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  #1  
Old 10-08-2017, 12:36 PM
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LW Hiway LW Hiway is offline
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Default Overkill in lieu of common sense

Seldom do I see ones posting here of a repair that is over the top with regards of ridiculous proportions. When it seems so, what the reality is in the end is using what was at hand without having to buy.

I now own a particular sickle bar mower assy to fit on my SA's that has been passed down to me from an Uncle from his Dad, my Grandfather to me.

After G'dad passed another Uncle laid claim to this tool and in quick order as was his fashion used and mostly fucked it up.

What I now have is something that has to have all teeth, cutting bar, guards and wooden pitman arm replaced with steel sq tubing, and a mid mount hanger originally made of 5/16" x 2 3/4" f/b which is now 1/2"x3 1/2" f/b.

That hanger is now 3 times the weight over the original and has two extra braces added. Of course if the idiot driving the tractor gives a shit you won't run oven levee's head on and expect a happy outcome.

The rear attach points are just as miss applied in terms of simplicity and needs and again I'll be taking things back to a more original fashion.

While the parts can all be found new and used easily most of this re-build will take fashion in the shop as a labor of love.

I just wish that what I typically find of someone's attempt at home/farm repair is so out of the realm of common sense it's ridiculous. Not basic, just obscene in terms of what's needed.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:07 PM
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All the other mods may be over the top and not needed but running a sickle bar mower without the wooden pitman arm is a recipe for disaster--don't ask me how I know...
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by LKeithR View Post
All the other mods may be over the top and not needed but running a sickle bar mower without the wooden pitman arm is a recipe for disaster--don't ask me how I know...
Making a wood pitman arm is easy. All you need is a chunk of white oak and cut away all the does not look like a pitman arm.
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Old 10-08-2017, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
Making a wood pitman arm is easy. All you need is a chunk of white oak and cut away all the does not look like a pitman arm.
When I worked on the ranch up at Williams Lake in the 60s I made more than one out of fir. A lot of the hay was put up on swamp meadows which were thick with canary grass. Even working 6"-8" off the ground it was still easy to take out pitman arms. More than once when we were in the middle of cutting and used up the last spare I'd grab a chunk of fir 2 x 4 and carve up a replacement. It was a 3-4 hour trip to town and back and weather windows were often pretty short up there so keeping the wheels turning was important. To compensate for the fact that the fir wasn't quite as strong as the original oak we'd make them a bit thicker through the middle. If you weren't fighting the canary grass they'd often last a long time...
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Old 10-08-2017, 08:42 PM
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I've only seen and/or used Ash for the arms. Funny how I've never broken a pitman, but the Uncle mentioned 3 and emptied my shelf stock.
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:59 AM
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Sounds like the slip clutch was too tight, or the drive belt wouldn't slip. Opening a new field I've locked up the sickle blades in small tree stumps. The belt would slip and I'd back up and clear the blades. Where ever there was a stand of grass I'd go back later with an axe and take out the stump. Never broke a pitman stick.
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LKeithR View Post
All the other mods may be over the top and not needed but running a sickle bar mower without the wooden pitman arm is a recipe for disaster--don't ask me how I know...
This was my first thought also......and I'll go along with the last statement concerning "don't ask..don't tell".
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Norm W View Post
Sounds like the slip clutch was too tight, or the drive belt wouldn't slip. Opening a new field I've locked up the sickle blades in small tree stumps. The belt would slip and I'd back up and clear the blades...
In the thick canary grass if you didn't have the clutch and belt really tight you were constantly plugging up the mower. In addition to putting up the hay on the home ranch the outfit I worked for did custom haying--we averaged 40,000 or so bales a summer for the three years that I was there. Considering the short summer seasons we had up there in the Cariboo we didn't have a lot of time to waste.

As you said, the risk of breaking something was greatest when opening up a new field. In the swamp meadows the biggest problem was branches from blowdowns hidden in the tall grass. Some of these meadows were very large--1000 acres or more--so we didn't try to cut right to the very edge which helped to reduce the number of crashes.

Because a lot of the work was custom cutting we didn't always get to "pioneer" the fields like we did on the home place. One of my jobs in the spring was to take a tractor and chainsaw and run around the perimeter of all the hay fields and clean up any trees and branches that had fallen over the previous winter. This really helped to reduce the chance of breaking a pitman arm but we usually didn't get to do this on the custom cut fields.

Once you got the opening rounds done the biggest problem in the swamp meadows was just the thickness and toughness of the canary grass. If you pushed too hard the mower would plug or the breakaway would let go and you'd have to stop and reset it. There's a lot of force on a 7 ft. sickle bar.

In its day the sickle bar mower cut a lot of grass but the advent of all the different rotary mowers was a godsend for anyone who had much hay to cut. We never had one while I was on the ranch but I've played with them a few times since and I'd venture to guess that a rotary mower with enough horsepower to run it would cut an average field in about one third the time it would take to do it with an old sickle bar unit...

Quote:
Never broke a pitman stick.
You were either damn lucky or you drove the tractor like an old woman...
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  #9  
Old 10-09-2017, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Sounds like the slip clutch was too tight
These did not come with a slip clutch. Only the belt will keep things from breaking. Too tight and 'snap goes the stick'.

There was a reason that only one 5/8" w belt was used. lol

Looking closely at the guard to blade paths it was obvious that things are well worn out. I'm sure that the original guards are on the mower and as well, I'm probably the last one to change all blades probably back in the late 60's. The Unk in mention was a cheap bastard that did not take much care with equipment. Using a house wall light switch for the head lights proves it.

Thinking on it more, I'm sure the pitman arm that broke and allowed him to replace it with metal tubing was probably the original pitman. I found a fresh pitman I had made in his garage this past week. (one of his G'daughters did). I found the other two I had made in my shop last night. Sooooooooo................. At least I've got something to start with.
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  #10  
Old 10-09-2017, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LKeithR View Post
When I worked on the ranch up at Williams Lake in the 60s I made more than one out of fir. A lot of the hay was put up on swamp meadows which were thick with canary grass. Even working 6"-8" off the ground it was still easy to take out pitman arms. More than once when we were in the middle of cutting and used up the last spare I'd grab a chunk of fir 2 x 4 and carve up a replacement. It was a 3-4 hour trip to town and back and weather windows were often pretty short up there so keeping the wheels turning was important. To compensate for the fact that the fir wasn't quite as strong as the original oak we'd make them a bit thicker through the middle. If you weren't fighting the canary grass they'd often last a long time...
Williams lake, Is that the area that this book is about? It is a great book
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