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Try Plastic Twine Before Paying Big Baler Repair Bill
The above statement is just one of the suggestions you'll get from the "Knotter Resurrecter," one of the most knowledgeable baler knotter repair experts you'll ever find.
The Knotter Resurrecter, based in Prairie Farm, Wis., has spent the past 20 summers doing hardly anything else but repairing and rebuilding knotters on all makes of square balers, from the oldest to the newest. (For personal reasons, he prefers to keep his real name out of this story).
"Knotters on different brands of balers work differently but the first thing to look at when they fail is the twine," he says. "If people would switch to plastic twine instead of sisal, their knotters, no matter how old or worn, will work better."
The reason is that plastic is more uniform in size and strength and, it's not as abrasive as natural fibers. Also, it doesn't shed little fibers that can get into the working mechanisms and clog them or prevent them from operating properly.
"It doesn't matter what make or model of baler you're using, plastic twine seems to make the knotters on them all work better," says the Knotter Resurrecter.
If changing to plastic twine doesn't sufficiently improve knotter performance, then you have two choices. The first is to tear the tying mechanisms apart and repair them yourself. The second is to call in an expert.
The Knotter Resurrecter didn't set out to become a knotter expert. But he had an old baler he wanted to use, and couldn't get it to tie. "I called in the dealer and his knotter repair man. They worked and worked at it, but didn't really seem to know what needed to be done. All they were doing was reading a repair manual and guessing at what to do. I could have read the same manual and had about the same odds of fixing the problem. It was like a shot in the dark, and I had to pay for the ammunition."
So he started reading manuals and tearing apart both working and non-working knotters, measuring them with precision tools, making comparisons, and writing down his findings. Then he started rebuilding non-working knotters to dimensions and tolerances he found on new parts. In most cases, he was able to make worn-out knotters work like new again. In some cases, after welding and resizing shafts or gears, he was able to make them work better than new.
Now after more than 20 years of repairing knotters, the Knotter Resurrecter has begun putting his acquired knowledge on paper. He plans to have a book printed later this year. He'll include pictures and drawings showing what perfect knotters look like for most brands of balers, where to look for wear, and how to rebuild worn parts. If there's enough interest, he'll publish periodic updates as he learns more about new styles of knotters being used on small and large square balers.
"I've limited my service area to Wisconsin and a little bit of Minnesota. But over the years, I've gotten calls pleas from frustrated baler operators all around the U.S. and even some in Canada. The geography of the problem is far bigger than I can cover. I get calls from 4 to 5 times as many people as I can get to just in this area alone. So I've decided to spend some time putting this book together in the hope that people in other areas will learn enough to do what I've been doing," he says.
Write or call if you're interested in his book or need help in repairing your baler knotters.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Baler Knotter Resurrections, P.O. Box 77, Prairie Farm, Wis. 54762 (ph 715 455-1399).

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2001 - Volume #25, Issue #3