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Stock-Drawn Equipment for Trail Work

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Equipment Modifications

Some changes to the presently available equipment are needed, based on the June 1994 testing.

Fremont Grader

With its present design, the grader has a tendency to clog; it cannot dig into hillside sluff and is difficult to maneuver around sharp inside turns. Since it cannot be broken down, it is not practical to pack. The load weight would exceed 200 lb (90 kg). If the skis were cut just in front of the turn-table deck and tabs with hitch pins were added, most of the problems of clogging and poor maneuverability would be solved. The grader's overall length would be increased by 4 in. The additional clearance in front of the blade would give sod, duff, and dirt a better chance to clear the blade. In addition, the pins would allow the grader to be broken into two pieces for packing (Figure 31).

Image of modified Fremont grader drawing.
Figure 31-Suggested Fremont grader modification.

Removable hitch pins in front of the blade and deck would allow the implement to articulate, increasing maneuverability. Adding about a 1½-inch blade width at a forward angle would allow material to roll forward, improving clearing. Small rock teeth added to the blade would improve the tool's usefulness on cobbled trails and during dry conditions.

Extending the blade by using detachable rock teeth or Wyoming sod cutters (Figure 32) would allow the tool to cut into the hillside. The addition of angle iron rims in front of and behind the deck would enable users to add rocks for additional weight, or to transport tools and equipment. That additional capability could be extended even further by adding stake pockets or bunks to transport waterbar materials (Figure 33). Separating the grader by pulling both hitch pins would allow the implement to be packed, with each half weighing approximately 100 lb (45 kg).

Picture of Wyoming sod cutter.
Figure 32-Wyoming sod cutter.

Picture of using Fremont grader without blade.
Figure 33-Fremont grader being used to haul waterbar materials.
The grader blade has been removed.

MTDC Combination Plow and Grader

With its present design, this implement is difficult to control safely. The single handle does not provide adequate leverage to control wing pressure or the depth of the hillside cut. In addition, the handle is easily bent. The use of two handles similar to those of the Beatty grader would solve both problems while increasing safety. The cutting point is fixed and needs to have slotted mounting holes to adjust the aggressiveness of the bite (Figure 34).

Picture of MTDC combination plow and grader blade.
Figure 34-Blade on the MTDC combination plow and grader,
fabricated from well casing.

The hitch bar places the point of draft too far back for safe operation. The hitch bar needs to be changed so that the point of draft is farther forward and lower, close to a midline on the implement in the first 12 to 18 inches. Replaceable or adjustable keels would also increase the tool's control and effectiveness (Figure 35).

Image of modifications to MTDC combination plow and grader.
Figure 35-The MTDC combination plow and grader showing modifications.

Trail Ace and Trail Scoop

Overall, these implements are well designed and manufactured. They are relatively lightweight and perform well in rocky soil types and beargrass. However, the handle arrangement and angle of the tool put the operator too close to the implement, forcing the operator to bend over and control the unit with muscles in the small of the back (Figure 36). Longer handles at a more acute angle would increase leverage and move the operator away from sharp cutting points, increasing the equipment's safety and manageability.

Picture of poor ergonomics.
Figure 36-Poor ergonomics of the Trail
Ace and Trail Scoop.

Beatty Grader

Additional points need to be available for mounting. Quick-mount capability of rock teeth or hardened cultivator sweeps would increase the implement's effectiveness in a wider range of soil types and seasons.

Vulcan Hillside Plow

Double strapping the gauge wheel with heavier gauge metal would strengthen this weak area.

Adding a jointer knife would increase this plow's effectiveness in heavy sod and heavy root conditions.

A fixed, horizontal 6-position clevis or a swinging clevis needs to be added for hillside draft adjustment before the plow can be used effectively on steep slopes.

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Updated: 4/14/2014
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