fill brought in an did it all himself. To this day I'm still in awe as it turned out very well. ....

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candoarms
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2007-11-08          147971


Earthworks,

You're right, but for the fact that we're talking about a fairly small machine here. A 4ft box blade isn't going to move a whole lot of soil per trip.

When moving soil with a teaspoon, it's much more efficient to fill a bucket, and then dump the bucket where the soil is needed.

Using a box blade on a driveway is whole different matter. We're not talking about moving large amounts of soil from point A to point B when maintaining a driveway.

I have a manure pile in my pasture. I'd like to move the manure from the back pasture to my front garden. It's a trip of about 100 feet. It's a whole lot more efficient for me to load the manure into a pickup and then dump it, than to make several hundred trips back and forth with the tractor.........mostly due to my smaller machine.



Joel ....

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docspencer
Join Date: Nov 2007
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2007-11-08          147972


You guys are making me feel kinda inadequate with my tiny "toy" Kubota. :( Seemed rather large when I bought it.

Since I don't have a pickup, I suspect I've been planning on moving soil from the burms/piles created by the leftover soil from the swale work (by the way, how is burm spelled?) to the spots I want it via the FEL. Yes, the bucket is small, but it's all I've got. My friend next door and I are planning on a "bucket party" (he's got a larger JD with what I think is a 6' bucket) to move and shape the burms.

There's a spot much farther from the piles up in the front corner of the property. It'll take forever to move it with my FEL, so I think I'll get a hitch for my Kutota and use my 5X8 trailer.

The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking buying a tiller or power rake isn't for me - too expensive given my wife is wanting all sorts of new furniture for the house and I don't really see much routine use for either.

Around the house, I'll simply scratch up the hard stuff, beat up the loose stuff as much as I can (with BB and rented attachment), then have some top soil hauled in.

Speaking of which, we're thinking 2-3 inches of top soil for areas that'll be grass seeded and maybe 6" for the flower beds. Does this sound riht? ....

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candoarms
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2007-11-08          147974


Doc,

I kinda figured you'd be moving a lot of dirt from one area to another. This is usually the case after a major construction project.

A bucket party would be a lot better, but I'd go with the trailer if I were to tackle the project by myself.

2-3 inches of topsoil for the lawn should be good, with 6-8 inches in the garden.

You'll need a tiller at some point for preparing the seed bed in your garden, as well as for tilling up the remaining vegetation after the harvest is in.........but there's no need to buy new implements. Used implements are common, and the savings are HUGE.

I've purchased many implements over the years. With the exception of a couple, all are used. Auction sales provide me with most every implement I've ever wanted.

My cultivator, plow, drag, harrow, rotary mower, trailer, F-150 pickup, and rake are all used. I've spent less money on all of these implements, combined, than I did for my new tiller. Many of my implements were shop-built, by farmers in the local area........but they work just fine, and in many cases they are built better than some of the junk that I see at the farm supply stores.

Get your wife her new furniture, and then shop for used tractor implements at the local auctions.

Don't be afraid to tackle the big projects with your tractor........but be prepared to spend a lot of time doing it.

Joel ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-11-08          147975


He may be little but he is tough ;) ....

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2007-11-08          147976


Thanks you Dennis!! My little Kubota IS tough.....

Of course, it seemed HUGE when we bought it last year - going from a Cub 2160, anything would be big.... ....

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2007-11-08          147980


Doc, I'd say that Joel is right in his comments. You'd be suprised how much time can be wasted by repetitious trips moving a loader bucket full of soil at a time. A small dump trailer would pay for itself in time and mileage on your machine. And I second Joel's proposal that you look at auctions, even though you may not find equipment that is specifically sized for your machine, a lot of equipment can be cut down to size and you can still save money...especially if you're handy with a torch and welder.

Joel, does your truck have a dump bed? I hadn't thought about doing that on mine, I probably would if I had a 1-ton truck. I really need to get started on my dump trailer.

Mark ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-11-08          147981


On a sub compact tractor you may have difficulty implementing Joels' sage advice on buying used attachments, as the BX takes much smaller implements like Category 0 than big farm equipment. Even my B7610 is tough to rent stuff for as most rental places by me only carry stuff targeted at Kubota L size machines.

On a BX things that use the front or rear PTO seem better alternatives. A front snowblower is better than a front plow because it allows the lower weight, ground clearance and traction of the BX to be less of an issue as the PTO is working for you. Likewise a tiller gives you the same advantage though both of these PTO implements cost more more money than static drag push/pull type ones that rely on weight, muscle and the traction of massive tires. IMHO

....

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mobilus
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2007-11-08          147984


Dennis, do the BX series use category 0 equipment? I've never used BX tractors. If that's the case, then I can see where my advice from earlier wouldn't apply. ....

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2007-11-08          147987


I'll ikely show my ignorance - I think the BX takes category 1? Am I right? ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-11-08          147988


On the Kubota site on the specifications sheet for the B series they state that it is a Category I hitch, but for the BX spec sheet they don't say. I know years ago they would say limited Cat I or Cat 0. Drankin had a BX and he can comment I know he got a shortened top link ...etc.

Generally, there are special implements that are made for sub compact tractors that are better suited to their smaller size and weight. The smaller stuff will also work better than retrofitting and forcing an implement that is too big for the subs IMHO. ....

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Lwayne
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2007-11-08          147989


doc: Your head must be swimming. There's certainly no shortage of advice on this one. I may as well add another 2 cents worth. Some, if not most of this discussion is about what's the best method to excavate/level the grade around your house. Tillers work great for some things, box blades work great for others. As I mentioned in a previous post, anything attached rigidly to your 3 ph is going to make it a challenge to level very perfectly. But if the soil is loose, using whatever implement, here's a little trick to consider. I also mentioned earlier that a steel beam or timber can be good for leveling but I didn't completely explain myself. You can incorporate using this simple attachment and your 3 ph, which gives you the best of both worlds; a scraper and a leveler. Here's how it works. After you've loosened your soil, hitch a beam on a "correctly lengthened" chain to your 3ph. I have a quicktach, making it easy using the top link connection. The idea is, if the chain is the right length, then when you have the 3 ph down it will gather up soil, etc. and when you drive over a low spot you raise the 3 ph (the chain being just long enough to allow the front of the beam to raise) allowing your load to disperse evenly. Obviously, the longer the beam the better the results. This method allows you use the 3ph as well as solving the rigidity problem. Warning! When pulling something with a cable or chain be sure the connections are solid because if it lets loose at the implement end you don't want a rubber band effect causing a chain to spring back towards you. Have fun.

....

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2007-11-08          147990


Mark,

I have a dump lift on my pickup. My uncle installed it for me in trade for three weeks of my labor, helping with harvest. I'm not sure which of us came out ahead on the deal, but I believe I got a bargain.

It's an old 83 Ford, F-150, 4x4, with 12 ply rated tires. The box doesn't hold much, but I'll keep fixing this old truck up for as long as I can find the parts.

The seals are going out on the rear axle, and I have an engine oil leak somewhere on driver's side. But, I have all winter now to tear it apart and get the old beast back in order. She's ugly, but I take good care of her.

A dump trailer would be a better option, as it's not easy to switch the dump box from one truck to another......which is why I'll keep my old beast running for as long as possible.

Joel ....

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2007-11-08          147991


Wow! This thread is a lengthy read to say the least.

I would put my money on going over the yard with the power rake to remove as many stones as possible as well as make a good seed bed.

The pto tiller can achieve this but not remove the rocks and stones.

After the power rake treatment you could have the yard hydroseeded or you could seed it yourself to save money but hydroseeding really does add more assurance of protecting the seedlings and maximizing the chance of a successful result since mulch and plant nutrients are mixed in with the hydroseed batch. ....

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docspencer
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2007-11-08          147992


I had considered hydroseeding, but thought it would be WAY too expensive (my wife's furniture and all). I figured I would buy one of those spreaders with two wheels that you push by hand and just go for an extended walk around the house. How expensive IS hyrdoseeding?

As for dragging something. I think I like this idea - seems cheap. Would a log work or so I need to think steel beam? ....

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candoarms
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2007-11-08          147993


Docspencer,

My drag is made from used grader blades, which I got for nothing at my local county road shop.

It's 8 feet long, and 4 feet wide, with a "V" pattern welded in the middle. It weighs well over 400 pounds, and it grades dirt and gravel like nothing I've ever seen or used before.

The long length allows me to span over the low spots, which are then filled with the gravel that falls out of the bottom. the narrow width allows me to grade the driveway, without harming or removing the crown......which is necessary to provide for run-off from rain, or melting snow.

Using the bolt holes in the grader blade, I installed two large eye bolts, one on each front corner, which I then connect my cable to. This prevents the drag from turning or skidding sideways when I hit a high spot.

If you can get somebody to weld one up for you, it will solve a whole number of your problems.....as it also moves a good amount of soil. Getting enough traction to pull it may be your biggest obstacle, but I have no problem pulling it with my Kubota B2100.

Joel ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-08          147994


Doc per your question :) burm is berm.

I've been "forced" to use a beam and log by my client and told him it was wasn't the way to go. They tend to follow the lay of the land and can't be controlled as the corners/ends will dig into the area you just did. I finally convinced him to let me use just the BB. After two minutes he said "DO IT. GO!" and walked away. But I have a hydraulic toplink which made it much easier too (lift the BB drop the rear and it it floats better and doesn't load up. When you hit the windrows at high speed they tend to scatter leaving no trace.

If you do use a beam, like an I or H beam, they may tend flip or roll over onto the chain. Or the beam will fill up with dirt to the point you can't pull it. Another variation on this theme is a beam that is curved or arched (level to the ground). If you have enough traction you may be able to pull it while dirt collects in front of it. I made one of an old beam 12" tall by 6" wide and 45 feet long pulled by a new D4 dozer. It worked okay until the beam flipped, and got bent into an arch. So much dirt loaded up in it that the dozer could not pull it.

Sometimes a piece or section of cyclone fence with the beam or logs on it for weight will work good as well. The longer the piece the better (say 6' x 12'-15'). It acts like a giant cheese grater grinding and sahving high spots and depositing it into the low. You have a little control if you hook the pull chain to a dropped tooth of the raised box blade. The lower the attack angle the more aggressive it will cut. Be sure to install some sort of bar or other support across the leading edge of the fencing to connect the pull chain to. If you don't it will bunch up the front end and create a boat-like hull which will dig in and make a trench.

A variation of the single beam is an H-shaped drag made of 4x4 angle lengths about 6' long. We welded ours, but in a pinch you could use (2) 3/4" Grade-8 bolts where the pieces cross. Attach the chains at the outer ends of the bottom angle that is on the ground.

Reading the posts about converting pickups to dump trucks reminds me of a cautionary tale. A buddy had a Chevy 3/4 ton outfitted with one of those install-yourself hoist kits. He got it done, loaded about 3 yards of dirt (that's about 8 - 9,000 lb. worth!), raised it and watched the cross members pop the rivets and the frame fold over bending the frame just behind the cab. The whole idea--including the truck---was scrapped.

But I'm jis' sayin' ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-08          147995


Doc near me the retail residential price of hydroseeding is about $.21 - $.36 per sq. foot. Sod is $.13 plus labor of $.11.

Sod is "instant gratification"---like new carpet! Sod doesn't like to put down roots if it's put down on a layer of topsoil and tends to dry out quicker when not tended to. Sod on clay only tends to put down roots better and lasts longer when not tended to.

Hydoseeding we use here is nothing more than a water-soluable polymer (that makes a webbing or substrate) with grass seed and fertilizer sprayed from a nozzle.

I would suggest buying some good seed, put down enough that the ground changes the color of the seed (that's my definition of how much I put down), rake it in to cover most of the seed, fertilize (or fert. first then seed), cover with straw and water. An Voila! You'll have a rich green lawn in no time at a fraction of the cost of sod or hydro.

And you don't necessarily have to put down topsoil at all for hydro, sod or seed. I have builders I work for that will not allow any topsoil for two reasons: they're cheap :) and you just don't need it. And the sod farm here will tell you sod will grow on anything--including bare concrete---as long as you water and fertilize it.

....

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docspencer
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2007-11-08          147996


Seed it is! ....

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bvance
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2007-11-08          148010


Doc,

There's such a thing as too much advice and I think that's what happening here..but as I say that, I can't resist to add some more.

First of all, your BX will give you many years of great service...don't let anyone tell you it's just a toy or make you think you need something bigger. It will do everything you need it to do.

#2, a BB will drag dirt efficiently a long ways. I filled a big hole that I drug dirt about 600'...sure it takes longer, but the one reason we bought a SCUT was to get precious seat time, right? Don't worry about scooping and carrying it with your FEL, wagon or Pickup....just drag it with the BB and dump the load where you want.

#3, A BX handles both Cat 0 and Cat 1. Implements made for a Cat 0 or Cat 1 are usually interchangeable. Cat 0 implements usually has the pins facing inward for the limited spread of the lift arms for a true Cat 0 only SCUT. For a Cat 1 SCUT (like a BX) the implements will have the pins facing out to accommodate the wider spread of a Cat 1 SCUT. Cat 0 pins are also smaller diameter than a Cat 1 pin. There are implements made for only Cat 0 tractors and they are usually lighter and smaller. I would get the Cat 1 implements that are made for a SCUT. A knowledgeable dealer will advise you.

#4, All the dragging advice with different types of dragging tricks is fine and good, but the BB will do a much nicer job and a lot more effective in the long run. You will waste more time fixing up those devices, than just doing it with your BB.

The best advice I can give you now is get your BB, fire up the BX and get started. Everything will begin to fall into place for you and you will soon be giving advice to others! :)

Good Luck!

Brian ....

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2007-11-09          148022


Thanks. To be honest, I tried not to get caught up in the fine details, but get a sense of an overall plan. While I appreciate all the advice that's been offered here, the idea of piecing together attachments was a bit intimidating. I figured I'd just get the BB and start running around the house - I'm guessing I can't screw things up too much before I get the hang of it. Plus, my wife gets to buy her furniture for the new place with money left over for my wood shop equipment - but that's for another forum..... :)

that said, I HAVE learned more than I had planned and I really appreciate that. Thanks guys! ....

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2007-11-09          148024


Hey Doc,

I just realized that if you were take the time necessary to read through all of these messages, you might have been able to complete the project in LESS time.

Don't feel intimidated by those, like me, who made you feel as though your tractor is too small. It's not too small. Your tractor will easily handle the job, but I just wanted you to know that it's going to take you a while to complete it.

Have fun. Get that dirt moved. You'll learn a whole lot about your tractor while completing the project, and you'll gain a whole new level of respect for the quality engineering that goes into the Kubota line of tractors.

Joel ....

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2007-11-09          148025


I was kinda feeling the same thing about time spent on this forum - but I love learning stuff and you guys are VERY knowledgeable as well as pretty damn creative.

I was half-kidding (well, maybe 2/3) about feeling tractor envy. I LOVE my Kubota and felt at the time it was plenty big, but in some ways now wish I had gone a step larger. As you say, though, it'll get the job done and buying the 2350 left us with money left over for other stuff - like the BB! ....

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2007-11-09          148045


Doc, as to the size of your tractor...could have bought bigger...wish I had bought bigger...could have done things faster than with current tractor...then you bog down and say wow smaller is easier to get out or maybe size smaller DID not bog down which is even better and then you find you are able to get into areas and do work the bigger faster more powerfull could not do and you say...wow I am glad I have the size I do. kt ....

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docspencer
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2007-11-10          148065


kt - that's a good thought. I hadn't thought that smaller is easier to get into cramped spots. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm not sure a larger tractor would have fit in our existing barn.

Yet, another good reason to be happy with what I have :)

thanks. ....

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docspencer
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2007-11-10          148073


Went and talked to the local Kubota dealer about a Woods or LP BB (I guess they aren't carrying Woods anymore - did Kubota buy LP?). Both are $700 for t he 4 footer.

In any event, he's willing to sell me the Woods for $500. I went down the road to TSC and their price for a KK is $400. I'm probably going to buy the Woods on Monday. From what I can tell, that's a good price at only $100 more than the KK.

Can't wait to get it and start using it!! ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-10          148083


I should have been a bit politically correct about using the term "toy"---my bad. Didn't mean to ruffle anyone's feathers. Really.

It's sort of like that I can say that I'm fat, or that my sister's fat---but YOU betta NOT!

And hear's why I used the term toy: I hear it a lot from only customers, not other contractors that my equipment are toys. All that does is make me say, "Oh really--well let me show what my TOY will do. I show 'em and they're convinced. Who says size matters. ;-) ....

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2007-11-10          148084


I should have been a bit politically correct about using the term "toy"---my bad. Didn't mean to ruffle anyone's feathers. Really.

It's sort of like that I can say that I'm fat, or that my sister's fat---but YOU betta NOT!

And hear's why I used the term toy: I hear it a lot from only customers, not other contractors that my equipment are toys. All that does is make me say, "Oh really--well let me show what my TOY will do. I show 'em and they're convinced. Who says size matters. ;-) ....

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bvance
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2007-11-10          148086


Doc,

I have a Woods and love it. Others have said that KK implements are a bit cheesy. My Woods BB is well made with heavy steel and does a very nice job for me.

I have the Woods BB, model GBC48 for my BX. The GBC model is made especially for a SCUT like ours. Others have said you can get a 48" BB made for a CUT and you may not have the clearance at full lift that you would like to have. The CUT model has a higher mold board, and is a bit heavier, but I have been totally happy with my GBC model. I have attached a link for you to look at and compare the various models.

Brian ....


Link:   Woods Box Blade

 
Picture Link

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2007-11-11          148094


I really didn't take the "toy" comment all that badly. I actually use the term myself when referring to my equipment mostly because I "play" with them. I know I'm not a professional - Hell, my neighbor has a larger JD tractor than I do and he has half the acreage I do.

There always seem to be the same dynamic whether its a tractor and attachments, AV equipment, or cars. You pick out what you think you want; look at the next size up, but think you can't afford it or don't need it; buy the smaller size, then discover maybe it would have been good to buy the other one.

What I've learned from you all is that while a bigger tractor would have been useful, I can largely do what I want or need to do with the 2350 - it'll just take more seat time (I like that term); which isn't all that bad because I like playing!!!! AND I don't have to pay someone else to do it. It's all good. ....

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2007-11-11          148095


Brian -

I forgot to thank you for the info on the GBC. As always, I was starting to rethink the choice. Now I'm feeling better. It DOES seem better made than the KK (well, it seems TSC is goingto start selling Farm Force). Anyway, for $100 more, I'm thinking the Woods is going to be good. It may be in by next weekend - let's hope it ain't raining.

BTW - the Woods link you included isn't working. Can you repost it? ....

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2007-11-11          148096


Doc,

Sorry about the link. I fixed it so you can take a look at it now.

Brian ....

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bunnspecial
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2007-12-25          149619


I have a King Kutter (TSC) box blade on a B1750, I think I paid about $350 for a 48" model. It works fine and I will never wear thru it. The Woods and Landpride models are excellent and weight alot more. I think they would be less productive on a BX2350 expecially when they collect dirt. ....

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2007-12-27          149667


thanks, bunnspecial for the info on the KK blade. I looked and priced both the TSC brands and the Woods. The local dealer made me a deail on the Woods that was too good to pass up - only about $50 more than the TSC price.

It IS heavy, but after playing around a bit with it, it seems my 2350 will do fine with it. I'll have to wait 'till spring thaw and dry to really see how it does.

....

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