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Sometimes You Just Have To Build It Yourself!  RSS feed

 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
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One implement that many people would think would be perfect on a homestead...including me until I got one...is a three point hitch grader blade. Oh what could be done with that!! Sadly as it turns out, not much, because attached as it is, when the tractor goes into a dip, the grader blade drives itself into the ground, yet when the tractor goes over a bump, the grader blade lifts off the ground. Constant up and down on the three point hitch control might help, and draft control on tractors so equipped also help, it is not the complete solution. That is because the length from grader blade to rear axle is not long enough. It kind of works good enough in tight areas, but for grading roadways, fields, and animal pens, on my farm at least, it just plain failed.

So out came ye olde welder!

I got a Wallenstein Log Trailer, and I thought if I extended the hitch and mounted my 3 point hitch grader blade exactly between the rear axle or the tractor and trailer, it would give me a super smooth surface. Adding to that, the trailers walking beam suspension would keep the blade flat to the ground since it would walk up and over any rocks that the blade kicked up. Granted I had some steel kicking around, so for $37 in bolts and welding rod, I managed to build a very decent grader that mimics the geometry of a true motor grader.  The gooseneck had to be beefed up a bit to keep the I-Beam from twisting, but it was required because I needed the frame to be higher so I could lift my grader blade with the three point hitch alone. In the end it produces a very smooth surface on a nice flat plane. Here are a couple of photos in case anyone wants to mount theirs to a trailer of some sort.





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Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 3000
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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awesome work! you built your own field leveler (the rice farmers here use an implement that looks almost exactly like that).

Redhawk
 
John Weiland
Posts: 950
Location: RRV of da Nort
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Nice home-brew leveler, Travis!  I sometimes think that welding should be the second most important skill to learn next to growing your own food.  Really envious of those kids that grew up on farms and learned it through osmosis of watching another family member do so many do-it-yourself jobs before trying their own hand.  Using no where near the skill level you demonstrate here, I just replaced an engine on a 20 year-old tiller.  Having 10 thumbs instead of 2 plus 8 fingers, what would have taken a competent small engine mechanic 2 hours to do took me over two weeks....with more bloody knuckles to show for it.

Maybe we should start a "Project Fail" thread to go along with the "Garden Fail" that was started sometime back, in an effort to remind ourselves that sometimes the project finishes us off, instead of us finishing off the project.
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Excellent job Travis.  Very impressive.
 
Travis Johnson
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I might use this for a field leveler...I am not sure. For field leveling, which for me is more like smoothing then getting it perfectly level, I just use a log. Not the road, but the field in which the tractor and grader are sitting in; I used this method. The premise is simple, get as big a log as you can, as long as you can. In my case it was a 30 foot log 2 feet in diameter. This did two things.

(1) Its 30 foot length meant the field was smooth.

(2) Its weight presses rocks into the ground instead of plucking them out like a disc harrow.

My bulldozer did not have enough traction to pull the log, so I had to pinch hit using my skidder.

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Tj Jefferson
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Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Nice build. Your smoother reminds me of concrete finishing!
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I've seen many bouncy vehicles with a short wheelbase, try to level gravel, and it can lead to comical results. I tried it with a bobcat. It was somewhat better, when I drove backwards, as I dragged the blade along. But still every time the rear wheels hit something, the blade plunged a little deeper.

My tenant owns a 26 ton excavator. He sometimes drives down the road, plucking out many of the larger rocks that look like they're going to be trouble. He also does a quick scrape of areas that are a bit too high. After material has been loosened, he drives the machine up and back a couple times. This helps with leveling. Sometimes, when he's just taking his four wheel drive truck out, he will attach a bar that contains several heavy chains. He drives to the end of the road, then goes to work. On his return trip, he hooks up and drags the chains back again. This works pretty well for leveling out small defects, but wouldn't begin to touch the football size rocks that sometimes pop up.

My place is only 7 1/2 acres, but I have 1 km or about .6 mile of road.
 
Travis Johnson
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I need an excavator bad. I had a chance to pick up a big one, I think it was in the 190,000 pound class with a 6 cubic yard bucket or something big like that. It was in New Hampshire, in good shape and cheap at $31,000, but it would have to be disassembled to move, go on 4 lowbeds and cost as much to move as it would be to buy. that was why the guy was selling it. It did one job, paid for itself and no one could afford to move it from job to job to job. On a farm though where it would live out its years...yes it would work. But 60 grand is a lot of money, and take lots of lambs to pay for it.

Myself I maintain a half mile of road. This is logging truck road though and not driveway. I had the option of moving back 1/4 mile from where my house is now, but at the time I was young and did not look at things the same. When I considered how much it would cost to construct building a 1/4 mile drive, I decided to put my house the minimum set-back from the road...70 feet. I don't regret that, its nice having a barnyard close to the main road, but my point is, now I look at building a quarter mile of road as being nothing. It takes time, but just like you eat an elephant one bite at a time, you build a quarter mile road the same way...one yard at a time.

The roadway I am building now is only 475 feet long, yet will exceed 1200 cubic yards of sub-soil and gravel.

I still have more access roads to build; a slow network of tentacles reaching out to fields as I clear land and convert them to fields. I do laugh though, I figure by the time I get 100% access, hovercraft will in vogue and I will not need them anymore. That is how my luck runs!
 
Larry Bock
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My first " home made " mini grader was a king size coil box spring, (fabric and padding removed)weighted down with 12 cinder blocks  this contraption was towed behind a 1948 Farmall tractor I bought for $500 in Limestone ME
I started grading close to my foundation, circling around it and working my way outward . It did not long before the area I was working looked like I had a crew with rakes there all day long.  Most rocks over baseball size were pushed out to the perimeter and I just walked the exterior edge of my work area with a wheel barrow and loaded them up and filled in some holes on my road. When I was done with it? I went right back where I got it, the local transfer station
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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That box spring thing is new to me. I must suggest this to Randy. Wouldn't that be attractive, having an old box spring laying off to the side of the road half the time. But he has lots of other junk anyway.

When demolishing a house using an excavator, large mattresses are always set aside. The excavator can pick it up at the end and use it as a giant broom, to sweep every bit of debris off of the concrete foundation, so that it can be disposed of as clean concrete. Those who are good, can get almost to the edge. I have gone along with a snow shovel and push broom, just doing the edge couple feet, so the machine operator can get the rest with the big mattress. It's generally swept to the center and then grabbed with the cleanup bucket. The last bit is swept up with the broom and snow shovel, and loaded into the clean up bucket.

I'll bet a mattress ,would make a handy leveler for those using smaller equipment, such as garden tractors, cars, horses or children. The children could ride on the mattress, if they aren't put to harness.
 
Larry Bock
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I would have like to have called the box spring idea as my own. A gentleman heard my talking about my plans for the day ( raking all day) and tossed the suggestion out there.  It kinda made sense, I had no idea how well it actually worked out. They are basically two kinda people in the world
1, a person that looks at a square peg and a round hole and says it Will not fit
2, a person that pulls out his pocket knife and makes it fit
  This is why I have become a fan of this forum, the lessons and info here can be applied to just about anything. Lol.  Larry
Ps that box spring was insightly, that's why I brought it back when I was done.   πŸ˜„
 
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