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Make do grade level
"It's great for digging drainage ditches, terracing to drain water into around, building foundations, setting concrete forms, and many other jobs around the farm," says Thomas Chunn, Columbia, Tenn., about his "Make Do" grade level.
"It eliminates the need to have a surveyor standing by at $100 per hour and you can read it fast and get out of the way of heavy equipment, saving the operator's time. And because you read it at eye level, it's much easier and more accurate than if you tried to do the same thing with a level and a 2 by 6," says Chunn.
He simply mounts a standard 2 to 3-ft. long carpenter's level at the center of the top rail of a 10-ft. long wooden frame that looks like a farm gate. One end of the level pivots on a single bolt. The other end of the level moves up and down, held in place at different gradiated levels de-pending on how much "fall" you're trying to measure on the job. It can be set at anywhere from 1 in. to 4 in. of fall every 10 ft., for example.
Here's how you use it Say you're digging a drainage ditch 100 ft. long. The first thing to do is to determine how steep a grade you want from one end to the other. For sake of example, say you want the ditch to slope a total of 10 in. from one end to the other. That means you want it to drop 1 in. for every 10 ft. of ditch.
The first thing to do is adjust the Make Do level to grade. You do that by driving two stakes into the ground 10 ft. apart and level the tops of the stakes using a straight 2 by 6 and a level. Then place the Make Do level on top of the two stakes, placing a 1-in. thick wood block under one end. Then adjust the level at the top of the Make Do frame so that it reads level. This setting will give you your 1-in. grade.
Put in a stake at the starting point and begin digging the ditch. After you've gone about 12 ft. or so, set one end of the Make Do frame on the first stake and drive a second stake under the other end until the Make Do reads "level". Continue the procedure 10 times until you reach the end of the ditch and then back-fill to the top of the stakes.
"It's fast and easy. We recently dug a 300 ft. line in just four hours, including laying a 6-in. PVC drain pipe and back-filling," says Chunn, who sells plans and instructions for do-it-yourselfers.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Thomas H. Chunn, 118 Sunnyside Lane, Columbia, Tenn. 38401 (ph 615 388-0958).


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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #6