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He Turned A Cub Cadet Into A Forklift
Of all the Cub Cadet tractors that Kelly Birkey has owned, his custom-built forklift has been the most useful.
“I can pick up another garden tractor with it,” says Birkey, Paxton, Ill. “The forklift is on a Cub Cadet 1872, my favorite tractor. It’s very strong and well-built, with features like hydraulics and power steering.”
Birkey built the forklift shortly after retiring 25 years ago after operating Birkey’s Farm Store and an International Harvester dealership with his brothers in Illinois. In retirement he has collected, restored and sold nearly 300 Cub Cadet and IH tractors, plus parts.
To make the forklift, Birkey reversed the steering, seat, and controls and flipped the ring gear and pinion in order to operate the Cub Cadet running backward.
It took a while to find a small forklift mast to fit.
“It was a Brick Buggy, a self-propelled, walk-behind buggy for moving bricks,” Birkey says. He paid $200 for it at a scrapyard. He removed the motor and retrofitted it for his Cub Cadet.
“I added 3 in. to the tractor axles so I could put in pillow block bearings between the housing and wheels to carry the weight of the forklift,” he explains.
For counterweights he built a bracket on the back for four round weights that came off a Caterpillar combine made in the 1930’s.
He has used the forklift Cub Cadet for more than 20 years, moving and lifting Cub Cadets to make it easier to work on them.
At 90, Birkey doesn’t use it as much as he used to, but the forklift is always a popular attraction when he takes it to shows.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kelly Birkey, Paxton, Ill.

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #6