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Wood Deere Tractor Great Fun For Kids

"I enjoyed building it and my kids and grand kids have a lot of fun playing in it," says carpenter Gerry Foust, Watertown, Wis., about the full-size wooden "Deere" tractor he made.
The 8-ft. long, 7-ft. high tractor is made entirely from plywood and 2 by 4's except for the rubber tires and axles, which are made out of metal conduit. There's a 52-in. high "half tire" on each side on back and full tires on front. Both sets of tires have wooden wheel hubs. The cab can be entered from either side by climbing a built-in step-ladder. It has open windows and a 4-ft. long bench that can seat three or four kids. The hood slopes sharply down toward the front and has a muffler off an old drag racing car. There's even an authentic Deere emblem on front of the tractor.
Foust got a single used rear tractor tire free from a tire store and used a saber saw to cut it lengthwise in half. He took apart an old wooden reel that had been used to hold electric cable and used the two sides, nailing one onto each half tire. He made imitation lug nuts by drilling shallow holes in the wooden hubs and using a hammer to drive 1-in. long, 1/2-in. dia. carriage bolts into them. A length of 4-in. dia. metal conduit between the tires serves as the rear axle.
The front tires have 3/4-in. thick plywood wheel hubs. Foust cut the plywood into a circle that's 4 in. bigger in diameter than the hole in the tire, leaving 2 in. of overlap. He then cut through the tire's sidewalls and pulled them apart so that he could slide the plywood inside the tire where he screwed it on.
"It looks so real people have even asked me what kind of engine it has," says Foust. "My daughter has a lot of fun playing in it. The steering wheel was salvaged from a boat and turns freely. I put a couple of keys on a shoestring and made a slot in the dash so she can put the keys into the hook eyelet and pretend she's starting the tractor.
"I built two of the tractors and keep one on my farm and another one at my grand daughter's place. Each tractor weighs 500 to 600 lbs. I use a front-end loader to move them."
Foust has also built several other wooden play things including carriages, buggies, buckboards, pony carts, a wooden play train, a giant rocking horse, a Cincerella coach, and a circus wagon.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gerald Foust, N9010 Ridge Lane, Watertown, Wis. 53094 (ph 414 569-9443).


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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #3