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paul wheaton
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We have a lot of roads that are currently in terrible shape. It rained a bit the other day and a lot of spots became quickly impassible.

Out on my last farm I had a 45hp tractor and a back blade. I think I did a really good job of keeping the roads in good condition. A gully washer of a rainstorm caused huge damage on the county road and most driveways, but my half mile of driveway was fine.

I suppose roads could be maintained with nothing more than shovels. But that seems like a lot of work. Maybe some spots will need to be managed with shovels and 95% could be managed with something simple.

I would very much like to avoid getting a tractor. Eventually, I would like to be able to do pretty much everything with an electric UTV. And I've seen equipment for the UTVs.

Here is one that looks like it would be pretty useful:




This one looks like what I had on my tractor:



The problem with this is that the wheel base on the utv is so short that every time you hit a bump, the blade gouges the road.


Another view of this type:




Here is a full on video of something called "the gravel rascal"



The downside of this one is: $2000. Another downside: I don't see it doing a standard angle blade that is needed to move gravel back onto the road (the middle) after the winter of clearing snow (and pushing the gravel to the edge).

Anybody have experience trying this sort of thing?

 
R Scott
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Scour craigslist. There are usually a few ATV/UTV solutions on there from time to time.

Before I had a tractor, I used a chunk of heavy angle iron, an old bedspring, and a chain behind my pickup. It couldn't fix MAJOR damage, but did a lot more than you would think for $20 invested.
 
Nick Kitchener
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You could reduce the bouncing on the ATV grader by extending the tow arm to make it twice as long as they made it. Some weight behind the blade would also be of help.
Actually, towing a heavy lawn roller behind the blade might be a good idea... Then again, by the time you did all that, you might as well have a permie weld you up a custom piece of equipment out of steel.
 
Joe Braxton
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A roughly square piece of surplus/used bar grating towed on a "V" chain will do a very good job. Tow it parallel to the bars to cut and perpendicular to smooth.
 
paul wheaton
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Joe Braxton wrote:A roughly square piece of surplus/used bar grating towed on a "V" chain will do a very good job. Tow it parallel to the bars to cut and perpendicular to smooth.


And at an angle to get the crown restored.

I like this so much I need to try this before trying a blade. If this works, this would be HUGE!

 
paul wheaton
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I think this could be something where three pieces of angle iron welded to another three pieces of angle iron could totally do the trick. Then you just weld some loops at three corners so you can connect a chain or cable. About 4 feet by 4 feet.
 
Abe Connally
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what is the road made of?

Ours is of clay, and you need some weight on things to actually dig in. None of these things look heavy enough. We pretty much have to rent a grader from the county every year. $20 for a mile stretch, but I'd like a better solution. This clay is nasty stuff!
 
Sam Rosenthal
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I can't seem to find the link again, but I saw somewhere people who were repairing and preserving their roads using low quality coarse, half decomposed compost. They would lay it out in berms across their roads and driveway to slow the water and to direct it to flow where it would benefit plants. When it packs down from traffic they reapply and as a result have less wear and tear and soil erosion on the road. This is probably best used to keep water from eroding your road and making some repairs. If your road is severely damaged you may need to use machinery but I would suggest using a method like this to keep your road like new, while collecting valuable runoff water from your road.
 
Kevin Swanson
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I thought you bought a trachoe!? Shouldn't have any problem maintaining the road with that!
 
Joe Braxton
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paul wheaton wrote:
Joe Braxton wrote:A roughly square piece of surplus/used bar grating towed on a "V" chain will do a very good job. Tow it parallel to the bars to cut and perpendicular to smooth.


And at an angle to get the crown restored.

I like this so much I need to try this before trying a blade. If this works, this would be HUGE!



If needed for your soil type, you could weld railroad spikes on one side for teeth and flip over to smooth. Also this comes in a wide array of sizes and weights. I've used them in sand, crushed stone, and clay with success.
 
Abe Connally
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Joe Braxton wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
Joe Braxton wrote:A roughly square piece of surplus/used bar grating towed on a "V" chain will do a very good job. Tow it parallel to the bars to cut and perpendicular to smooth.


And at an angle to get the crown restored.

I like this so much I need to try this before trying a blade. If this works, this would be HUGE!



If needed for your soil type, you could weld railroad spikes on one side for teeth and flip over to smooth. Also this comes in a wide array of sizes and weights. I've used them in sand, crushed stone, and clay with success.


Throw a dozen sacks of sand on it and pull it in granny gear, and you might have something.
 
kadence blevins
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around here a lot of people have plows or those as you showed for ATVs or mowers or tractors. my dad has one (big farm tractor one) that he uses for our driveway, grandparents driveway, a couple neighbors when needed.

they are good as long as you use em right and don't just go nuts with it on a crazy screwed up road/driveway that just breaks it.

perhaps there is a neighbor or friendly local with one that wouldn't mind comin out to use it every so often.
 
Tom Rutledge
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Abe Connally wrote:
Joe Braxton wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
Joe Braxton wrote:A roughly square piece of surplus/used bar grating towed on a "V" chain will do a very good job. Tow it parallel to the bars to cut and perpendicular to smooth.


And at an angle to get the crown restored.

I like this so much I need to try this before trying a blade. If this works, this would be HUGE!



If needed for your soil type, you could weld railroad spikes on one side for teeth and flip over to smooth. Also this comes in a wide array of sizes and weights. I've used them in sand, crushed stone, and clay with success.


Throw a dozen sacks of sand on it and pull it in granny gear, and you might have something.




Weighting down one side or the other would probably work to give you some angle control.

Pulling it slightly angled to the grill and you'll have another effect.

You could probably pull it behind a car with a hitch if need be.

Follwoing it up with a roller might help with the compaction.

A simple roller could probably be made out of some old wheels, tires and some pipe.


 
allen lumley
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Tom R. et al : For a Roller how about a dead gas fired hot water heater striped to the tank filled and plugged with an iron pipe up the center for an axle !

Just an Idea ! I know it can be made to work as a roller, cheaply, just there might be something else - borrowed maybe !

For the Good of the Craft ! Be safe, keep warm ! Pyro magical Big Al - Your comments/questions are solicited, and welcome A. L.
 
R Scott
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You could get something like this: http://www.smallfarminnovations.com/imple-cart.php

I know there are other brands, or local welders that can make them up. They will let you use light 3 pt equipment with a golf cart, mule, truck, or an otherwise too-small tractor. A good way to move round bales without a big tractor, until it snows or rains anyway (so have them where you need them before the storm rolls in).
 
Rufus Laggren
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Here is a link to a custom modification of a standard utility box scraper.

http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=195416&page=3

It's quite fancy but the principle of a pull-type scraper seems to be the best/cheapest way to work roads with a small tow vehicle. Box scrapers are dime-a-dozen in all sizes and the addition of a long "wheelbase" allows the scraper to remain mostly level despite road bumps.

There are also numerous variations of pull-graders. Antique pull graders (30's?) with adjustments allowing the wheels to be offset to the side relative the pulling vehicle look perfect but those are not common and they those I've seen are fairly large. Youtube will supply lots of other examples of this kind of tool.


Rufus
 
paul wheaton
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R Scott wrote:You could get something like this: http://www.smallfarminnovations.com/imple-cart.php

I know there are other brands, or local welders that can make them up. They will let you use light 3 pt equipment with a golf cart, mule, truck, or an otherwise too-small tractor. A good way to move round bales without a big tractor, until it snows or rains anyway (so have them where you need them before the storm rolls in).




Wow! That seems really smart!

I think I'm gonna try to get by without the 3-point hitch stuff, but that is definitely something to keep in mind.
 
paul wheaton
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Rufus Laggren wrote:Here is a link to a custom modification of a standard utility box scraper.

http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=195416&page=3

It's quite fancy but the principle of a pull-type scraper seems to be the best/cheapest way to work roads with a small tow vehicle. Box scrapers are dime-a-dozen in all sizes and the addition of a long "wheelbase" allows the scraper to remain mostly level despite road bumps.

There are also numerous variations of pull-graders. Antique pull graders (30's?) with adjustments allowing the wheels to be offset to the side relative the pulling vehicle look perfect but those are not common and they those I've seen are fairly large. Youtube will supply lots of other examples of this kind of tool.


Rufus




That fella did a really nice job on that. I think that would definitely smooth roads, but I kinda want to be able to move stuff to the middle (crown) of the road too.



 
R Scott
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He built it with adjustable tilt so it will crown. The blade won't angle so it won't roll material like a back blade, but it will tilt with the legs just like adjusting one of the links on a 3pt box blade to cause it to dig on one side and deposit on the other. It has to be dry to work that way, but it does work. It has enough wheelbase plus the offset duals so that it should smooth bumps really well, too, for such a small machine.

There are lots of ways to skin this, it just depends on what you can find for a price you can handle that does the job well enough fast enough.


I personally love these kind of threads because they give me so many new ideas on how to fix homestead problems.
 
Gary Park
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DR Grader. I have the 4-foot wide version and do 2 passes(each side of the road, which for me is about 6-7') for dirt roads personally, but it's made for gravel also. Got mine for $200(a STEAL), but I see them for $400-500 all the time. The design of the angle of the tines and blade and the operation is impressive to me. Comes with a remote control key-fob to raise and lower, and if you get a bunch of roots or debris stuck, you just back up which causes the swivel wheels to flip and lift the tines which usually clears them automatically. I've used a blade, box blade w/rippers, and buckets, but this is my go-to tool for maintenance of a path or road. Also can smooth out lumpy lawns without scraping too much of the grass off. And you can screw that tiny overpriced battery--stick a car battery in the sand bucket with sand around it and bungee it down--perfect weight ballast.
DR-grader.png
[Thumbnail for DR-grader.png]
 
paul wheaton
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Here is what I want to do.

The top image is what we have a lot of right now.

The bottom image is what I want to do. End up with a crown. Any excess water goes to the sides where it can puddle if it wants to. The grasses and plants there will take it up. Since that area doesn't get compacted, the water will be more likely to just go into the ground.

road-crown.png
[Thumbnail for road-crown.png]
 
kadence blevins
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you will want the road area wider. so the water wont pull in the road, collapsing it. I know its not really to scale, just a suggestion.
 
Robert Reid
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My dad used to use a drag built from a section of rail road track to level the mole hills in his hay fields.
Perhaps if you arranged some rail road track into the grate configuration, you wouldn't need additional ballast.

 
Zachary Morris
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paul wheaton wrote:We have a lot of roads that are currently in terrible shape. It rained a bit the other day and a lot of spots became quickly impassible.

Out on my last farm I had a 45hp tractor and a back blade. I think I did a really good job of keeping the roads in good condition. A gully washer of a rainstorm caused huge damage on the county road and most driveways, but my half mile of driveway was fine.

I suppose roads could be maintained with nothing more than shovels. But that seems like a lot of work. Maybe some spots will need to be managed with shovels and 95% could be managed with something simple.

I would very much like to avoid getting a tractor. Eventually, I would like to be able to do pretty much everything with an electric UTV. And I've seen equipment for the UTVs.

Here is one that looks like it would be pretty useful:




This one looks like what I had on my tractor:



The problem with this is that the wheel base on the utv is so short that every time you hit a bump, the blade gouges the road.


Another view of this type:




Here is a full on video of something called "the gravel rascal"



The downside of this one is: $2000. Another downside: I don't see it doing a standard angle blade that is needed to move gravel back onto the road (the middle) after the winter of clearing snow (and pushing the gravel to the edge).

Anybody have experience trying this sort of thing?



People have a way of making things so complicated! I'm a neighbor to a multi thousand acre cattle ranch, they drag trees up and down the roads twice a year, they look like county maintained roads, except maintained better. I do the same thing, branches for pathways and full size trees for the roads.

That said, another neighbor has been seen dragging all sorts of metal objects behind his garden tractor. We've also got one of the standard ATV graders in the neighborhood, think it's actually still on my dirt, but it's too aggressive. I believe I've tried all the things mentioned on this thread, and I still prefer a good ol' tree with a chain, more economical, clean finish.
 
ben harpo
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paul wheaton wrote:Here is what I want to do.

The top image is what we have a lot of right now.

The bottom image is what I want to do. End up with a crown. Any excess water goes to the sides where it can puddle if it wants to. The grasses and plants there will take it up. Since that area doesn't get compacted, the water will be more likely to just go into the ground.



A moldboard plow is the perfect tool to do that.
 
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