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Where To Buy "Orchard Tractor" Parts
Collectors of Deere Orchard tractors will have an easier time restoring their tractors to original condition if they work with John Craig. As co-owner of Craig Welding in Mentone, Indiana, and a collector of
Deere tractors himself, he hadn't thought about making parts for others until a Michigan collector convinced him many other collectors would be interested in reproduction parts.
  "He told me there are a lot of tractors sitting in people's barns just waiting for metal," Craig says. "There has been surprisingly good demand." He's been selling reproduction orchard metal parts for about three years.
  Customers tell Craig that without the orchard metal, their tractors are ordinary utility tractors. Orchard tractors were designed to protect hanging limbs and fruit, by using large metal shields to brush them aside. They were used in orchards all over the country, for oranges in Florida, cherries orchards in Michigan, and pecans in Arkansas, for example. When orchards started trimming lower branches to make it easier for workers and equipment, the orchard tractor was no longer needed.
  The orchard metal is often damaged or missing, Craig explains, because it was removed to change a tire and not put back on.
  Working with original blueprints and using the cold-rolled sheet metal as used on the original orchard tractors, Craig makes exact replicas selling individual parts or complete sets.
  When Craig attends tractor shows he takes his own orchard tractor plus the primed orchard metal pieces. He's working on restoring an orchard disc to show younger people what type work the Orchard tractor did.
  Customers often arrange to pick up orchard metal parts at shows, or they can be sent by freight. The whole unit weighs 350 to 400 lbs.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Craig, Craig Welding Mfg., Inc., 5158 North 825 East, Mentone, Indiana 46539 (ph 574 353-7912; 800 863-6584; john @craig welding.com; www.craigwelding.com/orchard).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #4