Robert B. Stauffer brought in some color photos of his models, and then agreed to write about the way he got into this field and what he has done since. We think his comments should encourage others to try also. Bob lives at 109 N. Grant St., Palmyra, Pa. 17078. This is not far from Lancaster, where we have our offices; or Hershey, or Kinzers, which he mentions. When not making models he works at Hamilton Bank in Lancaster.
As long as I can remember I can I was fond of farming and farm equipment. I remember Grandpa Bucher's International Harvester equipment (which was kept clean and in fine condition). I remember Grandpa taking me to farm equipment demonstrations at Hershey, Pennsylvania and trips to the local farm equipment dealer who had those neat metal toys in the showcase. Then there was my first trip to Rough & Tumble at Kinzers, PA. (on the south side of Route 30) with Dad and my brother in 1956. Those big steam traction engines made an impression on me!
About four years ago I was discussing with Dad how I had the urge to make something with my hands. After spending all day thinking and making decisions at the bank, I need a change of pace when I arrive home. The idea of making something out of wood appealed to me. Before I knew it, Dad provided me with a jig saw. I decided to try making a 1/16 size model of a John Deere model D tractor since I had a reprint of a catalog giving good pictures and overall dimensions. The first model was made to be rugged as a toy and wasn't very detailed. But I was thrilled to have something I designed and built with my own hands. I proceeded to 'mass produce' the basic parts for ten more model D's. I made four more with either a matching manure spreader or two wheel wagon and gave them away as birthday gifts, etc. Then I experimented with variations of the basic design; longer hoods, different grills and different paint. Dad gave me a drill press and lathe. 1 began turning the wheels so they resemble tires. I started adding engine details, fenders and other features to make the toys more realistic.
My second basic design was a row crop. I attempted a model of the Oliver 60 and succeeded on the second try. My next model was a two ton Advance-Rumely truck from the early 1920's. I based my model on a picture from Wheels of Farm Progress by Marvin McKinley. Not knowing the dimensions of the truck, 1 drew plans so the back of the truck was big enough to carry one of my model D tractors. I suspect the truck is somewhat larger than 1/16 scale.
About this time, I built a cardboard and wood model of a John Deere pull-type combine. I often admired the metal toys but didn't want to pay the price to buy one. I based this model on pictures of the prototype and suspect it's a bit larger than 1/16. I'd like to find a prototype to measure and try another, all wood model.
Desiring to make my models more accurate, I measured a number of tractors at the Rough & Tumble Threshermans Reunion. My favorite was a 1953 Cockshutt model 50, so this was my next model.
My most recent model is a McCormick Deering 10-20. My model is based on photos and dimensions obtained from various sources. I painted the model the colors of early 10-20's; gray with red wheels.
My best models result from measurements obtained from the prototype. I measured nearly a dozen tractors I'd like to model, including a 1939 Minneapolis-Moline GTA and a 1916 Rumely 30-60. I enjoy drawing plans for my models.
I'm not sure what model I'll make next. I think some tractors have exceptionally nice lines and are easier to model; like the streamlined Olivers. Some other styles that appeal to me are; Silver Kings, Twin City KT, McCormick WD-40, Deere model R, Case models L, C, LA and the Fordson 8N. Someday I want to try my hand at a steam traction engine. I'm looking for an antique car, like a 1928 Packard sedan, to measure so I can develop plans. Ultimately I'd like to model a railroad steam locomotive like Strasburg Rail Road number 90, a decapod.
I enjoy working with wood. It's easy to work with; you can cover your mistakes and make changes easily. I wouldn't have the patience to make metal models like my Dad, Mose Stauffer, who must start over again whenever he 'goofs' on a part. My models take between 30 and 50 hours to make, including painting. I normally put two coats of paint on each model although some parts get more. If the graining of the wood is severe, I coat it with wood glue before painting. This seals the wood and provides a smoother finish. Lots of sanding between coats produces a nice finish. I use mostly pine and bass wood.
If you are like me (I'm not mechanically inclined so the 'real thing' isn't practical and I can't afford the 'collectible' metal toys), try making a model from wood. It's very satisfying. Sometimes too satisfying. .. sometimes I have trouble limiting my model making so I don't take time away from my family and other responsibilities. I would enjoy hearing from other folks who model farm machinery in wood.