Somebody's finally figured out an economical, convenient way to recycle twine.
"I think most farmers who use twine in any quantity have thought about reusing it," explains inventor Jim Lemense. "This new machine lets you do just that. It works with sisal or plastic twine and can recycle twine from regular or big round bales."
Lemense and his partner, Mary Ahlswede, are building their new Twine Saver machine out of stainless steel to prevent corrosion from barn moisture and manure. It's basically a stainless steel reel, which is belt-driven off a 1/6 hp. electric motor. A safety slip clutch limits the machine to just enough wrapping tension to loosely wind the twine on the reel. This prevents rope burns and accidental injuries to children. Also, the belt is fully enclosed for added safety.
To recycle your twine, Lemense suggests keeping it clean and dry after you pull it off the bales. Cut out the old baler knots and any rough or weak spots. Start the recycled ball by putting a length of twine in the reel's notch and wrap it onto the reel. Each successive piece is hand tied to the previous piece with a square knot. The square knot ensures strength and produces a knot small enough to pass through the baler's billhooks.
The spool of recycled twine can be ended at any diameter. Then, it can be wrapped with 15-lb. felt building paper and taped to hold the ball together. The recycled ball will then slip off the Twine Saver reel.
The new ball will draw from the center of the spool just like commercial twine. Since it won't be wrapped as tight as a new ball, the recycled ball of twine will only hold about 3/4 as much twine as a new ball.
Lemense estimates you can save the price of the machine in one year's time with twine savings if you use 25 bales or more. For plastic twine, the payback may be even faster. Lemense feels that plastic twine will last from 3 to 5 seasons, and sisal at least two seasons.