Early-Day Sickle Bar Grinders Salvaged
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He has no daydreams about getting rich off of old iron. But he has seen values rise.
"I bought my first grinders for $5 to $7 each," he says. "The most I've paid for one is $90. Generally, you'll pay $35 to $40 for grinders at shows."
Gailey's grinders are left basically as he finds them.
"I do free them up so they'll work," he says.
Most of those he finds need some attention.
"Typically, you'll find a complete grinder, but a piece will be broken," he says. "You're pretty much out of luck when it comes to finding parts. I've made chains myself to replace broken or missing ones."
Occasionally, he's able to salvage parts from a spare. That's particularly true with the stones.
"The stones are getting hard to find," he says. "And I've lost three in the last year. They got rained on, and then the sun baked them, and they cracked."
Gailey is a regular at shows in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and Florida.
"You'll find certain brands in certain areas," he says. "I have one that was made in Canada; it's marked with a maple leaf. The rarest one I have is made by Montgomery Wards. I found it in Woodstock, Va. It is as rare a grinder as I have ... I've only seen one other one like it.
"International made 12 grinders, and I have 11 of them," he says. "The IHC merger in 1909 brought several companies together. That's why there's so many IHC grinders.
'I have one that was made before 1909; those made after 1909 have the IHC circle logo."
Retired from Shell Chemical, where he worked for 23 years, Gailey has the time and patience to continue his search. At this point, he'd be happy just to see a picture of a rare grinder, like a John Deere model he's heard of.
"The grinders I need are getting harder to find," he says. "But this old iron ... it's like cigarettes and whiskey: It's habit forming." FC
For more information: Gailey Henderson, RR 1, Box 264, Williamstown, WV, 26187; (304) 464-4579.
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