2013 - Volume #37, Issue #2, Page #19[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
He Built His Own Loader Tools
Wilky has built heavy-duty log forks for a loader bucket, made an extra-wide pallet fork, designed and built a flexible blade and created a quick-tach device to mount those tools on a loader. He’s also made special log forks that fit inside a conventional dirt bucket and built a heavy-duty box that mounts on the 3-pt. hitch of his loader tractor. Building that full line of equipment followed his time constructing his own shop, installing a 70-year-old car hoist, refurbishing several old cars, re-building a dozen 50-year-old Deere crawlers and still finding time to harvest logs from his property. All that, and yes he even works full-time.
“I’ve always had a lot of ideas,” Wilky says, “and a lot of them have turned into things that I really use.” One of his first projects was buying a 955 Deere loader tractor and modifying the quick hitch to accept a backhoe. He welded brackets inside the conventional gravel bucket to accept two large curved teeth made from scrap railroad steel. The 5-ft. long forks were great for moving brush and loading logs.
After trading up to a larger Deere tractor with a bigger loader, Wilky designed and built his own quick-tach setup to accept a homemade blade and pallet fork. The quick-tach frame is made of scrap steel and mounts to the loader lift arms and tilt cylinders. His 6-ft. wide gravel blade, salvaged from a scrapped Ditch Witch, mounts on the quick-tach frame with a flexible connection made from the springs off a 1984 Camaro. “The springs are strong enough to keep the blade straight for plowing snow or moving a small amount of gravel,” Wilky says. “At the same time it flexes the blade and cushions the impact if I hit something solid.” Wilky said he built the blade with a manual pin system to adjust cutting angles and plans to convert that into a hydraulic system so he can make adjustments from the tractor seat.
Wilky also built a heavy-duty pallet fork that he uses to load logs and brush. The 4-ft. long forks are made from recycled railroad iron and steel from an old dam. The forks mount to the frame with a sleeve that slides on a solid 2-in. shaft. That makes them adjustable from 2 to 6 ft. wide. “The mounting system lets the forks flex up as the loader goes down, and holds them tight to the frame when its lifting,” Wilky says.
His handiwork also includes a 4-ft. square utility box that mounts on a quick hitch at the back of his tractor. He uses that for hauling rocks, tools or split firewood. “Tractors and loaders are made to work, and I just enjoy building equipment that helps them work better around my property,” Wilky says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ross Wilkinson, P.O. Box 1226, Thompson Falls, Mont. 59873 (ph 406 827-4916).
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