Making Tall Grass Short

Discuss non-crawler related issues here (keep it sane, please)
Post Reply
User avatar
CuttingEdge
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: Maine

Making Tall Grass Short

Post by CuttingEdge » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:30 am

Last summer a friend came up to me and asked if I would help him out, he needed someone to operate his John Deere 4355 with 18 foot Flail Boom Mower. I was sick, but operate tractors I can do, so I jumped at the chance. In the end, he paid me well, and I spent two months mowing the roads for four towns.

That is an interesting job...not that everyone was happy with me. I was yelled at, screamed at, given the middle finger, and accosted...just for mowing some grass.

I also hit just about everything you could imagine. After the first day I realized America's Dump is the American Highway System. I hit everything you can imagine. So much so that I brought pad and paper with me to write down the unusual stuff. Like a kids bicycle, an oxygen bottle, shoes, purses, tires...lots of tires...lots and lots of tires...thermoses, water tanks, barb wire fences, sheep fences (the worst thing to hit), some woman's apple trees, a brand new Husqvarna chainsaw, but the very strangest thing I ever hit was a boat anchor...on a farm...on top of a huge hill. The guy was using it to hold up his mail box.

The apple trees were interesting, some woman from the city planted them within 6 feet of the pavement, and she was mad at me because I hit them. What do you think the snowplow will do Honey? And the chainsaw, that was a guy who left his tailgate down and when he took off after backing out of his driveway, it shot into the ditch. A bent bar was all that was left; the rest of it was in 1 inch pieces of plastic and aluminum. But I also hit skidder cable, power cables, and cut a woman's phone line and sucked it right out of her house...while she was on the phone. Considering what I did, she was very nice about it. I even got lost once and mowed a half mile into the wrong town, and got stuck in the mud once.

But beyond being yelled at, screamed at, had the police called on me, and told I was the dumbest guy to ever walk the planet, I learned a lot. I grew up bushogging, but after using a flail mower, I learned that a flail mower...well...it is even better than sex! Yep...not overstated, they are that good.

But it is a harsh environment. I blew three tires on the tractor, (2) front ones, and a rear one. I went through 600 knives or so, about 100 shackles, and enough cotter pins to swamp a battle ship. I also blew every bearing on the machine, from main bearings, to roller bearing, and one roller bearing twice. I smoked a set of belts on swale grass, and bent the main rotor on a rock. And when I got all down, the owner and friend thanked me for "not breaking a whole lot of stuff."

All this for 200 miles of road, 6 passes per mile, or about 1000 acres of ground (including dumps, parks and cemeteries).

But I liked it. Sure I was sure I was going to roll the tractor over about every day, and said, "wow, I did not mean to hit that", and took my life into my hands every time I changed knives due to the ticks that carry Lyme Disease, but I really liked it.
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

townlineterry
440 crawler
440 crawler
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:01 pm
Location: Pa.

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by townlineterry » Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:58 am

Liked the woman with the apple trees we get a lot cityidiots here too. One time we were working on a private road and turning around in a driveway got off a tire width on the grass. Didn't leave a rut, just a depression you could barely see. Owner insisted we fill it in. Stood at watched us, then watched us the rest of the day while worked on property across the road. Had to be there, was hilarious. Lady we were working for was hoping he would have a heart attack over it.
A lot of my work is on private lanes with multiple camps on them. Every one has a resident expert that can't tell one end of a shovel from another but they know exactly how we should do our job and aren't afraid to share their expertise. We do it this way in Pittsburgh or Cleveland.
They certainly provide a lot of entertainment.

User avatar
CuttingEdge
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by CuttingEdge » Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:15 am

One of the first things I was told when operating a grader is, "Everyone will tell you how to do your job, and think they could do it so much better than you, but they could not ever do it themselves."

It is about the same way mowing a boom mower.

I actually had a guy pull his car in front of mine to stop me, just to ask why I had no mown his road yet. Well, for starters I was on the main road going into town, and he lived on a back, dirt road. But it does not really matter, they all have to get done.
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

townlineterry
440 crawler
440 crawler
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:01 pm
Location: Pa.

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by townlineterry » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:40 am

Running a grader is whole different game than any other equipment. Mine is galion 503 with a 10 foot blade, ideal for small roads. Did not have anyone to show me, so watched videos and started grading. First job I did, had it just about where I wanted it, thought one more pass. Big mistake, spent the next 4 hours putting the road back together. Valuable lesson, do it in small moves not big ones.

Wilbur
420 crawler
420 crawler
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:09 pm
Location: Penn Run, Pennsylvania

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by Wilbur » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:20 am

Cutting Edge...I share most of what said about flail mowing. "Been there and done that". It has it's moments of shear pleasure and it's moments of shear hell.

Image
Wilbur

1959 440 icd 831 loader
1961 1010 dozer

User avatar
CuttingEdge
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by CuttingEdge » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:52 am

townlineterry wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:40 am
Running a grader is whole different game than any other equipment. Mine is galion 503 with a 10 foot blade, ideal for small roads. Did not have anyone to show me, so watched videos and started grading. First job I did, had it just about where I wanted it, thought one more pass. Big mistake, spent the next 4 hours putting the road back together. Valuable lesson, do it in small moves not big ones.
I would like to have a real self-propelled grader some day. I do a lot of town work, and between grading roads, and mowing, I could work from May to October.

I have made (2) homemade tow-behind grader, but really need to take what I learned in those two builds, get serious, and build a serious tow behind grader. That is because they are forever behind my tractor. In the summer it is grading gravel, and in the winter it is pushing snow.

I am 45 years old, and have been pushing snow for years, but never learned until this year that the grader is the tool to use. You would think you need the blade up front, but it actually works better in the back. The snow just rolls off the moldboard, and that is in 6th gear! Now that I am using graders all year though, I can justify really putting a nice one together.
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

User avatar
CuttingEdge
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by CuttingEdge » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:04 am

My first homemade grader was when I got a USDA grant to build a road across my farm. I had a grader blade on a 3 point hitch, but that does not work very well because it is cantilevered; go into a hole with the rear wheel and the blade REALLY drops, and likewise when you go over a bump, it really rises. It flattened out the gravel a little bit, but not well.

So I took my grader blade and welded it onto a section that could bolt on and off my log trailer. That worked really good because it had four wheel walking beam suspension. In that way, if you hit a hole or a bump, like a real grader, the back axles floated and the grader blade stays flat on the ground. And at 18 feet long, I got a nice smooth grade to my road.

But that one sucked because I had to bolt and unbolt the grader blade on and off the log trailer.

So then I threw the grader blade under another woods trailer I had, but it has a single fixed axle. That is nowhere near as good as smoothing a road because it lacks a walking beam suspension on four wheels. The blade also needs to be a little wider because right now it deposits the snow right at the wheels. I need it about two feet wider to roll the snow into the ditch a little more.

But now that I am using it for smoothing fields, smoothing my heavy haul roads in the summer, and then pushing snow too, it just makes sense to really build a nice grader. One that is stand alone, yet has four wheel, walking beam suspension.
Last edited by CuttingEdge on Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

User avatar
CuttingEdge
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by CuttingEdge » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:12 am

Here are a couple of pictures of my homemade grader. These two photos are of the grader being bolted to my log loader trailer. This worked the best, but had to be taken on and off the trailer. I need a stand-alone grader as I use it so often.

Image

Image
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

User avatar
CuttingEdge
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by CuttingEdge » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:37 am

Wilbur wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:20 am
Cutting Edge...I share most of what said about flail mowing. "Been there and done that". It has it's moments of shear pleasure and it's moments of shear hell.
Hey, I have RESEMBLED that picture before.

I think a person has to mow the road ditches to appreciate just what is there.

One town I mow, has a contractor who ditches the roads, but HATES to put rocks in his truck bodies, so he just pushes them past the travel lane, and that is it. I am not sure how he gets away with it, as the state calls them "Fixed Lethal Objects" that must be removed. Not in that town. It might be two feet off the edge of the pavement and there is this half submerged, half sticking out of the ground rock that just plays havoc with the mower. Not just huge rocks, but any size rock, if it is bigger than a basket ball, he just pushed the rock outside the travel lane, and moves on.

In most towns I will go through 50 knives or so, but in that town it ends up being 200 or so. It was in that town that I broke the main boom off, and bent the main rotor on a rock.

We are using the Y-Knives right now, but are thinking about switching to hammers instead. But with so much rotating mass, and so many rocks...I am not sure. I like the Y-Knives, you just change them a lot.

(I resharpen mine too. I can get (4) sharpening's out of them before they start breaking. A cordless grinder makes quick work of that job, and with new knives I can mow in a gear higher.)
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

Ray III
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 578
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:39 pm
Location: Troy, NY

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by Ray III » Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:42 pm

Husqvarna saw smashed into eleventybillion pieces: My company used to have a 700 horsepower, track mounted wood chipper with cab and log loader. Usually we'd have a skidder guy pull trees up to it, a chainsaw guy would cut off the useful wood, and the rest got run through the chipper.

I had to do everything by myself one day, so I was placing the saw behind the tracks of the chipper to keep it from getting smashed by logs. Oh yeah, and at the end of the day we'd back the chipper up a few feet to push away all the debris with the skidder.

Next day they asked where the saw was, and I could not remember. I helped them search for it for an hour or 2. Needless to say I got busted pretty hard for the next couple months when it did resurface. It was a 390xp, about a week old.

User avatar
CuttingEdge
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by CuttingEdge » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:44 am

I have run over a few chainsaws. One was a Husqvarna with my bulldozer which was not a bad thing because it was a Husqvarna, but I admit I said bad words when I ran over my Stihl with a skidder.

Now I do not put the saw on the ground, but throw it up on my skidder when I am not actively cutting. I do that because I had cut a twitch, had it all planned how it would go, and then a tree went backwards on me. So suddenly I had to turn the skidder around. It was turning the skidder around that caused me to run over my saw.

I have stuffed a saw behind some trees to protect it before, but really it is impossible to drive over a chainsaw if the saw is on the machine, so I got into that habit now. It is a few extra steps, but cheap insurance.

Note: I have a Husqvarna now 562 XP and hate it, but have never been a fan of Husqvarna anyway. The Stihl I crushed was a MS 461 Stihl...

Image
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

Ray III
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 578
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:39 pm
Location: Troy, NY

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by Ray III » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:21 pm

The good Huskys start with a 3, like 372xp. The 572's are just for swearing at.

My saws are a ported MS460 with wrap handle for falling and bucking large wood, and a MS260 for everything else.

User avatar
CuttingEdge
2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Making Tall Grass Short

Post by CuttingEdge » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:29 am

Ray III wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:21 pm
The good Huskys start with a 3, like 372xp. The 572's are just for swearing at.

My saws are a ported MS460 with wrap handle for falling and bucking large wood, and a MS260 for everything else.
I have been waiting for the 500 Stihl to come out; that will be the first fully fuel injected chainsaw and will b a nice step up from the MS461 (Pictured in the photo of Katie), and a little bigger saw...but not too big of a saw. That would be perfect for me.

I am using a 562 Husqvarna now, but even the dealer said it was a "disposable saw", and he was right. I have not talked to anyone that likes the saw.
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests