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Author Topic: The dirtwork thread  (Read 4953 times)

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Offline mike_belben

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The dirtwork thread
« on: June 04, 2021, 11:37:41 AM »
Creating this so as not to derail a fescue thread. Please everyone feel free to use this as a catch-all for anything to do with dirtwork.  Questions or answers, sharing your projects... whatever.  Roadbuilding, gravel, drainage, septic, ponds, construction pads etc etc.  If a shovel or hoe was used in any way (manual or hydraulic) then it fits here.


Isaiah 63:10

Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2021, 11:44:08 AM »
Whats your favorite recipe for a gravel parking lot?  Im going to be doing one next year and I want it turn good.  I see some interesting info on enzyme additives for improving road bases and parking lots but so far I havent talked to any contractors around here that have even heard of it, much less used it.
Here is the original post. I will dig up some good example pics when i get a chance
Isaiah 63:10

Offline Tom King

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2021, 11:53:07 AM »
I just built this drag to topdress a couple of acres with topsoil.  Dragging it on growing grass, it doesn't harm it a bit, and won't even top Dandelions (was hoping it would).

It's 6-1/2 feet wide, and 12 feet long.  I've seen shorter ones, but I figured longer would level out low spots better.  It's built from four 20' lengths of 3x3x3/16 angle iron.  I could have gone to 4x4x1/4.  

The cross angles are tipped up at the front the thickness of a regular 3/8 washer, whatever that is, so it won't dig in.

For a guesswork prototype, with no drawings, it works pretty good.  I already had the utility lift, and just added some longer arms, and diagonal braces.  It not only fills low spots, but I can use it to build up an area with good topsoil too.



 

 

 

 

 

Offline HemlockKing

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2021, 12:15:23 PM »
Looks like good lake frontage. I like whats going on with those dock houses/lounges.
Building the land of my dreams.

Offline Tom King

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2021, 12:30:34 PM »
All those are boathouses, and have boat lifts in them.  This lake is maintained within one foot, so all the docks are on pilings.

I had all the Pine trees taken off our point, and lost what little poor topsoil was on it, in the process.

We have a place we've been letting four subdivisions dump leaves for forty years, and have dumped stall cleanings too.  It's full of worms.  I'm waiting on an excavator to come pile it up, so I can get someone else to come with a screen.  I intend to level a couple of inches of that great topsoil on this two acre point, so I can get grass to grow. It's bigger than it looks in this picture.  You can see the hard, poor ground in the first picture with the drag behind the tractor.  That's what I built that drag for.

That cove with the hole filled in is at the bottom of the hill, to the left, in front of the house.


 

We plan to rent it for special events, like weddings.

That little brick building has four restrooms in it.


Offline Southside

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2021, 02:49:42 PM »
Geotech is your friend.  Nobody around here uses it or ever head of it - just buy more 57's and let them push down through the clay is all I was told in these parts.  Growing up it was like Christmas when the paper mill would change the felt.  Everybody was getting a new driveway, walkway, etc after that.  

During spring breakup I have watched loaded log trucks and massive wheel loaders running on a foot of shale that was over a layer of Geotech, in the middle of cedar swamp ground.  The whole road would wave up and down, but the tires would not leave so much as an imprint.  
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2021, 04:37:11 PM »
Geotech is your friend.  Nobody around here uses it or ever head of it - just buy more 57's and let them push down through the clay is all I was told in these parts.  Growing up it was like Christmas when the paper mill would change the felt.  Everybody was getting a new driveway, walkway, etc after that.  

During spring breakup I have watched loaded log trucks and massive wheel loaders running on a foot of shale that was over a layer of Geotech, in the middle of cedar swamp ground.  The whole road would wave up and down, but the tires would not leave so much as an imprint.  
I have seen the same thing with the road fabric.
Lay it down over the wet area or swamp add 2 " crusher run and drive anything over it.
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Offline alan gage

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2021, 05:32:06 PM »
The only dirt work contribution I have is to not be afraid to rent a Harley Rake. My yard was an absolute mess after building my wood shop a couple years ago. I used the skidloader bucket to move all the dirt back and roughly grade it (rough being the key word) but it was still a mess with lots of high/low spots, rocks, sticks, and clods. There were existing slopes as well as a pretty big slope where the building grade needed to drop down to the rest of the lawn. Even with the Harley Rake I expected a long full day of moving dirt around with a shovel and raking it smooth.

I was shocked how good of a job the Harley Rake did and 2 hours later I was on the way back to the rental place to drop it off. The only reason to pick up the shovel was to scoop up the rocks and sticks it separated and deposited at the end of each run. Broke up all the clods and left a nice surface ready to seed. It was like magic.

Alan
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2021, 05:34:20 PM »
I've seen it used on the university woodlot. It's heavy clay on top of sandstone there. One April after snow melt I was walking out one of the roads and it moved under your feet when someone drove bye. :D  Never use the stuff unless on a well maintained forest road. Most others, not a chance. Most of the time in the area I work there is so much rock and sand you don't need it. I was on a block this week with water filled ditches like a mote, dead standing, road was solid as concrete. :D
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1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2021, 05:39:27 PM »
A pallet drag works good behind a 4-wheeler or SxS. I levelled 16 loads of screened loam last week with one. I put 40 lbs on the pallet with a strapped on tire and rocks in the rim. A hardwood pallet will take a lot of abuse. I shoved piles around with the tractor first then had fun. ;D  It don't hurt the grass either, just looks mowed. ;)  My ground was not all flat, some was up and over a drain field, a really big one. ;)
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1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2021, 05:53:44 PM »
This is about a quarter of the area around the drain field. That starts flat then rolls down over toward them trees.





This is between the house and shop foundation. There is another area more than twice this size around the garage. Then around to the left behind the house an area about same size.





Grass is germinating, but the area around the garage not shown is ahead of this, easier to see the green. ;D
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1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2021, 06:15:21 PM »
Geotech is your friend.  Nobody around here uses it or ever head of it - just buy more 57's and let them push down through the clay is all I was told in these parts.  Growing up it was like Christmas when the paper mill would change the felt.  Everybody was getting a new driveway, walkway, etc after that.  

During spring breakup I have watched loaded log trucks and massive wheel loaders running on a foot of shale that was over a layer of Geotech, in the middle of cedar swamp ground.  The whole road would wave up and down, but the tires would not leave so much as an imprint.  
I have seen the same thing with the road fabric.
Lay it down over the wet area or swamp add 2 " crusher run and drive anything over it.
Add me as another proponent of geotech. I have seen the work Barge does with the stuff on his working roads and also some demo roads done by others.  Amazing stuff when used properly. As am aside it also makes a good cover for mushroom logs letting the rain in but keeping the sun out.  :laugh:
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Offline snowmountain

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2021, 06:38:29 PM »
 

 This was a messy little corner Ive been intending to fix for a while. Stumped out some small trees and multi flora rose bushes. Cut a road to access an area I have trouble getting to.
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Offline barbender

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2021, 07:41:37 PM »
Geotex definitely helps, but I remember installing it over really squishy ground and getting what we called "fabric hemorrhoids" where the pressure from trucks going over it would cause a bubble up and burst situation😂
Too many irons in the fire

Offline woodroe

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2021, 07:05:54 AM »
Where to start, all in the  last few weeks ,350' driveway needed to be built back up after 15 yrs of neglect so
had 12 yds 1 1/2" crushed gravel delivered and with my new to me 35hp 4x4 Kubota w FEL, spread that for a rough base material then had delivered 12 yds of 3/4" crushed gravel and spread that over the new base for a smooth finish.
It all compacted very well. Had 6 yds of 3/4" stone delivered for the top 50' of the drive to cut down on
tracking in the grit.
Was able to back drag the gravel in float mode for very decent results.
Now working my main woods rd 500' behind house, 8" culvert bought from thecfarm here on the forum placed in the bottom of ravine muck hole . Very good tough culvert BTW.  
Had to haul in about 4 buckets of rock prior to placing the culvert
to stop the sucking sounds.
Placed some 3/4" crushed gravel on top the rocks for a culvert bed. Now have a 14'
culvert topped with 1/1/2" crushed gravel . Turned out very nice, drove my f 150 over it the other day. Nice to be able to access the property without getting mired in mud.
Next job is 24' bridge approaches. Need to build up about 20" on both ends of bridge.
Running low on gravel so thinking about laying some logs in there then topping with gravel.
Doesn't have to be permanent, getting old.

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2021, 07:52:40 AM »
Whats your favorite recipe for a gravel parking lot?  Im going to be doing one next year and I want it turn good.  I see some interesting info on enzyme additives for improving road bases and parking lots but so far I havent talked to any contractors around here that have even heard of it, much less used it.
Here is the original post. I will dig up some good example pics when i get a chance
There are 3 key components to any parking lot or road. Stable subgrade, aggregate base, and wear surface. I've been operating heavy equipment and grading job sites for almost 30 years now and I've seen lots of examples of how it should and shouldn't be done. For the past 15 years I've been a foreman and motor grader operator preparing subgrade and setting up stone base for asphalt paving. There are a lot of variables involved in building a gravel lot such as how heavy the vehicles using it and traffic volume that will be a factor in how you build it, but basically it's all about starting with a solid base. Ideally you would strip off all topsoil and organics to prepare for grading the site. Next step is grade the area so it will have positive drainage. The biggest enemy to any parking lot or road is standing water. Now you choose what you want for an aggregate base. You need something that can be compacted to be impermeable to water. Here in North Carolina our quarries call it ABC stone or crusher run. Basically it's 1.5"- stone with a lot of fine pieces and rock dust in it. Or if you are fortunate enough to be near an asphalt paving company that's milling and paving a road you can buy ground up asphalt to use as a base. Either way, spread the material to the desired thickness and compact. If you're using ABC stone, you will need to use a good bit of water when you compact it. The water helps push the air out of the voids in the stone base and when done properly will produce a slurry on top similar to when you finish concrete. This slurry will dry after a day or so in the sun and seal the stone base so water won't soak into it in the future. Once dry, you can topdress with small washed stone for a wear surface. 1.5" or smaller.  
Edit: All compaction should be done with a vibratory smooth drum roller for best results. 
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2021, 08:08:00 AM »
Geotex definitely helps, but I remember installing it over really squishy ground and getting what we called "fabric hemorrhoids" where the pressure from trucks going over it would cause a bubble up and burst situation😂
That can be prevented ba using geogrid, not fabric if you are covering it with stone. Fabric is made for using dirt over it and geogrid is used when using stone. A good quality geogrid such as Tenstar 1100 with a minimum of 12" of stone/ gravel over it will bridge over some pretty nasty ground. 
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Offline btulloh

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2021, 08:35:06 AM »
Good info Patrick.  Thanks.  I need to find a local contractor with your level of experience when I build this thing.  Good info on the geogrid vs fabric.  This will be built in a dry area, not a bog.  Subsoil is mainly clay with a little sand so it makes a pretty good base after removing the topsoil.  I have quarries and asphalt plants close by, so proper materials are easy to get.  Main thing is to get a good contractor.

This isn't really a parking lot I'm putting in, it's a yard for shuffling equipment and attachments, as well lumber on pallets and general shuffling around.  It's going to be along one side of a new building (probably Morton) and the yard will be somewhere around 20k sq ft. 

What's the minimum fall on the grade for something like this?  It needs to be almost level I think, but have enough fall to shed the water.
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Offline btulloh

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2021, 08:37:47 AM »
Some interesting things already getting posted in this thread.  I like Tom King's drag for finishing topsoil.  Looks like a good way to finish off.
HM126

Offline btulloh

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2021, 08:56:21 AM »
Patrick, do you know anything about these enzyme additives that improve base material?

TerraZyme - Natural Ezyme for Drying and Stabilizing Soil

Hard roads, easy fix | Agweek

This stuff looks very interesting, but I've never talked to a contractor that's even heard of it.
HM126


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