Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Bobcat !

So today is a typical Tuesday for me ! I walked over from school and am helping dad on a lawn job. Right now I am on 'idle' so I thought I would do some quick blogging. I am just chillin' waiting for dad to find more stumps and rocks to dig up from the soon-to-be lawn. Well I better get back to work !

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Finishing Touches to Red Solo Truck

So last night while my mom and I were at bootcamp, dad went up to a friend of his house to get new tires for the dumptruck. We had traded him for the old set of pads off of the dozer, ands he was supposed to have them tonight. He had been in Quebec all week and Dad was pretty eager to go out and get them so we could finish up. The dumptruck is almost road-ready. We are hopefully going to take it up to the pit sometime soon so we can load some gravel on and see how much power she actually has in her !
My mom is working on her air brakes right now so that she can drive the truck this summer. It will be the best thing ever, dad will be bulldozing, I will be running equipment with him, or sitting in the pit loading gravel, and mom will be hauling it ! It's the company I have always wanted :)
I am so excited to really get working. We have just really been focusing our time on the weekend jobs, and the rain us held us back quite a bit. So I am pretty eager to start coming home from school and getting straight to work !

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Charlotte County Pickers !

So this weekend, we decided to go on a parts run for the dumptruck. Fuel tanks for 1 1984 International are few and far between, and very expensive to buy new. So we went on a junk hunt ! A friend of ours up in Bonny River has an extensive "Graveyard" of trucks. We searched around for a bit and found a pretty good fuel tank off of like a '81 International. While dad hacked off the old rusty bolts I went on a little hunt of my own. I love collecting the emblims off of trucks. (the metal decal-like things on the sides of trucks that have the name on them) There are tons of old half tons, and dumptrucks that were back there and I was basically like a kid in a candy store.
In about an hour I had 3 Chevy Symbols, an S10 International, the letters D-O-D-G-E and my favourite, the hood ornament off of a 1970 (or so) Autocar dumptruck. Dad got the fuel tank off and we were done there. On the way back home we made a few phone calls to a friend of ours that makes a living collecting old heavby equipment junk. I have plenty of truck decals, but would love to have a few John Deeres, and I really want a Freightliner, and maybe a Louisville. Hopefully I get the chance to go up and visit this playground of parts this weekend ! 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Grading the Easy Way !

So today we were doing a job grading up a pad for a house. Usually Friday night jobs are "Family Time" in our household. Mom was picking rocks, dad was on the dozer, and I was taking shots with the leveler thing. Now for all of you that don't know, when you are grading up a pad you have to continuiously take shots to make sure that you have everything even. On older models, you have a 16x zoomed camera (adjustable) and a pole with measurements on it. Somebody takes the pole and stands it up on the ground in various places to make sure it is level. Usually this is a pain, but the newest way of doing this is amazing and I got to try it tonight. There is a tripod setup somewhere, and you carry a pole similar to the one used for taking shots, but it has an adjustable screen on it. You walk it around and place it on the ground and it beeps fast when the grade neds to go down, slow when it needs to go up, and continuious when it is in between. It is a lot easier to use and a lot quicker.
When we first started using it we had out doubts. after finishing about half of the pad we started taking shots the old fashioned way and were within one inch over the whole pad. (which is as close as your going to get) I just walked around behind the dozer checking it in different places and we got it pretty-near perfect !
I thought this was a pretty cool way to do this, and it definetely made the process a lot faster.
Hopefully we will get an early start tomorrow and get some rolling done, then move onto the next job !

Bulldozin' in the Rain !

Well today after school, I am going to change into my Carhartt Pants, and my flannel coat and going bulldozing with my daddy. We have a pad for a houe to finish up, and we just got a new compacter this morning so I am quite excited to try that out (despite the fact that it is raining and grose out) Our dozer doesn't have an enclosed cab, just a canopy but it still kind of keeps you dry. I am pretty excited as i haven't really been on the dozer a whole lot this year, but kind of nervous because we are working on ledge and there is a lot of mowing that needs to be done with a KX-080 Kobelco and it is quite scary ! Anyway I guess if i want to be a full time operator I need to face my fears and work on the ledge !
Wish me luck !

Dexters Gateway Project

Well today we went for a drive up through St.Stephen beucase I had an orthadontist appointment. Dexters is currently up there working on the new four lane highway. They have a lot of really big pieces of equipment up through there ! We seen two Cat D10's a D8, a 355 John Deere and 3 Cat Rock Trucks. Plus there is probably close tp 100 of their company trucks (Ford F-350 Super Duty) and about 50 of the Castonguay Trucks (Ford F-250's and F-350's) I talk to a lot of the highway guys when I am working at the Irving and one of them said that their fuel bill for one month for all of that equipment is about $500 000 a month. That is insane ! I would give anything to get the chance to go ad push sdome dirt with a D10, what an experience that would be !

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Too Small to be Compared to a Tonka Toy

Me laying some pipe for a new house. It is my first time in the machine since last summer so I am a bit rusty. As the guy narrating in the background is saying "This is Brianna Holmes and she is running the biggest Kubota ever made" This is a KX-181 Kubota excavator and it weighs less then a ton. The thing rocks when you drive off of the edge of the pavement. I have layed this thing on its side many times just from pulling myself into a pile of dirt. We redid the bucket this winter and you can literally pick it up with one hand. The best part is that $15 worth of diesel fuel lasts like 3 full days of working. She's pretty efficent but definetely too small for me. I would much rather get the job done with a 355 John Deere or maybe a 141 Kobelco !
-Brianna :)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Our First Job with Chance !

Well, today is a major day. My Dad and I started our first majour job with the bulldozer. We pshed some loads of gravel with the dozer a week or two ago, but that totally didn't count. I am so happy, this is a big milestone for ol' Chance. Before Dad wouldn't even push, only backdrag cause he "didn't want to take any of the paint of of the blade" I think he loves that thing more then he loves me...haha.
If there is anything that you feel I am missing in my articles, or any errors that I have made (Because you know, I am incredibly smart but sadly I do not know everything) just comment and let me know. Or you can e-mail me at holmesdozing@gmail.com and I will be happy to take into consideration all suggestions :)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Rubber vs. Metal

Moat compact excavators usually have rubber tracks. Usually because compact excavators are used for landscaping work, therefore the tracks would not tear up and lawn, or soft soil. Any excavator over about 3 tons usually has metal tracks. They provide more traction when on gravel, but they tend to tear up lawns, and leave little notches in pavement/ashphalt. Saying which one I prefer would really depend on te type of excavator.
Maintence wise, rubber tracks hold up pretty good. They wear about the same as a tire would. After a couple of years of pretty steady use they can split, and the tread could start to wear. Some of the good things about them is that you dont have to worry about chains, and pins. Also the rollers will wear a lot less then on metal tracks. Plu in most cases it is a lot cheaper to replace a pair of rubber tracks, as opposed to rollers, chains, pads, and pins.
Metal tracks are better for rough terrain. Climbing hills, ledge work, and better when trying to get yourself out of tough situations. Some of the cons of metal are that they tend to fall off easier, they snap and bang while your driving, you have to worry about the pins coming loose, loosing pads, and the chains and rollers wearing out a lot faster. The good things about them is that they will outlast a pair of rubber tracks, give you better stabiliy and traction, and always be reliable when getting yourself up out of a hole.

Thats my argument on rubber vs. metal tracks. If you feel that I have missed anything, or there is anything that I am missing, feel free to comment ! Or email me at holmesdozing@gmail.com
Thanks for reading !

Friday, 13 May 2011

Their all just playin pinball ;

So you look at all of the guys in their early 20's operating D10's like its nothing, they look at it as a big game. But standing beside a machine that is 25 times the size of you, and weighs about 87 tons in pretty intimidating. Have you ever seen the inside cab of one of these things ? Well this is the inside of a brand new D10. Do all of these controls and computers look easy to run ? Yes ! it is just a big video game.

Now, this is the interior of our small dozer. There are a lot less controls, but you need some common sense to run this. There are no fancy gauges to tell you how much oil is left, and how hot the machine is, and if your overrevving it, or any of that stuff. Theres just two levers for the tracks, Two levers for the blade (one moves it up and down and from side, to side. The other tilts it) a forward, Neutral, Reverse lever. And the thing for the transmission. There ain't no computer screens on it !
Any experienced operator can jump in one of those great big huge dozers and start pushing dirt. But when you get to a tiny one with a 6 foot blade and try to make it level, its not as easy as it seems. The only difference, is you got to pay attention a little bit more.

Any idiot that can play pinball can run a new machine, but you gotta be pretty good to put up with the snaps and rattles of an old beastly one ;

-Brianna :)

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Back-dragging vs. Pushing ?

So last night my dad and I were talking about me running the dozer. He gave me a pretty big lecture about how you can't backdrag a whole lot. he had some pretty good points so I thought i would share them. A lot of operators like to backdrag, especially when doing things like fine grading. Most machines have a 'float' feature (like my good ol' 350B) Where you can push the dipstick forward and diagnol at the same time and the blade will 'float' with the ground. This is great because you dont have to worry about digging into the dirt too much and it makes back-dragging a lot easier.
One bad thing about back-dragging is that you push a lot less dirt in a lot more time. So you are doing twice the work you would be doing if you were pushing and it wears your chains and pads out quicker then if you were pushing. I am just getting onto the dozer and I love the concept of back-dragging. But according to my dad (an experienced operator) It is a habbit I need to break.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Me Runnin the Tractor !

Me runnin the tractor ! I did pretty good until I almost hit moms car. Plus dad told me not to go fast or use the power sweeper (He's really no fun) But anyway I just need some more practice :)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

350B Is Completed ! Now onto the 'Nash

Well the 350B is officialy done ! I am so happy to see that leave the garage and start pushing some dirt. The next project is already underway. We have a 1984 466 Single Axle Dumptruck that is in dire need of some TLC ! We don't plan on doing the whole restoration right now, just the neccesities. New hitch, fuel tank, couple fuel lines, and a couple cans of spray bomb should do 'er ! But this winter the dump is coming of, the cab mounts are rusted out, new tires, and possibly a whole new front end ! Right now she just has to pass inspection and haul the dozer around for a bit. The thought of having the Holmes Dozing fleet fully operational excites me !! Anyway, I hope all goes well with this new mechanical challenge :)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

My 350B Case is "Not a dozer"

Well this weekend when I went outside to do a diesel dip at the gas station where I work, I noticed an immaculent looking Volvo loader sitting on a fifth wheel float in the parking lot. Later that day I was talking to one of my co-workers about how I wanted to be an operator when I was older and a guy in the store said "No you dont, i am the guy sitting with that big Volvo on my truck" We got to talking about equipment and I said "Yea my Dad has a 350B Case" He looked at me and said "Thats not a dozer!" He had the nerve to tell me that my beautiful litle 350B wasn't a dozer because (and i quote) "If it can't handle a "14 foot blade, it ain't a dozer" Well let me just tell you, my little dozer can push dirt just as good as a CAT D10 or a 1650L Case. Does it have tracks ? Yes, Does it push dirt ? Yes, Does it run on a system of hydraulics ? Um ya i think so ! I'm pretty sure that makes it a dozer. It may not be big, but she's my little dozer and I would rather have that then any big fancy new one.
As my dad says- "Any idiot that can play pinball can run a new piece of eqipment. But you've gotta be pretty experienced to put up with the snaps and rattles of a old beastly one"
-Thanks for reading !
Brianna :)

The Concept of "Zero Swing"

Well since this is my first post I thought that I would talk about a topic that doesn't cross most operators minds: Zero Swing excavators. If you didn't already know what zero swing is, it's a feature on most new excavators (Mainly Kobelcos and Bobcats) that basically makes it so that the counterweight is compressed closer into the back of the cab, and there is little to no overhang on the machine.It's perfect for landscaping jobs with smaller excavators when you have to squeeze into tight areas. One of the cons of it all is that it would be a lot more difficult to be included on bigger machines because the counterweight is larger and in order to make it work you would comprise the balance of the machine and make it a lot more difficult to keep yourself level when working on ledges or steep grades.
 I hope you enjoyed my article on "Zero Swing" if you have anything to add just let me know in the comments ! Thanks for reading, -Brianna