A land plane is a great tool to have in your machine shed for maintaining a gravel road or driveway, smoothing a horse arena, leveling a garden, and plenty of other uses you’ll think of. So here are some basics for how to work with one.
The Frontier Land Planes (US CA) use two cutting blades set horizontally and at a parallel diagonal angle between two end plates attached to a steel frame. The cutting edges of the blades can skim along or cut into the ground’s surface at a shallow depth. There are models with both draw bar and 3-point hitches, which give you flexibility in the equipment you use to pull it. The LP12 Series is also available with scarifiers for more aggressive churning of soil if you need to really repair a gravel drive or other eroded surface.
For smoothing a surface like a gravel driveway that needs maintenance, the land plane should be set up so both blades contact the ground simultaneously. As the land plane begins to work, gravel and soil are lifted and begin flowing over the tops of the blades, coming out the back. As more material is lifted, it builds up by being contained between the two end plates. When the land plane is full, material flows evenly and freely across its working width, leaving a smooth, flat surface behind.
For tasks where you want a slightly more aggressive cut, shorten the top link on the 3-point hitch to allow the front blade to cut at a deeper angle than the rear blade. Conversely, you can lengthen the top link to allow the rear blade to work harder.
The real key in using a land plane successfully is to work slowly. After a little practice, you’ll find the right speed for your tractor and your project. But overall, work slowly and give the land plane a chance to do the job it was built for.
And remember, always read the Operator’s Manual before operating any piece of equipment and follow all operating and safety instructions.