Care for Farm Implements

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Wiki Editors: Dorn (3 edits)

Every farm implement should have various cost items charged against it so that the owner may know whether or not it is giving service in proportion to its value. The most important of these items are: the original cost; the interest charge for the money invested; the yearly repair cost; and the annual depreciation, which is based on the useful lifetime of the machine. An investigation in Ohio showed the average investment in machinery on a number of farms, averaging 160 acres in extent, to be $77^. Another investigation gave S per cent as an average yearly repair cost on such machines. Adding 6 per cent interest, such a farm has a charge of nearly $70 to make against such machinery each year. If it lasts 10 years, the total cost of principal (purchase price), interest, and repairs will by that time be $1 ,U70.60. If the average 160^cre farm has 120 acres of crops, each must be charged with its share of this cost or slightly more than %l2 in the period, or $1.20 per year. If the machines last but 5 years, the cost will jump to $1.87 per acre per year. While such figures are but averages, they indicate one result—the finaneial one— of making implements last and keeping them in good condition. There are other results, such as easier and quicker work, better-satisfied help, horses hss pulted down, etc., which, though harder to put on a cash basis, are no less important. This chapter telh how to insure these highly detirabU results by giving farm machines the right kind of care.—EDiTOR. http://www.farmhack.net/tools/encyclopedia-practical-farm-knowledge

Causes of Depreciation Normal wear. There are a number of important factors entering into the deprecia- tion of farm machinery of which the chief, probably, is use. That is what the implement is for, to use, but it is naturally desirable to extend the service over as long a period as possible. In order to do this, all tools must be kept in good repair. Broken parts, dull working points, and loose connections all tend to de- stroy the usefulness of an implement far earlier than its normal time. Plow shares, cultivator shovels, disc har- rows, scraper blades and other portions of tools that stir the soil must be kept bright and sharp for efficient work. An extra share (lathe) should be kept on hand for each plow to be used in case of emergency, or valuable time will surely be lost. Before putting any implement in the field after a period of idleness it should be gone over thoroughly. and all bolts, bearings and connections tightened up. See that broken parts, even if minor ones and not seriously interfering with the operation of the machine, are properly repaired. One of the big advantages of a tooI shed and shop on the farm Ues in the fact that rainy days can be well employed in looking over and repairing the farm took.

Rust and weathering. When a piece of iron rusts, smaU scales form on it; later these drop off leaving small pits. Rusted plow shares, moldboards, cultivator shovels and other parts that work in the soU are fuU of these pits. When thoroughly covered with a coat of rust they never scour properly again. Each succeeding coat of rust makes them worse and makes them require more time to take on a soil polish again.

The remedy for rust is oil or grease. Every tool that requires a polished surface for proper work should be kept well greased when idle. It is very much worth while to keep a grease rag with every plow, planter, seeder and cul¬tivator. At night, clean the dirt away from scouring parts carefully, then smear them well with the grease rag. When one un- hitches at night, he never knows but that a sudden shower will keep him from the field the next day, and maybe longer. In that case, if the scouring parts are not greased, much delay will be caused in getting them polished again. When an implement or tool of this de- scription is put away for the season, the scour¬ing parts should be given a thick smear of axle grease. This will prevent the rust and, when the tools are to be used again, it will only require a few minutes to scrape off the grease and wash the scouring surface with kerosene. The tool is then ready for business. The action of sun, wind and rain will soon cause the best of paint to blister and crack. It does not take long for unhoused imple¬ments to look old; as the paint scales from iron parts, rust scales form and fall away, the piece attacked gradually weakens until it suddenly breaks under the strain. Wooden parts may become water-soaked and start to decay after the paint peels off, or become attacked by boring insects of various sorts. All of these things shorten the life of the tool. Good housing is the remedy. Lack of adjustment. One of the chief causes of undue strain and wear on farm tools when in operation is the lack of proper adjustment. Almost all implements of modern make have some places of adjustment. These may be for the purpose of taking up wear or of adapting the tools to different conditions. The man who pushes right ahead until the implement absolutely quits is merely inviting trouble and expense. Every implement of importance carries with it directions from the factory. If not supplied, insist on getting such directions. The makers of farm tools prepare direction sheets with a great deal of care after testing out the toote under various working conditions. Wherever possible, paste the direction sheet on the implement where it will not be de- stroyed or disfigured. If this is not possible, get a cheap letter file, and file all such sheets away alphabetically, so they can be found when needed. When using a new implement, study it until you know how it ought to operate. Study the direction sheet carefully, then see that the various points of adjustment are kept in proper position. This is what makes an old implement run like new.

Lubrication
Farm machinery is of necessity subject to much abuse. Tools that are put in the field will always be called on to work under adverse conditions that can not be much improved. For this reason manufacturers are doing much to protect bearings with proper housings and in using better grades of wear-resisting materials. It remains for the farmer to do his share in the matter of proper lubrication. Kinds of lubricants. There are 3 kinds of material used for lubrication: oil, grease, and dry materials, such as graphite and mica. 0f these the liquid oil, hard oil, and grease are in common use on most farms. The lubricant must be adapted to the machine. Oiling a machine does not nec- essarily lubricate it. All wearing parts are more or less rough. It is the function of the lubricant to fill in the unevennesses of the wearing surfaces in order that they may not touch, and, at the same time, to have "body" enough to form a film with a tension great enough to keep the surfaces coated. Light machinery with highly-finished bearing surfaces re- quire a lighter-bodied oil, than heavier, more roughly-finished tools. A cream separator is one of the light-running machines in common use. For heavy field tools, such as binders, mowers, rakes, plant-ers, parts of threshing machines, etc., a medium heavy oil will give best results. For bearings where dirt and dust are apt to accumulate badly, hard oil or grease supplied through pressure cups is most desirable. These materials not only do a good job of lubrication, but the pressure keeps the lubricant constantly working outward which, of course, prevents mu<-h dust or grit from working into the bearing. The speed at which bearings are run is ateo a factor in good lubrication. A slow- speed bearing carrying a great deal of pres¬sure requires hard oil, grease or a very thick oil with plenty of body. On the other hand, a high^peed bearing requires a thin, light- bodied oil. If a thick oil or grease is used in such bearings, the friction in the lubricant itself wiU be sufficient to cause the bearing to heat. Graphite and mica are not commonly used on the farm for lubrication. Their higher cost compared with the other materiak just mentioned hinders their use. A little pow- dered graphite dusted into bearings, however, helps smooth them up wonderfully. It will not gather dust as will hard oil or grease, so that its use should receive more consideration. A stick of ordinary lamp black can be used to advantage on drive chains of all kinds. Simply hold the stick to the chain as the machine is in operation.

Shelter
Need of shelter. In discussing the sub- ject of shelter for farm tools, the author of Bulletin 338 of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, makes the following statement: "Much has been written and said about the waste incurred by lack of housing for ma¬chinery on farms. Many large and successful farmers do not shelter their machinery at aU. The principle which guides them is that, if a machine not housed at all will wear out before it is injured by exposure, there is no need to shelter it. The larger the amount of work that can be done with an implement annually, therefore, the less need there is to house it. The waste, by depreciation, of capital in- vested in farm machinery is caused primarily by the inability of the smaller farms to wear out their implements with profitable use. An economic remedy is partial reorganization of their business and cooperation with neigh- bors so that more work can be done annually with the machinery equipment."
It is true that a great many farmers seem to go on this theory, at least judging by the number of unhoused implements one sees over the country. lt is also true that there is no available data on the re&tive life of machinery when housed and when not houaed. Practical observation, however, will not per- mit of any other conclusion tnan that homed implements last kmger, give Uss troubh and U>ok decidedly better than unhoused ones.
Furthermore the economic remedy suggested above fits too few cases to be effective; a farmer cannot change his land acreage at wiU. Moreover, the use of the various farm tools is practically universal on every farm in the community at any given time. For instance, when ground should be plowed, every farmer is at it; when com is smaU, every farmer should be cultivating. Practical necessity rather than the lack of desire to co6perate has driven each farmer to maintain a rather complete line of machinery according to his system of farming.
It is very true, however, that the smaU farmer—the man with few acres—has a machinery investment proportionately larger than the man with more land. The smaU size of his business wiU then be a disadvantage and without working more land, his only re- course in reducing the cost of his tools is to practice as much cooperation with neighbors as circumstances wall permit, and to insure greater length of life for his tools. As before, this means careful handling and adequate housing.
Storage places for implements. It is good business to reduce storage charges on farm tools as much as possible. Crib drive- ways and lean-to sheds are the most common places that the average farm presents for storage. It must be admitted, though, that implements so stored are nearly always in the way at one time or an- other, so that a machine shed on every farm is highly desirable. A good machine shed. A farmer with 160 acres of land that is mostly tiU- able and growing ecm, oats, wheat and clover will have about the following equipment: Walking plow, gang plow, drag harrow, 2 disc harrows, corrugated roller, wheat drill, corn planter, 2 cul- tivators, mower, side-delivery rake, hay loader, grain binder, manure spreader, wagon and handy wagon. In normal times this equipment, when new, will have a value of about $1,000.

This machinery can all be housed in a building 24 by 36 feet. In making such a shelter, it is not necessary to have a founda- tion except for the posts; these supports are best made of concrete. The floor should be of earth or cinders, slightly raised above the level of surrounding land. A drain around the outside of the building is necessary to prevent water from soaking up through the floor.
For greater convenience and at little extra cost, both sides of the building can be con¬structed with sliding doors the entire length of the shed. The tracks should be laid so that one door will slide by the one next to it. The doors should be about 10 feet wide so as to permit driving into the shed with any implement. Where doors are on both sides" they afford an opportunity to drive into the building, unhitch and drive the team out on the opposite side. This will do away with a great deal of hand pushing and lifting when storing the tools for winter.

The Farm Shop
Some sort of farm shop, where tools or other farm equipment may be taken for all but the more complicated repairs, is indis- pensable to a well-organized farm. Such a farm will save both time and money in its ability to have this work done at home. If the proper equipment is at hand, many repair jobs can be done before the broken parts could be taken to town, let alone repaired there or replaced.
Locating the shop. If a machine shed has been Duilt somewhat along the lines suggested, an addition 14 or 15 feet wide at one end will make an excellent shop, large enough for all ordinary purposes.
The shop should be well lighted with win- dows on 3 sides; if it is a part of the machine shed, a wide door should connect the two.
A concrete floor is preferable, owing to the ease with which various pieces of equipment may be bolted down securely to it. There is also the advantage of less danger from fire and the ease with which the shop may be kept clean and tidy.
The following general arrangement and equipment for a farm shop to be located in a special building has been suggested by Prof. I. W. Dickerson, formerly of the University of Illinois. Such a building should be about 18 feet square to give ample space for work. The plan is to run most of the equipment by power, but in case this is not done and some of the equipment is, therefore, not installed, the layout will still prove valuable in helping one make a plan for a good, convenient shop.
Shop equipment. Fairly complete equip¬ment for carpenter work, iron work, soldering and harness repair can be bought in normal times for about $175, not including a gasoline engine. Suggested equipment for a complete shop is as follows:

For Carpenter Work 1 bit-stock or brace
8 auger bits, ft, i, ft. f. 7s, i, f. i inch 1 claw hammer, 1 l-pound 1 carpenter's square 1 try-square, 8-inch 1 marking gauge 1 ripsaw, 26-inch 1 handsaw, 26-inch 1 keyhole saw <*
1 jack plane, 14-inch 1 smoothingplane,8-inch 3 firmer chisels, J, J, ^inch 1 level, 25-inch 1 draw knife, 12-inch 1 dividers, 8-inch 1 wood rasp, 14-inch 1 screw driver, 10-inch 1 wood bench and vise 1 screw driver, 6-incli Nails and screws

For Iron Work
1 blacksmith'R sledge. 10-pound 1 anvil hand hammer, 3-pound
1 machinist's ball-pecn hammer, 1 )-pound
2 cold chis*da, 4 and ! inch
5 punche&, u, j, ft, i, | inch 1 centre punch
1 adjustable hacksaw frame 1 dozen hacksaw blades
12 twist dril)s, A. &, i, &, A, fu i, A. |, /* f. | inch
6 assortedfUeswithhancUea
1 screw>cutting outfit consisting of two stocks and tap^ wrench, and 7 sizes taps and adjustabte dies, i, ^>
i. A. i- *. i ych . ,
1 straight hardy, l-mch 1 cold^ut, 1| inch 1 hot>cut, 11 inch
1 straight Up tongs
2 bolt tongs, i and J inch 1 forge with hand blower
1 anvil, steel-faced, 100-poun 1 iron bench and v^e
For Soldering 1 tin snips
1 square-pointed soldering copper, li-pound 1 bar half-and-half solder Large crystal sal-ammoruac Commercially pure hydrocWoric acid Powdered rosin

For Harness and Leather Work 1 hand-belt punch, 4 sizes 1 hoUowKirive punch 1 belt awl 1 coil belt-lace wire 1 bunch cut taces, J inch
1 box copper rivets and burrs, assorted
1 tever riveting machme and box bo0o*r steel rtveu* needks, wax, thread Iron repair stand with three iasU
MueeUanetmt TooU
1 monkey wrench, 12 mdi X monkey wrench, S-inch 5 douWe end S wrvnchet 1 button wtre