How Did This Happen?

Old hay baler

Tree in machine.

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6232 Quitman Highway, Quitman, Louisiana 71268

It all started with a trip through Arkansas. I saw an old hay baler at an antique and junk store. We stopped, but found out that it was not for sale. That got me started.

When we returned home from church the next Sunday, my sons and I were talking about that baler. I said I knew where one was, not too far away. My son offered to go along with me to look at it, so we went. I had seen it about 15 years earlier in a pasture with some weeds and briers grown up around it. (I have enclosed a picture for you to see it.) When we drove up, I thought it was gone. There was a man there who said he rented the property, but didn't know about any baler. I asked him if it was okay for us to go look, and he said yes. We were about ten feet away from it before we saw it. I immediately got excited. It even had a motor on it!

I didn't know at the time that it was a 3-5 HP L B International Harvester. The serial number on the baler is CC 28T. The renter took us to the land owner. We talked with him three hours or so before we convinced him to sell it.

We returned the next Saturday armed with axes, saws, weed-hooks, truck, trailer and plenty of help. It took us about 2? hours to get the baler chopped free of a tree, sawed and hooked out of its cover and loaded on the trailer. When we got it home and unloaded it, my wife wasn't nearly so impressed as I was. I couldn't understand why!

Two of my sons helped. It took us about a week to get the tree out of the gears. It had only cracked one bull gear in one spot. I got it welded up and we scraped, wire-brushed and sandblasted, then we got it cleaned up, painted and reassembled. I painted the whole thing two more times. I think it turned out okay. At least I am proud of it.

This was my first restoration project, I took pictures of it, then carried them back to the man I bought the baler from. He enjoyed them almost as much as I did. He said the best he could recall, the last time his dad used the baler was in the summer of 1940. With the help of the pictures, I was able to purchase a 1945 A International tractor from him. As you can see, I don't have the engine restored yet. It was stuck hard. I filled the whole thing with diesel fuel, and about two months later I got it to move, and then disassembled it. That was as far as I got. I needed a governor gear for it. We got it on July 3, 1998, and were able to take the baler to the Simsboro, Louisiana, show on July 3,1999.I belted it to a tractor, and we baled some hay for them.

As I said, I am new at restoration. I have received GEM for about one year. I refer to the article in the October 1999 issue page 21, 'Stationary Engine Mailing List.' A reference was made to two other magazines that said they were more professional. Who needs professional anyway? I am just an old country boy and enjoy GEM just as it is.