Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Are you kidding me....Wooden farm Equipment models?

Here's something that might interest some of you Farm equipment and hit & miss engine guys and gals. Last year I met a guy through some e-mail conversations from my other web site called Ol' Dave's Woodshop. His name is Tom McAllister. Tom has been making wooden models for over 20 years now and in my humble opinion has developed a skill that few people ever try to accomplish. His work is immaculate in that the detail is not only apparent, but extremely attractive as well. Here is a link to an article I posted last year to my Antique Tractor web site called "Fastrac" where Tom had built a model of a 1958 Oliver 770 Diesel tractor.

Tom has recently retired and is now spending his time remodeling his house and building these fantastic models full time. I recently received another e-mail from him informing me that he was currently involved in repairing a 1930 Case hay press (baler) at his club and got so intrigued with it that he decided to try to build a wooden model of one of these old hay balers. He said he didn't have a clue as how to make the gears for it but after some trial and error, (and he said "heavy on the error") that he finally figured it out. The model, he says, works just like the real one. He said having a real full sized baler to go by made it much easier than his usual method of using what pictures that he could find or take on his own.

Take a look at the two photos (below) of Tom's finished model of this old baler.

He told me that since the actual real piece of equipment was orange, he decided to use African Mahogany for the body and American Hickory for the gears, wheels and hay shoot.

The guys at his club also challenged him to make a wooden hit and miss engine to run the model baler..... and so he did. This hit and miss engine model has a little battery-operated motor in it. He told me that he needs to work out a way to get more power to the engine and that he needs to find or make a drive belt, but as you can see from this short video below, he's well on his way. It even sounds a little like the real thing.

The engine is supposed to look like a McCormick-Dearing 6 or 8 hp. Take a look at the two photos of his hit & miss engine below.... I think he came pretty dang close, don't you? Most folks wouldn't know a hit and miss engine from a toaster but some of you would and I think he got about as close as most of us would ever get in an attempt like this. Tom's reason for choosing the model that he did is that this model of engine was one of the easiest styles to hide a motor and batteries in (which is necessary to make it run). It runs on 3 volts (or at least 3 volts gives the speed he wanted to achieve). Tom said that the two AAA batteries just don't have much staying power but he might try to solve that problem down the road.

Anyway, Tom has a web site called "Woodman's Collectibles" which you might want to go visit if this kind of thing is of an interest to you. I find it fascinating!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wow...What a Truck!

Last fall I had the pleasure of attending the Bonneville Mill Fall Festival in Bristol, Indiana whereas there were quite a few old tractors, antiques, old time farming demonstrations and the like. One of the first things that I came upon while walking down to view the old tractors was a sawmill demonstration. I had been to this festival several times in past years and this sawmill demonstration was always powered by old steam engines.

This year was much different in that the power source for the saw equipment was an old home built power truck being operated by Todd Bush. The truck is a 1934 Ford which was originally a dump truck. It was amazing to me that this old truck had enough power to run the portable sawmill. The power obviously didn't come from the engine under the hood, it came from two 85 HP Ford flathead V-8 engines and transmissions attached to two Ford truck rear axles. All of this was mounted on the flatbed of the truck. the photo above right shows a close-up of the setup on the back of the truck.

When the unit is hooked up to the pulleys on the sawmill, it all looks like that in this photo here on the left.... the truck serving power to the mill (this photo not really a good one....sorry about the quality)

From talking to Todd, I was able to obtain a little more history on the truck. Here is some of what I was given........

It seems that in the old days of threshing, steam engine power was the only power strong enough to run the separators (threshing machines) but they were huge pieces of equipment that had to move from one farm to another. When farm tractors were eventually developed they took they place of the steam engines as a power source. In both cases however, moving from one farm to another was a long process at 2 - 3 miles per hour.  Getting the proper amount of power to machines in a much quicker time frame was the primary reasoning for this truck's existance!

The original developer of the 34 Ford power truck shown here was developed by Lamoin Bush and his son Max back in 1940 or so and they began using it for threshing in 1941. The truck was purchased from the Indiana State highway department and, as mentioned above, was originally a dump truck.  Lamoin had been using it to haul gravel, ice and other things until deciding to convert it to be used as a power unit for threshing.

The right hand engine has a Pierce governor belted to the crankshaft, which controls the speed on both of the engines. The gear train on this unit is two ring and pinion units for power input and a belt pulley on one of the wheels. Each engine has its own starter, clutch and cooling system (although only one generator is actively working at a time). The belt pulley was made from a Ford truck wheel and blocks of hardwood which eventually drives the belt.

After lining up the belt with the saw equipment, the right engine, which has the governor attached, is started up first. Once it is running, then the other engine is started. With both transmissions in high gear, the clutches are engaged (both clutches are engaged at the same time via a single clutch lever). The throttle operates this way as well.....that being a single control which was made from an emergency brake lever.  A 55 gallon oil drum is used to hold the fuel needed.

There is a lot more history and detail about this old truck in an article written by Pat Ertel that appeared in "This Old Truck Magazine" (which is now called "Vintage Truck Magazine") back in November, 2001. You might try to find that article on their website for those of you who might be interested.

It sure was a pleasure to meet Todd,  a grandson to Lamoin (who passed away in 1976) and to watch this old truck in action. This family exhibits the truck at many shows around the Midwest and if you ever get to see it operating, it will most likely amaze you..... as it did me.