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Snow Plowing A Gravel Driveway.


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#1 See Ya

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:37 PM

Let me first describe the gravel on a portion of this driveway that is over 2000 ft long. Ever walk on a beach, and your feet sink into the dry sand, and your balance feels awkward? Well this is exactly what this client's driveway ( a good portion of it) was. It had 3/8" beach gravel that was so thickly applied, evertime you drive on it, you make tracks with your vehicle. Even getting out to walk on it, your feet sort of sink into the gravel and you leave impressions from your boots in the stone.

The owner called me up for a estimate about 3 weeks ago, said their regular plow guy was going under and he can no longer plow there driveway. In total, the driveway is little over 2000ft long. First 1200 ' is regualr hard pack gravel (like a small gravel private road uses). Then there is these two stone pillars way in front of the manison which begin a comble stone paver driveway, which eventially lead up to another set of stone pillars in front of mansion. Right after that is where all the beack stone 3/8" gravel is. Circle driveway around front of mansion, then leads to the right side to where the 6 car garage is, where driveway is over 40 ft wide (like a small office parking lot). Owner asked if I can raise plow so I wouldn't push gravel, I explained to her that even if blade was lifted X amount of inches off ground, that the snow i would push (depending on how wet it is) would still push the gravel and displace it. She said that the last guy knew how to plow her driveway without pushing any gravel, which makes me belive that he must of spent the time back dragging entire area that had the gravel on it.

I gave her a price for the plowing and salting and they went with it. A nice mid to high 3 figure driveway. On the 26th after Xmass, I plowed it, and just as i suspected, the gravel was way to easy to get displaced by the plow. I then back dragged the displaced gravel back, then lifted blade a few inches. Ofcoarse then I could see the snow was being packed, and gravel was still being pushed. So only other technique to do is back drag, keeping gravel from being displaced to a minimum. Ofcoarse to spent time back dragging would mean more time and more of a headache to clean the snow off driveway. After emiling the invoice, they paid right away (which I like). However on the 5th, they sent me an email telling me that they want to cancel, cause their former plow guy has moved back into the area. They said he went under, and was selling his truck and plow when I first spoke to them. Anyway, I could care less about having to worry about whether or not I am pushing gravel all over the place, the driveway is a nightmare with that beach stone gravel to begin with. And plowing that comble stone driveway, vibrating the plow and wondering whether or not the plow is going to up lift the comble stone pavors cause of the uneven terrain, was not exactly a pleasant experience to do especially when it is 3am and pitch black out.

Alot of homes out here have unpaved driveways and private roads that I plow. But never in my life, have I come across a property up here that has beach stone gravel on their driveway. You find that down the Jersey shore with alot of the rental properties. I tell the potential clients everytime they ask, that chances are the gravel will be displaced, no matter if blade is lifted or not. If it is a fluffy light snow, the displacement of gravel is left to a minium, the heavy wet snow is a nightmare of gravel cause it snow ball effects the gravel.
Moved on.

#2 sonjaab

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 12:20 PM

You lost what sounds like a big headache job !
I can just imagine they tried to BS you into a lower bid than the last guy.

If the gravel was that soft just walking on it I could just imagine the
way it would look in the spring after plowing. I could imagine them
busting your chops in the spring for you to repair it!

You didn't lose out on this one.......................
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#3 See Ya

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 08:32 PM

I explained to them during the estimate that gravel does get displaced, and during the estimate, I was sort of dumb founded as to why they had so much gravel on their driveway to begin with. It looked like it was recently dumped and had yet to settle on the ground. I mean when I got out of the truck and stepped on it, I was leaving foot impressions on it. I gave them a price of $450 to plow and $150 to salt it, they were like "ok, sounds good". It was a good money maker, but yes it also was a headache as well, trying to not displace all the gravel. Also when I was driving on the driveway during the estimate, you could see the trucks tire marks in the gravel. It was the type of gravel that most people use for landscaping beds imo.
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#4 ChevyTech77

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:56 AM

A piece of iron pipe slotted, and stitch welded, to the cut edge of your plow will plow the snow off the top
of the gravel nicely while not moving hardly any gravel. Plus, it still works great for plowing regular paved
driveways/parking lots. Thank me later. :P

:(
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#5 See Ya

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 10:38 AM

A piece of iron pipe slotted, and stitch welded, to the cut edge of your plow will plow the snow off the top
of the gravel nicely while not moving hardly any gravel. Plus, it still works great for plowing regular paved
driveways/parking lots. Thank me later. :P

:(


Have a picture of this illustration?
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#6 ChevyTech77

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 10:42 AM

A piece of iron pipe slotted, and stitch welded, to the cut edge of your plow will plow the snow off the top
of the gravel nicely while not moving hardly any gravel. Plus, it still works great for plowing regular paved
driveways/parking lots. Thank me later. :P

:(


Have a picture of this illustration?

No, I don't. I can't get you one for a while either due to being away from home for the next week or so.
A bunch of people out my way use this and love it. Most are farmers with gravel driveways, mind you. Basically, they get a piece of 1" black pipe, the length of the blade, and slot it with a cut-off wheel (Matabo or whatever you have)
so it will slip up onto the cutting edge of the blade. Once it is slid up on the blade, they stitch weld it to
the cutting edge just so it doesn't fall off. I couldn't believe how good it worked until I saw it in action.
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#7 See Ya

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 05:24 PM

Seems like welding the pipe to the cutting edge a couple inches higher so that the cutting edge does it's job would be my thoughts. This way when gravel comes into contact with cutting edge, then once it reaches the pipe, it will cause it to keep most of the gravel from being pushed? I have the oprtional back drag edge, which works better then the cutting edge when back dragging. Would be good to find some videos of a plow with a pipe welded on to see it in action.
Moved on.

#8 renegadeking

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 05:45 PM

at the farm we have all gravel. so in the first and second snowfall, we float the yard with a rail road tie, or a log. it packs the snow in the gravel. after it sits overnight it gets rock hard the colder the weather the harder it gets.. we drive 40,000 lb tractors over it and it doesn't even make marks. we have a 9' snowblower on 170hp tractor and the blower just glides on the hard snow. same as plows and tractor bucket.

this will save you a LOT of grief. and i will look good.
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#9 Mike2500HD

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 06:59 PM

Let me first describe the gravel on a portion of this driveway that is over 2000 ft long. Ever walk on a beach, and your feet sink into the dry sand, and your balance feels awkward? Well this is exactly what this client's driveway ( a good portion of it) was. It had 3/8" beach gravel that was so thickly applied, evertime you drive on it, you make tracks with your vehicle. Even getting out to walk on it, your feet sort of sink into the gravel and you leave impressions from your boots in the stone.

The owner called me up for a estimate about 3 weeks ago, said their regular plow guy was going under and he can no longer plow there driveway. In total, the driveway is little over 2000ft long. First 1200 ' is regualr hard pack gravel (like a small gravel private road uses). Then there is these two stone pillars way in front of the manison which begin a comble stone paver driveway, which eventially lead up to another set of stone pillars in front of mansion. Right after that is where all the beack stone 3/8" gravel is. Circle driveway around front of mansion, then leads to the right side to where the 6 car garage is, where driveway is over 40 ft wide (like a small office parking lot). Owner asked if I can raise plow so I wouldn't push gravel, I explained to her that even if blade was lifted X amount of inches off ground, that the snow i would push (depending on how wet it is) would still push the gravel and displace it. She said that the last guy knew how to plow her driveway without pushing any gravel, which makes me belive that he must of spent the time back dragging entire area that had the gravel on it.

I gave her a price for the plowing and salting and they went with it. A nice mid to high 3 figure driveway. On the 26th after Xmass, I plowed it, and just as i suspected, the gravel was way to easy to get displaced by the plow. I then back dragged the displaced gravel back, then lifted blade a few inches. Ofcoarse then I could see the snow was being packed, and gravel was still being pushed. So only other technique to do is back drag, keeping gravel from being displaced to a minimum. Ofcoarse to spent time back dragging would mean more time and more of a headache to clean the snow off driveway. After emiling the invoice, they paid right away (which I like). However on the 5th, they sent me an email telling me that they want to cancel, cause their former plow guy has moved back into the area. They said he went under, and was selling his truck and plow when I first spoke to them. Anyway, I could care less about having to worry about whether or not I am pushing gravel all over the place, the driveway is a nightmare with that beach stone gravel to begin with. And plowing that comble stone driveway, vibrating the plow and wondering whether or not the plow is going to up lift the comble stone pavors cause of the uneven terrain, was not exactly a pleasant experience to do especially when it is 3am and pitch black out.

Alot of homes out here have unpaved driveways and private roads that I plow. But never in my life, have I come across a property up here that has beach stone gravel on their driveway. You find that down the Jersey shore with alot of the rental properties. I tell the potential clients everytime they ask, that chances are the gravel will be displaced, no matter if blade is lifted or not. If it is a fluffy light snow, the displacement of gravel is left to a minium, the heavy wet snow is a nightmare of gravel cause it snow ball effects the gravel.

Hey Hen, I know how unstable the beach stone is. Cant imagine why someone would do that for a driveway. We have that at the shore and when I move the boat trailer in and out on the side of the house I always have to use 4x4 or the wheels slip and you sink.. Good riddance there. Havin a good plowing year two years in a row ay? I plow gravel roads in Frenchtown. I use the lightest plow and I also have an F-450 with a 9 footer and a rubber edge. I always just plow and leave hard packed snow like the farm guy was saying. The roads are great until spring when the melt turns everything to crap. The only problem is when it gets hard and polished ice. Then I go with the spreader and sling 3/8 clean or 1/4 clean which ends up part of the road next spring.

#10 See Ya

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 11:39 AM

They probably went with (looks vs practical) as the stone does have a nice appealing look to it. You sinking at the shore house is exactly how this driveway area was. Though I didn't need 4wd to drive on it, the sinking wasn't that bad.

Yea this last storm, I got alot of calls from people that did not have contracts. Also picked up 5 new contracts. Frenchtown is south of me, I know where it is. I keep getting a repeated call from some person in Lambertsville who waits to the last minute and needs to be plowed out. Looked it up on the map and it is near Frenchtown. My private road has been down to hard pack for a couple years now. Luckily it pretty much has held up with minimal pot holes. Usually a neighbor down the road gets fill and fills it the holes during Spring. I plow the road where my property runs along side of the road, and out to main road which is about 1200'. The township doesn't plow our road cause it is private, which doesn't bother me cause I have a plow. There might be another storm coming mid week, so we might be saying "here we go again". been a very snowy January!
Moved on.

#11 Mike2500HD

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 04:09 PM

They probably went with (looks vs practical) as the stone does have a nice appealing look to it. You sinking at the shore house is exactly how this driveway area was. Though I didn't need 4wd to drive on it, the sinking wasn't that bad.

Yea this last storm, I got alot of calls from people that did not have contracts. Also picked up 5 new contracts. Frenchtown is south of me, I know where it is. I keep getting a repeated call from some person in Lambertsville who waits to the last minute and needs to be plowed out. Looked it up on the map and it is near Frenchtown. My private road has been down to hard pack for a couple years now. Luckily it pretty much has held up with minimal pot holes. Usually a neighbor down the road gets fill and fills it the holes during Spring. I plow the road where my property runs along side of the road, and out to main road which is about 1200'. The township doesn't plow our road cause it is private, which doesn't bother me cause I have a plow. There might be another storm coming mid week, so we might be saying "here we go again". been a very snowy January!

Yea they are saying it could be the biggest this season. Ill wait and see but I am running out of places to pile the stuff. Lambertville is far south for you. As I recall your up 31. Lambertville would end up being a 45 minute ride each way under the best of circumstance. This last snow was so heavy. And during the worst of it there was so much humidity that with the defrosters on full blast, a/c button pushed. I couldnt keep the windows cler ans there was water streaming down the inside of the windshield..

#12 See Ya

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 05:50 PM

Gotta watch the excessive wet clothing and kick snow off boots, or that will happen. I fogged up at first when I went out at 2am, but only for 15 mins. Looks like we are going to get an ice storm. I sure hope it doesn't knock out the power. Well inland is going to get 12-24". ABC is calling for 1-3" before the mix takes over, then warmer temps for Weds, keeping it all mix. I could use a break from plowing. Like to go 1-2 weeks without plowing. I hate the heavy stuff, areas well inland are going to have a hell of a time plowing 2ft of that heavy snow (if it is heavy for them).
Moved on.

#13 ChevyTech77

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 09:22 AM

I will try and get pictures of this but just been to busy with a new house and all. It really is simple and slick, once you see it and I couldn't believe how well it worked until I saw it in action. A good friend of mine that owns a farm devised it to plow all of his gravel drives, around the farm, without displacing all the stone/gravel. I grew up in farm country but still missed picking up on some of the fab skills that the farm boys have. :D
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#14 old dog

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:09 AM

they are not great but have a few pic's

I will try and get pictures of this but just been to busy with a new house and all. It really is simple and slick, once you see it and I couldn't believe how well it worked until I saw it in action. A good friend of mine that owns a farm devised it to plow all of his gravel drives, around the farm, without displacing all the stone/gravel. I grew up in farm country but still missed picking up on some of the fab skills that the farm boys have. :D

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#15 ChevyTech77

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 12:09 PM

they are not great but have a few pic's

I will try and get pictures of this but just been to busy with a new house and all. It really is simple and slick, once you see it and I couldn't believe how well it worked until I saw it in action. A good friend of mine that owns a farm devised it to plow all of his gravel drives, around the farm, without displacing all the stone/gravel. I grew up in farm country but still missed picking up on some of the fab skills that the farm boys have. :lol:


Yup, the one's my friend uses are just like that. I guess he's not so ingenious after all if other people are using
it too! LOL. :D
Chevy tough.
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Every screw up is an opportunity not to make another one.




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