Monthly Archives: January 2015

How to Safely Operate and Maneuver a Bobcat® Skid-Steer Loader

Bobcat Skid-Steer LoaderSkid-steer loaders made by Bobcat® enjoy a 50-year reputation for performance and reliability. The company manufactures more than 12 skid-steer loader models and over 70 attachments to accommodate a number of outdoor projects that require a digging machine:

  • Great for ongoing or one-time jobs
  • Quick-change attachments and maintenance-free chain case help make the most of the work day
  • Efficient, dependable performance for maximum digs, lifts and dumps
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Machine shutdown protection, pressurized cabs with all-around visibility, heat and air conditioning keep operators comfortable and safe

A compact machine used for digging, the skid-steer loader also pushes, pulls and lifts material. Popular for use in building, construction, landscaping and farm work, the skid-steer loader is a lighter machine that can maneuver better than a typical tractor front loader, making quicker work of manual labor jobs that would take more time and effort without equipment. They also have a number of attachments, including different types and sizes of buckets, backhoes, forks, hammers, brooms, and augers that help with the machine’s versatility and performance.

Training and Safety

To safely operate a Bobcat® skid-steer loader, the company offers operator training and service safety courses, which review best practices for safe operation through video presentations, classroom exercises and hands-on operation. Although the training courses available through Bobcat give trainees an overall knowledge of safe and efficient operation, they are not designed to license or certify operators as skilled or factory authorized operators. However, here are a few tips on Bobcat safety:

  • Always clear the work area
  • Stand away from the front of the buckets as it is raised
  • Warn other workers before moving or raising the bucket
  • Keep all safety structures, cages and screens in place for operator protection in case of rollover
  • In case of an emergency, remove hands and feet from the controls until the machine stops moving

Tips for Driving a Bobcat

Learning how to maneuver properly in a Bobcat starts with examining the terrain, checking the work area for hazards overhead, like power lines. The trick is to not get stuck or roll the machine over. Do not drive over too-rough ground or into soft, soggy soil, and avoid creeks, ravines and steep banks. Make no sudden stops, starts or turns, and move along at a speed that is appropriate for the existing conditions and visibility. Drive up and down slopes with the bucket lowered. Drive across slopes, and you could tip the skid-steer loader over. Dump material by driving around a fence rather than dumping over one to avoid operator injury.

Tips for Loading a Bobcat

  • Drive the Bobcat into a pile of material
  • Raising the bucket after the machine is in position
  • Tilt a loaded bucket upwards
  • Back away from the pile slowly
  • Once far enough from the pile, lower the loaded bucket and drive to the dumping area
  • Raise the bucket just before positioning it over the truck or pile and dump
  • Always be ready to lower the bucket quickly in case the equipment feels unstable
  • The machine’s weight can cause trenches to collapse, so take care when backfilling
  • Abide by the manufacturer’s recommended maximum loads
  • Overloading makes the Bobcat steering front-heavy, erratic and unstable

Tips for Bobcat Balance

Aim for keeping a Bobcat skid-steer loader in a balanced position. A Bobcat carries two-thirds of its weight on the rear axles when empty. A full load transfers that weight and the machines balance to the front wheels. Always move with the arms and bucket lowered for maximum stability. When negotiating slopes, keep the heaviest end of the Bobcat pointing uphill to reduce the risk of turning the Bobcat over.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with moving projects. We rent the entire line of Bobcat® Skid-Steer Loaders and attachable buckets. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Advertisements
Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How to Safely and Effectively Use a Trencher

Trenching EquipmentWant to dig a trench? There is special equipment for that!

In addition to a shovel and massive amounts of strength and sweat, the most effective tool to dig a trench is a machine called a trencher. If you want to lay cable or fiber optics, install a drainage system or place pipes underground, a trencher helps dig holes with consistent width and depth through a variety of surfaces to be cut, including soil, stone and pavement. Most include a mechanism to clear excavated material from the trench, too.

Trenchers range in configuration from walk-behind models, to attachments for a skid loader, to portable hand-held tools. They use different types of cutting elements, depending on the hardness of the cutting surface. Because they involve cutting with teeth, chain or blade, use trenchers with proper care.

Types of Trenchers

1. Rockwheel Trencher: uses a cutting wheel fitted with teeth to move soil. Teeth are made from industrial strength steel or cemented carbide and are changed out or adjusted easily by hand, allowing for multiple cutting widths and depths, as well as ground conditions. The wheel design lets the machine cut at a constant angle to the ground. Excavated materials are cleared from the trench through an ejector system.

  • Works hard or soft soils
  • Work homogeneous, compact rocks, silts and sands or heterogeneous, broken rock, alluvia and moraines
  • Less sensitive to blocks in soil
  • Cuts pavement for road and underground utilities maintenance
  • Cheaper to operate and maintain than chain trenchers

2. Micro Trencher: uses a cutting wheel specially designed to work in tighter spaces such as a city or other urban area. The teeth cut in smaller widths that range from about one to five inches and a depth of 20 inches or less. Excavated material is also less.

  • Works harder ground than chain trencher
  • Cutting through solid stone
  • Cuts trenches with no associated damage to the road
  • Used to minimize vehicle and pedestrian traffic congestion
  • Digs smaller trenches for optical fiber connections
  • Effective for sidewalks, narrow streets
  • Cuts pavement for road and underground utilities maintenance
  • Sometimes radio-controlled 

3. Chain Trencher: uses a chain or belt to cut through the ground. Like a chainsaw, the cutting element moves around a metal frame or boom, which is adjusted at a fixed angle to accommodate different cutting depths. Excavated materials can be removed by conveyor belt.

  • Works hard soils
  • Digs wider trenches for telecommunication, electricity, drainage, water, gas, sanitation
  • Can cut narrow, deep trenches
  • Good for work in rural areas
  • Used to excavate trenches in rock, along with hydraulic breakers or drill and blast

4. Portable Trencher: uses a chain or blade that rotates like a rotary lawn mower to dig trenches. Lightweight and easily maneuverable, these machines are sometimes used in conjunction with other types of equipment to finish landscaping and lawn care jobs.

  • Cuts trenches for landscape edging and irrigation lines
  • Used in combination with a drainage pipe or geotextile feeder and backfiller to lay drain or textile and fill trench in one pass

How to Operate a Trencher in 3 Steps

Step 1: Turn on the engine and warm up the machine. Put the transmission in neutral, make sure the hydraulic pump is off (if applicable), unlock the wheels and move the trencher in place.

Step 2: Once in position to start digging, make sure the wheels are positioned so they work together, start the cutting element spinning and lower it to its first depth, put the transmission in forward, engage the removal apparatus and start digging. Keep the power on full throttle, controlling speed by using the transmission.

Step 3: Once you dig all the down, put the machine in reverse to start moving backward. Most machines will trench in reverse.

Safety Tips

  • Wear protective clothing, eye and ear wear, utility gloves
  • Stand away from the machine when it’s operating (unless you’re the operator) to avoid getting hit by excavated material
  • Before you start digging, locate underground wires or pipes by calling your local utility company

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with excavating your property. We carry a full line of trenchers designed for many types of landscaping, lawn care or digging projects. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Clean Up Yard Debris After a Winter Storm in 3 Steps

How to Clean Up Yard Debris with a Log SplitterNo matter where you live in the U.S., this year’s winter storm season is proving to be a ferocious one. Extreme winds, blinding rain, heavy snow and dangerous ice can not only snap branches and send them hurling all over the yard, these conditions can uproot established trees and topple them to the ground. After the storm, the best approach is immediate clean-up, for the safety of your family and your home.

1. Survey the Damage

When the skies clear, walk around your property to survey the damage. Depending on what you find, you may need special equipment to help clean it all up. In addition to a chain saw, a log splitterstump cutter or grinder can help cut yard debris down to a manageable size for recycling, or even reuse.

2. Choose Helpful Tools

If your yard is full of tree branches and plant debris or smaller downed trees, you can cut up larger tree trunks with the chain saw, gather it all, string together with heavy twine and leave it all at the side of the road for recycling pick-up.

A log splitter will cut larger tree trunks into logs, splitting them for use as firewood. Less physically challenging than splitting trees with an ax, the log splitter uses hydraulics to split the wood easily. The engine uses gas or electricity to power hydraulic oil through the machine. Once a log is placed securely in the cutting wedge, a piston is triggered to apply intense pressure for the wedge to split the log. A manual log splitter also uses hydraulics to split wood down to fireplace size.

If a large tree has cracked or has split into pieces or has been uprooted, use a chain saw to cut it down to smaller size. Use the log splitter if you want to make firewood, or package twigs and branches for recycling. When it comes to removing the tree stump, however – renting a stump cutter or grinder is your best bet for efficient clean-up after a storm.

3. Remove a Tree Stump (step-by-step)

  1. After the tree is cut down to the ground, start by digging out the snow, ice, rocks and soil around the remaining stump manually with a shovel.
  2. Position the stump cutter close enough so the cutting wheel fits right above the center of the stump.
  3. Turn on the equipment so the cutting wheel starts to spin, then lower it directly onto the stump.
  4. Swing the cutting wheel from side to side as it slowly cuts down into the wood. Lower the cutting wheel inch by inch, until it has removed the stump to just below the surface.
  5. Raise the cutting wheel, adjust the machine as necessary, lower the cutting wheel and continue to grind down the entire stump until the wood has been removed at least six inches under the ground.
  6. Fill the remaining hole with topsoil. Spread grass seed if desired.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with yard clean-up. From chain saws to log splitters and stump cutters, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How to Choose a Snow Blower that’s Right for You

To keep this winter’s snow tamed and out of the way of your home, your car and your family, a snow blower is an essential tool. Used in conjunction with a snow shovel and ice melt, snow blowers can clear even the most monumental accumulation with a little forethought and elbow grease – from removing that snow plow ridge at the foot of the driveway to keeping the front stoop free of falling precipitation.

It’s All About the White Stuff

Knowing what type of snow your area typically gets (and how much of it) helps to determine which snow blower is right for your snow removal job.

Single Stage v. Two Stage Snow Blower Comparison

Snow blowers are available in all sizes, depending on the typical conditions you face on a snow removal job. For short driveways and moderate amounts of snow, look for a smaller, easier-handling model. To tackle the occasional heavy storm, choose a mid-sized model. Long, hilly driveways probably require a larger snow blower with power-driven wheels.

However, engine size is not the only consideration. Maneuverability is just as important, especially if you have smaller areas that need clearing. Snow blowers can be powered by gas or electricity. Gas-powered models may be loud and require ear plugs. For electric models, use an outdoor extension cord. Also, consider the kind of storage space you can devote to a snow blower when not in use.

Types of Snow Blowers

A good snow blower is one that performs the easiest clean-up for the type of snow you’re removing.

1. Single-stage electric models: small units that pull in snow and throw it out the chute in one step.

  • Best in 4 inches or less of snow
  • Best for short, level driveways, decks and walks
  • Lightest, smallest, quietest and easiest to handle
  • No need to fuel
  • Less engine maintenance
  • Requires multiple passes for complete removal
  • Not effective on steep slopes
  • Power cord limits range

2. Single-stage gas models: small-to-midsize units that pick up and throw snow using a rubber-tipped auger to help propel the machine.

  • Best in 8 inches or less of snow
  • Best for level, midsized paved driveways and walks
  • More powerful than electric units; still light and easy to handle
  • Clear more snow in one pass
  • Four-cycle gas engines are fueled with straight gasoline with electric starts
  • Poor choice for gravel driveways and steep slopes
  • Require regular engine maintenance

3. Two-stage gas models: pick up using an impeller behind the auger to help throw snow out the chute.

  • Best in 8 inches or higher snow
  • Best for long, wide driveways
  • Larger, more powerful, propelled by engine-driven wheels
  • Can handle steeper inclines
  • Best on gravel
  • Relatively heavy
  • Requires regular engine maintenance

More Tips on Renting or Buying

  • Be comfortable with handle height and chute adjustment
  • Look for a “dead-man control,” a safety feature that stops the spinning auger and impeller when the handlebar grip is released
  • Check for a handle or joystick that controls the height and direction of snow throwing with ease
  • Ask about plug-in electric starting for gas-powered models, which is easier that using a pull cord
  • Consider a model with a headlight, if you need to work in the dark
  • Typically included with a snow blower is a clearing tool – a plastic stick used for safely clearing clogs
  • Ask about the choice of speeds, which can help prevent clogs through heavy snow

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with any snow removal project. Runyon Rental is a proud dealer of Honda snow blowers. Find all of our snow blowers for rent here or buy one here. For more information on snow blowers and snow removal, read our two blogs, “Be Sure You Have a Snow Blower this Winter – a True Must-Have Item” and “4 Cold Weather Basics: Your Guide to Snow Removal (Part 1)”.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

How to Cut Tile for Do-It-Yourself Tiling Jobs

Perfecting the art of cutting tile is essential for any self-respecting do-it-yourselfer. You may want to tile a floor, a shower, a backsplash or an accent for any room in your home. Chances are, you’ll be cutting tile to fit around the room, to accommodate the faucet or cabinets and to customize a personal creation. We’ll discuss how to cut tile using a tile cutter and a tile saw.

Tools of the Trade: Tile Cutter versus Tile Saw

Tile Cutter vs. Tile Saw

Other tips:

  • A tile cutter needs to be wider than the tiles. Measure the size based on making a diagonal cut from corner to corner.
  • Make sure the tile cutter has a rotating guide for making cuts at different angles.
  • Always fill a tile saw reservoir with water before cutting

Cutting Tile

  1. Practice cuts using scrap tiles first.
  2. Buy enough tile to accommodate waste, whether you’re using a tile cutter or saw.
  3. Mark the glazed tile surface using a pencil, making a tick where a cut begins and ends. Adjust the guide on a tile saw for the correct measurement.
  4. Slide the lever on the tile cutter so the blade is closest to you. Place the tile glaze side up on the cutter or the saw, making sure the tile sits snug against the stop or guide.
  5. Score a tile by moving the cutter lever so the steel wheel is on the tick mark at the edge of the tile, then pushing down on the lever and dragging the wheel across the tile with even pressure. Then push down on the lever and apply pressure to both sides of the score line, and snap the tile in two.
  6. For a saw cut, turn the saw on, move the tile gently into the blade and let the blade to all the work cutting the tile.
  7. For L-shaped notches, use a tile cutter to score both sides of the tile, and tile nippers to snap along one of the lines and hope the piece breaks cleanly along the second line. If not, that’s why you’ll have more tile than you need, for mistakes.

Finishing the Cut

Use a sharpening stone to smooth out the cut edge of a tile, unless it will be hidden under molding.

To learn more about the aesthetics of installing tile, read our two blogs: Install a Tile Backsplash in Your Kitchen for a Fresh New Look and The 4 Secrets to Beautiful Tile Accents in Your Home.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with renovating your bathroom or kitchen. From tile cutters to tile saws, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, DIY Projects, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Turn Post-Holiday Clean-up into a Fresh Start for Your Home

Post-holiday clean-up in 3 simple stepsWhen all those festive lights are turned off at the end of the holiday season, it’s easy for a do-it-yourselfer to get a little melancholy. After all, boxing up the shimmer and shine can make any room in your home seem a little less bright. And if you’ve had your fill of crumb-covered buffets, leftovers in the ‘fridge, overflowing trash cans and more dirty dishes than the dishwasher can hold after celebrating, you’re in for a treat – because it’s easy to turn your post-holiday clean-up into a fresh start for your home. Not only that, you’ll already be preparing for next year’s festivities!

Here are three tips to take to task:

1. Operation Decoration De-Clutter

  • Decide on a deadline for taking down the tree and storing holiday decorations. Whether it’s New Year’s Day or a week after New Year’s Day, it helps keep you focused on your clean-up efforts.
  • Purge holiday decorations of things that are no longer of use before boxing everything up for the season.
  • Consider buying color-coded storage bins for different kinds of decorations. For example, red for Christmas, pink for Valentine’s Day, light green for Easter, orange for Halloween. This way, you won’t have to open each box to see what’s inside come next holiday.
  • Box up decorations by room or area rather than type. You may have several different holiday displays for mantles, living room, foyer, etc. Next year when it’s time to decorate, you can pull out one or two storage totes and have everything available to re-create those looks quickly and easily.
  • Rather than storing ornaments and other decorations in the boxes they come in, wrap each in recycled wrapping paper and place in a larger container. Wrap Christmas lights around the wrapping paper tubes. Use tree skirts and other large pieces of material such as table cloths at the bottom of storage bins for added protection.

2. Spring Clean by Winter’s Clock

  • Lots of homeowners remove regular pieces of furniture and home décor to make room for Christmas trees and other decorations. Before arranging rooms back to normal, give the carpets a good vacuuming and check them – and your furniture – for stains. If you spot any, clean immediately.
  • Vacuum drapes and curtains, and clean windows before the furniture is re-set.
  • Repair and/or polish wood pieces before lamps and other room décor are replaced.

3. Dare to Prepare for Next Year’s Holiday

  • Make next year’s baking and cooking clean-up easier by lining baking sheets with silicone baking mats and broiling pans with foil beforehand.
  • Decrease clutter in the kitchen by rotating new gifts and gadgets with the tried and true ones.
  • Turn the dishwasher on before your go to bed and unload it in the morning, so it’s empty before guests arrive.
  • Line trash cans with several clean bags, which will already be ready for more trash once you remove a full one.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with any kind of clean-up project. From vacuums to carpet cleaners, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: How-To's, Industry Trends | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: