A Mighty Mini-Grader: Converting an Allis-Chalmers Model G

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With the exception of a new grader blade, Roger Pedercini used scrap metal to build his mini-grader.
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Detail of the mini-grader’s working parts. Roger’s next project: a Model T conversion.
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The Allis-Chalmers Model G was the inspiration for Roger’s mini-grader. He mounted a model of the tractor in a plastic box just beneath the grader’s roof.
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Many people look at a tractor and see what is. Roger Pedercini, though, sees what might be – and that’s how his one-of-a-kind mini-grader came to be. The North Adams, Mass., man, a self-confessed packrat, looked at an Allis-Chalmers Model G and saw more.

“Because of the way the Allis G was made, with an arched frame in the front and the engine in the rear,” he explains, “I saw a resemblance to big graders.” That was the inspiration for his Model G-converted “mini-grader.”

The Allis-Chalmers Model G was made from 1948-55 for use in truck gardens and general farm use. “It ended up being a cultivating tractor,” Roger says.

Roger’s mini-grader is a recycled marvel. “I used all scrap iron for this project,” he says. “Since I am a Depression baby, I’m a packrat. The only thing I bought new was the 3-point grader blade. I used angle iron for the cab. I spent more time with the wire brush on my grinder than you could believe.” Purists may find fault, he says, but he enjoyed working with scrap material.

Using hydraulic cylinders he’d had on hand for more than 30 years created a particular challenge. “They had an 8-inch stroke to start with,” Roger says. “I got the blade down to 4 inches below grade and 12 inches above grade. If I were starting over today, it would have been different. Those cylinders had such a short stroke. Now I have two other Model Gs: I could have used those and wouldn’t have had to put on all that linkage.”

Although common sense would seem to indicate a need, Roger did not lengthen the tractor’s frame to accommodate the conversion. “It was a tight squeeze to get everything in,” he says. “I mounted a pump on the engine to get live hydraulics in and, in the process, added an alternator and changed it to 12 volts.”

Finally, he built a platform for easier access. “It was awkward to get on and off the tractor without it,” he notes. Working sporadically over a period of a few years, Roger added a roof (“It just gives it a nice appearance”) and a coat of yellow paint. “In the 1950s all the industrial and construction equipment was painted yellow,” he explains. Magnetic decals finished the project, which now occupies a place of honor in his garage.

Roger credits natural ability and a farm background as providing skills needed for such a project. “All farmers do the same thing,” he says. “They make what they need.” The mini-grader was no overnight sensation. “I didn’t make blueprints or plans,” he admits, “but I spent a lot of time thinking about it, sitting on an upside-down 5-gallon bucket and working through it in my mind.”

For more information: Roger A. Pedercini, 448 Walnut St., North Adams, MA 01247-3752; (413) 664-6020.

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