This grader blade offers many advantages over a conventional bucket. "The 8-ft. grader covers more area, reducing the number of passes required," says Kloster. "With laser control, the materials are spread evenly across the jobsite." The only limitations would be in very confined areas.
When researching grading attachments, one thing you should investigate is the ease of control. "Is the valve laser ready? Are laser poles available from the manufacturer?" Kloster asks. "Can it be equipped with end plates?"
Parrett agrees, adding that it's important to know exactly what you are getting for your investment. "Is the attachment complete with pre-programmed laser receivers, poles, hydraulic hoses and tips, ready to install on a power unit and put to use?" he asks. "Does the attachment have the versatility of adapting to both compact tractors and skid-steer loaders? Can it grade both forward and reverse? Are the cutting edges easily replaceable? How well is the attachment constructed and will it give the user many years of use?"
Just because the attachment is made for compact equipment, no corners should be cut. "A compact unit should have comparable features of larger, conventional machines," says Hoelscher. For example, Hoelscher Inc. offers replaceable heat-treated cutting edges.
"Look for the quality of manufacturing and thickness of material used," he emphasizes. "For years, equipment available for compact tractors has been made extremely light and crude. Without the weight and quality design, an attachment will not do an acceptable job."
Attachments Are Up to the Task
Jim Beuter in Perry, IA, has been able to create a successful business based on a 55-hp John Deere Model 2355 tractor, a Hoelscher 6-ft. wide dump scraper and 8-ft. grader attachment, plus some other pieces of equipment. For example, he built a sports complex for the community high school, completed projects for the city and developed a grading business for residential home builders.
The sports complex covered approximately 18 acres and consisted of a baseball diamond, softball diamond, golf driving range and soccer field, all of which called for "a lot of grading," Beuter notes. The project was spread over a three-year period, but the size of the equipment wasn't the limiting factor. Rather, the work was completed as school finances allowed.
Meeting the design specs was critical. "You had to get all of the drainage right so you didn't have ponds anywhere," says Beuter. "I had to use some transits and measuring sticks to make sure the fall was correct.
"Baseball diamonds and softball diamonds require a lot of accuracy," he notes. "The architects had designed these so that you could get an inch of rain and then be able to play on them an hour later. So we had to get soil amendments mixed in the right percentages."
First, the grades had to meet specs. "On the baseball diamonds, of course, I had to use grade stakes," says Beuter. Then, a mixture of sand, Turface and soil had to be precisely mixed for the skinned areas. "There has to be anywhere from 70% to 90% sand on the infield."
The sand, Turface and soil were applied with the dump scraper. "I could measure the weight of the bags and then I measured the volume of the dump box," Beuter recalls. "I could determine the number of dumps and the amount of sand to put in there. I could also determine how many dumps of soil to put in there. I had the DB apron on the DB6 dump box, so by adjusting the apron opening and the dump box tilt angle I was able to meter and spread the amendments uniformly. I then mixed the amendments with a heavy-duty rototiller and leveled with the GR-8 grader. That is how I got my ratios right. I ended up with 70% sand."
Beuter says the attachments worked effectively. "It is really well-built equipment and it does the job they claim it will do," he states. "On the scraper, I moved a lot of soil. I put probably close to 1,000 hours on it. There are times when I hit rocks that were buried in the soil. I hit them hard and stalled the tractor, and it never hurt the equipment."