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Finish Grading Tips

Discussion in 'Dozers' started by cheap, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. cheap

    cheap New Member

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    Just got a small OLD dozer, 6way blade, doing a small job with it. I have the rough grade done. This particular job does not require finish grading, but no time like the present to try and learn.

    I have searched the forum, found a few things like backblade or not to backblade, but no real techniques were discussed.

    So looking for tips and techniques. I have seen other jobs done with just a dozer and it looked like the lot was ready for seed. So I know it can be done.
     
  2. RonG

    RonG Charter Member

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    Not too many of us jumped on a dozer with no practice and carried a grade the first time.It takes a lot of practice and you more or less learn as you go.It is some help to watch others but it still takes quite a bit of practice to know what you are looking at that causes his work to come out right.It is a big help to have material in front of the blade while grading.Ron G
     
  3. 2004F550

    2004F550 Charter Member

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    I am still learning and also looking for tips, most of what I do know is from watching good operators but there is a difference between watching and doing. Like Ron said though material in front of the blade is key. I can also say that there is a natural ability for it and some have it and others just don't, one operator (former laborer) at work is a natural and it is unreal how fast and accurate he is compared to everyone else, and on every machine he jumps on.
     
  4. danregan

    danregan Well-Known Member

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    Wayland, Massachusetts
    pull a string. low throttle. carry grades on an arc. ( imagine how you try to get something flat if you were sitting in the sandbox playing with your kids- youd rub your hand in an arc) take small sections at a time. GET OFF AND WALK AWAY. dont get frustrated.
     
  5. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Senior Member

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    When finish grading run the machine at a speed you can handle. After you make your first pass move over one half a blade width, that way one one of your tracks is on (hopefully) level ground . Don't be bashful about backdragging with the blade in the float position. If your grade isn't level after a couple of passes, try going diagonally to what you just did.
     
  6. cc52

    cc52 Member

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    Jul 8, 2011
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    Location:
    queensland australia
    If i have enough material i try to build up a little high then cut down to a level but with a small machine i find it hard to avoid the ups and downs.
     
  7. JMJ_D31

    JMJ_D31 Member

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    Occupation:
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    Westlake, LA
    I just bought a 1985 Komatsu D31 and Im haveing the same problem with finish grading. This is all good information.

    Thanks
     
  8. sheepfoot

    sheepfoot Senior Member

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    Cheap, I had learned to grade on a RD7 dozer, straight blade welded at a 2" pitch to the right corner, small machines take time to master doing finish grading, like said i also carry a blade of dirt and bring the grade with me, keep my blade angled left/right about 6 to 12" back which stops the up and down dipping as the tracks move, and if it starts back up and bring it again, keep your speed where you can make adjustment over a longer area, and it's not a sin to back drag. Sometimes ground apples,roots
    take you to a differant place while grading also! stop and throw them out or you will fight them again and again.
     
  9. stumpjumper83

    stumpjumper83 Senior Member

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    Port Allegany, pa
    there is no replacement for practice, and a small dozer is almost the hardest machine to learn to operate well. Best training aid for becoming a proficient finishing operator is a 500 gal skid tank full of diesel.
     
  10. danregan

    danregan Well-Known Member

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    Yeah like sheepfoot said, if your not using a processed material, like a 1-3" minus, your gonna want to get off and pick rocks, or have the laborer pitch em out. Also, take a small section at a time. "To GET flat, you need to BE flat"
     
  11. Gorignak

    Gorignak New Member

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    Location:
    Ponca Arkansas
    Thanks for the flash of insight guys. I am a "natural" now....I can cut/fill and flatten with the best. I hate to work for someone, but when I have to, it only takes 15 minutes with a D5H and I get hired at top dollar. Ha....I realize now that I learned the hardest way. In 1981-83 I spent 1400 hours on a JD 350B. I built miles of road, cut/filled and flattened to within 2 inches by eye, several 1 acre pads for house and shop, and built a 1 acre pond that when the water trickled over the spillway, I had about 12" of freeboard on the dam.....I just kept after it....I never look at the work.I always pick a reference point on the horizon and work to that, Like they said, keep your blade full. I remember "riding the waves" that I made and getting furious...
    Ya' just gotta "get behind the mule".
     
  12. WesternStar

    WesternStar Well-Known Member

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    Apparently in all those years of experience you never picked up any techniques in modesty.
     
  13. olderndirt

    olderndirt Member

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    Before you start you need to get a picture in your mind of what you want your finished product to look like then work to that end.
     
    Long_johns and sketchmo like this.
  14. cc52

    cc52 Member

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    Location:
    queensland australia
    I have gained a lot of info, has saved me a long time experimenting. thanks for the good advice.
     
  15. ttazzman

    ttazzman Well-Known Member

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    back dragging with your blade angled will help take ripples out
     
  16. oceanobob

    oceanobob Senior Member

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    Occupation:
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    oceano california
    I once believed the dozer was similar to a wood plane - but then I came to realize the wood plane carries no chips while the dozer carries an ever increasing pile of spoils (until the pile rolls and spills) - point being, this ever increasing 'pile' dogs the machine and causes the tracks to dig in but they do so more at the heel.....regardless the center of the undercarriage drops down, and there is an angle change and from what I have seen, the tendency is for the cutting edge to elevate a little..... rather than fight all the way on a pass, let the machine stabilize and be a little high at the end of the pass and just push that material off to the end or stopping point.....yes it will be too high at the end of that pass but that is ok, then dont back up all the way, go maybe within 20 feet or of where you started then lightly engage (i prop my seat up so I can see over the track and look at the ground behind the blade edge) and do another pass and then once again dont go back to that point, almost but not quite....the folks tell me they 'want the material to be carried' but that sets the machine at a certain angle, for those last passes I don't like it to dig the tracks into the grade....we use the dozer for grading subgrade for flat work on concrete slabs and finishers are pretty picky....I generally angle the blade to keep windrows to a minimum and also use magnetic angle bubbles and levels to help me verify what I am feeling along with some laser shots and some whiskers and stakes etc.
    The idler wheel is often not adjusted for the elevation of the chain as per the rollers - these must be checked - we do so every chance we have to walk on a flat surface...the grouser under the idler must be on the grade same as the other grousers under the chassis...
     
  17. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    Don't feel bad about running a dozer, like stumpjumper said a small dozer is one of the hardest machines to be proficient at excluding motor graders.

    A story from the other day-

    Out of the few pieces of iron I have (track loader, backhoe, dozer, skid and mini-hoe), I am the worst on the D5. Last week I went out with a friend of mine to spread a load of crusher run on the private road that services his house and a few more. We tailgated the crusher run and I proceeded to blade it out. Now it's been almost 2 years since I have really ran the dozer, so I was getting back into the groove and doing OK. That's until the king of dirt (a local legend in the earthmoving industry in our area who also lives on the same road) pulled up and started watching. Needless to say, after 20 years of operating various pieces of equipment, I was as nervous as a whore in church.:D

    Practice, practice, practice and a full fuel tank is really the only way to go.
     
  18. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Senior Member

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  19. Huntaholic

    Huntaholic Member

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    Location:
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    One more tip from someone who has spent way too many hours on a "too small for the job" machine: if you get "washboards" in your grade, the simplest way to get them out is to turn around and work the opposite direction. This wont work as well if youre doing pad work, but for road building and situations that you have room to play with, it works like magic.
     
  20. Stump Knocker

    Stump Knocker Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Deltona,Fl.
    A technique I was taught over 40 years ago.
    On a small dozer if you feel like your BUTT is raising up, then your blade is cutting too deep.
    Grading slab on grade a plumber told me I was cutting a 1/4" too deep when I cut his pipe. :D

    Stump Knocker