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Plowing a gravel driveway

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by peterstaley, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. peterstaley

    peterstaley Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 1

    A local builder has been plowing my gravel driveway for the last few years, but frequently plows large piles of gravel into the grass along with the snow. He says he can't really adjust the height of the plow to avoid scraping off gravel, especially when the ground is soft (after an early or late snowfall).

    Is this true for all plowing services, or does the equipment vary -- do some services have equipment that can adjust the blade's height?

  2. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,830

    It is not true, all he has to do is lower the feet on the plow to bring the blade up. Thats what they are there for. The only thing is, you are not going to have a "clean" driveway. By raising the plow blade you are going to leave behind snow. But it is alot better then pushing the gravel with the snow.
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Yes, you can bump the plow up a couple of inches to avoid "bulldozing" but only to an extent. When the ground is soft, it is very difficult to tell that "just right" point. Now, add in that with the plow angled (which it must be if the run is more than a few feet - depending on snow depth) and one side of the plow will be considerably lower than the other. What this means, is that even the best plow operator will be digging a groove at some point. Then, consider that with the plow raised, the distance between the moldboard and the road is much greater than the variances of the angle of the truck to the road. In other words, if the front wheels go into a dip of 2", the moldboard will dip about 3". If the other side of the dip is on an uphill grade, that makes it worse and the scraping deeeper.

    You might want to consider covering your driveway with asphalt to avoid gravel displacement.
  4. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,830

    Good advice Mick. ( How is everything going?) Mick would a rubber edge help?
  5. #1 plowtech

    #1 plowtech Senior Member
    Messages: 253

    a rubber edge will have the same affect for the most part.

    i would suggest to adjust the shoes so the blade is off the gravel 11/2 - 2 inches.

    will you get a clean driveway? No. you will end up packing the snow harder and harder and with the appropriate temps will freeze nicely and then you could adjust the shoes down to an 1" and get a nice fairly clean drive.

    goodluck, Plowtech.:waving:
  6. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Hi, Rich. Going ok. As far as a rubber edge, I don't really know as I've never used one. But I think plowtech is right. I doubt it would have any benefit on an unfrozen gravel driveway. The best thing for a gravel driveway is freezing.
  7. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,830

    Good to hear from you. I hope everything is going well. The rubber edge just poped in to my head after i wrote my first post. My dad had the same problem last year, with the guy pushing all the stone in the grass. He told the guy, the next storm put the feet on. He did, they worked pretty good. Like i said there was some snow left, maybe an 1-2" but it was better then nothing. Mick i am sending you a PM
  8. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    In my 12 years experience with a mile of dirt/gravel road & parking areas a rubber edge helps a LOT. It will still pick up some gravel when not frozen, but much less than a steel edge.

    The problem with most feet, is that when the ground is soft (not frozen) they will just dig furrows and not keep the blade edge off the ground much at all. Broad skids (6" wide or so) will do better than "mushroom" style, however.
  9. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,830

    You are right about the feet digging in. But it is still less of a mess with them on. If he owned a truck with a plow, that did only his driveway I would put a rubber edge on. But if your a contractor, that does other driveways with pavement and commercial lots, the rubber edge doesn't get right down to the pavement. It also rides over hard packed snow. Being said, for the time it is going to take to remove the steel edge to put on a rubber. To do only one driveway that is gravel isn't worth it. All he has to do is jump out put the feet on, and slide in 2 pins. Also being the contractor, i would come back in the spring to fix the driveway. Just my $.02
  10. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    I've also heard you can split a PVC pipe in half and wrap it around the bottom of the cutting edge. I think that is what I'm going to try this year on my long gravel driveway. I spent almost a week this spring picking up gravel.
  11. yamaguy

    yamaguy Senior Member
    Messages: 556

    Yea I could see that working really well.
  12. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,830

    That sounds like a good idea. You would have to drive some screws throught that right? Take some pictures when your done I would like to see that.
  13. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    Rick is right about a contractor doing other paved drives....rubber edges do not scrape up hard-pack or ice at all. If he had a set of broad flat-bottom "ski" type shoes that he could use just for gravel drives they would work fairly well at keeping the blade up out of the gravel.

    I've heard of the split pipe technique, and think a 2" or so steel pipe probably would work pretty well, but I would not expect PVC to hold up at all. Also no good way to attach it.

    I replaced the steel cutting edge on a 6 ft skid-steer hydraulic snow blower with a 1 1/2" hot-rolled round bar for use on dirt/gravel road and it works great, but I run slowly and try to keep the unit a bit off the surface to the extent I can.
  14. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

  15. Ole Tower

    Ole Tower Senior Member
    from MAINE
    Messages: 210

    It all depends On the Temperture? when its very COLD & every things Frozen Plowing Gravel is NO Differant then plowing Hot top --but-- when the Ground SOFT? I Don*t Plow them Unless? the Depth is 6 inches or More? as its better to Just Drive throught It & Pack It Down as most Customers Will ***** if? You leave a few inches so its a NO Win Deal I read this Site often & every Plower seems to have His Own Idea? of How to Plow! & We All know! Plowing every Snow Storm is a Chalange Due to What the Snow Is? WET? Blowing? & Drifting? Changing to Rain? & the BAD Ones White Outs? so Its a Personal Decission? of the Plower as To How? He Plows each Storm! as to ME Plowing is an Emergancy Service as every Customer Wants to be FIRST! for what? ever Reason? & On BAD Storms All Plowers Are Taxed to their Limit in attempting to Keep every One Open! which Means! Multi Trips to each Customer where the Storm last for several Days! Dumping several inches Each Day & the Highway Plow fills In the End of Drive several times during the Storm as to US Plowers WE have too Plow Out the Huge Snow Banks left by the Highway Plows! & We have NO Idea? when? the Highway Plows return? so some? Customers may? Arrive HOME only to be Greeted by that Huge Snow Bank Blocking the End of their DRIVE! & Most will Call US & upon Our Arival their Drive is Full of Vehicles! so WE Wait! So We can Plow & if Its Still Snowing? that Means Another Trip Back to Clean it UP! All of the Above COST the PLower Time & Money! & During BAD Stroms Plowers Do Get Tired So I suggest Giving them a Break? as They will be There! as Soon as they Can! & NO they haven*t Fogotten You! & when Spring Does Come! Get Your Shovel & Rake that Gravel back on the Edges of Your Drive! as the Exercise Will Do You a World of Good! --OleTower--
  16. Clint

    Clint Member
    Messages: 49

    Good thread of info ...thanks!!
    I have a 500 foot hardpack drveway, and since I'll just be plowing only my own I'll probably give the rubber edge a try this season.

  17. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,830

    If that is all you are doing, thats what i would do. Good luck
  18. Earl W.

    Earl W. Member
    Messages: 68

    The split 2" steel pipe works great. I first used it last year.

    I only had a sawsall so I had to cut it twice for the right thickness to go over the cutting edge.

    Left it about 8" longer than the blade so I could use bolts or chains on the outside to hold it.

    But the cut wasn't exactly straight so I hammered it on and it held fine for several plows, until I got off the road backing up and it got pulled off the very last plow time.

    I plan to just run bolts horizontally through the pipe left on the edges to compress it on the cutting edge.

    I have a hill to plow that we need to plow bare, so when it's really cold and the snow might stick for a few days or longer, I want to be able to remove it easily.

    I've tried the shoes even with extra wide feet welded to the bottom and they still gouged in. Also, tried lifting the plow which I know can't be good for the pump plus it's bouncy.

    The pipe is by far the best I've tried.
  19. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Thanks for the ideas Earl.
  20. wild bill

    wild bill PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,239


    aint nothing a thick checkbook and a lot of concrete cant get rid of !grin and bear it and grab the rake that's what kid's are for .