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Author Topic: The dirtwork thread  (Read 2745 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.


Psalm 37:16

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
Psalm 37:16

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.

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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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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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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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.
HM126

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

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2021, 08:58:47 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.
Minimum fall should be about 2%. Thats 1/4" per foot. If your grading contractor is really good, you might get away with 1.5% but that's pretty flat. 2% is what the crown is in most paved roads. So the travel lane that you drive on slopes towards the ditch at 1/4" per foot on most roads. 
For a lot such as you are describing I'd use either 8" of ABC stone or 6" of ground asphalt. My preference is the asphalt. The heat of the sun will activate the liquid asphalt in the material and the more you drive on it, the harder it will get. Great stuff. 
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2021, 09:12:51 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.
We do a lot of soil stabilization but mostly use cement or lime. We tried a similar product about a year ago and it worked well, but the cost was about the same as using cement. You only have to use about 1/3 the amount per square yard, but the cost of the material was about 3x more. So it was about the same either way. You will come out a lot cheaper and have just as good of a finished product by preparing a good subgrade and covering it with ground asphalt. You would only need to use a soil stabilization product if you're ground is really wet  or has other issues such as lightweight dirt or very high plasticity. 
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Offline barbender

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2021, 12:01:32 PM »
Patrick, it's been over 10 years since I was in the dirt work game. As far as I know, the fabric was all we had available to us at the time. I've only started seeing the geogrid product since that time.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2021, 12:44:40 PM »
Patrick, it's been over 10 years since I was in the dirt work game. As far as I know, the fabric was all we had available to us at the time. I've only started seeing the geogrid product since that time.
Your right about that. The first time I used geogrid was about 2010 or so.  We never liked using the fabric under stone because of the exact thing you are taking about. Usually it was better to undercut all the unsuitable material and fill back with a good fill material. The fabric was mostly for temporary roads or construction entrances where the cost of undercutting and filling wasn't justified. 
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Offline blackfoot griz

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2021, 01:50:15 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
I agree with you on the Harley rake. They are amazing tools. If renting one, I highly recommend getting a tracked skidsteer versus a wheeled version if possible.

What I don't recommend is snapping off the pressure relief valve on your underground propane tank like I did to mine. That was not fun!

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2021, 06:50:46 PM »
Try a Harley rake in clay pack 😂. I owned a new one with the power angles and it went down the road in a short time

Offline Tom King

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2021, 07:20:44 PM »
I wish I could rent one that had teeth longer than a half inch.   I don't need one bad enough to buy one, but the ones sitting on rental lots don't look like they'd do much.

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2021, 10:30:39 PM »
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.
Thanks @mike_belben for starting a thread that I have some knowledge about! 😁
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2021, 08:58:05 AM »
Thanks for all your input.. Its nice to hear what the techniques are when money isnt much of an object. (State/federal roadbuilding)

All of my experience is the opposite.. Sparing money, or doing something useable without any at all, is THE primary object
Psalm 37:16

Offline florida

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2021, 12:10:59 PM »
The mother of geogrid!

General contractor and carpenter for 50 years.

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2021, 01:15:16 PM »
The mother of geogrid!


That is a genius idea. I've never used it, but I've seen plans for using that system under a truck stop parking lot where there is constant heavy traffic. With all the emphasis on using recycled materials these days I can see that becoming a big thing. 
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Offline Kindlinmaker

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2021, 02:13:10 PM »
Harley feedback

I installed dozens of high-end lawns during the housing boom.    Most of our work was in subdivisions of 1+ acre lots with large center hall colonials in serious hill country.  Adding topsoil to acre+ lots was cost prohibitive so most used existing soils where we would remove about 30 yards of stone per acre. Process was: 1) required mechanical drainage build  2) Irrigation install as required  3)drainage grading  4) York raking, debris removal and final grade adjustments  5) 2-3 machine passes with hand raking behind the final pass  6) Seed, fertilize and mulch or hydro.

Harley rakes are designed to windrow stone lying on the surface.  A landscape tiller is designed to level, windrow, smooth and prepare a seed bed.  They look somewhat similar but the tiller will have a much larger/heavier drum with very significant carbide teeth counter spinning to direction of travel.  The tiller will also have a trailing metering roller pressing down the finished seed bed and controlling the tiller depth which has a maximum practical depth of 2 - 3 inches.  Tillers  are 2 - 3 time heavier than rakes and double or triple the price to match.  

At the request of equipment dealers, I tried a few Harley style rakes.  None ever ended up on one of our tractors permanently.  I don't think I would spend any time at all trying to put a seed lawn in without a good tiller.  I happen to like ATI's preseeder but there are others that are equally good (ATI was my first and I learned to comb a field mouse's hair with it so it was just very comfortable to me.)

Since we used heavy duty Yorks for hydro prep abrading on rough finish erosion control projects, I just never found a practical application for a Harley.  Might work for spreading screened top but you wouldn't use one if you have tillers on your tractors.  

Offline barbender

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2021, 05:13:50 PM »
What do you mean, Kindlinmaker? I was on a Facebook skidsteer site, and the Harley rake seemed to turn all of those guys into instant grading contractors, according to them!😁
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Offline Kindlinmaker

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2021, 06:56:07 PM »
I hear ya Barbender and that is one important point.  Having the right equipment helps so much.  I could put a finish grade down and make seed beds as well as anybody.  I never had a shortage of orders and generally had to turn work away during planting season.  

I didn't do much rough grading nor back blading but I had access to the most beautiful new dozer sitting outside a friend's shop where I did a lot of my repair work.  I certainly knew how to run it.  Cannot tell you how many times that dozer saved my bacon - those tracks were just the right height for me to sit my weary butt down while I was on the phone arranging for somebody that actually knew what the heck they were doing to come rough grade my next job!

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2021, 01:42:45 PM »
This is an interesting thread I'll be keeping an eye on. 

I have about 3 acres of yard, which I've essentially destroyed with about 15,000 lbs. of backhoe. I do a fair amount of honeysuckle removal with it, tree removal and extraction, pond digging, creek recontouring, etc., and I've got fairly huge ruts in a lot of different places that I'd love to smooth out. It was suggested, on the heavy equipment forums, to try a harley rake also and it sounded like it may work, but I'm not sure. I've got grass growing everywhere and grass seed cost, for the space involved, is a bit prohibitive to come in and make a wreck of things but that may be the route I have to go. The other part is I'm not done running around on the backhoe, my pond still needs tons of work and there are lots of trees to drag around. I'm certainly learning that dry ground helps a lot but sometimes that's not feasible either. The problem really boils down to mowing is either crazy slow or bordering on painful. I can't imagine that I'll be able to do anything without really disrupting things but I guess we'll see, eventually.
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2021, 02:05:43 PM »
Question: woven or non-woven fabric to line a road ditch before a layer of 2-6" stone or rip-rap? Or is fabric necessary for that? Flat or steep grade - does that impact the decision?
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2021, 02:20:37 PM »
Question: woven or non-woven fabric to line a road ditch before a layer of 2-6" stone or rip-rap? Or is fabric necessary for that? Flat or steep grade - does that impact the decision?
Woven is for soil stabilization and non woven is used to keep materials separated. So in a ditch you would want non woven. The main reason is so the rock doesn't sink into the dirt and become contaminated. Same theory as covering the rock in a septic drain field with fabric or straw before backfilling. As far as how steep the grade is, with a steep grade you need to use bigger rock. Depending on how much water flow there is you may need head sized rip rap or riverbank ballast. With a fairly flat grade and less flow you can get away with smaller rock such as 6" rip rap. 
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2021, 02:26:42 PM »
This is an interesting thread I'll be keeping an eye on.

I have about 3 acres of yard, which I've essentially destroyed with about 15,000 lbs. of backhoe. I do a fair amount of honeysuckle removal with it, tree removal and extraction, pond digging, creek recontouring, etc., and I've got fairly huge ruts in a lot of different places that I'd love to smooth out. It was suggested, on the heavy equipment forums, to try a harley rake also and it sounded like it may work, but I'm not sure. I've got grass growing everywhere and grass seed cost, for the space involved, is a bit prohibitive to come in and make a wreck of things but that may be the route I have to go. The other part is I'm not done running around on the backhoe, my pond still needs tons of work and there are lots of trees to drag around. I'm certainly learning that dry ground helps a lot but sometimes that's not feasible either. The problem really boils down to mowing is either crazy slow or bordering on painful. I can't imagine that I'll be able to do anything without really disrupting things but I guess we'll see, eventually.
If I was going to use a Harley take in that situation I think I'd fill all the ruts first and then work a seedbed with s disc harrow first. Then Harley take to finish. 
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2021, 05:54:42 PM »
Ventrac makes a type of rake tiller thing that looks like it prepares a good seed bed.
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2021, 05:59:13 PM »
One other thing.
When I was building full time there was nothing worse than a bad site work guy.
I told one guy once he moved the same dirt so much he wore it out and had to get new dirt  :D
Some guys are smooth as silk on a site.
I learned to ask who was doing the site work. If it was certain guys I would decline the job.
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Offline HemlockKing

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2021, 07:14:25 AM »
One other thing.
When I was building full time there was nothing worse than a bad site work guy.
I told one guy once he moved the same dirt so much he wore it out and had to get new dirt  :D
Some guys are smooth as silk on a site.
I learned to ask who was doing the site work. If it was certain guys I would decline the job.
I know of someone who hired a Craigslist/kijiji Contractor aka just a dummie with little know how, anyway, the guy was suppose to smooth out a area for a yard of which there was massive beautiful oak trees in the yard(the whole reasoning of picking that spot), buddy cutt/ripped all the surface roots up with his blade and the trees died shortly after. Leaving just a bare ugly yard. 

Offline Wudman

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2021, 06:31:20 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've heard of it......... ;D  And have used a bit to cross booger holes......And I start with #3s. ;D
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #42 on: June 09, 2021, 11:38:50 AM »
I redid 800 feet of my driveway a while back, it was originally made by digging out the top soil that was 2 to 3 feet deep and filling it in with a soft shale but after 15 years and several wash outs it was getting pretty bad so I put in a layer of 2" road material and a layer of 3/4" road material it seems to hold up quite well. I lost count of how much material I put in after 300 ton, probably no more than 400 ton. (24 ton per load) 

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2021, 09:45:59 AM »
Improving access road to my woodlot. Several wet areas. Worst of them I used woven fabric and some 3" screened gravel. 11 loads (15yds each) so far. Use by dump trailer to bring into the road. Not suitable for a truck. Trailer holds 4-5 yds. First load of gravel is dumped in a pile and spread with the Case 310 dozer. Subsequent loads I can tailgate spread.



 

 

 

 

 

 
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #44 on: June 10, 2021, 11:21:27 AM »
Nice old dozer. Is it diesel or gas?
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #45 on: June 10, 2021, 12:45:04 PM »
Looks like you have your own native gravel bank to choose from.  Wish that was an option in clay country.  One way or another youre paying the quarry and the truck out here. 


In my case for a narrow forest road like that where you cant deviate from the two tire tracks...  i would tailgate spread 4-6" rock with a vee deflector clamped in the center of the duckbill on back of the truck so it only fills the tire tracks and neglects the center.   Will about double your linear footage per load.  

Can cap it in finer rock if you want a prettier finish for cars or feet.   
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #46 on: June 10, 2021, 12:49:11 PM »
Nice old dozer. Is it diesel or gas?
Gas. Unbelievably reliable in starting. Whether hot or sitting for 4 months.
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #47 on: June 10, 2021, 12:54:31 PM »
Looks like you have your own native gravel bank to choose from.  Wish that was an option in clay country.  One way or another youre paying the quarry and the truck out here.


In my case for a narrow forest road like that where you cant deviate from the two tire tracks...  i would tailgate spread 4-6" rock with a vee deflector clamped in the center of the duckbill on back of the truck so it only fills the tire tracks and neglects the center.   Will about double your linear footage per load.  

Can cap it in finer rock if you want a prettier finish for cars or feet.  
Great idea. There are some portions of this road that are narrow enough as you describe. But most is wide enough for at least 2 quads to pass, maybe two SBS's. Plus the road is used by full size trucks down to a bicycle, so not everyone is following the same tracks. I get a similar effect where there are defined ruts when I pass over with the dozer. Blade skims the higher portions and fill the ruts. Where I am, 3" gravel is cheaper than tailings (2-6"stone) by $2/yd, so I've been using all gravel. Crushed stone is like 2-3X the price, but would be ideal.
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #48 on: June 10, 2021, 01:02:23 PM »
Looks like you have your own native gravel bank to choose from.  Wish that was an option in clay country.  One way or another youre paying the quarry and the truck out here.
I live in clay country, but there is a vein of good gravel within a mile of my house. One outfit has a crusher operation. The other has only screened products. I use the screened products when I can because it's much cheaper. But the crushed gravel is much better for a compacted driveway surface. For this road there was a section I used dense grade (6" minus crushed rock with rock dust). Here I was filling a ravine of smooth ledge and concerned anything else would wash out. It sets up like concrete. Everything else is 3" screened gravel.
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #49 on: June 14, 2021, 01:46:01 PM »
My previous pics were of the access road to my wood lot from the side I live on. It is a half-mile section of "class 4" town road (town right-of-way, but not town maintained) which was barely passable with an ATV. That section is done. Easily traveled with a pick-up now.

Now I'm working on access from the opposite end. The landing is about 400 ft from a maintained section of road. This would be the access for any equipment or log trucks.

This is what the road looked like before I began work. Here I had just starting clearing the landing. The road was narrow and basically a rocky river bed. Over the years, finer material was pushed to the sides causing a bowl-shaped profile that caught water in the spring and anytime it rained.
 

  

I cleared alongside the road where my property abuts it.


 

Then I moved material from the cleared path to the road in order to raise its height a bit.


 

This is where I left things last fall. With the leaves gone, cooler weather and rain, it became a muddy mess in the fall and this spring.


 

Fast forward to now. Road dried and packed nicely (clay-type soil). Installed a 15" culvert to direct drain to the right-side. 


 

And have begun digging the ditch and raising road some more so that water doesn't run into the road again. Will then line ditch with fabric and stone tailings. Unsure If I'll top road with gravel or leave as is. It may remain dry enough to stay packed and hard without a topping. We'll see.


 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #50 on: June 14, 2021, 02:02:16 PM »
nice work.  ive explored many a class 6 road in a past life.  nice solitude.
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Offline woodroe

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #51 on: June 15, 2021, 06:27:07 AM »
I was surprised at how well the crushed gravel compacts. Costs a little more, $16 yd delivered 12 yd loads.
Used the 1 1/2 " stuff to build up the driveway base and topped it with the 
3/4" . It solidifies after packing it.

On my woods road I used the same stuff when I put a culvert in. Had some leftover from the driveway.
Bed of rocks, 3/4" crushed gravel bed for the culvert , encased it with the 3/4 and 
topped it off with the 1 1/2". 

If i had my own digger probably would have done things differently in the woods
but pretty happy with the results .

Offline thecfarm

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #52 on: June 15, 2021, 06:56:00 AM »
Get the water off and out of the road is the key. Built them high!!
Hog tough is the words my Father used to call your road PognyHill before you fixed it.
Your road looks good.
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #53 on: June 15, 2021, 07:21:14 AM »
I was surprised at how well the crushed gravel compacts. Costs a little more, $16 yd delivered 12 yd loads.
Used the 1 1/2 " stuff to build up the driveway base and topped it with the
3/4" . It solidifies after packing it.

On my woods road I used the same stuff when I put a culvert in. Had some leftover from the driveway.
Bed of rocks, 3/4" crushed gravel bed for the culvert , encased it with the 3/4 and
topped it off with the 1 1/2".

If i had my own digger probably would have done things differently in the woods
but pretty happy with the results .
Crushed gravel (ABC, road-bond - depending on where you are) is the best. Spreads like butter and packs nicely. Only issue is price. The screened gravel I use for woods roads is less than half the cost of crusher run. I use crushed gravel when I want a super-smooth surface or need it to compact really well.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #54 on: June 15, 2021, 08:32:04 AM »
Nomenclature is so regional.
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Offline Iwawoodwork

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #55 on: June 17, 2021, 01:12:05 PM »
I have recycled old/used carpet to put down on soft areas that I covered with gravel, worked as well as road fabric, it takes planning ahead to get enough carpet ahead but the local carpet stores allow me to remove it from their dump boxes plus I have friends who know that I will take old carpet regardless of how bad it is. Sure takes a lot less base rock to put it down in the soft spots and then spread the rock. 

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #56 on: June 17, 2021, 02:50:16 PM »
used to use carpet to preserve the integrity of fresh bmx jumps. 
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #57 on: June 17, 2021, 03:56:39 PM »
I was surprised at how well the crushed gravel compacts. Costs a little more, $16 yd delivered 12 yd loads.
Used the 1 1/2 " stuff to build up the driveway base and topped it with the
3/4" . It solidifies after packing it.

On my woods road I used the same stuff when I put a culvert in. Had some leftover from the driveway.
Bed of rocks, 3/4" crushed gravel bed for the culvert , encased it with the 3/4 and
topped it off with the 1 1/2".

If i had my own digger probably would have done things differently in the woods
but pretty happy with the results .
Crushed gravel (ABC, road-bond - depending on where you are) is the best. Spreads like butter and packs nicely. Only issue is price. The screened gravel I use for woods roads is less than half the cost of crusher run. I use crushed gravel when I want a super-smooth surface or need it to compact really well.
If you flood the ABC stone with water and roll it with a vibratory smooth drum roller it will work up a slurry on top sort of like you get when you finish concrete. The fines and rock dust will fill in any voids and will cure out hard as a rock. 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #58 on: June 17, 2021, 11:09:33 PM »
I often mix clay and water to pancake batter mix and pour it into potholes or little backfills.  Screed it up like concrete so the cream comes up and gets dried out faster by sun and wind.   Dries very hard in a few sunny days as long as ya dont go too thick.  

Ive also "mortared" a field stone barbecue together with mudcrete the same way. 
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Offline HemlockKing

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #59 on: June 18, 2021, 05:27:06 AM »
I often mix clay and water to pancake batter mix and pour it into potholes or little backfills.  Screed it up like concrete so the cream comes up and gets dried out faster by sun and wind.   Dries very hard in a few sunny days as long as ya dont go too thick.  

Ive also "mortared" a field stone barbecue together with mudcrete the same way.
My only problems with using clay is after a few days of dry weather its a dust storm every time you drive down the road lol

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #60 on: June 18, 2021, 05:33:06 AM »
Mike, you are one of the most CRAFTY people that Ive ever had the pleasure of reading and interacting with! 

I promise you one thing, what I said in my previous sentence is an EXTREMELY good complement!  8) smiley_clapping smiley_blue_bounce
Trying harder everyday.

Offline HemlockKing

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #61 on: June 18, 2021, 05:49:52 AM »
Mike, you are one of the most CRAFTY people that Ive ever had the pleasure of reading and interacting with!

I promise you one thing, what I said in my previous sentence is an EXTREMELY good complement!  8) smiley_clapping smiley_blue_bounce
When you REALLY dont wanna spend a dollar that inspires creativity lol 

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #62 on: June 18, 2021, 06:05:16 AM »
Yes!

Necessity is the mother of invention.
Trying harder everyday.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #63 on: June 18, 2021, 08:52:21 AM »
thanks todd.  i endeavored to be wealthy when i was young but the Lord had better plans.



(quote keeps messing up, to HK)

yeah we do get that (dust bowl) in a drought, especially with the mower.   generally i try to have stone for cap.  you cant fix a pothole with more stone.  you need to displace the water first and clay is a supreme material for shedding water.  but you cant be letting it sit flat on clay or itll slake and consume your rock.
Psalm 37:16

Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #64 on: June 18, 2021, 09:03:55 AM »
here is a clay slurry example.  for me its just a basic retaining wall so i can pitch the water against its drainage and not have it eroding across my lawn. but if one wanted to say remove the blocks after it dries and then pour a swimming pool or coi pond form, something like that.  the clay will hold its shape perfectly once set up.  you could use any form shape you want just like concrete.  can trowel and smooth and shape it after then spray-crete it or put a liner or whatever you can dream up.  the water removes all the air space so it becomes much less penetrable by future water and incredibly compact.  loose clay fill will flow apart in the first downpour but not slurry mix once dry.  it will shrink and crack a lot when drying.  you can only do a few inches thick per lift.  below 6" it may never dry. 



Psalm 37:16

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #65 on: July 01, 2021, 10:04:01 PM »
Working on an asphalt repair project at a Wal-Mart distribution center. The parking lot has only been there for about 12 years and is designed for a 20 year cycle. The reason it failed so early is the original grading contractor didn't cut the subgrade deep enough. There was supposed to be 8" of abc stone under the asphalt and he only had 4"  in places. That caused the asphalt to fail and water to seep in and cause more problems. I am removing the asphalt in 50,000 square foot sections, removing the stone, grading the dirt to proper depth, and replacing on top of geogrid. 

 

 

 

 
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #66 on: July 02, 2021, 09:23:07 AM »
Does ABC come in different sizes? Or does it refer to a single size, such as 3/4" and under? What is the size of the material you are using for the asphalt base?
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #67 on: July 02, 2021, 11:06:15 AM »
Abc stone is basically crusher run that will pass through a 1.5 " screen. To meet NC DOT specs it must weigh at least 130lbs  per cubic foot and have 25-35% fine material. 
Our asphalt base is 1.5" , intermediate is 1" and surface is 1/2". On this particular job we are adding fiberglass to the asphalt mix for added strength. 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #68 on: July 02, 2021, 11:22:26 AM »
Thats a heck of a job.  Theres nothing harder on tar than a distribution center.  Nothing but jackknifing tractors at 60k + 24/7/365.  Tire scrub is real hard on ground.
Psalm 37:16

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #69 on: July 02, 2021, 11:41:21 AM »
We've got 3 more of these jobs at different distribution centers across the state. They are really good jobs because the upper management at Walmart is smart enough to fix it right. I've done other repair jobs in high traffic areas where the owners just want to patch the bad areas. We always end up back within a year or so to do it again because patching doesn't work. 
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Offline Resonator

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #70 on: July 03, 2021, 12:44:23 PM »
Are you running any kind of TopCon laser on the grader blade? (Don't see any receiver).
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
Cuttin' while its green, through a steady sawdust stream.
I'm chasing the sawdust dream.

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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #71 on: July 03, 2021, 12:59:54 PM »
Are you running any kind of TopCon laser on the grader blade? (Don't see any receiver).
No sir. String line and eyeballs. I'm one of the few left that doesn't depend on GPS or a laser. 
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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #72 on: July 03, 2021, 01:49:55 PM »
Nice! smiley_thumbsup I've worked with different operators on different jobs who have been able to do that, and I'm always impressed. The guy that built my septic system got the grade smoothed within 1/4" just with the big excavator bucket. :o
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
Cuttin' while its green, through a steady sawdust stream.
I'm chasing the sawdust dream.

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #73 on: July 03, 2021, 03:32:25 PM »
I let the water tell me when im right.  It never cares what a gadget says.
Psalm 37:16

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #74 on: July 03, 2021, 04:04:39 PM »
It all has it's place. On the one hand I wouldn't want to be clueless when the technology goes down, but the fact is it increases productivity. Take setting grades- do you want to use an old optical instrument and use 2 people, or push the button on the laser and do it with one? There's no way a person can match the speed and precision of machine laser grade controls. Sometimes it is faster to do the job manually without setting the laser equipment up. I got out of construction before GPS controls were really prevalent in my area, so I haven't worked around those but I'd expect much the same.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #75 on: July 03, 2021, 06:16:42 PM »
It all has it's place. On the one hand I wouldn't want to be clueless when the technology goes down, but the fact is it increases productivity. Take setting grades- do you want to use an old optical instrument and use 2 people, or push the button on the laser and do it with one? There's no way a person can match the speed and precision of machine laser grade controls. Sometimes it is faster to do the job manually without setting the laser equipment up. I got out of construction before GPS controls were really prevalent in my area, so I haven't worked around those but I'd expect much the same.
GPS absolutely has its place. We have several machines that have it. I always get the jobs that don't have a model to download or grades have been changed rendering the GPS model useless. The average job that we do costs $20,000 or more to have the plans put on a file thats compatible with the machines. If we can save that much money by using the GPS then thats what we do. 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #76 on: July 03, 2021, 06:30:33 PM »
Oh its snazzy.. But im just a bum in the woods building one little homestead as i can afford it.    Save money any way i can. 
Psalm 37:16

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #77 on: July 03, 2021, 06:47:04 PM »
One of the big excavator channels on Youtube talked to his friend in the grading business, and had a good selling point for using laser GPS on his equipment. He had to build a pad for a huge distribution warehouse to be built on, and by building the slab base perfectly laser flat, he negotiated a bonus in his contract for how much less concrete would be needed then if the sub base was uneven. And on a big job like that, that can add up, and pay for the GPS.
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
Cuttin' while its green, through a steady sawdust stream.
I'm chasing the sawdust dream.

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #78 on: Yesterday at 10:34:27 AM »
My previous pics were of the access road to my wood lot from the side I live on. It is a half-mile section of "class 4" town road (town right-of-way, but not town maintained) which was barely passable with an ATV. That section is done. Easily traveled with a pick-up now.

Now I'm working on access from the opposite end. The landing is about 400 ft from a maintained section of road. This would be the access for any equipment or log trucks.

This is what the road looked like before I began work. Here I had just starting clearing the landing. The road was narrow and basically a rocky river bed. Over the years, finer material was pushed to the sides causing a bowl-shaped profile that caught water in the spring and anytime it rained.
 
(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
  

I cleared alongside the road where my property abuts it.

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

Then I moved material from the cleared path to the road in order to raise its height a bit.

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

This is where I left things last fall. With the leaves gone, cooler weather and rain, it became a muddy mess in the fall and this spring.

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

Fast forward to now. Road dried and packed nicely (clay-type soil). Installed a 15" culvert to direct drain to the right-side.

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

And have begun digging the ditch and raising road some more so that water doesn't run into the road again. Will then line ditch with fabric and stone tailings. Unsure If I'll top road with gravel or leave as is. It may remain dry enough to stay packed and hard without a topping. We'll see.

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

Finished road in front of my landing. Raised the road 8-18"  from original topped with 3" screen gravel. Seeded landing to minimize erosion and help absorb water from the heavy clay.


 

 

 
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Offline VB-Milling

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #79 on: Yesterday at 10:51:46 AM »
@PoginyHill DanG that looks good.  I love seeing transformations like that. Nice work.

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #80 on: Yesterday at 11:31:05 AM »
That looks like excellent road work, PH.
Well done!
As VB said, the before and after transformation photos are super interesting. Did the drainage work out well?
Also, how many yards of screened material do you estimate to have used to get that distance elevated to the height?
Motor grader, box blade or land leveller on a 3pt. hitch? What was the machine(s) of choice to get that looking so good? 
I'm pesky with all these questions, hey? 
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Online PoginyHill

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #81 on: Yesterday at 12:16:56 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. Labor of love - although picking rocks can get old after a while. @Andries to your questions:

Total of 100 yds (7 loads) for about 400 ft of road 12ft wide. Much of the height I gained using fill from the roadside, making the ditch, and leveling the landing. Had planned for about 6" of gravel to top it. I let the fill settle for several weeks (including some rain). It set up well even with rain and some traffic, so I decided no need for road fabric.

Drainage appears to work well. We've had only 1 downpour since I cut the ditch, but that was before lining it with fabric and stone. Had to shovel out some silt from the culvert and discharge area.

Most of the gravel was tailgate spread. A couple areas could not be tailgate spread, so had a few piles to spread out. I used my Case 310 - pictured earlier in the thread. Back-dragging with a floated blade makes me look like a professional! The blade is quite heavy for its size, so it levels material pretty well.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #82 on: Yesterday at 02:28:15 PM »
Excellent.
Psalm 37:16

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #83 on: Yesterday at 11:58:22 PM »
Beautiful work - and done with the most basic of tools.
Good onya! 
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