My husband Chris did a residential job recently that resulted in some old farm machinery that the owner wanted "junked". Chris struck a deal with him on a rusty old hay rake that he pulled out of tall weeds. The rake hadn't been used in many, many years but Chris saw that it still had potential if it could have some well-chosen replacement parts and a little TLC. What he had found was a 1958 Oliver 5-bar hay rake. He trailered it to our farm and "completely disassembled it. There wasn't a bolt left in it," he said.
Total dis-assembly was necessary because of neglect over the years. Layers of metal were encased in rust. Chris said that without intervening, "the equipment would continue to rot down". Once he had the hay rake apart, it was time to evaluate and inventory each piece and then order any necessary new parts. He cleaned up all the useable old parts by sandblasting, priming and painting.
He replaced the worn-out bearings and seals and straightened the stripper bars, put in all new spring teeth and added a hydraulic lift. He replaced tires and tubes. He hurried to get it all renovated in time to try it out for the season's haymaking. After a few late, late nights of working, the restoration was complete.
When Chris took it out for a trial run, he said,
"It worked quite well, just like it was supposed to!"
I listened to the old hay rake while Chris did a demo for me. He hooked it up to an older John Deere tractor. That vision and the gentle hum and whir of the rake brought back memories of a bygone era. I am filled with pride that Chris saw the potential and did this renovation. He recently raked with it to make nearly 400 bales of hay.
Sorry to admit that, when he first brought it home, I couldn't picture what it should look like. What a mess! I regret that I didn't get the photo before he took it apart.