BETWEEN THE BOOKENDS


| September 2003



FC_V6_I2_Sep_2003_12-1.jpg

Classic John Deere Tractors

The foundation for restoring John Deere tractors

For those collectors who have a bent for John Deere tractor restoration and enjoyed the previously published How to Restore Classic Farm Tractors by Tharran E. Gaines, they're going to love his latest book, How to Restore Classic John Deere Tractors. Instead of providing generic instructions and photographs of 'off-brand tractors' like his other work (okay, just about every 'green' restorer considers any other tractor types off-brands), the book zeros in on those famed John Deere tractors.

Don't expect all older John Deere models to be covered, though. 'Classic' in the book's title only means that tractors older than 1960 are covered. That means two cylinder models are shown to the exclusion of New Generation or later models.

Does this blurb on the cover page ring true? 'The ultimate do-it-yourself guide to rebuilding and restoring Deere two-cylinder tractors.' 'Ultimate' is a pretty powerful, all-inclusive word to be sure, but this book likely comes closer to that than anything else in a bookstore or catalog. It covers a wide range of topics in its 217 pages and quite thoroughly explores the territory covered.

Flipping through the pages when I first picked up the book, I'll admit I wondered about the value of its first three chapters. What does 'Two-Cylinder History,' 'Shopping for a Tractor' and 'Setting Up Shop,' add to a tractor book? Then I realized that its purpose was to establish both a firm foundation for the restorer, plus provide him with a well-rounded approach that goes beyond the nuts and bolts. Yes, readers will be interested in reading about 'The Beginning of a Legacy' before they start skinning their knuckles. For instance, they'll know facts like exactly when John Deere replaced model numbers with letters.

For the first-time restorer, the second and third chapters will prove invaluable. For example, how should a buyer respond when a seller's tractor won't start, although he claims it was running great the day before? Or how should one set up a shop area to be more effective and efficient? Specific suggestions concerning what specialized tools and equipment is needed are also itemized. Money saving tips are included as well, such as how a 2- or 21/2-foot piece of railroad track can replace an invaluable, but expensive, anvil.

 The chapter begins, however, with two short sections of excellent advice: Take your time and establish goals. In other words, look at a restoration project more as a marathon than a 100-meter dash that raises one's blood pressure. Remember, restoration is supposed to be fun.