Moving snow versue dirt: Tractor Projects  -- General Tractor Discussion Forum and Review Moving snow versue dirt: Tractor Projects -- General Tractor Discussion Forum

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 01-04-2006, 11:28 Post: 122229
kthompson



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 Moving snow versue dirt

Snow is something we seldom have. I have read with interest some of the quesitons on how to handle snow. How or why is moving snow different than dirt?

Just curious.
kt







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 01-04-2006, 13:03 Post: 122235
Murf



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 Moving snow versue dirt

Oh to be merely curious, and not concerned, with the moving of snow....... Laughing out loud.

Not to belabour the obvious, but it mostly comes down to one thing, the COLD.

It freezes moisture into ice, thereby reducing traction and cementing the smallest object into an unmovable barrier. It is also remarkably hard on both equipment & the operator.

The other distinct difference is convenience, generally speaking, you have the luxury of waiting for favourable weather to move dirt. It is rare that it snows at such a time as to make daylight operations possible. Operating in the pitch black darkness with snow falling, blowing, or both to obscure your vision is certainly less than ideal conditions.

The other big factor is planning, or the lack thereof to be more precise. You never know more than a few days ahead when it is going to snow, and the predictions as to amount of snowfalls is wildly inaccurate because of all the variables involved. We had a instance just this past month where the forecast was for a severe storm, they said to expect between 6" - 8" of heavy wet snow during the overnight. We scrambled all hands and had every piece of equipment (including myself and my own truck) in the fleet ready to go. We ended up having a big feed of pizza & a played Sony Play Station and pool or watched the big screen TV in the ready room at the shop because the storm turned just slightly south and went past us, out over top of Lake Ontario and we only got less than 2" of snow. The cleanup took hours, had the storm hit the way they were predicting, it probably would have been 48+ hrs. to clean it up totally.

The other little nicety Mother Nature will often throw at you is wind. Rarely do you have to move dirt more than once because the wind came up and blew in the area you just dug out.

Until you've experienced snow first hand, you can't get the full impact of how different & difficult dealing with it can be. But if you want to come up here to the great white north I'd be more than happy to assist with your education. ;->

Best of luck.






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 01-04-2006, 13:31 Post: 122238
kthompson



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 Moving snow versue dirt

Murf,

In thinking about using the internet fully, I think the reading and shiving while doing so of your reply was and is a wise us of the internet. That should be sufficient classroom for me.

As to moving snow with blades, is a lot different than dirt. Does it handle about the same?






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 01-04-2006, 14:38 Post: 122241
Murf



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 Moving snow versue dirt

I'm not entirely sure of what you meant by "...is it a lot different than dirt...".

Snow, like dirt, can vary wildy. Wet snow is a lot like clay, it is sticky, heavy, and will pack tight and become VERY slick, even filling tire treads. It is heavy to push, but will stick together making it easier to collect. Wet snow is associated with warmer temperatures, usually just below freezing, and often accumulates very quickly. Often wet snow is a daytime thing, turning to dry snow as night falls and temp's drop. If it is not cleared quickly and is allowed to be driven over it can, and does, compact into a solid milky white layer often referred to as "caked snow" which is nearly impossible to remove and given time will develop into a sheet of solid ice.

Dry snow on the other hand is more like sand, it flows easily and blows around, but is very light and fluffy. Dry snow is associated with very cold blustery weather and usually accumulates very slowly. It can be driven through without problems, but can be a real PITA to clear since it does not tend to go where you want it to, it likes to blow around. Plowing snow at 3 AM in howling winds and at temp's of -40 is NOT a lot of fun.

The one big difference is that before you stack any snow somewhere you had better be darn sure that's where you want it, because it will very quickly freeze into a solid mass, and it will be there till it melts. In some of our larger clients locations, where the snow is cleared with large equipment, the snow piles are so large and so well frozen that they don't melt completely away until well into spring, sometimes it takes the rains of early April to finish them off. On many sites the real estate is so valuable that there isn't enough room to leave it stockpiled, in which case we plow the lots clean, then in the days following the storm, go back in with loaders and dumps and truck the snow away.

I'll see if I can't find some pictures or web site links to illustrate it a little better, you know, a picture = 1,000 words and all that.

Best of luck.






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 01-04-2006, 14:41 Post: 122244
yooperpete



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 Moving snow versue dirt

I consider the applications being completely different. Snow is lighter and softer than soil and stone. When moving soil with a rear blade for instance you usually will be removing 2 inches or less, going forward and driving over the material you are scraping. You need shoes on the rear blade adjusted to limit the amount you are scraping. With a small CUT you may not be able to remove 2" of soil from lack of HP and weight.

For leveling soil or stone you will remove the shoes and use the back side of the blade. You can do so by going in reverse and backing over what you have leveled to make driving easier since you are driving on a more leveled surface. You also can rotate the blade 180 degrees and use the back side of the blade while going forward. This works if you are doing allot of it to help with neck strain and if the soil/stone you are driving on is already somewhat flat.

When removing snow you may use the back side of the blade without shoes and back over small amounts of snow. Usually you don't want to drive over the snow first. This usually works good for small snow amounts or last pass finishing. Usually I rotate the blade 180 degrees and push larger amounts of snow while backing the tractor not to drive over it first. I have my shoes up high, so you don't dig into the stone driveway. When you are doing this, you may be pushing 6-12" of snow at a time. The downward push from the curve in the blade puts a tremendous amount of downward force on the shoes. If the ground is not frozen, the upside down mushroom shape of the shoes still digs in and gets stones intermixed with the snow. This results in having lots of stones on your lawn in the spring. Sometimes heavy wet snow packs in front of the blade and the weight of the snow packs around the stones and drags them off onto your lawn for spring removal. I usually try to keep the blade up as much as 4 inches above the driveway to prevent this and push this pure snow way off and away from the driveway. When coming back for the finishing passes, I push the snow that has stones mixed with it onto some convenient driveway turnarounds. When it melts, it piles high right on the edge of the turnaround. In the spring, I scoup it up and re-distribute it.

Likewise, there are differences when using the FEL. I'd explain this also if you are interested.

P.S. I use my tractor as much in the winter as the summer. Dealing with "Snow" is better than "Bugs"!






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 01-04-2006, 14:49 Post: 122246
kthompson



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 Moving snow versue dirt

Murf,

Don't worry about the pictures. You do an excellent job with your words. (We don't get much snow but for some reason people love to email me pictures of snow and ice.)

A side of your explanation here, now I understand avalanches much better. The weather shows would do good to have you explain the difference in layers and why they slip.

The next time it gets cold here (this weekend to be freezing and only in 40's for high, Fahrenheit) and the wind is blowing and it is raining, I will thank the Lord for NO SNOW.

kt






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 01-04-2006, 15:02 Post: 122247
kthompson



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 Moving snow versue dirt

To both of you thanks.

I have learned another reason the Lord had me born here, I probably would not do well at all handling the snow. Already knew the cold was not my thing. I was made to sweat, not shiver.

I appreciate what you and others are posting at TP much better on problems with driveway stones and such with your help.

As to bugs, I was given one of the personal bug repellants that uses a scent card and butane to heat it. It worked well to lay beside my tractor seat the couple of times I used it. Of course a strong breeze would be problem.






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 01-05-2006, 09:19 Post: 122283
Iowafun

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 Moving snow versue dirt

Murf and Yoop did a nice job of explaining the differences. Personnally, dirt is easier. If dirt is sloppy with moisture, you can wait for it to dry out. With snow, you have no option. If it's heavy and wet, you have got to get it removed.

About 2 winters ago, they predicted a big storm, but we'd only get 1"-2" of the stuff where I live. We actually got the full brunt. Over 13" of heavy wet snow. The old 2wd tractor I had turned that slop into ice as soon as you spun a tire on it. It was bad. I got the tractor stuck on the uphill slope of the driveway because it had turned to ice. I was ready to shove the tractor into the yard and wait for spring. Ugly ugly mess. But on the positive side, it convinced the wife to let me get a new tractor with MFWD. That MFWD makes a huge difference in handling the wet sloppy snow.

Personally, I like the snow. It covers the dry brown dead look of winter. But I do admit that sometimes I don't like it when I am outside at 4:30 am at 0 degrees F or colder with a 30+ mph wind clearing snow. But dang, it wakes you up and gets the blood flowing!






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