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Rubber Fencing From Old Tires
Those old tires stacked behind the barn, or the thousands of junked ones you can pick up for little or nothing in town, can be turned into money, thanks to a first-of-its kind machine from Idaho that turns old tires into rubber fencing for cattle, horses or sheep.
"We get a 45 to 65 ft. long continuous strip out of a 15 in. car tire, depending on width of the strip and the tire, says F. L. "Frosty" Frame, Vamps, Idaho, the inventor and
manufacturer of the new Buffalo Fence Machine that slices worthless old tires into rubber fencing strips.
Tires are cut into continuous strips 1 1/2 to 3 in. wide by first cutting out the bead, and then simply feeding the tire through the machine's circular blade. "There's no waste since we can even salvage the beads from processed tires. We bind them up with metal strapping to make up thick 'ropes' which are then tied together to form portable panels," says Frame. "The spring steel inside the beads adds to strength, making up a fence panel strong enough to hold an elephant," says Frame.
Fence strips made from industrial rubber belting tend to shred and grow ragged on the edges. Not so with strips made from old tires," he points out. "The bias plies in tires keep the edges clean-cut through years of use without any kind of preservative. Horses and other livestock that commonly chew on fencing can chew this rubber tire fencing and not shred it, or bite off harmful chunks."
"It's one of the best investments we've made," says Liz Koch, who with her husband Gene bought a Buffalo Fence tire-stripping machine and franchise for their home county (San Diego, Calif.) last December. "We paid $5,800 but I understand franchises are selling for a lot more now," she told FARM SHOW two weeks ago.
The Kochs, who raise quarter horses on their K and K Enterprises Ranch near Ramona, have been able to get all the used tires they've needed for their new sideline fencing business from service stations, garages and elsewhere in the community. "People are just glad to get rid of them," Liz points out.
For horses, the Kochs recommend 32 by 32 ft. pens made of four 21/z in. wide strips (five strips for stallions) spaced about 1 ft. apart, and nailed to treated 4 by 4 in. treated wood posts spaced 8 ft. apart on center.
"This rubber tire fencing makes an attractive corral and we can sell a farmer or rancher all the material he needs for a four rail fence for about half the cost of convenitonal corral fencing," says Liz. "We get 10 cents per ft. for 21/2 in. wide fencing strips, and average 45 to 50 ft. of stripping per standard car tire. We feed all kinds of used car and truck tires into our stripping machine, except steel belted radials which dull the machine's cutting blade. The less tread on the tires, the better they work for fencing. The machine will handle most any size tire, including tractor tires, but big tires can be askward for the operator to handle. We don't cut up anything larger than truck tires."
In addition to fencing, the Kochs are finding popular demand for rubber mats for horse stalls and trailers made from tire strips.
Liz feels that rubber fencing made from old car tires has a key advantage over strips made from industrial-type belting: "Industrial belting has a continuous filament running through it. Several veterinarians have told us they've found this string-type filament balled up in the stomach of horses. This isn't a problem with our tire fencing. In fact, none of our customers has reported any serious problems with animals chewing our tire fencing strips. What's more, animals don't get cut or hung up in it as with other types of fence."
"It makes a sturdy, attractive, long-lasting and low cost fence," says California rancher Richard Brown, of San Jose, who bought a Buffalo Fence Machine and a two-county franchise earlier this year for $7,000. "We run 1,100 acres and breed Arabian horses. I figured we'd have enough use for the machine in our operation to make it pay, even if we didn't keep it busy processing fencing strips to sell," he reports. "So far, customer sales have been pretty slow but nothing else has been selling either so it isn't because there isn't interest. I think sales will pick up once the entire farm and ranch economy perks up again."
Brown cuts tires into 2 3/4 in. wide strips and retails them for 12 cents per ft. He reports "no trouble whatsoever" in getting all the tires he wants free of charge. "Two ply car tires with a 4 ply rating make the best fencing," he points out. "You can pull the strips tight by hand and nail them directly to wood fence posts."
Brown also uses tire strips to make up go-anywhere portable fencing panels 5 ft. high and 10 ft, long. He uses 2 in. square tubing for the outside frame, then strings in two vertical tire strips, and 4 strips running horizontal across the panel. The vertical and horizontal tire strips are riveted together where they intersect. Brown also makes 20 ft. long portable fence panels, using 4 vertical strips and a vertical metal support in the center.
"I think it's a great machine and a great new fencing product," says John Gottfried, Cool, Calif., who serves two counties with the Buffalo Fence Machine and franchise he bought five months ago. "We haven't had a single customer complaint on the fencing strips we've sold since we went into business."
The Gottfried's charge 10 cents per foot for the 2 in. wide tire strips their machine turns out. "We find that, for horses, this width works best. If it's thinner, it tends to stretch too much. And, if it's thicker, the strips are harder to nail down and handle."
John believes the "stringless" feature of fencing made from tire strips - as opposed to fencing made from industrial belting - is a key advantage. "You don't get any of the chewing, fraying, unraveling, and ingesting problems which seem to be fairly common with fence made from belting. And, compared to conventional wire fencing, a big plus for our tire fencing among horse owners is that it's virtually injury-proof. Animals aren't likely to get cut or injured by it."
Other uses for strips made by the Buffalo Fence machine include pads for cattle or horses, door mats, and making "blankets" out of intertwining strips for banking irrigation ditches or other areas subject to erosion.

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1980 - Volume #4, Issue #4