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Big Ideas From All Around the Farm: February 2014

  • 01

    Gas tank cover beautifies, protects

    I made this structure out of 4"×4" treated lumber, and the roof is covered with shake shingles. It keeps the elements off of our 560-gallon tank and pump. The tank itself sits up on 4×4s about 8 inches above the ground. The light has a motion sensor so it turns on when we fill  vehicles after dark.         

    Don Hoveskeland || Tolna, North Dakota

  • 02

    Make oil level easy to see

    At one time, I had trouble reading the oil level on the dipstick, particularly right after an oil change. So I painted the bottom portion white, and now the oil level is easily seen. I used regular white paint with no problems. However, a high-temp paint or powder coat may be even better.   

    Don Wood || Princeton, Illinois

  • 03

    Pick up brush or move bales    

    This implement is built to pile up brush and then to haul it away. It piles brush three times faster than a skid loader, and, of course, it’s easier to see where I’m going from the tractor seat. My brush rake-and-grapple combination is designed to also load round bales two high on a trailer.  

    Tommy Keith || Oakwood, Oklahoma

  • 04

    These tool hangers are versatile  

    I have found that using plastic conduit and plastic pipe (PEX) hangers is a great way to hang tools on my shop walls. The PEX hangers work especially well for open-end wrenches. These hangers come in many sizes, are inexpensive, mount with one or two screws, and can be purchased at most lumber or hardware stores.    

    Terry Johnson || Iowa City, Iowa

  • 05

    Here’s an option for extra leverage

    Faced with a really tight nut, I dug through my pile of old PTO shafts to find just the right piece to make a leverage extender (or breaker) bar. I cut a 2-foot piece of this triangular shaft. (Note: You could use anything that is hollow and strong enough not to bend. Also, I drilled a small hole in the shaft for a hanging loop to conveniently store it.  

    Joseph Patterson || Fayetteville, Tennessee

  • 06

    Table won’t wobble on an uneven floor  

    When I made myself another welding table, I built it so one end of the table legs will pivot up and down like the front end of a tractor. A 5∕8-inch bolt for the pivot is centered between the wheels. There is a ½-inch vertical gap on each side to accommodate the leveling. The frame is made of square tubing; the pivot point is flat bar on each side.

    David Dowling || Lohrville, Iowa

  • 07

    Preserve order    

    Finding misplaced parts trays was always a problem when all the trays were the same color. I’ve had no more issues with that since I color-coded all of my trays and the shelves they belong on. Furthermore, with my numbering system, each tray gets returned to its proper location on the correct shelf. The colorful shelves brighten up the shop, too!      

    Tom Block || Pearl City, Illinois

  • 08

    Good reminder to turn light back off

    My husband uses an inside bin light, but he has a bad habit: He turns on that inside light and then forgets to turn it off. When he comes back the next time and needs it, he finds it’s burned out. Now, however, he’s figured out a way to prevent that. He just snaps on the outside light every time he turns on the inside light. He says that if he builds another bin, he’ll put a signal lamp on the switch.

    Hannelore Meade || Tiffin, Iowa

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