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Twin-Table Swather Has Worked Great For 39 Years
John Martens built his twin-table swather in 1977, a year after FARM SHOW began publishing. Like FARM SHOW, the swather is still working great. Nearly 92, Martens is the only operator to ever run it, which is one reason he says it still works.
  “A knowledgeable operator is the best part of any machine,” says Martens. “With a right side table swather like this, you can’t go too fast. That’s why I knew it would never be adopted commercially. Most operators are too concerned about speed.”
  Martens used the engine, drive and frame from an Oliver 40 combine with a Continental engine and 5-speed transmission. He usually runs it in 4th gear at about 4 mph with the engine at 1,800 rpm’s.
  The twin tables are IH 4000 swather tables priced at about $3,000 each when new. With the help of his brother-in-law, an experienced welder, he mounted the 19 1/2-ft. tables on a frame fabricated from 2 lengths of 4 by 6-in., 3/16-in. tubing. One table, mounted to the front of the stripped-down combine frame, feeds to the right. The second table, extending out to the right side, feeds to the left.
  The right side table is pivot-mounted to the combine frame with a large caster wheel at the far end of the side table. A 5-in. dia., 4-ft. hydraulic cylinder swings the right side table back alongside the combine for transit between fields.
  Each table is mounted to its frame section with 2 lifting arms with 3 springs each that Martens bought new from Versatile. They had been designed for Versatile’s own swather tables.
  “When I finish a field, I can simply lift the swathers and swing the right side table back into place without stopping,” says Martens. “It all happens on the go.”
  Martens said an early decision in the planning process was to use hydraulic drives for the swathers. Hydraulic motors and some 300 ft. of hoses cost about $6,000.
  “I never regretted replacing mechanical drives with hydraulics,” says Martens, who used 22 hp motors for each table.
  He says that while many swather makers visited his farm to see the twin tables in use, the hydraulic drives were the only components he saw commercialized. While companies may not have adopted the design, Martens’ neighbors appreciated it.
  “The twin tables cut 38 ft. in a single pass, which was wider than what was on the market at the time, so I did a lot of customer swathing,” recalls Martens.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Martens, 45156 Road 3 W, Sanford, Manitoba Canada R0G 2J0 (ph 204 736-2723).

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2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3