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Best type of rake to spread/level stone? **UPDATED WITH PICS**

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  • Best type of rake to spread/level stone? **UPDATED WITH PICS**

    The glacial pace of our barn reno is picking up-- Stall kits arrived last week and we're finally putting down the crushed stone floor this weekend! <Squeeeee!>

    We have a load of road base which will go down first, to fill in some of the deeper places (plus it was all the quarry had that day, so we got a screaming good deal-- including delivery the full dump truck load was $75.). Then we have 3/8th to put as a top layer.

    Have a guy to do the loader work, and Mr HH and I will spread/level/compact in between loads. Any recs on the best implement to spread and level? We have a normal garden rake, but thought I'd ask if there is a more specialized & efficient tool out there.

    Last edited by HungarianHippo; Jun. 23, 2013, 02:10 AM.

  • #2
    to ensure you are near level use a Landscape grading rake... the one we have is 3ft like the one pictured in this link



    • Original Poster

      thanks, good suggestion


      • #4
        Try turning a hard toothed regular rake upside down, and see how that works. It works fine for some stone grading, but it that doesn't do it, the posted link is great. For the upside down rake, pull lines at a level right above the top of the teeth, and you can get a really good level just by eye. That's typically what we do when we are pouring 4" of concrete, and using what's called #88 stone at local quarries. We set the line across the top of the form boards using mason's line blocks-sliding them down the boards as we go, and eyeball it pretty daggone close like that really quickly.


        • Original Poster

          Last weekend was a bust--the loader operator we hired canceled due to forecasted t-storms (which never materialized, I was pretty ticked to lose the whole weekend). And then hubby went away on biz and not due back til tomorrow. So extra bummed to lose ANOTHER weekend with no barn floor.
          So, I said screw it, I really want to get this done so I'll do it without DH. I mean, really, how hard can it be to move 32 tons of stone around? So I called Mr. Loader Guy and got him to bring the stone into the barn today. He put the stone in piles and did a rough spread, and I did the rest with the shovel and rake. PS that 3ft landscaping rake was the PERFECT tool. Thanks again for the suggestion.

          It's an 18x35' space and I was dizzy and stumbling by end of day--but mainly because it was 95 degrees and humid. The work itself was hard but not insane for one person to do alone. I have some more leveling to do, and then we'll rent the compactor.
          (Best part is I didn't tell DH that I was going to do this. Can't WAIT for him to come home tomorrow and surprise him with this. )

          Pics and a video


          • #6
            I think this looks like a cool barn; and love that you are tackling the renovation project. My back hurts just looking at the work you did!
            Loved the supervisors...LOL but please tell me what that little creature is in the rafters?
            We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


            • #7
              Originally posted by clanter View Post
              to ensure you are near level use a Landscape grading rake... the one we have is 3ft like the one pictured in this link

              We have one of those and they are wonderful also to get little gravel out of places you don't want it, like in the arena footing.

              Glad that yours made your work go fast, as that was a big job for one person alone.

              Neat job of remodeling there!


              • Original Poster

                2tempe it's a bat -- the barn hosts a bat colony of epic proportions. Like "If you get creeped out by bats you'd need therapy" kind of proportions. At dusk it's like a traffic jam, with the barn swallows heading back inside for the night and the bats heading out.


                • #9
                  HH: Good on you! what an exhausting day! Count me in on those admiring the barn, too. Now...please? share with me (as I encourage others to if they're familiar with it).....about the 'hay trolley'? I'm anticipating a long, narrow, but TALL 'hay storage' barn, to run along an exterior fence line that will basically be a 'lane' width. I would like under storage walk thru/drive thru, so hay will be in a long narrow 'second story' type scenario. I expected? I'd need to purchase a hay elevator to load this space...but???? never heard of a 'hay trolley'? Maybe? this would be more practical for me?
                  "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                  --Jimmy Buffett


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ayrabz View Post
                    HH: Good on you! what an exhausting day! Count me in on those admiring the barn, too. Now...please? share with me (as I encourage others to if they're familiar with it).....about the 'hay trolley'? I'm anticipating a long, narrow, but TALL 'hay storage' barn, to run along an exterior fence line that will basically be a 'lane' width. I would like under storage walk thru/drive thru, so hay will be in a long narrow 'second story' type scenario. I expected? I'd need to purchase a hay elevator to load this space...but???? never heard of a 'hay trolley'? Maybe? this would be more practical for me?
                    Sorry, there is nothing "practical" about storing hay on a second floor, unless you have a bank barn and can access that second floor thru another outside entrance, on the level.

                    Sure, many do that and get by, but practical, nope.


                    • #11
                      Bluey, I meant would it be more 'practical' for me to have/use a 'hay trolley' that would run the interior length of the storage area vs. a hay elevator that would not, but would drop them all at the second story 'entrance' only.

                      I had not seen a hay trolley before (seen a loft exterior pulley but that didn't travel the length of the barn once 'up' at the loft door).

                      Yes, there is nothing 'practical' about second story hay storage, UNLESS you have no other property and also need the area below it accessable.

                      and BTW...my 'idea' planning for this location is to be able to park/or back my pickup underneath, and simply drop bales into bed...and transport a weeks worth at a time to actual barn. Also, to utilize this adjoining fenceline idea to also have a hay drop for that paddock /pasture area .
                      "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                      --Jimmy Buffett


                      • #12
                        They make modern versions of the hay trolley for lifting and shifting big deep cycle batteries. All electric, very sweet. http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/CM-...P82?Pid=search
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible


                        • #13
                          Hay elevators can have several sections and run along the second story floor to the end, to stack all the way back there.
                          Then you can take one section off and store more closer to the entrance and so on.

                          At least that gets your hay up to where you will still have to stack it by hand.


                          • #14
                            Regarding hay trolley, in our area they were used for LOOSE hay, not baled hay. There was another device like a huge salad tongs/forks that hung from rope that went thru the loop on trolley. Tong/forks then grabbed bundles of loose hay off the wagons outside under the track, then locked shut and load was pulled back inside with the hay trolley on the track. Load then was dumped loose on the stack in the loft. Farmers usually had various stacks, first cutting, straw, etc. I think I have a hay trolley in the little barn loft, thought I would be able to use it as we developed the farm. Trolley is VERY PRETTY in cast iron. Not your basic model. We never did use it without an old barn on the place, so trolley got pushed further and further back and other stuff piled in front of it.

                            The tongs/forks part were run with jerk ropes to let it open or lock, then trolley was pulled back inside or out to the wagon, with it's own rope. System was very slick, someone had a great idea and then idea got polished for better performance in time saving, hay handling in those big old barns.

                            I don't think this trolley would work for baled hay, even if you had the tong/fork part. I HAVE loaded stuff into upper stories of buildings using a winch run out on a track outside. They had a platform with ropes to a single ring for the winch hook and I must say it is rather dangerous!! Keeping the platform flat going up and not dumping the load down on you is NOT easy. We ALWAYS had several people, endeavoring to keep things working smoothly since those loads were expensive electronic equipment weighing hundreds of pounds. No other way to get it upstairs, no elevator in the building.

                            For an upper story storage of hay, you might do a couple or three elevators. One from ground/truck up to the 2nd floor, one the length of barn to start stacking in the back area first, third one to get the bales piled high in that second story. Then you have to have a person at every place where elevators met, to keep the bales moving, like a bucket brigade. Does sound like a LOT of work to get the bales stored, but maybe my mind picture is not actually what you have in mind.


                            • #15
                              A bat colony!? AWESOME!! That would make me squee! with joy. What a fun video that would be, the swallows in off day shift, the bats heading out for night shift...do you have any bugs left at all?!

                              Neat barn renovation, and my goodness, my back and arms are screaming just thinking of raking all that gravel. You need to hire some teenage boys.
                              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                              • #16
                                Awesome job, HH! I'd have done the same thing, I get uber-antsy when I have a project waiting to get done and stuff keeps getting delayed. Spreading and raking stone by hand is *tough* work, worse in heat. But it is a good workout, LOL! The barn is coming along really nice, you'll love the stone floors. I have them too, wouldn't trade them for anything. Keep posting update photos as the work gets done? I love "this old barn" projects!
                                You jump in the saddle,
                                Hold onto the bridle!
                                Jump in the line!


                                • #17
                                  HH: can't wait to see all the updates and pix as you go along!
                                  Bluey/Goodhors--thanks for enlightening me. sigh. (and HH...didn't mean to hijack. just hadn't heard of?known of a 'hay trolley')..................yeah, my amount of property and area for this hay storage and ACCESSABILITY for both loading/unloading is making it tough. The 'long narrow bridge' kinda look that can go along my fenceline, with drive thru storage / accessability under it is what I'm picturing. easy to drop the bales into my truck...and into the overhang/fenceline feeding area of that particular pasture/paddock....but NOT so easy for getting em 'up' there/stacking. So....trying to learn all I can and what will be most practical and affordable for a tiny 2.5 horse farmette that will NEED hay because of limited acreage/grazing.
                                  "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                                  --Jimmy Buffett


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Ayrabz, I'm trying to picture the building you want, not sure I'm there yet Is the drive-thru feature necessary because otherwise the building would block access to the property? Or is the 2nd level hay storage primarily about ease of loading the weekly pickup truck (lets you avoid having to stack bales above eye level). If the latter, I'd look into other material handling options that let you store the hay at ground level, but easily load your truck. In other words, don't try to fix a loading problem with a storage solution-- fix it with a loading solution. Having worked most of my career in manufacturing, I've come to learn that there is a tool out there to lift and move everything you can possibly lift or move. Some links to get you thinking about what's out there. Both of these could be used alongside your pickup truck to raise hay bales for easy loading:
                                    Pallet lifter

                                    Platform lift


                                    • #19
                                      Thanks HH. Here's the thread where I was discussing this type structure idea.
                                      "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                                      --Jimmy Buffett