| June/July 2000

330 Oak Drive Gholson, Texas 76705-5944

Line shaft display I built in 1999. Drill press, bench grinder and power hacksaw all powered by an LB IHC engine. This picture was taken at the Hillsboro, Texas, Cotton Pickin' Fair in 1999.

It has been a few years since I got started in the rusty iron hobby. I attended a few engine and tractor shows and finally decided to restore an old FM Z engine I had gotten from my uncle a few years before.

You printed my story on that one a few years ago, along with a Cushman Husky engine I had. I still have the FM engine and Dempster pump display because it has a lot of sentimental value to me. I ended up trading the Cushman for an Ottawa 4 HP with a swing-arm limbsaw. Of course, the engine was not in running condition, and it and the saw were missing many parts. When I got it home I disassembled the engine to see how bad it was. It was plain to me that someone had started working on it but didn't get very far. After making and repairing some of the parts, I reassembled the engine. It was still missing the fuel tank, oiler, and Wico EK mag. I had a fuel tank and oiler on hand that would work fine. However, I did not have a mag. After pricing a few EK mags I decided to build a battery ignition for it. I had a few Model T buzz coils on hand and decided that was the way to go. I made a small coil box and fastened it to the engine where the mag had been mounted. Then I made my own breaker system and mounted it to the coil box. The push rod that had driven the mag was still there so I used it to operate the breaker system I built. I hooked it up to a battery and it fired the plug just fine. I sent the timing as close as I could and tried to start it, with no luck. My wife had found a copy of an instruction manual through her university library's interlibrary loan system. After reading it several times I finally figured out the proper system for starting it. The first time it fired up it ran fairly well. I still had no idea what it was supposed to look like when complete. Then I looked in my American Gasoline Engines book and there it was. As soon as I saw the picture with the limbsaw attached I knew one logical thing to do: write to GEM for help, which is what I did. The response was far better than I could have hoped for. I received letters with photographs, drawings, and specifications from all over this great country, and even one letter from Canada. What really surprised me was the phone call I received from a man about 20 miles from my home who owned one of these saw rigs himself. He invited me to come and look at his engine. After seeing it, all the drawings and specs I had received were easier to understand. I went right to work making or hunting up all the missing parts. I am no machinist, but am handy enough to get by. About six months after I brought home the basket-case I took it to its first show. It runs quite well with the ignition system I built, so I've never worried about not having an EK mag. Since completing that part I have since acquired a log saw attachment for it also. It makes a nice-looking display and I get many compliments on it. It also won a plaque for Best Engine Display at the show in Hamilton, Texas, in 1998.

With his story, Larry included some copies of old ads from Hospodar, a farm newspaper published in Omaha, Nebraska, early in the twentieth century. The ads are all in Czechoslovakian. Any translators out there?

My next major project was a line shaft display. I had been planning it for a long time and had been collecting parts with which to build it. I started by restoring an old iron-wheeled hayrack frame that I got from my folks. Then I built a heavy flat deck on it out of iron and treated two-by-eights. I made three A frames to hold up the line shaft and bearings and pulleys. I mounted an LB IHC engine, grinder, drill press, and vise on the deck. The engine drove the shaft with a flat belt that in turn drove the power equipment. It took me about three months to assemble all this. I took it to three shows in central Texas this summer. It also won Best Engine Display at the Hamilton Show this year. This display ended up being quite large and heavy. It was difficult for me to load and it took up too much room in my small shop. I hated to part with it but decided to put a For Sale sign on it at the Temple, Texas, show. It drew many lookers and one man was more interested than most. After looking it over real good he said he wanted to buy it for his son who was showing tractors but also wanted an engine display. We made a deal and it only went about 80 miles from here, so I hope to see it again at some shows in the future. I have since started another project but that will have to wait for another story some other time.


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