Monday, September 28, 2020
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First experience with a Box Blade

Today I had the chance to attach a 5 foot box blade to Johnny (our John Deere 1025R).

There is a crushed stone parking lot behind our church which needed some work. Since I’ve been considering purchasing a box blade for Johnny due to the various projects we’ve been encountering, one of the church members suggest I try out the church’s to evaluate whether I could use it.

This particular blade is a Land Pride BB1560.  It has 4 scarifiers.  According to the Land Pride specifications, it weighs 428 pounds. I don’t know that any of my observations would be specific to this particular box blade. Rather, I believe they would apply generally to any brand of blade.

The Process

When facing a driveway or parking lot with potholes, one might first think that simply filling the potholes with rock would be the best solution. However, this doesn’t work very well in practice. Typically cars will quickly push the rock right back out, re-opening the pothole again.
Instead, the driveway or parking lot needs to be ‘dug up’ somewhat with the dust/dirt/rock becoming all mixed together, and the potholes being destroyed by this digging.

After the area has been dug-up, then one begins the process of leveling out the mixture of dirt/rock.

It is all about weight

I found that I could not get the scarifiers to dig in to the hard-packed parking lot without additional weight.  Even though 428 pounds seems like a lot, it was not enough to penetrate the packed rocks.
I added 8 of my 42lb Deere suitcase weights.  This really helped.  However, even weighing approximately 800 lbs was still hardly enough to penetrate.

Lots of trips

The initial trip over the packed rocks rarely had much impact.  The scarifiers would penetrate only 1/2 inch or so.  However, by the 3rd trip over, I was getting sufficient penetration for the blade to begin to dig in.  Once the blade began to pull downward, I was usually able to break through the hardest packed rock.

How Deep to run the scarifiers during initial digging phase??

I’m not sure I figured out the optimal depth for the scarifiers. I know that they needed to be below the cutting edge of the blade. For awhile, I had them several inches below the blade, thinking that I wanted to cut deep, so the scarifiers should be deep.
Then, later, as I mentioned above, I noticed that when the blade began to dig-in and the box began to fill up, the scarifiers would penetrate more effectively.
So, in this particular situation, having the scarifiers about 1 inch below the blade cutting height seemed to work best.

Would LESS scarifiers be better?

When shopping for a box blade, I had noticed that different blades of the same size might have a different number of scarifiers.  I’ve seen from 3 to 5 on the 4-5′ blades.  For some reason I had assumed that more scarifiers would be better.  More is always better, right?  After using this blade today, having difficulty getting it to dig in, I’m not as convinced that more is better.  If I had concentrated that 800 lbs of downforce on less scarifiers, perhaps they would have been forced to dig in.

Difficult to create level surface

I found that it was difficult to do finish work with the blade on the 1025R. I believe this can be attributed to some basic ‘weaknesses’ of this size tractor.

  • The short wheel-base exaggerates the up and down movement on the blade. So, as I would hit humps and valleys, I found it difficult to smooth these out
  • Similarly, the narrow width of the tractor contributes to the same exaggeration of movement. Longer wheelbase, and wider stance would minimize this movement.
  • The 3 point hydraulics don’t seem to respond as gracefully as say the front end loader hydraulics. Maybe I would get better at this with practice, but I found it hard to make small adjustments (successfully) with the 3 point hitch. Perhaps this is closely related to the two bullet points above.
  • it is behind me instead of in front of me. I like working with the loader because I don’t have to twist my neck all of the time. I find it difficult to closely monitor a rear-mounted implement.

So, when it got to the detailed finish, I would recommend using the loader to ‘back-drag’.  This works beautifully.

What is the best size blade for the 1025R

I’ve heard folks debate between the 4 ft and 5 ft sized box blades for the 1-series. I found that I could not pull a box full of rock while the scarifiers were digging with this 5 ft blade. I could not get sufficient traction even with the loader, wheel weights, filled tires, and all of my cheeseburger-enhanced ballast.

Having said that, I really like having a few inches beyond the size of the rear tires. With the wheel weights, 48 inches does not quite extend beyond the edge of the tires.
So, if I get serious about buying a box-blade, I believe I will look at a 54″ width. Not all companies make them, so I may be forced to reconsider, but I have seen several.

As for other features , as mentioned above, I am not going to dismiss a blade with 3 scarifiers now.
Also, I would like to find a blade with a suitable place to hang my 42lb weights. I will certainly want them for additional down-force.

16 COMMENTS

  1. May I inquire what part of the country you live in please?
    I’m in NW Wisconsin here & love your family videos with the tractor & shop. I have a 1026R JD.
    Thanks!!
    Duke

  2. I just got our 1025R in late March, and at first only mowed and planted a few trees. We are in central OK, in hard, cracking red clay soil. Planting with the JD has been a huge step in having fun on our new 10-acre home, first time out of the city. Found your family and videos, and loved getting to know our tractor with your help. Still have so far to go.

    We have a gravel drive, and when looking on YouTube for instruction, one person (can’t find it now) said to start backwards – turn the box blade into a bull dozer, accomplishing your revelation of getting the blade into the work. Once broken up, the box can be used to level. Haven’t done ours yet, so still theory and learning. Just thoughts I could pass along.

    Thanks, keep it up, and I’m ordering the 200 hr kit.

    • Duke,

      I’m in central Indiana. NW Wisconsin sounds like a beautiful area.
      I appreciate your positive comments.

      The whole ‘tractor thing’ has been very positive for our family. Who woulda thunk!?!?

    • Hey Rick,
      Thanks for stopping by, and congratulations on the new tractor! I thought I had responded earlier, but apparently I did not. Sorry.

      I think it was “Tractor Mike” who said to go backwards first. I tried it, but didn’t have much luck. I think our rock was simply too packed to get it to dig in.

      I appreciate you ordering the 200hr kit.

  3. Tim, when i am done digging with my box blade i add a piece between the box blade and top link so it will work like a rotarycutter (brush hog) and kind of float.

    Walker

    PS. Love the videos

  4. Hey Tim,. I have a 60″ box blade I bought for a massy Ferguson 135 years ago. Gave that tractor to my brother in law. Been using the box blade on my 1025r for about a year. I found when leveling rock to run the tines as you suggested. I start with the blade angled forawrd to cut and take off the high points leaving piles of rock in the low points. Then adjust the box so is tipped back leaving a 2″ gap uder the blade when lowered all the way down
    . Back up, hook a pile and spread. It’ll lay out a nice clean strip.

    FYI I could stop the 135 with that blade if I worked at it

    Matt

  5. So do you think the 54” box blade would be ideal for the 1025r or do you realy think I should stay with. a 48”. I also like the idea of having one that is a little wider that the tires are.

  6. Have a quarter mile gravel drive that gets weedy…will the scarifiers rip them up so the blade can re-level the gravel? We have a summer place in ND.

  7. Sorry Tim but I have a lowly Kubota B8200, Other than that , I have a five ft land pride, from tractor supply. I find with a small tractor, it is best to do my box blade work directly after a rain, seems to lubricate and make it much easier to bring the surface down to the bottom of the potholes. Sometimes I get better results if I dont use the diggers at all! Hope I could be of some help.

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