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Puncture-Proof Tires With Grain
Had an interesting note from Ralph Woodward, of Carlisle, Ind., explaining how he uses corn or wheat to "puncture proof" tires on his rotary mower and other equipment which isn't moved very often, or equipment used where thorns are a problem.
Here's the idea: You fill the tire with grain, then soak it in water, causing the grain to sprout and swell up to solidly seat the tire onto the rim. You take the tire out of the water when it's hard enough to suit you.
"The secret is to get all the grain into the tire you can and still be able to get the tire bead back on the rim," says Ralph. He finds it works best to fill a child's wading pool or similar container with grain so you can bury the rim and tire in the grain as you poke grain inside the tire. If you lay the tire on a concrete floor and try to fill it, grain will leak out one side as fast as you can poke it in the other.
Ralph suggests breaking down the upper bead of the tire only. "Filling a tire with enough grain is difficult until you get the hang of it," he points out. He adds that his grain-filled "puncture proof" tires last indefinitely. One day, out of curiosity, he cut one open after three years to see what the grain looks like. It was in good shape-had a silage odor and looked like any other corn coming out of airtight storage. Be sure to plug the valve stem hole, and watch the tire when soaking it so it doesn't get too hard and cause the tire casing to split. Ralph has used only corn and wheat but thinks other grains would work just as well.

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1977 - Volume #1, Issue #4