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Banker / hobby farmer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have experience maintaining gravel? I am considering a land plane or box blade for my x485.
I purchased a mini storage facility last fall and it has a gravel lot, about an acre in total. I’m probably way underestimating the maintenance on it but it isn’t anything too heavy. Potholes are pretty shallow and a drag can do most of the work.

I don’t have a loader so I am thinking of a box blade so I can at least most some material around as needed and fix a few spots in the reverse crowns etc.

What all are your experiences with a box blade on a garden tractor? Should I forget it and move to a 1025r or something?
I’ve got rear wheel weights and bar tires on my x485, never had issues plowing snow etc.

Just curious what all your experiences are trying to run a box blade on a garden tractor. Thanks!
 

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I maintain my 300ft gravel circle drive with a heavily modified Agri- fab box blade on my Cub GT. It works well in float mode. I try to leave it on the ground and drag it around letting it hold gravel and deposit it in the low spots.

Mine is a sleeve hitch blade but I'm guessing you will get a light 3pt blade.

0319191532_compress7.jpg
 
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An acre is a lot. It depends on your standards and what you have now. There are different terms for the same kind of material in different parts of the country. Around here gravel can mean:
  1. Crushed clear/clean (comes in different sizes) - this is rock that has been crushed to fit through a screen of a particular size and had all material that is smaller than a screen of a particular (smaller) size removed.
  2. 5/8ths minus - rock that has been crushed and that fits through a screen that has 5/8" holes in it
  3. DOT spec 5/8ths minus - like above, but has a higher concentration of fines. It is more expensive, since it needs more crushing and that takes more energy
  4. Drainage rock (comes in different sizes) - rock that has NOT been crushed, so rounded edges, good for drainage, but doesn't lock together, so not good for driving

I usually use DOT spec 5/8ths minus. It compacts well and provides a solid surface.

Pot holes have a memory. The only way to get rid of them is to dig them out completely and make sure the surface has proper slope to allow the water to get off the road/surface. If you just fill the pot hole, it will be back in a week or two depending on traffic. This can work, you just have to keep at it regularly.

Many people love their box blades. I found it incredibly hard to use to make things better. They are easy to use if your goal is a less flat/level surface. You need weight/down force to do good work on a gravel surface (unless it is pea gravel, which is easy to move). This means you need something that has a lot of pulling force to move the implement. How much you need depends on the surface and how wide the implement is. I think 100lbs/foot of width is a good low number. This is what I have on my GS1548 grading scraper. It has teeth that I can lower if I want to break up the surface, or raise if I want to finish it. If I could have only one tool for gravel maintenance, it would be the GS. It does an excellent job by just driving around. If you lot is flat, you might be able to pull it with your garden tractor. I have a small CUT that is probably twice as heavy and has 4WD. I use all the power and traction it can provide on some parts of my driveway.

There are other tools that are similar to the concept of the grading scraper, but much lighter duty. They would probably work fine with your machine, but I have no experience with them.
 

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Banker / hobby farmer
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input, really appreciate it. I probably wouldn’t want to go over 400lbs on my 3pt. My tiller is 368 lb and that’s about pushing my comfort level.

www.oldegalenastorage.com

you can see pics of my gravel at that link. Ive seen frontier makes a pull behind land plane like your GS that may be an option too, LP1048. Not sure if I could crown at all with that though.
 

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Thanks for the input, really appreciate it. I probably wouldn’t want to go over 400lbs on my 3pt. My tiller is 368 lb and that’s about pushing my comfort level.

www.oldegalenastorage.com

you can see pics of my gravel at that link. Ive seen frontier makes a pull behind land plane like your GS that may be an option too, LP1048. Not sure if I could crown at all with that though.
Here is a well Made small Box scrape Perfect for Your X485 to use Subcompact Tractor Box Blades by Land Shark You can do a lot with a Box scrape once you get use to using it you can do as good a Job as a Land Plane. But if Interested In a Lower weight land Plane here is one Land Plane Independence Series (y)
 

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I have an old section of harrows that I drag around. Then I flip it over to the flat side to smooth it out more. My gravel is road gravel that has filler in it.


2496694
 

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A lot is going to depend on what your "gravel" road really is and the time of year. I bought my sleeve hitch from someone on CL. He had it on a 100 series machine. He used it along with the Brinley box scraper to maintain his gravel driveway. I am not sure how long he did that, but eventually he wised up and bought an old tractor with a proper blade. The box scraper (even without the sides) would quickly bring my X300 to a stop and I wasn't even trying to move material. The X485 would have no trouble moving it, or lifting it. But, even with its tiny rippers on it doesn't really have the weight to do much. Your X485 is capable of lifting and moving a small tractor box blade. It has real rippers that can probably break up the surface of your gravel, unless it is hard as concrete. I only spent a few hours trying to use a box blade before I decided this was going to be harder than I wanted to work. I think it requires a lot of fiddling with the 3PH lift to use a box blade. But, if you want to move material from one location to another and you don't have a loader, it can work. I have a loader, which is much easier to use to move material and is something that you really should have if you need to maintain gravel. You can do it without, but it will be MUCH harder. This is one of two tasks that led me to buy a CUT, gravel maintenance and pre-compost and compost management. I now use it for more, but those two tasks were what convinced me I needed a CUT. It was a lot of money and it took me quite awhile to spend it. Now, I wouldn't be without it and have made more purchases to make my life easier.
 

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Banker / hobby farmer
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I appreciate everyone's advice here. I am leaning towards a CUT purchase with a bigger box blade or land plane along with it, but we will see. Lots of difference options and not having experience in it makes it hard to understand which tool will be the most affordable, best bang for my buck, but also get the job done as timely and satisfactory as I want.
 

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1988 JD 332, 2002 JD X585, 1989 JD 756
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A 4 foot land plane may be ok for flat areas and probably better results than the box blade for actual leveling or smoothing. A friend has one on a sub compact and it does ok on flat surfaces but going up an incline and his machine spins the wheels (4X4 with loader).
I run a 4 foot BB on my X585 and it does ok but it takes a lot of getting used to. It is good for moving material and roughing in but trying to really "level" and it is a fight. One issue is that the tractor is such a short wheel base that when the front and or rear wheels go over a bump or depression it affects the BB a lot. Also the hydraulics are a bit of a pain since you have to "bump" the lever for up or down and there is no real "float" position since it powers up and down.
Don't be discouraged though! A light to medium duty BB is inexpensive and not all that heavy plus is very versatile for lots of work so it may be a good choice to start with. Even a small basic land plane is costly in comparison and used ones that size are hard to find ... at least in my case!
 

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I have a CUT (Kubota B2620). It is on the small size for a CUT. I have a GS1548, 48" wide grading scraper. There are some threads here and more in tractorbynet about grading scrapers. A fully loaded grading scraper produces a significant drag. Once I have the surface fully torn up, my CUT can't pull it fully loaded up the hill. The simple solution is to raise the 3PH slightly. I believe lengthening the top link might do just as well.

The way the GS works best is when both blades are full of material and overflow of the first mixes with the stuff the 2nd is digging up. The reason that a GS is better than a BB is that it does NOT hold too much material. This is also, of course, the reason that it is not better than a BB for many tasks. The GS does one task and it does it really well. The BB does many tasks, but you have to invest the time in learning how to do them and it takes quite a bit of skill to do many tasks well with a BB. Worst case, the BB makes a decent, but not great, counter weight. When I looked, prices for a BB were about 25-35% cheaper than a GS, but the GS was heavier duty. You can get a cheap BB, but a GS is going to be $1100-1300 for a 4 foot wide one that weighs about 400 lbs. Make sure you get one that has adjustable rippers. You will need those for really hard packed surfaces.

I think a GS might be like power steering. If you have never used it, you don't know what you are missing. Once you do, you don't know how you lived with out. If I want to do major renovation on my driveway, I go for the GS1548. I would never choose box blade for anything other than weight or compact size. Of course, I don't own a BB. I have used one for a few hours, which is definitely not anywhere near enough time to learn how to use it effectively. But, learning how to use my GS effectively took about 10 min. Getting really good with it did take longer.

Many people do maintain gravel driveways with SCUTs, garden tractors, and even lawn tractors, so you don't NEED to have a CUT. But it is probably a much better choice.
 

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I'm surprised we haven't heard any thing about the center mounted blades, like a road grader blade for a garden tractor.
 

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I'm surprised we haven't heard any thing about the center mounted blades, like a road grader blade for a garden tractor.
Trying to find One Can be a Needle In Hay stack sometimes I am still Looking for One for My Wheel Hose 416H I gave Up On finding one for My X748 (y)
 

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I made a Land Plane with hydraulic lift. I used this with 332, 455 and 2210 tractors. The 332 would not pull as much, so I could lift it up as needed to adjust the load. That was grading #57 gravel and it worked great. It also was good to smooth out dirt. The length of the plane made VERY smooth gravel because it would fill on low spots. I did also have a grader blade to pull gravel off the sides to keep a crown in the road.

John Deere 455 With Land Plane Grader1.MPG - YouTube
 
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That is the same concept (two blades separated by some distance, held together rigidly) as the grading scraper/landplane. But it is much lighter and doesn't require a 3PH. Just like there used to be many different style wood planes (still are, but not as popular in general, since most people use power tools now) there are different styles of the same concept.

Has something that looks interesting for some uses. I have heard some people use old bed springs that have been weighted down with something for smoothing. I like using my chain harrow for final finishing.
 

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I put together a 3'x4' square made from bed frame angle iron drilled the back cross member every 2" and installed largest snowmobile studs I could find 1-1/2" . I made a bracket to hold 3 suitcase weights on top and it will cut through hard packed limestone that a d3 dozer couldn't touch! the only other machine that could cut out the potholes was a harley rake on a tracked cat! my solution is much cheaper and doesn't need any service. those carbide studs are hard and sharp! if you've ever seen what a snowmobile can do to a concrete floor you'll agree! when I'm done cutting I turn it around so the studs are at the front and it levels pretty good too just dragging the angle iron!
using it on the x500 I need about 10ft. to turn around,you don't want to drag it on to an asphalt road it makes a mess!
 

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Sounds interesting. Do you have any pictures? I would not expect bed frame angle iron to hold up very long. Most I have seen is not very thick/strong.
 

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I wish they made a Center Mount Blade for the 4X5 series, I think it would be great for grading drives, paths, etc.

It really doesn't look that complicated to design, maybe even have a forward set of knives to break up the gravel.

CCMoe
 

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Not much vertical space there, so it would be pretty much impossible to make one that could raise high enough (when you don't want to touch anything), be heavy enough to do some real work, be tall enough to move some material. But, some people have made them and others have found them for sale, but hard to find.
 

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Sounds interesting. Do you have any pictures? I would not expect bed frame angle iron to hold up very long. Most I have seen is not very thick/strong.
i'll get some pics together, it about time I got it out and used it anyway! maybe the old bedframe angle iron I have around is different than what most people have! these are the ones with slide in round knubs on the end that lock into cast head/foot boards! very good steel, drilling holes wasn't fun!
 
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