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First plow of season

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by bishopsRobes, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. bishopsRobes

    bishopsRobes Junior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 5

    I've plowed during mid-season before, but this is my first year starting fresh. I've searched the forums but can't find the answer...

    So...When do you guys typically pull the trigger on your first plow of the season? I've got a gravel driveway about 1/4 mile long and am wondering how much should be allowed to build up before putting the plow into action for the season? Keywords being "first plow of gravel driveway".

    Your thoughts are appreciated.
     
  2. Wilnip

    Wilnip Senior Member
    Messages: 583

    2 inches at a minimum. Maybe even more. And until that gravel is frozen, you're going to want to back drag it.
     
  3. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    I plowed the first time this year just this morning. There was about 4' of heavy wet snow in the driveway. If I let it go more than that I could be in trouble if the snow is light and drifting. I have to keep an eye on the driveway or there could be a two to three feed drift if it's dry and blowing. The only reason I plowed today was the wife's Prius had to get from the street the 400' to the garage. She's partial to not getting stuck and having to walk. Go figure?
     
  4. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,361

    If it looks like there is going to be cold weather in the near future, then I would plow at the end of the storm and make sure there is at least 2". If it looks like it's going to be warm after the storm I wouldn't plow unless there is at least 4".
     
  5. bishopsRobes

    bishopsRobes Junior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 5

    Thanks

    Thanks for your insights; much appreciated!
     
  6. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,423

    put a gravel guard on the edge
     
  7. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,114

    Gravel can definitely be a real pain when it hasn't yet frozen.

    Does your blade have gravel shoes? What they do, is they hold the cutting edge up off the ground slightly to prevent it from digging in, they can be adjusted to the amount of clearance you need, but if the gravel is really mushy, they may just sink in. You can also apply a little bit of lift with the lift cylinder to keep the blade from digging in.

    Also as mentioned, a gravel guard can be helpful. A 2 inch steel pipe, slotted lengthwise to fit over the cutting edge, and tabbed to bolt it in place. This will let the plow ride up the gravel a bit better, rather than having the cutting edge knife into the gravel.
     
  8. bishopsRobes

    bishopsRobes Junior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 5

    Plow shoes and gravel guard

    Thanks for the input on the gravel guard, I hadn't heard of that before.

    I do have the plow shoes -- they say to mount with 1/2" clearance, but that would still scrape the middle of my roadway since it's slightly rutted where the shoes will hit.

    I'd have to jack up the shoes to 2" clearance or so to make it over the middle ground...would that be a problem? Not sure if that would cause excessive catching or be too high to get a good plow.

    Thanks again for posting your replies!
     
  9. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    If you search this site for gravel guard, yard guard, or slit pipe you can get lots of photos and advice that can help you make it.

    Ruts certainly complicate matters.

    Is it mostly level, or does the grade change like rolling hills? If it's mostly level then just lifting the blade slightly instead of letting it float will probably work acceptably well.
     
  10. camp61

    camp61 Member
    Messages: 41

    My private road is all gravel. I usually allow a hard pack to build up if we only get 1-3 inches a few times. Driving on it also drives the frost in faster. I agree, in most spots I still have to back drag it a few times. 1/4 mi is a long way to back drag but, it saves the road. I tried my shoes last year and I tore it up where the shoes were!
     
  11. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,114

    Yeah, I wouldn't want to stick the shoes out that far. You could actually damage them if you catch them on something. That is pretty severely rutted... how exactly do you get a prius through???
     
  12. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    That was a different user with the Prius-driving wife, but anyway even a Prius has more than 2 inches of ground clearance...and it could be driven off-center so one side rides on the ridge.

    When I was 17 I used to take a Sedan DeVille off-roading. :jester:
     
  13. bishopsRobes

    bishopsRobes Junior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 5

    Ruts...Aw, nuts.

    Thank you. I'll search for some photos of the gravel guard. The driveway is pretty variable, so I think the plow will have to be floating.

    My wife drives a truck so hopefully we will be fine until we get a couple decent little build-ups with cold temps to pack it all in place. It's been raining this evening and yesterday's few inches are mostly gone already.

    Thanks again.
     
  14. bishopsRobes

    bishopsRobes Junior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 5

    Thanks for the info, that sounds like the way to go. Interesting about the shoes, it sure seems that's what would happen, but isn't gravel what they are designed for? Bummer...
     
  15. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,114

    Ground still needs to be frozen a bit for the shoes to stand on it. The idea is that the blade won't cut all the way through the ice and scrape directly along the gravel. The shoes hold it up just a little bit over the frozen gravel.
     
  16. magik235

    magik235 Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    I plow 800+ feet of gravel driveway and the associated ditch area. The yard guard was the best improvement I made in over 25 years of plowing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. woodsman

    woodsman Senior Member
    Messages: 119

  18. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    That's pretty sweet. Where would one look for solid bar like that?
     
  19. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,660

    Your local steel yard should have that. It looks like plain round stock. You could use steel pipe as well, just notch it so the edge of your blade fits inside
     
  20. woodsman

    woodsman Senior Member
    Messages: 119

    Yes you can use a steel pipe split down the middle with a cutoff tool. I had a friend make this for me it weighs a ton but does a great job.