The Nostalgia of Plowing
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Those who've restored antique farm equipment know that costs of parts can mount quickly, whether they're used originals, new-off-the-shelf or reproductions. That's what Ralph Blatterspiel of Payson, Ariz., found out when he restored a John Deere model 52 two-bottom plow built around 1935. He was fortunate, though, to have a parts book from John Deere to guide him.
Ralph took the plow completely apart then sanded, ground, straightened and replaced every nut, bolt and grease fitting with new Grade 8 hardware. New-off-the-shelf dog levers and other small parts as well as accurate decals were obtained from dealers across the country.
But making the piece exactly like original wasn't a concern for Ralph. He says he didn't use the correct Grade 5 square head nuts and other hardware, since such original hardware is expensive and difficult to obtain. Ralph says, original or not, the plow is his to do with as he wishes since he rebuilt it to his satisfaction, and it's as strong and good-looking as when new. 'I hope I'm in as good condition when almost 70 years old,' he observes.
Pete Cecil of Bend, Ore., was offered a free 'mystery plow' to restore. A friend had it hidden on his back lot, heavily rusted and missing its handles and a few metal parts.
A 14-inch steel beam walking plow, it has its land slide, share and moldboard stamped with the John Deere logo. All the other metal parts are stamped 'PO,' followed by part numbers. PO may stand for 'Pennsylvania and Ohio,' Pete guesses, adding that all the metal parts were originally painted red.
Pete obtained a set of replacement handles from the Ozark Handle Company in Mansfield, Mo. Also missing was the front horizontal quadrant, which Pete had purchased before he bought the plow.
A handle tension rod was also needed as well, so Pete purchased a quarter-inch by 24-inch steel rod from the hardware store and had both ends threaded at a local machine shop. Replacement carriage bolts and square-headed nuts were found at another hardware store.
Pete wire-brushed the plow with an electric drill, then coated the metal parts with primer and three coats of Chinese red enamel paint. After receiving the handles, he looked at a friend's plow collection for installation details.