A tractor back blade, or scraper blade, is and always has been a very popular attachment for tractors. These blades are usually between 4 inches and 8 inches wide. The bottom edge of the blade is hardened and doesn’t wear easily, even when it is scraped over very abrasive surfaces.
Back blades are essential when maintaining and creating roadways, moving materials and successfully and efficiently completing a wide variety of tasks.
In this article we discuss some of the jobs you can tackle with a scraper blade and provide sound advice for safe, efficient use. Read on to learn more on how to use a back blade on a tractor.
What You'll Learn Today
Use Your Back Blade For Gravel Road Maintenance
One of the most common tasks for this type of tool is the maintenance of dirt roads. Scraper blades can also be used to shape the road surface to provide a higher crown in the center and ditches along the sides for efficient water runoff.
Some types of back blades angle close into the tractor allowing you to offset the blade in either direction depending upon your requirements.
Tilting scraper blades will allow you to tilt the blade to the right or to the left enabling you to dig or shape trenches, ditches and the like.
There are some back blades that have added bolt holes or sliding bolts so that you can move the mold board right or left.
There are half a dozen different types of scraper blades. The variations are intended to allow for adjustments in six specific directions. Scraper blades are always designed at an angle which determines the direction in which excess material is pushed.
Clear Snow With A Scraper Blade
Snow moving is one of the best things you can do with your scraper blade. Generally, this is done by mounting the back blade your tractor’s three point hitch. You’ll want to set it at a right angle and at a width which extends beyond the tractor’s tires on both sides.
When the weather turns cold, scraper blades are excellent for moving snow out of:
- Parking Lots
Unlike box blades, scraper blades do not have side walls. This means that they can easily be used for pushing snow to either side of the road.
Follow these tips when tackling snow with a scraper blade:
1. Even if you are scraping a flat surface such as a parking lot or a road, you’ll need to angle your blade somewhat. Your goal is for the snow to be moved to one side. If you don’t angle the back blade, the snow will move off to both sides, and you’ll find yourself dragging a great deal of weight.
Wet snow can weigh 20 pounds or more per cubic foot. By angling the blade, all of the snow will move easily to one side allowing you to create a smooth, clear path.
2. Alternate dragging and pulling the snow. In small areas, such as parking spaces, you’ll find yourself needing to push the snow out of the way more often than dragging it or wind rowing it. If you’re clearing a long, open stretch of road, you can move along at a relatively fast clip simply wind rowing it.
3. To avoid becoming bogged down in the snow (or mud or other material) you can offset your scraper blade so that you can move along beside the snowdrift or mudslide you are attempting to clean up.
4. As with any tractor operation, be as cognizant of obstacles in your way as you possibly can. If you’re working with snow, remember that many potential hazards may be buried and hidden.
Move along cautiously and slowly when removing snow with a back blade. If you run across even a small, extremely hard obstacle (e.g. a ridge or crack in rock or concrete) you can cause a great deal of damage to the blade.
Grade Surfaces With A Back Blade
You can also use a scraper blade for grading. If you’re working with soil that is very loamy or clay-based, it’s smart to wait until after a solid rain so that it’s softened up a bit before you try grading it.
When grading a hilly surface, remember to start at the foot of the hill. Angle your back blade in such a way that it pulls gravel into the center of the drive or road you’re working on. Begin with the blade set a minimum of 1 foot outside the edge of the drive.
When grading a drive or road, do the sides first. Remember to be patient and work in layers or increments. Establishing the sides first will naturally help you to set a crown of gravel along the center for good water runoff.
When you have the sides done and a good crown in the center, you can turn the blade around. Set it with no angle and drag it over the crown of gravel. Doing so will smooth the surface and fill any ruts.
Grading your driveway or gravel road on a regular basis (2 – 3 times annually) will keep the surface in good shape and will prevent you from needing to add more gravel. Additionally, regular grading removes the problem of weeds growing along the sides and even into the pathway.