Equipment, Techniques, & Specifics  about  HOW TO CLEAR YOUR LAND WITH A BACKHOE!

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Full text of booklet,
"How To Clear Land"

Welcome to How To Clear Land

 

The attached booklet called, "How To Clear Land" is about how I cleared a large parcel of land that had become choked over many years with trees, brush, weeds, vines, invasive plants, and nuisance trees. All this undergrowth and overgrowth was toppled, plucked, piled, lifted and moved, on my own, during long weekends over the summer.

It occurred to me how valuable it would've been if I'd known in the beginning, what I know now, about clearing land.  But despite all my research into various equipment and the features of each, I found very little information about how to go about it.

Although, I found lots of information about a variety of hand tools, motorized machines, and heavy equipment designed to dig, scrape, doze, lift, and move, I found virtually no information about specific methods and hints to follow to get the work done. So, I decided to write down my experiences.

Keep in mind, though, I'm not a professional, nor am I suggesting that the methods I've used as a private landowner on my property will work the same on yours. Nothing in this book is intended to be anything but a recollection of my experiences and accomplishments on my own land. That is in fact, one of the major points of this story. I was just a private landowner who wanted to see what could be done on my own.

 

The Three Basics

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over time, I developed some techniques, gained practical experience, modified a few things, and then got results. It wasn't too long before I realized I was onto something that worked really well. I was actually getting a huge job done that my friends thought I was nuts to attempt on my own.

Of all the miscellaneous tools and equipment I had gathered and was using, there were three absolutely indispensable tools I needed to pull off a big land clearing project. They are a backhoe and two attachments: a pair of long forks, and a loader rake, both of which I had fabricated. Backhoe and forks first. Then rake.  If not this rake, some kind of rake.

Why did I have them made?  Because I couldn't find any other manufactured attachments that did the same job and did it as well.

Long Forks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I started knocking things down, I learned fast how quickly debris gets in the way of progress. Organization of debris is almost immediately a concern. Before long, it became apparent that I needed to remove the debris to a cleared or open area. The solution: A pair of extra long forks clamped to the cutting blade of the front-end loader.  I chose to have a pair of attachable forks fabricated for my application.  As I said, they needed to be quite long in order to slide far enough under, or through, debris piles so that when I tipped and lifted the loader bucket the piles would ease up and settle back against the loader bucket.

 If they are not long enough, the debris pulls itself back out as you lift or you get much less of a load than the machine can easily carry. When you're carrying debris a long way, you want to take as much as possible each trip.  Each tine of the pair I had built is 54" long, out in front of the loader.  They are pinched to the loader bottom by a large bolt.  In addition to their length, they have two features that make them special:

Two large washers were welded into the base of the loader, positioned so that they would receive the tightening bolt.  Each washer forms a sort of crater  for the tightening bolt on each fork to sink into.

The welder also added a bar across the inside of the mounting pocket.  It added about 8" of additional length to each side of the fork where it meets the loader's leading edge. The anchoring effect of the washers and the lateral stabilizing effect of the bar make these forks especially well suited for the kind of work they need to do.  I haven't had to get out of the machine to retrieve or adjust a fork since.

Want to clear land?  Think about forks.

 

Loader Rake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let's summarize...

How To Clear Land:  Get a backhoe,
get some forks, get a rake,
locate a stump dump, clear your land,
be careful, take your time,
create a beautiful setting...
enjoy yourself. Life is good.

 

I've looked at a number of rakes. None of them fit on a backhoe. I wanted a rake that I could attach to mine. The job I needed to take care of was to rake up all kinds of smaller brush, branches, roots, and rocks. I also wanted to be able to fill holes left by removing stumps and boulders. I also wanted to level the ruts left by the machine, rip out really small stuff, and smooth out the terrain well enough to be able to mow it later with a brush hog.

I hadn't seen anything that might do all that, so I designed something myself and had it fabricated by a talented welder in town. The design was not like anything I've seen. It has no moving parts and is attached to the leading edge of the loader by a ratcheting hold down on each end.  Through successive beatings, it stays in place, doesn't clog, and functions going forward or reverse. Because it's front mounted, you face forward while operating it. It also can be worked in very close to obstacles.

The two photos below show a recently cleared area before and after raking.

Above: This is the newly cleared front lawn, taken from the upstairs of a seasonal residence on my land. Piles, ruts, and small debris waiting to be taken away. Compare it with the photo below.

Above: This photo shows the same area, from ground level, after raking. The large piles have been taken away by using the long forks. Then the area was raked with the Loader Rake.

The use of the rake is pretty simple. Debris gets raked into manageable piles. Then the rake is removed and the piles are picked up with the loader. Once again, this rake is used after the land has been cleared of major vegetation, but is still potholed, uneven, and strewn with small debris and rocks. It may be simple, but when it's done, the land is smooth.

 

“What is remembered - is what survives.”
Tennyson Barnett



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