Grading with a Back Blade

   / Grading with a Back Blade #1  


Elite Member
Nov 24, 2012
Near Johannesburg MI but in the middle of nowhere
2019 LS XR4140 HST Cab; 2020 Kawasaki Mule SX; 2021 Bad Boy 54" ZT Elite
I have been having problems using my back blade to grade my gravel drive. It is a bit of a roller coaster with dips every 10-15 yards or so. When I use the position control to raise the blade as I go up a dip, I leave ridges that look like washboards. When I go down a dip, I wind up leaving more material at the top of dip...making the dip worse. I was having a bit better luck with the York rake but that may be due to it flexing more...I don't know.

It got me thinking about using a chain to replace the top link to give me a degree of float. I assume by using a chain, when I go up a dip, the blade will not dig in as much as it is not held ridgidly in postion with a sollid top that correct?

To address the blade lifting as I crest a dip, I am thinking about having having some slack in the chain when the blade is on level ground...thus the blade would not lift as high but follow the ground. In operation, I would note the setting on the postion control when the implement is level on flat ground, and set the implement to that position when grading.

Before I do somethiing stupid and hurt myself, or the machine, I would appreaciate any comments. First, is there a better way (note: I cannot afford a hydraulic top link). Is what I am proposing safe to do with a back blade and/or York rake? Do you think it might work?

My other thought is to add wheels behind the blade so it performs more like a grader. Something like this:

5' Grade Blade w/wheels for ATV | Agri Supply

Thanks in advance!
   / Grading with a Back Blade #2  
Many of the back blade manufactures over a hydraulically controlled gauge wheel for there blades.
I'm not sure that your floating top link would do much good for you.
When you are grading your driveway do you have the blade angled?
I would expect that trying to pull your blade with slack in a chain top link would allow the blade to dig in deeper then desired.
Your link seems to have been hijacked by that shopping link.
   / Grading with a Back Blade #3  
I would weld on some brackets for gauge wheels and lower the position control all the way so the 3pt floats as the tractor moves up and down the dips while the gauge wheels control the blade height.
   / Grading with a Back Blade #4  
A lot depends on the make up of the road....base and topping etc.??
From the brief description I would say you are not going to get it right with just a rear blade...if the same situation was here with mostly granite gravel I would say the bad sections of the road needs to be scarified up and evened out...then back blade (blade reversed) it with the rear blade and eliminating the dips etc...
   / Grading with a Back Blade #5  
I maintain my mile long gravel driveway with a heavy duty rear blade. Winter snows - then ditches, crown, general grading, pot hole repairs in the summer.

Unfortunately - I have a 150 foot section that resists all my summer maintenance efforts with the rear blade. Soooo - I hook up my Land Pride GS2584 Land plane grading scraper. Three or four passes back/forth and this section is smooth as a pool table. I keep adding gravel to the mix thru this section and hopefully one of these day it will be enough to hold the uber smooth fix that my LPGS provides. Until that day - its the LPGS once a year.
   / Grading with a Back Blade #6  
Grading scraper... take the 450 bucks for the agri supply blade and add that to the price of a decent grading scraper. Back blades are very hard to master. One thing to keep in mind, go extremely slow while blading. Going fast like a road grader is futile in my experience.
   / Grading with a Back Blade #7  
Land plane all the way. I do a half mile drive, no guessing, just drop it and charge forward. Run 10-12 kmh hr, gets it done in a couple passes each direction.
   / Grading with a Back Blade #8  
One reason rear blades are so difficult - the short coupling between the blade and the tractor. What "short coupling" really means - the rear blade reacts very quickly to the same thing the tractor is doing. Tractor goes into a dip - rear blade drops almost instantly - digs in, takes a bite, makes the dip just that much bigger. Tractor front raises up to exit the dip - rear blade drops even further and digs the "dip" even deeper. Trailing wheels - draft control - - these may help some but it takes time & experience to become proficient.

When I get to the bad section of my driveway - post#5 - I go very slow - lower the rear blade all the way( its actually floating ) and lengthen the dips. The dips get longer and longer, join together and finally the 150 foot "bad section" becomes one long dip. I then put on my LPGS - scarify the entire length and width of the dip - add my yearly allotment of gravel - pack it down with the tractor. This section has been a PITA ever since I had the driveway built in '82. I suppose I could have it dug up - some really heavy ballast added and build that section back up. But the way it is right now - it provides a good day of seat time and I get to use my LPGS for something other than new trails thru the outback.

There is a very good reason that the highway dept road graders/maintainers have such a loooong wheel base. Its an answer to short coupling.
   / Grading with a Back Blade #9  
After getting gravel etc. loosen try using back of the back blade for the finishing touch...won't dig in..
   / Grading with a Back Blade #10  
For sure - Thomas. My new Rhino 950 rear blade brings an all new aspect to rear blade use. Reversing and dragging this blade will flatten/smooth most anything - either wanted or unwanted. And the price of gravel -- you would think its gold plated. I have always got my gravel from the same source. They know me and my driveway well and know the exact type that will work best. Most times you will see me out doing any needed repairs in what scant rain we may be getting or immediately afterwards. The delivered crushed rock and fines pack so very well when its raining.

Speaking of which - my stockpile is dwindling - I should probably order more.