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picframer
03-15-2009, 11:22 AM
Well mother nature was on my side this morning so I decided to take the backhoe off (first time) and try this box blade with the top cylinder, I had never used one before.

Do these things ever work slick, the first order was to remove the ice with the tooth bars, simple from the seat just tilt the teeth down and go, worked perfect, then I scraped the ice down to the gravel and went at leveling.

Once again I forgot before pics but the driveway was getting in tough shape, pot holes at ruts, it's been a tough winter on gravel, freezing and thawing over and over. Also the area I put a culvert in had sunken about 4". The driveway was in pretty sad shape to start.

These box blades are simply amazing and super simple to use, can't say how impressed I am with the results.

My driveway is just over 600 feet long, total time from start to finish was 45 min, I had two people walking by with their dogs ask if I could come over and look at their's this afternoon and give a quote.

Steve
03-15-2009, 04:13 PM
This is fascinating! I don't know anything about this. Can you tell me about the tool? How does it work? Are there two parts to it? The box part and the teeth? How do you use it?

picframer
03-15-2009, 05:07 PM
This is fascinating! I don't know anything about this. Can you tell me about the tool? How does it work? Are there two parts to it? The box part and the teeth? How do you use it?

If you remember as a kid, Tonka made a toy called a scraper, basically as you built roads the centre would start to fill with dirt depending on how low you had the scraper blade, it released dirt into low areas, the result was that the road you built was perfectly flat. This box scraper works on the same theory.

The teeth are adjustable, from the seat I can make them dig into the ground up to 6" or not at all. What you do is go up and down the driveway taking about 1/2 the depth of your deepest pot hole or rutt, what will happen is the box blade will release dirt into the rutts or holes and as it pass's over the rear of the blade puts about 600 pounds of pressure on the dirt compacting it. Once you have gone over the entire driveway going forwards, you go backwards generally one pass and it will really compact the gravel and you end up with a driveway that is super smooth.

Now the reason the teeth can dig so deep is for digging up really uneven soil, removing top soil to put in a new lawn, removing surface stuff to level for a garage for example. In short anything you want to level, this is the ideal tool.

Now when it dries out, I will attach the rake and crown the driveway. I did four today and made an easy $360.00, it sure was great to be able to work outside, hard to believe this past Friday it was -21 with the wind chill, today it was around +10.

Steve
03-15-2009, 05:58 PM
Do you have to add more gravel when you do this on the driveways or no? Are you digging up a lot of top soil during this process and does that cause problems with the gravel? Does it mix it up? Is that good or bad?

picframer
03-15-2009, 06:12 PM
Do you have to add more gravel when you do this on the driveways or no? Are you digging up a lot of top soil during this process and does that cause problems with the gravel? Does it mix it up? Is that good or bad?

It would depend on the driveway, all the ones I did today the answer is no, it will dig up any rocks but it has so much force it drives them right back into the ground and covers them with finer gravel. You are basically recycling what is there and making everything smooth again.

If I were removing top soil, you change the angle, it will collect the soil in the box then you simply dump it, grade what was under the top soil to the desired flatness or slope and then sod.

justin_time
03-15-2009, 07:32 PM
Makes me want to get a John Deere :p ;)

picframer
03-15-2009, 08:03 PM
Makes me want to get a John Deere :p ;)

As I mentioned before, color is not as important as a good dealer, JD, Kubota, Massey etc. they are all about the same, some have little features over the other but in my readings they are all excellent. I chose JD as the dealership uses me like gold and they have the best team of employees in a business I have seen, bar none. If you do get a tractor there are many manufactures of attachments and you can save thousands to get you going by shopping around, granted they will not last as long as the commercial grade stuff but your upfront cost will be thousands less and you can at least get going, it is shocking how fast this equipment can pay for itself.

I just throw this stuff out for those looking to diversify with their lawn care, the more areas we can offer a service, when one area of the business struggles it doesn't hurt as much and one never gets bored, it really is a lot of fun.

lawn-guy
03-16-2009, 12:17 AM
nice job man have you ever tried using a power rake if u adjust it right it makes a grvel driveway look smooth as silk it will do the same as you mentioned (fill in low spots holes ruts ext)

picframer
03-16-2009, 04:38 AM
nice job man have you ever tried using a power rake if u adjust it right it makes a grvel driveway look smooth as silk it will do the same as you mentioned (fill in low spots holes ruts ext)

I have on bigger tractors, In order to clear the wheel base I would need a 72" power rake, that would need around 36 H.P. ++ which would be the 3000 series of tractors. I did look at them however the cost and weight concerned me, I would have been looking in the $45,000+ range for the same set up which was more than I wanted to spend and they are desperate heavy, almost 1,000 pounds more than this one and I am coming in at close to 3,000 pounds which is really pushing it for doing anything on a customer lawn, I did buy the turfs for it however I think I will limit anything on a lawn to the 2305 tractor or the X500. I would have had to buy a bigger truck (F250 range) in order to pull it.....perhaps down the road.

The power rake is an amazing attachment and would do well in my area, they really brake the clay soil up.

Steve
03-16-2009, 04:40 AM
What's the difference between a power rake and a box blade?

lawn-guy
03-16-2009, 12:20 PM
What's the difference between a power rake and a box blade?

the box is basickly how it sounds a 3 sided box with teeth inside of it designed to scrape the ground a power rake is a long cylinder that has alot of teeth about1-2 inch long that spins and breaks up dirt and at same time spreads it out smoothly


i have a 40 hp massey ferguson tractor with cab and i use a 5 foot power rake and love it im not a big fan of the box but either way they are both great tools also i use either a 95 f150 or 97 gmc yukon to pull tractor n trailer and have no problems

picframer
03-16-2009, 02:51 PM
What's the difference between a power rake and a box blade?

A power rake is very good for braking up very hard soil or soil with a high clay content, think of them as a tiller, their primary function is cultivation. Personally I would not use them in a customers driveway as they tend to throw rocks, last thing I want is a rock hitting a client, car or whatever and with Murphy's Law it would probably happen.

A JD tractor big enough to handle a Power Rake would come in around 4,000 pounds, even though my tandem trailer would handle that weight easy enough, I would not want to be pulling that behind a half ton truck, just too dangerous, IMHO. Also when you get into that weight you limit what you can do for a customer when it comes to landscaping due to the weight.

Steve
03-16-2009, 03:14 PM
What would you say is the best way to estimate a driveway leveling? Should you charge based on the area of the surface?

Also, have you thought about getting some yard signs to put out in front of the driveway and leave there for a week or so after you do the job? Would that be a good way to market the service?

picframer
03-16-2009, 03:35 PM
What would you say is the best way to estimate a driveway leveling? Should you charge based on the area of the surface?

Also, have you thought about getting some yard signs to put out in front of the driveway and leave there for a week or so after you do the job? Would that be a good way to market the service?

You have to see the driveway and experience will tell you what to charge although I still tend to over quote and if I do I only charge the client what I charge per hour. Min of $50.00 you should be able to do a 300 foot driveway in less than an hour even if it's in rough shape, doesn't really take that much longer to do a driveway twice the length. When I quote a client $100.00, the response so far has been really??? When can you do it.....From the past two days and spending some time talking to these people I have quite a few quotes for summer work, mainly decks and some clearing. One client wants 150 foot walking path put in the woods, the smaller of my tractors will be ideal for this. A job like that will be by the hour, lord only knows what we could run into.

Funny you should mention signs as i picked up four more driveways today all close to my home and have six inquiries from the website as I listed this service, website and pictures on a local community bulletin board (online), anyhow one client mentioned to me this afternoon, you can leave a sign at the end of my driveway saying you did the work if you like. I hadn't even thought of It yet we see them all the time, this roof done by....etc.

So tomorrow is a day off, spring break and daughter wants to get her drivers license so I will go to a local print shop that does a lot of political campaigns and see what the rate is. If I do that I got to thinking, we have these outdoor community mail box things (not sure their proper name) our subdivision has at least 10, each location has about 30 postal boxes, I will post a sign at each of these, I thought of that driving home when I saw signs posted offering tax return service.

Anyhow the goal is $100.00 an hour, I take my diesel Jetta to do quotes due to fuel economy, and will try and line up a few jobs in the same area and split the float fee up, I am stretching the company thin at the moment, I have one renovation crew going out straight while I do this stuff as my equipment operators do not start until April 1st and two people working in my woodworking shop, Using University kids for the equipment that have lots of experience and help me with snow removal, they are available on weekends but clients do not seem to want to wait. I am considering hiring an operator but giving a thirty thousand dollar tractor to someone I don't know just doesn't seem to sit well with me.

Steve
03-17-2009, 08:16 AM
When I quote a client $100.00, the response so far has been really??? When can you do it...

It makes you wonder how much they would pay for the service and if others in the area are charging more.

picframer
03-17-2009, 11:16 AM
It makes you wonder how much they would pay for the service and if others in the area are charging more.

The last part is the issue, for 15 years I looked for someone to do mine before I finally bought the equipment myself, there simply isn't anyone. I tried various things with my bigger tractor however it did not have a 3 point hitch for attachments so I was stuck with a front blade which doesn't do a good job.