Saturday, August 24, 2019

Ditch Witch SK850 PLUS - Newest Employee to the Rockin Walls Team

August 24, 2019

Today I added my newest employee a upgraded to a New Used Ditch Witch SK850 PLUS (ie SK1050) from McGrew Equipment Company. It's Crazy to think 7 years and 1 week I purchased my first used walk behind Mini Skid steer a Toro Dingo TX 420 seen below. 


My first piece of equipment I purchased for Rockin Walls was a used New Holland LX665 Skid Steer wheel machine. Next it was a used Mini Excavator Komatsu PC27. Then came the Toro Dingo TX420. Why when I owned a skid steer some might ask. I found this little machine great to work on and off without climbing in and out. Since I work alone a lot of times I need to set a large stone by myself. This machine could do what I would need another person to do. Along with digging, moving stone around, easy to take to the jobsite, store on the jobsite, minimal impact on damage on the site and so much more.  Now it happens to be a much smaller machine with only a 500 lbs lift capacity. With me on the back custom ride on platform I would easily move 800 lbs. Now it only moves 4.5 mph forward and 2 mph backwards. So they say! I only clocked 3 mph forward on my machine. 7 years of good times and still rolling!

Related Blogs: 

Equipment - "Dingo" Walk Behind Mini Skid Steer

Equipment - Bobcat MT55, Mini Track Loader, (dingo)

2015 Toro Dingo® TX 1000 / Updated 5/2017 Maybe Not The Best?! ever

Equipment - Buying A Mini Excavator 


Today it was time to move up to fast speeds and more lifting capacity. Now I have to be honest I was really thinking about the Vermeer machine then maybe a Ditch Witch. When I was up renting at Gap Power Rental in PA. I noticed they had the Ditch Witch, Vermeer and Bobcat. SO of course I had to ask which do they like?! The response was Ditch Witch #1, Bobcat #2 Vermeer was sadly for them constantly in need of repair and maintenance. From a rental standpoint this didn't work well for them!

Then one day out of the blue Brain the rep from Jesco of Baltimore gave me a call just to check in since he knew I was looking! We got to talking I passed on my new learned knowledge from Gap Power. He then went on to tell me about the SK850 (can add a 300 lbs weight kit $500 then this becomes the PLUS model) which is now called the SK1050. (by the way the SK #'s mean what it can lift. SMART - you ask me no guess after all don't you hate that..) Brian went on to let me know they had some good deals on some year old NEW SK1050. Which were very good deals to be honest. If you're looking for a machine be sure to give them a call and Ask for Brain - be sure to let them know how you heard about them - PLEASE. 

8411 Pulaski Highway
Baltimore, MD 21237
Phone: (410) 687-1700

DITCH WITCH SK850 PLUS = (SK1050) Gary, Left - Mark Jurus, Right
If you asked me 8 years ago if I would every buy a mini skid steer - I would have laughed at you! NOW I wouldn't think twice about doing it again. Today I did! I was ready and prepared to spend more than any 1 machine I have every purchase! Why because it makes my job easier everyday as my helper. Finding good help has become increasingly harder and harder for many. Although I have always preferred to work alone. Simply easier and less headaches of paperwork, insurance, workmans comp, payroll.... just goes on and one. For me my equipment are my employees. Together we are a team.

My search for this machine has be extremely difficult. Why? All I can guess is that most companies have no reason to sell them. When something works well why replace it?!

I started watching ebay, craigslist, any search I could do. The sad thing, nothing was popping up. I missed one SK850 620 hours which had sold $17,000 at McGrew Auction 1 month earlier - I just wasn't actively looking at that time. I needed to be sure all my finances were in order with winter coming. In other searches I found a Ebay listing for SK850 900 hours w/shipping $20,000 (I don't think that sold.) Then Ebay had a SK1050 - 750 hours IOWA which the auction ended at $21,000 not hitting the reserve, fellow was closing his biz and would have taken $24,000 that's not bad for a $30,000 + machine! 

So when another popped up with out NO IMAGE at McGrew I called (what are the chances?) - spoke with Gary. He said it was coming in - he would get me pics. A week went by after checking everyday on line then it showed up. Yes for auction : ( .   I called Gary he said YES it just came in the day before and I was on his call list. So I wasted no time since it was a rain day Friday drove 30 mins north to Seven Valleys PA. To give this Ditch Witch a spin. WOW it was bigger, quiter, seemed much faster and a lot newer then my little Dingo TX420. Plus what would I do with 2x the lifting capacity. O' I know move more stone to help me do my job quicker. 

Fell in LOVE - then had to wait 1 day to hear if they would sell it outright without going to auction in the next couple weeks. Now one important thing was what are the chances of finding one with in 30 mins. Not to mention it just happened to be the PLUS model as seen in the pics. SCORE!!! It had to be mine. At 9 am Saturday I called with no answer.. left no message I didn't want to be a bother.. moments later with caller ID Gary saw he missed my call - rang me and said yes we will sell it at $00,000. I dropped everything I was doing ask the wife if she had the horses covered. Grabbed the truck and trailer and rolled up the road. 

Life is full of surprises! The chances of me finding this machine in my area at an AMAZING price with INCREDIBLE customer service blew me away. EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR! 

Many Thanks to Gary and Greg for giving the go ahead to make dreams come true. 

If you happen to see a machine you want - call them or just go to the auction!
Please be sure to let them know I sent you. Ask for Gary in sales. They will take good care of you. 

McGrew Equipment Company
2191 Seven Valleys Rd.
P.O. Box 6
Seven Valleys, PA 17360
(717) 428-0922

MakeDitch Witch
TypeMini Track Loader
Standard Flow8.8 GPM
High Flow13. GPM
Pressure3625 PSI
Hydraulic HP Standard Flow18. HP
Hydraulic HP High Flow29.4 HP
Engine HP37 HP Yanmar® 3TNV88C Diesel
Width36 7" track (42) in. 9" track
Lift Capacity at 35%860 lb. ~ PLUS 1062
Lift Capacity at 50%1232. lb. ~ PLUS ?
Operating Weight3100 lb.

Ditch Witch SK1050

Thank you for your time. I hope you this content to be helpful or the links included. Until next time! Mark J.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Oct 19-20, 2019 Freestanding Wall Workshop

Oct 19-20, 2019 2 day (Saturday/Sunday) Freestanding Wall Workshop $450

All Levels, Homeowner - Contractor, 2-Day

Freestanding Wall workshop is an Introduction into the Basic skills of Dry Stone Masonry. Over two days we will cover the fundamentals of Dry Stone Construction, Theory, History, The Uses of Dry Stone in the present day, How to determine the size of a batter frame for your project, how to make a frame, selecting the right stone for the right place in the wall which develops confidence, efficiency and the importance of rhythm and minimizing unproductive actions, but not at the expense of quality. 

Stone type: Flat bedded sandstone local to region. Wall stone include Laurel Mountain, Colonial Blue Stone and PA fieldstone to name a few. 

This workshop is also great for those who are interested in Retaining Walls. A freestanding wall is the same fundamental principles. 

(Note: this workshop will be a strip out and rebuild of existing wall, Some tools will be covered in this workshop)

$450.00 Oct 19-20, 2019 2 day Freestanding

(6 spots remain)