2006 - Volume #30, Issue #4, Page #30[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Have Wheelchair, Will Mow
He built a 2-wheeled trailer that lets him operate a Snapper walk-behind mower, equipped with a 48-in. deck, right from his wheelchair.
The trailer is made from expanded metal with channel iron sides and measures 4 ft. long by 3 ft. wide. The trailer's bed is raised and lowered by means of a cantilever system that's connected to both wheels. A pair of hinged metal arms on front of the trailer connect to a a 1/4-in. dia. metal rod that goes back to the wheels. There's a hinged tailgate on back of the trailer that's also connected to the cantilever system.
To access the trailer, Bragdon pushes the arms forward to lower the trailer and tailgate to the ground and then guides the wheelchair up onto the bed. Then he pins the trailer to a drawbar on back of the mower. Pulling back on the handles causes the trailer to lift up off the ground and at the same time brings the tailgate to an upright position, where it serves as a safety guard to keep the wheelchair from ever accidentally falling off the back of the trailer. Holddown latches on each side of the trailer lock the wheelchair down, and for extra safety he also installed a kill switch with a small cable that's attached to the wheelchair.
"I really enjoy using it," says Bragdon. "My only expense was for the expanded metal, which was less than $50. The walk-behind mower has a 14 1/2 hp engine and has no trouble pulling me up hills. The Snapper mower doesn't have a reverse gear. If something ever happens to the mower, I just lower the trailer down and back the wheelchair out."
Before he built the trailer, Bragdon had used a trapeze in his shop to get into the seat of his riding mower. "The mower was under the trapeze and I'd pull the wheelchair up next to the mower, then reach up and grab the trapeze so I could lift myself over onto the mower seat. Once I got on I was all set. However, one day while I was cutting grass the belt that drives the transmission broke and I had no way of getting off the mower. Luckily, I had a cell phone and after waiting for some time, my neighbor came and brought me my wheelchair.
"I bought the Snapper walk-behind mower used with only 264 hours on it. I paid $300. At first I tried hooking the wheelchair directly up to the mower's drawbar, but whenever the wheelchair went through mud I got all dirty. That's when I decided it was time to build the trailer."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Bragdon, 426 Rnd. Mtn. Ln., London, Arkansas 72847 (ph 479 293-4256).
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