1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

I Hate Gravel!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by plowman777, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    i picked up 3 new gravel customers this storm...soft gravel, which i windrowed like a farmer...compacted base gravel for an asphalt driveway not laid and gravel contained by railroad ties!......hate em- hate- em- hate em!!!!!!!

  2. jq.

    jq. Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I have a few gravel driveways myself. I don't even try to plow, instead I use my snow blower it works great. just lower the skid shoes a little to raise the blower.
  3. RWK in WI

    You can get a piece of thick wall 4" PVC plastic pipe a little shorter than the snow plow bade and cut a slit the length of the pipe. Slip it over the cutting edge and drill a few holes in the PVC to run bunge cords or wire to hold the PVC in place. Rides over the gravel and easy to take off when going to the next job. After a few plowings you may get a packed base that you can use just the blade.
  4. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    Or back drag with the plow angled. I try to stay away from gravel drives.
    Or give them the Pain In A charge for doing it.
  5. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,317

    The PVC doesn't shatter when you go over hard stuff?
  6. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    the pvc sounds interesting but is it tough enough?

    seems like it would be trashed in a short time.

    maybe an iron pipe is better?, definitly need full blade gliding, shoes
    don't do crap
  7. RWK in WI

    I have found that the THICK wall 4" PVC ( I don't know if it is "schedule 40 or 80" ) pipe isn't bothered by the gravel. If it gets hit / pinched between the blade and a solid object - a curb, a boulder, a tree, a fence / gate post - it will break. With it's cheap cost it is worth it. When I break one I save the pieces. When I break the second one I glue pieces of the second one over the pieces of the first one and have a usable one again and even thicker / stronger.
    I generally run them from shoe to shoe but don't worry about getting all the way out to the end of the blade where I am more likely to hit solid objects but with the center of the blade riding high the edges don't dig in.
    Yes, steel lasts longer but it can be heavy to handle and put on. Where I have machines only on gravel I use sandguards copy and paste


    I hope this helps some.
  8. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    RWK ..a million thanks for the pipe idea for gravel!!!..i tried it today and it worked great. ..i used a sched 40 4" pipe. my customer thought a sched 80 would work better, (that is the thicker one)...i may try a metal pipe just the same cuz i shattered the one i used pretty quick.

    does the angle iron work as well as the pipe does??

    thanks again for a great idea!! :redbounce

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,228

    1 1/2 or 2" water or gas cast iron pipe. Drill and tap holes for bolts at ends. Use bolts with a 1/2 or 9/16 head then just use a short wrench to tighten and loosen. Put bolt placement so you tighten them from the back of the blade. Pipe will also work on paver blocks,brick,cobble stone ,etc.

    Or just don't do gravel.

    If you back drag make sure to take shoes off first or they are more than likely to dig in.
  10. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    I just raise the blade as needed to not tear it up, it's no big deal. Christ I was plowing over wood chips today, boy is that ever fun.

    There's no need to put pipe on your blade! :eek:

    I can tell you from experience as a plumber, PVC pipe gets very brittle in extreme cold. So, it'll work for you when it's say between 20 & 30 out, but get down in the teens, single digits, that stuff will just shatter on impact. I also think it would make you look pretty bush league in front of customers. But, like anything else it's what works good for you so if any of you swear by the "pipe method", who am I to rain on your parade. :cry:

    I just wouldn't do it myself.
  11. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    I also think it would make you look pretty bush league in front of customers.

    are you kidding??..

    i am using it as a selling point now!...2 of my customers were there when i did it and loved the results. they like that i am trying to prevent bulldozing the gravel all over.

    pride is a silly thing...and your even a plumber??
  12. tawilson

    tawilson Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    Gravel drives are the norm around here. It's easy to pick the blade up a bit if everythings nice and flat, but if it's got dips and such or pitched down to the road you're either digging in or leaving too much snow. About the using the pipe, shouldn't it be steel pipe instead of cast iron? Cast iron is brittle. Backdragging till the ground is frozen is my option if the snow isn't too deep. Speaking of backdragging, it may be my imagination, but it seems like the extra weight of the ProWings and the rubber strip on my plow helps the backdragging.
  13. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    No my friend, pride is a very important thing, right up there with self respect and so on.

    Didn't you see what I also said, if it works FOR YOU, then fine, I just would not care to do it that way. I believe that's how almost every discussion on this site is. One guy does it one way, another guy does not. I can't help but say I would not like the look of a piece of PVC hanging off my blade, because I wouldn't. I also wouldn't want to deal with attaching and un-attaching it in the middle of my route to do gravel versus non gravel.

    And yes, I'm even a plumber, and for me the only place PVC pipe belongs is in the BACK of my truck, until it's installed in someone's house for drainage, waste or venting. If it helps you make money and your customers like it, you can paint it lime green for all I care, I hope you have good luck with it. As for the other guy who asked about cast iron, YES it is very brittle. Take you a half hour to cut with a saw and two seconds to smash with a hammer. If you must use pipe and you don't like PVC, try galvanized drain pipe. You could use black malleable (gas pipe) too, but you'll have to keep painting it because it'll rust to beat the band.
  14. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    i have a few but i tell them i will do the driveway avoid pushing gravel but if that happens they have to rake it back in place
  15. Boutallnite

    Boutallnite Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    I got one like that. First time I plowed to much gravel off of the drive. So she calls me and tells me that its no good, that I have to lift the blade up higher than that. Second time I made sure not one stone left the drive. She calls now and says that I didn't plow anything that the snow is still there. So I go back and go lower and get some of the gravel. Guess what, she calls again anc complains. At that poing "I said there will be no charge for the serivce, but find yourself somene else to plow this".
  16. Ken1zk

    Ken1zk Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    Same here, the contract clearly states that while I will take precautions against removing gravel from the driveway, often times this condition can be avoided. Just like I fix lawn damage I have caused I return in the spring with a good rake and "reclaim the driveway from the lawn". I factor that return trip in the the gravel driveway price.
  17. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    Hmm, Plowman45 has the best solution, lol. Let them fix the gravel. As far as the PVC goes, John Twist is right. It can break at cold temps. and added stress form hitting gravel. Plus, wouldn't you have to take it off when you did a regular concrete account? Doesn't make sense to me to take it on and off. Gravel is a waste of time. Simple solution is to just raise the blade a little off the gravel and away you go.
  18. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    I have a rear drag plow for my truck and it works great on gravel drives. It has shrot sides which dont allow the blade to dig in...Rob
  19. DeereGuy

    DeereGuy Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Gravel can be bad but nothin's worse than pea stone especially if it's 6"+ deep like one guy's million dollar house who asked me to plow 4 hours before this years blizzard here in NH. What an A&&. I went, and priced him out a blizzard price, which he verbally agreed to, then he only sent me half after I invoiced him. He also sent me a demeaning note saying I was crazy for charging him what he had agreed to. I generally don't plow anyone without a contract but now it's a rule. ( I now have "One Push" contracts.) Anyway, I was pushing through a 30" drift when the whole truck settled down the 6 or 8 inches. Thought I was going to be there a while but did get out after about 15 min. I completed the job with ramming speed. After beating on my truck, the guy stiffs me. Unbelievable! By the Way; the stone matched his roof, supposedly. Idiot...

    As far as the pipe idea, I like it but haven't tried it. I have 3 large resid'ls with stone and a couple gravel and the old X-Blade is brutal on soft stuff. Stone almost never freezes solid. I need to come up with something before all the stone is gone. We've had more events this year than normal. Urethane pipe is available but formulated for Haz. Material not wear I think. It's also pretty expensive.

    I am mostly apprehensive ever since I ran over a 8' pc of heavy 2" elect conduit on the highway doing about 70 and had an instant 6' erection sticking straight up in the air right through the bed of my 87' Toyota P/U. It sounded like a shotgun went off. My back end hurts just thinking about it. :eek: This is no joke. Sorry, I'm getting off subject. :eek:
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2005
  20. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    My only gravel drive paved it for last year, but come on. If you really have a lumpy drive the PVC thing is a reasonable solution, but otherwise just lift the plow an inch. Been doing that for years- never, and I mean never a problem. I plow grass that way for 2 customers every storm.