Whether it's snow, rocks, gravel, dirt, or anything else that needs to be moved, a tractor rear blade can really help you accomplish the task at hand. rear blades are a very versatile tool that is commonly refered to as an angle blade due to its ability to angle forward and back to push snow or gravel off to one side. Some rear blades not only angle from side to side, but they tilt up and down on either side, and yet many also are able to be offset from the center of the tractor.
rear blades have found their way into many aspects of landscaping and property maintenance, common uses include: snow removal, leveling, moving soil, cutting ditches, and back-dragging. Of all the uses a rear blade has, snow removal is the most common since it is one of the most cost effective ways to clear a driveway or road after a heavy snow. One of the most important things to remember when you are scraping snow is the weight of snow, as it is heavier than what you would think, a cubic foot of snow can weigh up to 30 lbs. depending on how compacted it has become. When using a rear blade for other jobs, such as gravel road maintenance, the tilt feature really comes in handy by allowing you to crown the road towards the ditches preventing water from puddling up in the road during rain storms. The rear blade is full of uses, and anyone that owns a tractor should have one to make life simple.
The construction of a rear blade is what determines how useful it is going to be, and on which tractors it can be used. Most rear blades on the market today have a moldboard constructed from 5/16" steel, and a frame that is constructed from 3/8" steel. The heavy duty construction produces an attachment that can take abuse and move material as long as the tractor driving it can provide the horsepower. The rear blade found on the bottom of the front of the moldboard is what takes the brunt of the use and abuse, and is made from 1/2" thick high carbon steel that is abrasion resistant and easily replaceable. All of these materials work together to provide an implement that will take abuse, and move material for years to come. Some higher end rear blades feature a hydraulically controlled power angle for convenience which often times is an unneccesary consideration when you take cost into consideration.
The most common configuration for angle blades is to be able to switch from a category I hitch to a category II hitch by adding a few bushings. The category II hitch allows rear blades to be installed on larger tractors than standard category I hitch design and gives this critical linkage extra strength in high stress areas.
The angle can be adjusted to several different positions on a central axis thanks to an indexing plate that has pre-cut holes for a locking pin to hold the blade in place. The offset on rear blades is handled one of two ways, either by loosening bolts and sliding the blade left or right, or by the more popular method of having a larger indexing plate close to the three point hitch of the tractor that changes the angle of the main shaft coming from the tractor to push the entire back assembly to the left or right sides. Tilting is also a popular feature that is controlled by a locking plate design, this time placed on a horizontal axis allowing the user to lower half of the blade into the ground for cutting or clearing out ditches or other low spots.
The idea of back dragging is a technique that makes the angle blade useful for finishing a gravel road or smoothing out dirt on a yard, almost to the same effectiveness as a box blade. To back drag a rear blade, you turn the rear blade 180 degrees, and then pull it behind your tractor barely off of the ground. This will allow a small portion of what you are dragging to lay under the opening directly below the blade like a box blade.
The differences between a rear blade and a box blade for smoothing out loosened mateial is that the rear blade does not have the side walls to keep materials confined in a central space, or the ripper shanks to break up the ground so the material has to be loose when you start. In comparison to a rear blade, a box blade would be a poor choice for snow removal since it would fill up the small boxed in area fairly quickly instead of pushing the snow off to one side like a rear blade does.