Tractors Are Good For the Soul!

By Lauran Paine. Published in the Winter N-News issue, January 2015, Volume 30 Number 1

Lauran Paine

Lauran Paine atop his 1953 Jubilee.

There are fifty odd years between these two pictures, but they’re the same tractor, same harrow and same driver. The tractor, a 1953 Jubilee, has been in the family the whole time. In the photo (right) I was in high school and my dad had only recently purchased the tractor. I’m guessing it was around 1961-62. (The dealer had painted it blue to look like one of the newer Ford tractors. They even painted the battery, coil and radiator hose!)

I restored the tractor a few years ago, and now use it for parades and teaching the grandkids about old tractors. Since the tractor has been in the family so long, I did what I call a “working restoration” as opposed to a “show restoration.” I wanted to keep the personality of the tractor intact.

The steering wheel had some cracks in it, but I didn’t change it because I knew all the hands that have touched it. Ditto the gearshift knob. The proof meter was faded, but I didn’t change that either – I knew all the eyes that have looked at it. The left footrest was bent from when my dad hit a stump; after all these years, my left foot wouldn’t feel correct if it wasn’t canted over.

My dad was a rancher, not a mechanic. He once installed a new coil on the tractor. The bracket holding the coil was adjustable but that was just way too much “monkey business” for him so he just pounded a little wedge of wood in the bracket to hold the coil. When I restored the tractor I put in all new electrical stuff, including a new coil – and I pounded that little wedge of wood right back in place. To my knowledge, the engine has never been touched internally. It’s still a 6-volt system and it starts every time.

The tractor wasn’t just about work on the farm. It was about hayrides and picnics, too. I can’t think of those things and not smile. All of the connections I’ve mentioned don’t make me melancholy – they make me happy. They are re-connections.

harrow restoration

Restoring the harrow to match the tractor!

I just recently restored the harrow and it was fun to complete the original picture again. It’s a Dearborn-Towner Model 11-29. (I got that info from an N-News equipment brochure I ordered.) I painted it with Rustoleum Sunrise Red #7762 (also with guidance from an N-News article). I think I’m the only thing in the picture that is not restorable.

When I drive the tractor, the sights, sounds, vibration and even the rattle of the harrow take me right back to 1961. Magical, I say! Old tractors are good for the soul!

Lauran Paine circa 1961 atop the 1953 Jubilee.

Lauran Paine circa 1961 atop the 1953 Jubilee. How little has changed… on the tractor at least!

Lauran Paine is an unabashed fan of N-News and a regular contributor. Check out his website at www.thunderbumper.com.

Workers: A 9N Movin’ Feed & Snow

By Daniel Howe. Published in the Winter N-News, January 2015, Volume 30 Number 1.

Daniel Howe's 1940 9N takes a breather.

Daniel Howe’s 1940 9N takes a breather. But this beauty is ready to work!

In the summer of 2005, we picked up a 1940 Ford 9N to help out around our 15 acre farm. I knew we needed the tractor to carry round bales to feed our horses, but I also needed it to plow snow. Front mounted snow blades seem to be as scarce as hens teeth and they also use the 3 point arms to get their lift.

Daniel Howe's 1940 9N plow armI set out to design my own reliable plow that would not rely on the rear 3-point hitch. I found a 6’ snow blade at an auction for $50. A buddy of mine gave me 20’ of 2½” drill casing. I cut the pipe in half and welded it to the plow mount. I drilled 1” holes in the end of the pipe and used 4”x1⁄2” “C” channel to make a bracket that is held on by the fender bolts under the rear axle.

The tractor had already been converted to 12-volts by a previous owner, so all I had to do was get a winch and mount it to the brush guard.

Daniel Howe's 1940 9N PTOWith a bale spear on the 3-point hitch, I could now pick up a 600 pound bale of hay and use that for counter weight while plowing the driveway and barn yard. Then I would drop the hay in the pasture to feed the horses. It has proven to be an excellent setup that has worked well for us and earned the tractor the nickname, Maude (tough old woman, strong in battle). I did have to add a set of duo grip tire chains to get through the ice and hardpack, but the plow works fabulously. Total investment was $159 and a couple hours with my mig welder and drill press.

Daniel Howe's 1940 9N at work!

Daniel Howe’s 1940 9N at work on the farm.

Daniel Howe's 1940 9N

Daniel Howe’s 1940 9N outfitted with his own reliable snow plow!

In 2012 Maude received a complete restoration. The plow setup still works amazingly well. We don’t have to haul feed in the winter anymore, so now Maude carries the front blade and a Dearborn rear blade. It is an impressive sight to watch this tractor clean out a driveway with both blades down.

The weather guru’s are predicting a hard cold winter, so we are added one piece rear wheel weights and a Sherman Hi-Torque head. If you would like me to help you build a front mount snow blade you can contact me, “Farmer Dan,” at patchofheaven@att.net.

1969 2000

These days, Steve Domkowski makes his living as a welder/fabricator, but he comes from a long history of farming. Steve’s great-grandfather, Vincent Domkowski, moved to their home place over a hundred years ago and started a small truck farm and beef operation. Steve’s grandfather Anthony took over the operation, followed by Steve’s father, Anthony Jr. Ford tractors have always been the primary power on the farm and though Steve is not farming the home place now, he is honoring that tradition by working his way through the restoration of several Ford tractors, all of which started out on the farm or in his father’s collection. Continue reading

My 1942 9N

Steven Fairfield's 9N

The tractor is a 1942 9N, Ferguson System with a Sherman Transmission. When the 9N was launched, it became evident that a more versatile transmission would be a big improvement over the standard 3 speed. Restoring this tractor back to a more original condition began in 2003. After being torn down, the engine was rebuilt, new king pins installed, clutch, and general mechanical repairs. Continue reading

Workers: Ford-Funk Truss Boom

8N with truss boom featured image

The poles were 6×6’s twenty feet long. The metal trusses spanned thirty feet. I was building a pole barn to house tractors and combines at a peanut farm. Most of the work I’d do myself, but Fred Catabia, a friend, volunteered to help when he had time. The first problem I needed to solve was how to set the heavy posts and install the metal trusses. Fred recalled that I had a Ford tractor with a front end loader. Continue reading