The John Deere L-118 lawn tractor. It’s not really a tractor… more of a riding lawn mower. I have had mine for almost 14 years and have had good luck with it so far. Changing the oil, replacing the mower blades and repairing the steering pinion gear have been the only major repairs I have had to do.
Living on a small 2 acre hobby ranch/farm there have been many times when I have needed to move dirt, bark-chips and rock. But these tasks don’t happen often enough to justify purchasing a mini-tractor at nearly $10,000.
We started using bark chips to build and improve our garden soil several years ago. A local tree trimming company dumped an entire truck load of bark chips and I needed to move them around and spread them all over the garden. After way too much shoveling by hand, and wishing for a mini-tractor, an idea came to mind… Why not add a small dozer-blade to my lawn tractor? If you are thinking that it sounds really redneck… you would be right. It is is redneck, and a cool welding project.
With a small dozer blade attached to the front of my lawn tractor, I could push around rocks, dirt and bark-chips. By building the attachment point on the front of the lawn-tractor in a modular fashion, I could also build a dump bucket in the future.
Part 1: Blade Design
The blade is made from the curved side of a 50 gallon drum. This allows for a blade that is nearly 3 feet wide and 20 inches tall using relatively cheap and light steel.
The bottom of the blade is made of .120″ flat steel. 3/8″ steel rebar is used to provide structural strength. Rebar is welded on the sides of the blade to provide vertical strength. Rebar is also welded horizontally on the top and bottom of the blade. The bottom of the blade has 2 runs of rebar which help strengthen the blade where it is welded to the flat steel edge of the bottom. The edge is a 3″ wide flat steel plate that runs the width of the blade. The edge allows the blade to cut a flat swath of dirt which then gets pushed up into the dozer blade.
On the back of the blade, there is a .090″ square tube that runs horizontally and also has a couple of rebar sections for added strength. The attachment points are mounted near the lower end of the back of the blade.
In Part 2 of this article, we will take a look at how the blade is attached to the lawn tractor.