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Who 03-05-2008 12:26 AM

Me and curvy plastic shovel vs 8.5 HP Ariens
Warning, don't read this unless you're really bored or want to be! ;)

Snow shoveling always hurt my back. When a friend moved down to NJ one year he sold me a bunch of his crap and it included a little 4 hp tracked craftsman snowblower and a radial arm saw. The radial never worked other than as a whole house light dimmer and has sucked space in my small garage for 12 years. The snowblower actually became a delight. It had to throw the snow on the right side 3 times to get it off the left side into the yard. My freaky neighbours don't want snow on their yard because it'll kill the flowers. Anyway, it did a great job of getting every last bit of snow, was really easy to turn yet went dead nuts straight near cars and was geared like a tunnel boring machine. The choke was goofy and overly sensitive and had to be played with. I couldn't fix it, took it to a shop. To my dismay my baby was just outdoors with a 100 others.

Decided to treat myself and bought an Ariens with a real differential, added tubes to the tubeless. It can really blast snow all over. It's lowest gear was about 3rd on the Craftsman and the Craftsman top gear was maybe as high as 3rd on the new one. Anyway, it's a bugger to control and a pain in the back because I usually shovel both my place and the amazingly perfect neighbours on the other side (generous and caring but never nosy) and by the time I'm done my back hurts. Having the diff lock up on the panel rather than in front of the muffler is probably effective in not using it as much unless it's big dump of snow and its gonna save a heart attack. Having it up top would make it turn easier and go straighter on the straights.

So as an experiment, I shoveled tonight instead of sparking up my orange carbon emitting snowspitter. No emissions controls here, heck no intake controls as far as air filters on these very ungreen items. It took me the same amount of time to shovel my single drive as snowblowing our 2 fairly generous 4 car (2 x 2) driveways.

So I'm 4¼ HP equiv as a thrower of snow yet can't sustain ½ HP for very long at all on a bicycle using bigger more efficient muscles. That's why I say equiv, at least for the first 20 minutes. Then again, in equivs I can go between ½ and ¼ as fast as a car over a very wide variety of hours.

Kudos to the newer designed shovels. Great for tall people that are too stupid to move south...

RH77 03-05-2008 12:53 AM


Originally Posted by Who (Post 12667)
Kudos to the newer designed shovels. Great for tall people that are too stupid to move south...

Honestly, I envy those who live North of the border. Wanna trade? :D

I also have a weak back, so a thrower would be ideal. In contrast, have you looked into paying an entrepreneurial youngster to shovel the works? There are lots of kids in my neighborhood that would love to "play in the snow" and get paid for it. But I'm much further South...


tasdrouille 03-05-2008 07:59 AM

We're at 10 feet so far this year. I actually enjoy shoveling, it's a nice workout if you do it right. I'll take a foot of snow over a -25 anyday.

bennelson 03-25-2008 11:59 PM

I have been hand shoveling all winter.

Crummy winter for it. Most snow since 1800something or so I've heard...

I have found that hand tools in general are fairly efficient at work, but the operator tires more quickly.

This applies to shovels (dirt or snow) rakes, hammers, and everything else.

Other advantages to hand tools over power include:
quieter - no muffler needed!
cheaper to buy
cheaper to maintain
don't use fossil fuels (no air pollution!)
less complicated
potentially a "skill"

Guess I would rather have a smaller driveway and a shovel than a bigger drive and a noisy, smelly blower.

Just wait til next winter when I build an electric snow plow.....

zjrog 03-26-2008 09:09 AM

I'm split on the use of my thrower. I don't mind in a light snow fall, shoveling. But once its 6" I prefer to use the thrower. Just a little 3HP single stage. But I like to keep enough area clear for 4 cars, and the sidewalks by city ordinance. If it was just me, I wouldn't bother, as I drive a Jeep... But it makes the rest of the family happy to keep it all clear. My daughter will clear the back patio for me, well, for the dogs. But she won't shovel out front. My son, if he is home when it snows, will shovel even if it takes hours...

I believe the thrower cuts my time down by better than 50%.

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