Have Your Cake and Eat It Too, or, How To Balance Your Hobby and Family

| January/February 1997

1440 Sycamore Street, Kingsport, Tennessee 37664

I finally got around to submitting an article on one of my projects.

A friend of mine, Ezra, who runs a small engine repair business in a nearby town in addition to his regular business, is always keeping an eye out for old iron for yours truly. It's amazing what is still traded in from time to time. Many of the old 2-wheel tractors are still in service here. Many with all of the original implements still with them!

One day, after one of our unusually large snowfalls last December, I went to pay my monthly visit to see Ez. He said, 'I have something in the shop you may be interested in.'

After taking a look, all I could see was a pair of wooden plow handles sticking up from the midst of a bunch of riding mowers. Closer examination revealed it was the remains of a 1949 Planet Jr. tractor with dual wheels on either side. It was powered by a cast iron Briggs model 6 engine with a 6:1 gear reduction. The engine produces about 2 HP. Well, we agreed on price, using a little Christmas bonus money to make the purchase, and brought the 'Jr' home within the next two weeks.

The first thing I concentrated on was the engine. It was free but had no compression at all. Upon disassembly, the two compression rings had collapsed and the piston was showing a little wear. Also, the intake valve was pitted badly and not seating properly.