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This "story" and these pictures should show that you can do some serious work with a Johnny Bucket, especially if you have hydraulic lift and downpressure.  Figure 20 shows the "apex" of the curvature on the slope -- before I was completely finished grading.  Directly in line with the walnut tree on the left, I cut at least 30" off the slope.    This may be more obvious in Figure 21, which is looking down the slope just to the left of those walnut trees.  

Figure 22 shows the view down the slope from the other side of walnut trees, while Figure 23 shows the view from the bottom, looking upslope.    Note that I still made a few more passes near the barn, cutting the grade down below the level of the foundation. Figure 24 is a final picture of my "trusty, dusty tractor" made just before I had to return the digital camera that I borrowed to record this test.  It shows how well the Johnny Bucket held up!

Note that I've since found another neat use for the bucket when I was raking and leveling this area, in preparation for seeding.  The Johnny Bucket makes a nice, giant "dust pan" which allows you to rake large amounts of rock, pebbles, trash, etc., directly into it, then pick it up and haul it off.  No more shoveling or picking things up by hand and putting them in a wheelbarrow...

I found the Johnny Bucket to be a well conceived, designed and tested tool that is very useful.  It is strongly made, with obvious high quality.  It does its intended job very well -- and some jobs that were perhaps not intended quite well also.  As my 86 year old neighbor (who owns a 7012H to drool over)  noted when watching me grade the slope by riding the tripped bucket -- "You can do a lot of work with that little tractor, but I'll bet the engineers didn't intend you to use it the way you are!"   

I'd like to end this product review with some answers to anticipated questions:

Will a Johnny Bucket make your wheelbarrow obsolete?  Probably not entirely, but for moving large amounts of material -- stone, gravel, dirt, sand, mulch -- it's much faster and a lot more fun!  

Is a Johnny Bucket a total substitute for a front loader or skidsteer?   No, but this is not a valid comparison, since a Johnny Bucket is a fraction of the cost of one of those expensive tools.  The Johnny Bucket isn't very practical for loading carts, wagons, truck beds, etc. because of it's limited lifting height (the Johnny Products site show the use of ramps to help gain the height needed to load a cart.)  Similarly, with a trip bucket you cannot "dig" nearly as well as the double-action buckets on a loader, nor will the bucket hold as much.  But, you can quickly lift, move and spread materials with a Johnny Bucket.

Is a Johnny Bucket useful if you don't have hydraulic lift?  While I wouldn't want to tackle a project the size of this one without hydraulic lift, a manual lift should still work quite well for hauling and spreading mulch, topsoil, pea gravel, etc.  Without the ability to apply down pressure I'm honestly not sure how well it would cut and scoop "unloosened" turf or soil.  Similarly, I'm not sure how well it would handle "gumbo, caliche, or whatever you call clay" in your area, but this one did quite well in my New England rock farm....

Would I be better off renting a loader or skidsteer for the weekend?  Either one would be bigger, quicker, and allow you to do more work in less time.  The price to rent one of them for the weekend would be comparable to the purchase price of a Johnny Bucket.  But, the Johnny Bucket still has one HUGE advantage over renting -- you don't need to take it back on Monday morning!

In closing, the Johnny Bucket Jr., was easy to assemble, easy to use, and does its intended purpose very well.  I think I "stress-tested" it well,  subjecting it to more than the typical owner will likely ever do.  Further, with about 15 hours of intense use over three days, I feel that I have a good sense of its capabilities.  It is one of those simple, well designed, well made products that should provide years of trouble free service.  

Click here to visit the Johnny Products site and find out more....

 

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Figure 20

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Figure 21

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Figure 22

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Figure 23

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Figure 24

 

 

 

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