Home Survival 101 Forest to Farm: Grading Water

Forest to Farm: Grading Water

by Survival Dispatch Staff

Hey guys Brain & Terry here! Today we are going be using our box blade for the first time. We have an embankment along the road that is two to three feet higher than the road. 

In order to get our water main installed by the water company, we have to get that embankment down to roughly road level. So, we get to play with the new box blade! We plan on taking this entire embankment down to a safe level to mow, manageable level so we want to decide on a good angle now that we can match in the future when we tackle that task. One thing we have to keep in mind is the power pole at the road has to stay where it is, so we will have to slope up to and back down from it.

Before we get started there are a few things that need to be done. First, and foremost, is calling the appropriate people for “no cuts” or “call before you dig”. They will come out and mark any existing power, water, phone, cable, or gas lines that are buried in the area you will be working. We actually forgot to do this, got prepare, to dig, remembered we needed to call them, and then had to wait over a week for them to come mark it…whoops, haha. When you’re new to doing something it’s easy to overlook steps. So, check with others, call your building codes office, etc. to make sure that you are taking the right steps, in the correct order, when you go to do something.

Next, we needed to make sure our box blade was level with the width of the tractor. If it’s not level, you would be grading at an angle, and nothing would work out.

There are two vertical control arms that keep the implement at whatever angle you set it at. The left arm is a fixed arm. The right arm is adjustable to control the angle. To set it level, measure two points on the left arm and then measure the same two points on the right arm. If they don’t match, loosen the nut and twist the linkage in the middle to either raise or lower the right side. Once you’ve got it level, tight the nut on top of the linkage down to it to help hold it in place. One thing to keep in mind is that this is just like the top link on the 3-point hitch. When you twist the linkage, it will expand and contract equally from the top and bottom. So, if you need ½” adjustment, adjust the nut (when possible) ¼”. When you adjust the ¼” on the top, it’s also adjusting that much on the bottom, so you easily get the ½” adjustment you needed.

You will need to decide on the tilt of the box blade. This is adjusted with the top link on the 3-point hitch. Twisting it to bring it closer will make a more aggressive dig and bring the back of the box blade up while dropping the front and the scarifiers (teeth) into the ground more. Twisting it to be further away will make the front of the box blade be higher off the ground and make the back of the box blade touch first. This would be used in more of a smoothing operation where you didn’t want to dig in. When in the more aggressive mode, you can also control how much digging in is done by dropping the teeth down. The lower they are, the more dirt will be broken up. This is one of those steps where it’s best to start easy and get more aggressive as you get comfortable with the equipment and the area you are working in. 

To start off, we went pretty mild on our first approach. We weren’t sure how it would dig in. With a mild angle, and he teeth all the way up, it barely scratched the surface. 

We adjusted the settings and got more aggressive. This made a huge difference in the capabilities and helped to make quick work of the job ahead of us. 

As you can see, the box blade now filled with dirt quickly and we were on our way to a new water main!

We also continued sloping the soil towards the power pole to get the desired angle and make it easy to maintain. It will be so nice to get the entire embankment sloped and the trees cleared back from the road. There is definitely a lot of work to be done, but it will be worth it in the end. This isn’t a property we plan to sell. This is somewhere we want to build up and keep in the family for a long time. So, we don’t mind if things take a little longer. We want them to be done right the first time around. 

We hope you guys and gals found this post to be helpful and entertaining. Be sure to check back soon as we keep moving forward on the property and share a some really cool tips we have learned along the way. Coming up we will be hooking up the water and finally be able to wash up after a long hot day’s work! Thanks for stopping by!

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