RUSTY IRON HOBBY

By Staff
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1920s 4 HP Ottawa engine with limb saw and log saw attachments. This picture was taken at the Fall Show at Temple, Texas, in October 1998.
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Witte ad also from Hospodar.
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This cultivator was advertised by the Janesville Machine Co. of Janesville, Wisconsin.
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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.

This is a great hobby and I want to thank all the people who
have helped me out with my projects. I have made many friends along
the way. I would also like to invite everyone to attend our show at
Hillsboro, Texas, on Memorial Day weekend, 2000. Our club is new
and this will be our second show. The first one was a great success
and we hope the next one will be even better. The name of our
organization is the Heart of Texas Tractor and Engine Club (HOTTEC)
of Hillsboro, Texas. If anyone needs information or flyers, please
call or write me. I really enjoy this magazine and read each issue
cover to cover.

P.S. At present, I am looking for a three-spoke flywheel for a
John Deere 1-B sheller.

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