Inspired – a Lift Disc Restoration

Wayne Wiseman finishing up a bit of discing.

Wayne Wiseman finishing up a bit of discing.

by Wayne Wiseman / published in Spring 2014 N-News, Volume 29 Number 2

When I received my N-News Vintage Tractor calendar last year, the picture of the 8N tractor and lift-type disc (May 2013) caught my eye. I had acquired a lift-type disc, but in very rusty and worn condition. I didn’t know anything about the disc, but I read on the metal plate that it was a Dearborn with a model number of Lift-E. As I own a 1958 Ford 861 PowerMaster, I thought this disc should be worth rebuilding and would be a good match with my Ford tractor. I will admit I nearly brought it to the scrap yard as the disc did not function properly, but the picture in the calendar changed my mind. With help from N-News and exploring the internet, I determined that I owned a Dearborn Lift-Type Tandem Disc Harrow. Mine is a 6 foot disc and I think the one in the calendar is 5 foot model, though it is hard to tell. I purchased the disc in 1983 and paid $265.00 for it.

Disc before restoration

Disc before restoration

I emailed Woodex Bearing Company that advertises Wood Disc Harrow Bearing. They replied that the type of disc I have does not use wood type bearings. I then checked with Agri-Supply and they had the complete replacement bearing assemblies. I needed eight, and found that the cost was more than I wanted to invest in a garden disc.

The next step was to try and make metal inserts similar to engine rod bearing inserts. Each bearing assembly in the disc has a total of six inserts. The disc has eight bearing housings, which meant I would need to make a total of 48 metal inserts, three on the top half and three on the bottom half of each bearing assembly. I used thin metal and checked the amount of wear and then measured the thickness. I cut flat metal approximately 1” wide and 3” long with a thin blade in a 4½” angle grinder. I used a torch to heat the metal strip until they were red hot. I formed the metal strips to the contour of the bearing assemblies using a hammer. I then spot-welded the metal inserts on each end and installed the bearing housing on the axle spools, turning the bearing housing to check the tightness.

Bearing holders opened up.

Bearing holders opened up.

If it was too tight, I would grind off a small amount of the metal inserts until the housing turned freely when installed on the axle spools. I did some repair work on the remainder of the disc and then primed and painted the whole implement. I filled the bearings with grease, hooked the disc to my 1958 Ford 861 PowerMaster and tested the disc in the garden. The disc functioned very well and I rated the outcome of the project as “very well satisfied.”

Harrow done and ready to work.

Harrow done and ready to work.

I will point out that I only use the disc once a year in my own garden. If I had planned on using the disc for acres of work, I would not have chosen to rebuild – I would have purchased the new parts. With plenty of grease and in its current level of use, I am confident the disc will last for many years.

My Ford equipment inventory includes the 1958 Ford 861 PowerMaster tractor, a two bottom Ford plow with shear pins, and a Cordwood saw and this six foot disc. I feel great that I saved another Dearborn implement from the scrap yard and will pass it on some day. Until then, I will continue to be a happy gardener using my Ford implements.

disc.harrow

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