tillers and/or rotary plows?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    I need skills
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    tillers and/or rotary plows?

    anybody using tillers or rotary plows for:
    benching trail?
    de-berming cupped trail?

    In my mind this seems like a great idea, soft, tilled, soil would be so easy to move and shape. I'll be using in a hardwood forest. Would like to know how well the machines will work with roots and rocks.

    Curious to know your experiences.

    thanks,
    Charlie

  2. #2
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    Iíve seen them used effectively to rebuild existing features in a flow/freeride/jump trail network. Especially for reworking berms.

  3. #3
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    My bike club uses one when we build new trails. Go through with a chain saw and brush hog first, then a tiller. A few of us then go through with hand tools and get the roots and stones out and then follow that with a plate compactor. Works pretty good in the area we're at in Western Wisconsin.

  4. #4
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    Hey Torgy, that is great. What tiller brand and model are you using?
    What should I expect when the machine hits a tough root or rock?

    I will be in West WI in Sept. What is your trail system?

  5. #5
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    I have an old 1970 Troy bilt horse that I've used in the woods. I modified the tines into slasher instead of elbow tines. The first pass is a little jumpy as it cuts the roots but the second goes pretty well. After messing with it for awhile I decided it wasn't worth the effort.

    I'm working on a narrow "harley/power" rake with gauge wheels so you can set the depth to remove the organic/root layer without disturbing the mineral dirt.

  6. #6
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    Yep, prairie sod up here is crazy thick and we've used a 3pt tiller behind a compact tractor with the skids set to take us just through the organic, then we use an MT-55 and angle blade to clear it off and set an out slope.

  7. #7
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    I can't recall the model of the tiller. Next time we do some trail work I'll make a note of it. It's nothing really large. Would work well in a moderate sized garden. The machine binds up a bit with a large root that it can't go through.

    The trails are the Woolly Trails in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. On the border with Minnesota.

  8. #8
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    We use a Sthil Yard Boss. It works well deduffing, benching and making ditches/nicks and drains. Loosens up the soil and smaller rocks so they can be moved oretty easily with a rogue hoe. It will bounce across big rocks and roots. You need to hit them with a pick-mattock.

    Its light enough to carry a medium distance, the handle will hook onto your pack strap. Take off the wheel attachment.

  9. #9
    WillWorkForTrail
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    I wanted to point out that I've seen rotary plows used to create narrow bench in certain situations. It's mostly a much better option than a tiller because it rotates on a vertical axis rather than a horizontal one, so it's not mixing dirt around so much as displacing it, if you're using it where there's a little side slope, the way they are meant to be used. In agriculture they will create almost a miniature terrace to plant in. If you follow with hand tools and clear out the loose, and clean up the backslope you have a usable tread in one pass with the rotary plow. Of course, large roots or rocks will change all that quickly.

  10. #10
    middle ring single track
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    I'd like to try a tiller setup myself; I have 2 anecdotes to share from the NorCal woods.

    Around 40 years ago my father rigged up what was essentially a custom rotary plow (vertical shaft) on what I think was a 8 hp tiller (running implement first). It was specifically built for benching hillside single track. He tried many different cutter configurations and nothing worked very well. It would certainly move dirt but when it caught a root or rock it became what he considered to be a "man killer". It could really throw the operator (and machine) around which isn't too good when working in steep terrain.

    A buddy of mine has used a cheapo 5 hp front-tine tiller to good effect for roughing-in trails in the manner of the Stihl Yard Boss mentioned above. It would hop up and down vociferously when hitting rocks/roots but was tolerable enough to "manhandle".

    I'd like to mount a tiller on the front of a tracked transporter, that's the direction I'm headed in.
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