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Rotisserie Made From Scavenged Parts
Joe Cronk says he grew up in Eastern Indiana reading and being inspired by FARM SHOW magazine and its articles about clever inventions. “Dad always had copies around, so that’s what we read,” Cronk says. That background paid itself forward several times over the years, even when Cronk was stationed on Wake Island in the Pacific as a contractor for the Air Force.
“Logistically, the island was a challenging place to work because there wasn’t much there, and flights only came to and left the island every two weeks,” Cronk says. “There wasn’t a hardware store and if you didn’t bring the tools and parts you needed, you’d have to barter or trade to get them.”
With his farming background, Cronk got a reputation for being quite handy. He’d done a motor swap on a Kawasaki Mule and fixed various equipment. But Cronk says, “My biggest challenge came after the base firefighters brought in a 50-lb. whole hog to celebrate an outgoing serviceman’s time on the island, then realized they didn’t have a place to cook it.” Cronk accepted the challenge to build a spit on the island’s large, open firebox to help them.
“I dug through a scrap pile of old metal on the island,” Cronk says, “and came up with parts of bicycle frames, chains, four or five sprockets, and some old brackets. I used an old boat rail for the skewer. A bike foot crank mated to a piece of pipe served as the main shaft. For sanitary purposes, I slipped a piece of stainless steel over the pipe. That whole mechanism was anchored to the firebox with metal brackets.”
To turn the spit, Cronk used a variable speed drill mated to the transmission from a burned-out angle grinder. “Through trial and error and using different size sprockets, the drill turned the spit at just the right speed,” Cronk says. “I used a few old springs to keep tension on the derailers so the chains wouldn’t jump off.”
As Cronk did the fab work on the spit, an Air Force sergeant prepared the hog. “Even though neither of us had ever done anything like this, the only problem was that torque from the turning hog sheared off two bolts holding the skewer, so one side of the carcass got a bit overheated as I repaired the spit. It took about 7 hours to roast the hog, and the cooked pork turned out really juicy with excellent flavor,” Cronk says.
Judging from empty plates after dinner, Cronk says the spit project turned out well. “I do recall that a few fermented beverages might have been consumed during the day to help everyone give the project a thumbs up,” he added with a laugh.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Joseph Cronk (Jcronk2529@hotmail.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #3