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Header Reconditioning Business Grew From Part-Time Hobby
Saskatchewan grain farmer Ed Lorenz fixed up a few combine headers to resell about 20 years ago.
"At the time, it was more of a hobby, just to keep busy in the off season," he says. But it wasn't long before neighbors and even people he didn't know were ringing his phone and knocking on his door looking for a good reconditioned header.
Today, he keeps from two to six workers busy year-round at his Paradise Hill, Saskatchewan, shop, tearing down, fixing up and reassembling headers which he then sells all over Canada and the U.S. "We like to have at least a hundred headers all ready to go in advance of the busy grain harvest season, and by the time it's over, we're usually down to just a handful," he says.
Lorenz has no trouble finding headers to recondition. "We take trade-ins from farmers who buy a reconditioned head from us. But most of the ones we get come from dealers. A lot of Canadian and U.S. dealers know we'll buy used headers that need work, but can be put back into working condition," he says.
Several auctioneers conducting overstock used equipment auctions also notify him if there are a lot of headers to be sold at one place.
"We usually try to find at least 10 headers in one area so we can haul them home economically," he says.
Before headers are loaded to be shipped to Lorenz, they're partially disassembled in order to get as many as possible on a truck.
"We take off the reels and divider points and other parts. When they arrive here, we clean them the best we can so there's no dirt and no weed seed left in them. We spin the augers to make sure they run true. From there, we put on all new guards and sections if they need them. We replace worn bearings, sprockets, chains, auger finger guides, and anything else needed to get it as close to new condition as possible," he says. "Then we make sure all the protective shields are in place."
Once they're mechanically sound, most headers are sanded down and given a new coat of paint.
Lorenz says while they want the header to be as close to new as possible, they also want to keep the cost to the farmer as low as possible, too. So no repairs are made or parts replaced that aren't needed.
Finally, once a header is ready for sale, he brands it by putting his own sticker on. "We've been doing this long enough we're seeing our stickers on headers coming in for trade or from dealers," he says.
Lorenz says he works mostly with Case-IH and John Deere platform headers. "We can restore any make of header, though, and from the smallest platform up to 30 footers," he says. "We do flex and rigid headers, with bat reels, pickup reels, or no reels," he adds. "We even do the occasional draper header, although most are auger feed."
In addition to reconditioning headers, he also makes header trailers to make it easier for his customers to handle their headers.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ed Lorenz, E. Lorenz Holdings, Box 95, Paradise Hill, Sask. S0M 2G0 Canada (ph 306 344-4811; Website: www.straightcutheaders.com).

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2001 - Volume #25, Issue #5