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Author Topic: Excavator or bulldozer for road building  (Read 3595 times)

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Offline erin

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Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« on: November 05, 2018, 04:31:07 PM »
Excavator vs dozer. Trying to figure out what would work best for skid road building on extreme terrain, wondering what models you use. 
Thanks E. 

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 04:38:44 PM »
excavator by far

Offline maple flats

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2018, 04:46:51 PM »
Give a few more details. What is the "extreme terrain" like? Will it need cutting roads into a side hill for a significant part? If yes, how steep? This will all help me or someone else answer.
I have used both, but my land is fairly level and in my lease the roads were already there.
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Offline Stuart Caruk

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2018, 04:50:20 PM »
Kobelco Bladerunner. Then you get the best of both machines. The excavator is naturally handy for clearing brush, rocks, stumps, trees, making drainage ditches. Throw a stump splitter / root saw on it and it will dig out stumps bigger than the machine. It grades like a D6 cat. Only issue is it doesn't like to turn tight with a full blade of dirt, but it will move an impressive pile of brush. The 6 way blade is super for cutting in a road that is on a hillside. Makes a decent log loader as well. I'm very happy with mine.



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Offline barbender

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 12:08:10 AM »
Our company has 6 or 7 dozers, and no excavator. We probably should have one, but we get by renting or contracting it out. We really only use them when we have culvert work, otherwise it's all dozers.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2018, 12:50:20 AM »
Depends on the soil you are working in. Shale go with the excavator, clay use a dozer. 
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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2018, 04:00:50 AM »
Locally the loggers tend to use a large excavator because they are just so versatile. You can make tracks / stream crossings etc as needed. Push down hazard trees and clear up other logging "mishaps". There is even the option of "shovel logging" in small difficult access areas. Then they put a grapple on and use it on the landing. Sorting logs into grades and loading trucks etc. (No one uses self loaders here, so the crew need something that can load a truck and trailer) 

Bulldozers have their place, and for pushing a lot of dirt around they are better, or forming a long track across a hillside etc. But they don't have that versatility that an excavator has. 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2018, 07:38:34 AM »
Cutting aross real steep and rocky sidehills id prefer an excavator.. Dozers dont like running on rock and you have to make many passes over the same area to finish.  An excavator is only repositioning itself periodically and can do so very slowly onto terrain it has already smoothed. 


As SSL pointed out, in wet clay the dozer has an advantage.  excavator bucket will load up with clay that sticks in it and then big plops will fall out that arent easy to spread well.. They gum together then restick when you try to spread them which would leave a very poor road.  Waiting for that condition to dry could be 4 months.  Atleast the dozer will cast off a flat cut even if the pile doesnt roll off so pretty as during better conditions.  



For big stumping a thumbed or ripper equiped excavator has a large advantage.  It takes a big dozer to stump as efficiently as a mid sized digger.  I think a track loader is also better at stumping than a same sized dozer.  My 450 track loader with a clamshell bucket will do about twice as many as my D31 (550ish sized) in same time. 

Stuarts machine is the cats meow though. 
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Offline Resonator

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2018, 08:17:32 AM »
I would prefer an excavator instead of a dozer, just because it has the handy hydraulic attachment to reach out and pull yourself out when your stuck!  
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2018, 08:26:40 AM »
On a 6 way dozer you row yourself backward by the blade corners.  Which doesnt work so good when you sideslip and pin yourself in front of a tree.  This is how i found the watertable that created my 2nd small pond

;D
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Offline Plankton

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2018, 08:51:57 AM »
I think whichever machine your more comfortable on, a buddy of mine does everything with a dozer and I prefer to use an excavator. Any discussion we've had on a road building machine or best dirt work machine for a small logging company we ussually end up deciding both.

One place I think a ex (with thumb) comes in real handy is punching a road through uncut woods. It can push all the trees down the road and shovel log the wood into bunches or whatnot, then scatter or move to the sides the slash as well as do all the dirtwork. One machine and operator.

Offline woodmaker

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 12:32:30 PM »
Over the last 30+years,I have built or improved  over a hundred miles of road for logging; some just skid roads,most good enough for log trucks,some good enough for a tractor trailer .Unless there was material to be spread for a top coat,the work was done with a 200 size excavator with a hydraulic thumb. I have a small dozer (td 8 ) and a large dozer (td 20) that rarely get used because the excavator will do everything but push material a long distance
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Offline Riwaka

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2018, 04:15:55 PM »
Depends on the definition of skid road and haul road and skid trail etc.

In rough terrain, cable logging might need a skidder, forwarder or off road/ rough road log truck 8x8, 6x6 adt type drive  etc to 2 stage to a (smooth)road log truck loading area, if the cost or terrain prevents a (smooth)log road truck.

Rock drill units for explosive holes, vibrating rollers,  compaction roller, 'steel compaction wheel dozers',  graders, articulated dump trucks - if dirt, rock needs a distance move, road truck tipper for rock fill, bring in culvert pipes etc.

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Offline barbender

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2018, 06:40:14 PM »
How are you guys using the excavator to make a road smooth enough that trucks can drive down it faster than idling in low gear? I'm missing something.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2018, 07:39:53 PM »
Guess you don't have many good shovel operators over your way?   ;D  Just kidding - valid point, in shale ground we used a motor grader behind the shovel to crown the road, so yea - two pieces of equipment in the end.  Not sure I would want to do it with a blade on just an excavator - perhaps for a very short road, but nothing long.  
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Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2018, 08:11:05 PM »
Most guys have both around here for road building. Use the hoe for stumping, ditching, culverts, etc. Dozer for the final smoothing and crowning.

Seen guys build entire road with a hoe or dozer by itself and while it can be done it usually takes longer. But often you make do with what you got. I stumped, ditched, and graded about an 1/4 of a mile of road with the forwarder one time because we were in a crunch to move wood and had no time to wait on somebody. Ideal? Heck no. But it got the wood moved.

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2018, 11:46:16 PM »
Most guys have both around here for road building. Use the hoe for stumping, ditching, culverts, etc. Dozer for the final smoothing and crowning.

Seen guys build entire road with a hoe or dozer by itself and while it can be done it usually takes longer. But often you make do with what you got. I stumped, ditched, and graded about an 1/4 of a mile of road with the forwarder one time because we were in a crunch to move wood and had no time to wait on somebody. Ideal? Heck no. But it got the wood moved.
My thoughts as well.
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Offline barbender

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2018, 11:57:01 PM »
That's kinda what I thought😊 I've put in my share of forwarder built landings and truck turn arounds, there's been jokes directed my way about putting a 6 way blade on my forwarder lol. I guess it's just the way we're set up, but we're typically not going to bring a hoe out unless there is culvert work, or some mass excavation. Regular stumping crowning and smoothing is done with dozers, and that's typical of the industry up here.
Too many irons in the fire

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2018, 01:13:34 AM »
How are you guys using the excavator to make a road smooth enough that trucks can drive down it faster than idling in low gear? I'm missing something.
Local guys are able to put in a pretty smooth track with just an excavator, but it's going to take longer. A bigger job (longer road or more dirt to move) will justify bringing in a bulldozer. 
But if it's only one machine, the excavator is the most versatile. Just not the "best" option for every job. 
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2018, 01:26:23 AM »
I worked with one fellah that good grade better with a hoe than most could with a blade. He could part your hair with it. Never have seen anyone else that good.
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Offline hatman-nz

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2018, 03:58:30 AM »
seen good  guys with both   and. each to there own  
have a small D4H cat here and it's. a cool toy     more for moving dirt around    a digger  would do the same but longer. job 
but. there are a lot of things a digger can do better   finshing water tables. etc   
if  could have both.  it would be great.  but  for work I need to do now a dozer is better suited   but I can dream of haveing a digger    and  for. working in forest   it would be better. with more use. during logging etc  

Offline teakwood

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2018, 07:02:12 AM »
How are you guys using the excavator to make a road smooth enough that trucks can drive down it faster than idling in low gear? I'm missing something.
It can be done with a tilt bucket without tooth and a very very good operator.
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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2018, 08:32:46 AM »
I dont know about other equipment operators, but I shape everything up with the bucket,including the crown, then walk it down with the tracks to smooth it.
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2018, 08:45:31 AM »
I see one guy around here use a excavator with a thumb, he will save a log with a crown in it to use for finishing the road. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2018, 10:12:41 AM »
I think that what verifies you made a wise iron purchase is how much you use the thing.  A big ticket item that sits is foolish unless youre trying to generate more deductions than income.  If you need water line trenched one time, rent or contract it because a trencher is so single purpose itll hardly ever get used.  Trenchers and sweepers were the most commonly scrapped low hour machine ive witnessed working at the scrapyard .. Because they are so single purpose.  They sit a ton, their maintenance is neglected, they rust solid and no one wants it so off they go.  


Getting back to the point here.  Versatility is key to putting hours on a machine and thus making money with it.  The road is a necessary evil to access the timber. But the timber getting from the stump onto the truck is your bread and butter and the more an integral part a machine is to the bread and butter, the better you will service it and the better it will service you.   Which machine will serve double duty the most efficiently in your operation AFTER the road is built?  

Is your ground seasonally swampy and your crew running grapple skidders?  LGP dozer with a winch or swingboom can build road and then on rainy days do short skids from stump to firm ground to feed the grapples.  Dozer is also a nimble pusher for stuck log trucks.  I shuffle parked trailers with my blade all the time. 

Is your knuckleboom or loader buried in piles at a bunksaw and a chore to walk over for loading trucks?  Maybe an excavator makes more sense with a thumb to help backup the primary loader or shovel feed wood from piles the skidders drop, over to your bunksaw operator.. Or maybe put on a dangle link and rotator grapple to help on the landing with sorts or truck loads.  The thumb can be used as a heel rack and a selector valve to take fluid off the thumb for rotator.  Curl cylinder runs grapple.   


Buy the machine that is least likely to get parked after the road is built, and tolerate whatever small shortcoming it has with respect to roadbuilding.  Itll be different for everybody. 
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Offline Skeans1

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2018, 03:24:51 PM »
I think that what verifies you made a wise iron purchase is how much you use the thing.  A big ticket item that sits is foolish unless youre trying to generate more deductions than income.  If you need water line trenched one time, rent or contract it because a trencher is so single purpose itll hardly ever get used.  Trenchers and sweepers were the most commonly scrapped low hour machine ive witnessed working at the scrapyard .. Because they are so single purpose.  They sit a ton, their maintenance is neglected, they rust solid and no one wants it so off they go.  


Getting back to the point here.  Versatility is key to putting hours on a machine and thus making money with it.  The road is a necessary evil to access the timber. But the timber getting from the stump onto the truck is your bread and butter and the more an integral part a machine is to the bread and butter, the better you will service it and the better it will service you.   Which machine will serve double duty the most efficiently in your operation AFTER the road is built?  

Is your ground seasonally swampy and your crew running grapple skidders?  LGP dozer with a winch or swingboom can build road and then on rainy days do short skids from stump to firm ground to feed the grapples.  Dozer is also a nimble pusher for stuck log trucks.  I shuffle parked trailers with my blade all the time.

Is your knuckleboom or loader buried in piles at a bunksaw and a chore to walk over for loading trucks?  Maybe an excavator makes more sense with a thumb to help backup the primary loader or shovel feed wood from piles the skidders drop, over to your bunksaw operator.. Or maybe put on a dangle link and rotator grapple to help on the landing with sorts or truck loads.  The thumb can be used as a heel rack and a selector valve to take fluid off the thumb for rotator.  Curl cylinder runs grapple.  


Buy the machine that is least likely to get parked after the road is built, and tolerate whatever small shortcoming it has with respect to roadbuilding.  Itll be different for everybody.
We have a track skidder they arent made to push road, the blade angle isnt right or as strong as a standard cat let alone with a high track machine the sprocket and weight is in the wrong location. The best setup single guy operation Ive seen around here it looked goofy but he had a 18 cab riser on a 250 machine with a lift block under the boom, manual quick change with a bucket, heel rack grapple, then a different heel with a processor to pull double duty cutting and processing at the landing.

Offline erin

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2018, 05:25:28 PM »
To answer maple flats question.
The property is 100 acres of pine/mixed hardwood and there is only one place where you can get in to the back half of it, it has a lot of rocky ridges and swampy holes so theirs quite a few places that are winter access only. I call it extreme cause theirs a lot of places I cant take the Clark.
thanks E.

Offline bushmechanic

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2018, 08:39:18 PM »
By far the excavator is the better machine for road building. If you don't ditch your road where is the water going? All roads around here that were made with dozers are trouble, water sitting in the road and making mud and potholes. If your just making a haul road for equipment I guess anything will do lol.

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2018, 09:42:44 PM »
A part of the equation also is just what do you call a road?  In my mind it's 4 season use and 45 MPH is no problem with a loaded truck, well crowned and ditched, graveled or shaled, obviously they are permanent or semi permanent.  Secondary surfaces we called access roads, might get used for a harvest season then not used again for several years, they could be brought back when needed without completely rebuilding them, those many times were built with just a dozer and are one step above a twitch trail as they go from the road to the landing basically. 
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2018, 04:45:46 AM »
I think that what verifies you made a wise iron purchase is how much you use the thing.  A big ticket item that sits is foolish unless youre trying to generate more deductions than income.  If you need water line trenched one time, rent or contract it because a trencher is so single purpose itll hardly ever get used.  Trenchers and sweepers were the most commonly scrapped low hour machine ive witnessed working at the scrapyard .. Because they are so single purpose.  They sit a ton, their maintenance is neglected, they rust solid and no one wants it so off they go.  


Getting back to the point here.  Versatility is key to putting hours on a machine and thus making money with it.  The road is a necessary evil to access the timber. But the timber getting from the stump onto the truck is your bread and butter and the more an integral part a machine is to the bread and butter, the better you will service it and the better it will service you.   Which machine will serve double duty the most efficiently in your operation AFTER the road is built?  

Is your ground seasonally swampy and your crew running grapple skidders?  LGP dozer with a winch or swingboom can build road and then on rainy days do short skids from stump to firm ground to feed the grapples.  Dozer is also a nimble pusher for stuck log trucks.  I shuffle parked trailers with my blade all the time.

Is your knuckleboom or loader buried in piles at a bunksaw and a chore to walk over for loading trucks?  Maybe an excavator makes more sense with a thumb to help backup the primary loader or shovel feed wood from piles the skidders drop, over to your bunksaw operator.. Or maybe put on a dangle link and rotator grapple to help on the landing with sorts or truck loads.  The thumb can be used as a heel rack and a selector valve to take fluid off the thumb for rotator.  Curl cylinder runs grapple.  


Buy the machine that is least likely to get parked after the road is built, and tolerate whatever small shortcoming it has with respect to roadbuilding.  Itll be different for everybody.
I'm going to give this a +10, because its about the answer I'd have given with a few caveats.

Look the common answer is go get a digger - it can do everything kinda sorta almost half well. Because it can. And I'd also say if I was playing swamp loggers it would be my choice because between the ability to feel ahead for soft ground with the boom and lay material perpendicular to the tracks to raft you can get further into a swamp before getting hopelessly bogged then any LGP dozer ever will. And armed with a rotating grapple they are a good loader, within their lift constraints anyway.

Now a dozer - a logging dozer - is just a two trick pony. It can push, and it can pull. But it does those things exceedingly well, far better then any excavator - or any other machine come to that - in the same weight class. What you cant do with a digger is haul logs to a landing, or a place where a skidder might have half a hope of arguing with them. And a dozer will cut a road down a slope in about  1/4 to 1/3 the time that an excavator will. Thats what dozers are for.... pushing (and pulling).

Which is better will depend on the place. Big logs mean dozers. Swamps mean excavators. Big logs in a swamp mean you need to do some thinking on the merits of competing heavy lift helicopters*laff*



 

 

My choice every time is a dozer... I am less concerned with versatility then that it can do what I need it to do exceeding well at the lowest possible unit cost.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2018, 05:44:41 AM »
I think it depends on what "extreme terrain" really is. I cut a road across my extreme terrain that I began with my tractor with a bucket and hoe. It was tedious and inefficient. Got an excavator and WOW...2 days later had it made.
I'd rather not use my backhoe again. :( 
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Excavator or bulldozer for road building
« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2018, 07:53:15 AM »
Quote
We have a track skidder they arent made to push road, the blade angle isnt right or as strong as a standard cat let alone with a high track machine the sprocket and weight is in the wrong location.
I wasnt made to push road either but ive been out there with a shovel in the rain more than a few times chippin away.  If you want it bad enough youll make do with whatever you can get your hands on.  
Revelation 3:20


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