Pressed Back Into Action
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Some 500 man hours - including 60 or so from friends - were spread over almost 2 years to restore the hay press. We spent about $1,500 for milling, blasting sand, bolts, sheet metal and paint to restore the hay press to working condition and a nearly new appearance. We painted it our own best guess of red to match the original 'red lead.'
In 2000, 74 former hay press crew men came from as far as Montana to work at our demonstration. It surprised me so many were still around. Like threshing bees on the Great Plains, baling crews were part of the social fabric of farming in central California. I consider my restoration work a gift to history and - in a real way - it's a tribute to those who worked so hard many years ago to do the work so easily done today.
On Aug. 16, 2003, we baled hay with the newly rebuilt Junior Monarch dump-off press, a restored Jacob Price 'Petaluma' hay press owned by Ken McCrary and my 1939 belt-powered Junior Monarch press at an EDGE&TA Branch 6-sanctioned public demonstration near Pleasanton, Calif.
George Cabral and Stan Amaral brought horses and mules from Ceres, Calif., in the Central Valley to power the two older presses. Leonard Silva's International TD-35 tractor powered the 1939 baler. The volunteer crews and more than 450 spectators had a great day baling hay. Everyone seemed to appreciate all of our restoration work and admired the beautiful hay press back in action. FC
- For more information and addition al pictures of the Junior Monarch dump-off hay press in action, visit www. oldhaypress.com
Contact Don Wood at 2900 Camino Tassajara, Danville, CA 94506; or call (925) 736-8216; or e-mail: dcwblksmth@aol. com
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