Worth Knowing - Handy Farm Devices chapter 10
Worth Knowing - Handy Farm Devices chapter 10
Freezing Ice in Blocks
WHERE a pond or stream is not handy from which to get the year's supply of ice, blocks can be frozen in forms with comparatively little labor. A supply of pure water is essential. The forms are best made of galvanized iron of any size desired. A convenient size is 16 inches wide, 24 inches long and 12 inches deep inside measure. The sides and ends should be made to taper 1/4 inch, so that the frozen block will drop out easily. The top of the mold should be reinforced with wire for the sake of strength and durability.
With a dozen or 20 forms one can put up quite a supply of ice during the winter. The forms should be set level on joists or boards and placed a few inches apart. Fill them nearly full with pure water and let them freeze, which they will do in one or two days and nights in suitable weather. When frozen solid, turn the forms bottom side up and pour a dipper of warm water on them, which will release the cake of ice. The form can then be lifted off, the ice put away in the icehouse and the form filled with water again.
Saving the Seed Corn
Here is a handy device for preserving select ears of seed corn. It consists of a wide board fastened between two supports nailed to the edges. The board stands upright on one end and may be as long as desired. Drive heavy spikes through it from the opposite side and stick an ear of corn upon each spike. This allows for the passage of air, and the ears can be examined without removing them from the rack. It is much to be preferred to expensive wire racks, as each nail may be numbered and a record kept of the ears in this way. This rack was designed at the Idaho experiment station.
Rack for Seed Corn
Here is a simple arrangement for keeping choice ears of seed corn. Take a 2-inch square timber for the upright, and make a solid base by boring a hole through the two base pieces, then drive the timber into it. Drive 4-inch spikes through the upright at intervals of 6 inches from four sides, and stick the ears of corn on these spikes by thrusting the same into the butt of the cob. Numbers may be placed above each spike, so that records can be kept of all of the corn. The corn should be placed on this rack as soon as picked and husked, and may be left there until planting time if the rack is placed in a dry room where rats and mice cannot get at it. A large post strongly mounted on a heavy pedestal may be used in a manner similar to the small upright described above. The bigger the post and the larger the number of spikes used, the greater the capacity of the rack, of course. It is a good plan to make the pedestal heavy and strong in order that it may not be tipped over too easily.
The first years of man must make provision for the last.
-- Samuel Johnson.
Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry.
-- Colonel Blacker.
Drying and Keeping Seed Corn
Never let it freeze before it is dry. Farmers have had seed corn exposed to a temperature of 30 degrees below zero without injuring its vitality, and have had it ruined at 10 degrees above zero. We would not recommend kiln-drying for the general farmer, as this is only practicable where a grower is in the seed business. A very convenient way is to take four pieces 4 x 4, 6 feet long, set them up in a square, and nail laths on them two and two opposite. Leave a 6-inch space between the laths, so the corn will have plenty of ventilation. Lay your corn on this to dry, and if thoroughly dry it can lay there all winter.
Knowledge is worth nothing unless we do the good we know.
It is better to give one shilling than to lend twenty.
Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open.
Strong and Simple Wagon Jack
Here is a good, practical wagon jack suited to almost all kinds of vehicles. The whole thing is made of wood with the exception of the curved piece, b, which is of iron and hooks over an iron bolt, e. It is well to have a strong 1/2-inch bolt at f, so as to support the heavy weight on the lever, a. The bottom, d, and the piece, c, are each 2 inches thick. In using the jack, the axle is lifted by simply pressing down on the handle of the lever. The teeth of b catch and hold on e automatically. The height of lever is regulated by moving f up and down.
Write down the advice of him who loves you, though you like it not at present.
A Jack for Heavy Wagons
Many lifting jacks which are designed for light vehicles would not work well in the case of a heavy log wagon. Here is one that will stand a lot of hard usage and is simple and effective. Make the base and upright of heavy 2-inch oak plank and insert a 3/4-inch bolt through the lever for a support. Have a good, strong hemp rope attached to the base, passing over the handle end of the lever, so that as it is drawn down and the wagon is lifted it can be hooked in a notch to hold it in position.
A Cheap Wheelbarrow
The construction of this barrow is very simple. Get a pair of old plow handles, two gate hinges about 1 foot long, and a wheel, which may be found at the junk dealer's. The legs of the wheelbarrow are those of an old chair, braced with a piece of iron. These articles in themselves are worthless, but in their combination we create something very useful.
A Wheelbarrow Cheap and Strong
Here is a picture of a handy, strong wheelbarrow that any farmer can make on a rainy day. Take a dry-goods box 30 inches long, 24 or 26 inches wide and 20 inches deep, and two sticks 5-1/2 to 6 feet long and 3 x 3-1/2 inches for handles. Nail or screw on crossbrace in front and rear, and pieces with brace as shown for legs. Cut four half circles from inch hardwood board and a notch in center to fit around axle. Nail these securely together for the wheel.
For the axle, take a stick 3-1/2 inches square. Trim and band each end or wrap with wire. Bore holes and drive a 6d. wire nail in each end. Just 2 inches apart in center, bore two 1-inch holes on opposite sides to hold the wheel in place. A band of hoop iron around the wheel will make it last longer. When it is put together, you have a very substantial wheelbarrow that cost but little.
How to Hang a Kettle
Using stones for a kettle support seems handiest oftentimes, but let the heat crack one of the stones and tip the kettle over, as it frequently will, does not tend to improve a man's language, let alone the loss sustained. It is much better to make a support such as is presented in the cut. The three uprights, of suitable length to correspond with the size of the kettle, may consist of any good wood. Through the top of these a hole is bored for the bolt to hold them together, which must be long enough so they will have play to set up easily. All that is necessary then is to suspend two chains from the top and letting them extend downward to the proper distance, attach the ears of the kettle into the hooks on them. When not in use, the device can be folded together and laid away.
A Snow Plow
No person not owning a snow plow can appreciate how useful one is after every storm. A horse, or if the snow be a heavy one, a span or a yoke of cattle and this simple homemade arrangement, and in less time than is required to tell it there is a path, and no back-breaking work either. It is only a big V braced so the snow is pushed both ways by it. It must be made of 2-inch planks at least 1 foot wide and not less than 6 feet long. If shorter it wobbles and does not stay on the ground well.
To make a good road for teams, chain it to one side of the wood sled and drive up and down. It spreads 2 feet, and will make your farm front look as if somebody of pluck lives there. For foot-paths draw it from a ring at the top of the front so it will root.
Temporary Smoking Device
If one butchers only once a year it is not necessary to build an expensive smokehouse, for almost as good results can be obtained from a device such as that shown. It is made by taking both ends out of a barrel and mounting it upon a box or above a fireplace in the ground. The meat to be smoked is hung from the sticks laid across the top of the barrel, the fire built underneath and the lid put on.
Homemade Heater and Cooker
A cheap and economical heater may be of home construction. Make a frame of 2 x 8-inch pine 7 feet long and 27 inches wide. Put a bottom on this of No. 18 galvanized iron, letting it project 1/2 inch on each side and 14 inches at one end for a stovepipe fitting. Spike the frame together and cover the corners with heavy tins to prevent any leaking. Nail the bottom on with two rows of nails.
Make a fireplace on the ground of stone and blue clay or brick and cement of mortar if preferred, 2 feet wide by 3 feet long and 18 inches high. Pile up dirt 1 foot high and 3 feet wide at the end of the fireplace for a flue, put stone on the earth the length of the galvanized iron, place the tank on this foundation and bank it up with dirt. In cutting a hole for the stovepipe, turn up strips of the galvanized iron for a collar, then drive an iron rod into the ground, put on two lengths of stovepipe and wire it fast to the rod.
A piece of sheet iron should be set up before the fireplace to control the draft and keep the fire. Such a heater, on one farm, is located near the windmill and storage tank and can be filled from either. The water can be heated quickly with cornstalks, straw, cobs or brush. One may boil pumpkins and small potatoes for fattening the pigs, and cook ground feed by pouring scalding water on the meal in barrels and covering with old blankets or carpets. A light fire will take the chill from ice water for the milch cows.
Use for a Tough Log
Most farm wood piles have two or three old logs lying about which nobody cares to tackle with an ax or blasting powder, and are too short for the sawmill. If straight, they will make good water troughs. Square the ends, mark off about 10 inches from each end, chop out the inside and trim the edges. An inside coat of oil or pitch tar will increase wearing qualities.
A Handy Wood Splitter
For splitting wood a farmer in eastern Massachusetts uses a device as shown in the cut. Take a 2 x 8-inch plank about 3 feet long and an upright of the same material about 20 inches long. Set this upright at an angle of 20 degrees and use a brace of the same material. The sharp points shown in the cut are 40d wire nails. Set the wood against these spikes in splitting it.
How to Split Wood
Wood splits much more readily in the direction up from the root of the tree than when the blow of the ax is downward. In other words, to split a chunk place it upside down -- contrary to the direction in which it grew. It is much easier to split by slabs than to try to cleave through the center. This means to split off pieces near the edge.
A Pulling Hammer
If you want to make your old claw hammer do more work and do it better and easier, have the handle projecting a little beyond the head. You will find it much more convenient in drawing a nail, as it makes a right angle for pulling the nail without bending it to one side. It takes the place of a block and is always on hand and ready in the right place for immediate use. The handle is simply whittled a little more than usual and driven through to the required distance. Don't drive it through too far, but about as shown at a in the picture. If it sticks out too much, it will be in the way when driving nails. Whittle it off rounding, and give it a finished appearance.
Mounting the Farm Anvil
To make a solid foundation for an anvil, build a form of boards 14 x 18 inches square at the base, 18 inches high, tapering to 8 x 10 inches at the top. Fill this mold with rich concrete and fix a bolt in the center of the top of it to fasten the anvil. Afterward, melted lead can be poured around the base of the anvil, completing a very nice pedestal.
Sorting Potatoes Quickly
The sketch shows a homemade potato cleaner and sorter. It consists of a number of hoops to which are fastened 1/2-inch slats so as to make holes 1-1/2 inches square. Two heavy pieces, a, are placed inside the cylinder to hold the axle, b, which extends entirely through the machine and is turned by a crank, c. The frame made is 4 inches lower at the opening end of the cylinder so that the potatoes will run through freely.
At the crank end is a hopper, f, into which the potatoes are poured. The cylinder is 2-5/8 feet long and 3 feet in diameter. It will not bruise the potatoes, and the dirt and small ones run through on to the floor or crate and the marketable ones run out at the open end of the cylinder into another crate. With one man to turn the crank and another to fill the hopper, from 700 to 800 bushels can be sorted in a day.
An indiscreet man is more hurtful than an ill-natured one; for as the latter will only attack his enemies, and those he wishes ill to, the other injures indifferently both friends and foes.
Handling Potatoes Easily
A bushel crate is often more convenient to use in handling ear corn, potatoes or other vegetables than a basket. Crates that will hold a bushel when level full may be piled upon one another and thus stored in less space than baskets. At the same time they can be just as easily and just as quickly moved. They may be of light material. Pieces of wood 2 inches square are used for the corner posts. The slats may be made of 1/2-inch boards 3 inches wide nailed securely to the corner posts. There should be just room enough between the two upper slats so that the fingers can be inserted when lifting the box. The box will be more durable if the upper slats are an inch thick. A handy size for the completed box is 16 inches long, 14 inches wide and 12 inches deep, outside measurements.
Cutting Seed Potatoes
In the principal potato growing sections, medium to large seed is used for planting and cut to two eyes. In the famous Greeley district of Colorado, cutting is done by hand. Potatoes are shoveled into a bin or hopper, made of a dry-goods box raised on legs. The back is made higher than the front, so that potatoes will run down to the opening and the bottom is slatted to let out the soil shoveled up with the potatoes.
The cutting is simple. An old case knife, a, is fastened to the end of a plank or board, b, in such a way that potatoes can be pushed against the knife and fall from it into the basket beneath. The operator sits on the box to which the board is fastened and can work very rapidly.
Another Seed Potato Cutter
A wide bench is boxed in on both ends and one side. It is divided into two or three compartments, these being open in the front which corresponds to the side boxed in. To each of the compartments is attached a sack on hooks, and along one side of the bench in the middle of each compartment and right over the opening of the sack is fixed, in an upright position, a shoemaker's or common steel table knife.
Potatoes to be cut for planting are shoveled into the compartments of the box and in front of each compartment a man takes his position, being seated on a box or stool for comfort's sake. He seizes the tubers in rapid succession and by pulling them against the blade quickly cuts each one into as many pieces as desired; the pieces are then dropped into the open sack. It is claimed that by this indirect method of using the knife two fairly good cutters can cut each day all the potatoes ordinarily required for the use of one planter.
How to Test Seed Corn
Of the different methods for testing seed corn, the most convenient and satisfactory is a shallow box provided with wet sawdust to furnish the moisture and a marked cloth on which to lay the kernels. The most convenient box is one 2 feet square. This will accommodate 100 ears. It is best to make it about 6 inches deep. Fill a sack half full of clean sawdust and soak it for three or four hours in water. Then spread this sawdust in the bottom of the test box to the depth of 1 inch. Take a smooth brick and pack the sawdust down all over the box, making it as level as possible. Be sure to get it packed firmly around the edges and in the corners.
Then take a piece of white muslin 25 inches square. Stretch this tight on a table so that it can be marked. Rule off on this cloth with a heavy blue pencil 100 squares 2 inches each way. Beginning at the upper left-hand corner number these squares in rotation from left to right. When the ruling is done, pack the cloth in the germination box so that it will rest firmly on the sawdust. This can be done by pointing the tacks in the edge of the box downward, and as the tack is driven in it will draw the cloth tight over the sawdust.
Of course, there is no advantage testing any ears that are of undesirable shape or conformation, therefore the first step is to pick out those nearest to the type wanted. Lay these out in rows upon a plank or upon the floor, separating each ten ears with a nail driven into the plank or floor. Starting at the left-hand end of the row call the first ear No. 1, then the first ear beyond the first nail will be No. 11, the one beyond the second nail No. 21 and so on. Remove six kernels from ear No. I and place them in square No. 1 in the test box. Put six kernels from ear No. 2 in square No. 2 and so on through the row. In removing the kernels from the ear take a pocketknife in the right hand and the ear in the left. Place the blade at the side of the kernel you wish to remove and pry it gently. The kernel will come out easily and should be caught in the palm of the left hand. First remove a kernel from near the butt of the ear; turn the ear a quarter turn in the hand and remove a kernel from the center; turn the ear another quarter turn and remove a kernel from near the tip; another quarter turn and remove a second kernel from near the butt; another quarter and remove the second kernel from the center; another quarter turn and remove a second kernel from the tip. This makes six kernels from six different rows and representing the butt, middle and tip.
In placing the kernels in the box it will be found of advantage to point the tips all in the same direction, and also to lay the kernels with the germ uppermost. If the kernels are laid in the squares promiscuously, they may be thrown out of their places when the sprouts begin to grow. When the kernels are all in place, take a second piece of white cloth fully 24 inches square, moisten it and lay it carefully over the kernels. This will hold them in place while the top layer of sawdust is being put on. Take a third piece of cloth about 48 x 30 inches and lay it over the box so that the edges lap about equally. Then in this cloth put another inch of wet sawdust and pack it down firmly, especially around the edges. When this is done turn the edges of the cloth over the sawdust to keep it from drying out too rapidly and place the test box where it will not be subjected to cold below a living-room temperature.
Reading the Results
After seven days carefully roll back the cloth containing the top layer of sawdust and lift the second cloth off the kernels. This must be done with care, because sometimes the sprouts grow through the cloth and the kernels will cling to it.
Observe the results in square No. 1. If all six of the kernels have vigorous sprouts, from 3/4 to 2 inches long, you can be sure that ear No. 1 is thoroughly good. If in square No. 2 only two of the kernels have sprouted, you may know that ear No. 2 will make much better hog feed than seed corn. As soon as you have determined that ear No. 2 is really bad, pull it out from the row about half its length, leaving the other ears in place. After you have gone through the whole line, you may then go back and pick out the bad ears and discard them.
Of course, we would all prefer to use only those ears that gave a perfect germination, and if one has enough, that is the thing to do. But experience has taught that it is quite safe to use an ear, four of whose kernels grow strong sprouts. Or, if seed corn is scarce, one should not hesitate to use one that gave three strong sprouts and two weaker ones.
This testing may be done at any time after the ears are dry. It is generally more convenient to do it in winter, when there is not much outside work to be done. The box may be set behind the stove or any other convenient place, where it is sufficiently warm; in many cases, where there is an attic above the kitchen that room is a sufficiently warm place for testing.
Some put sand in an ordinary dinner plate, flood with water, and then drain the excess water off, place the seed on top of the sand, and cover with another dinner plate, Others use a saucer made of porous clay. The seeds are placed in this, the saucer set in a pan of water, and the pan covered.
These methods may be used for other grains as well as corn. In case of sowing grasses, alfalfa or wheat, it is often of great advantage to test the seed.
Every man has two educations -- that which is given to him and the other, that which he gives to himself. Of the two kinds, the latter is by far the most valuable. Indeed, all that is most worthy in a man he must work out and conquer for himself. It is that that constitutes our real and best nourishment. What we are merely taught, seldom nourishes the mind like that which we teach our selves.
Killing Insects in Grain
If one has not time to make a substantial box for fumigation of seed grain for insect destruction, barrels may be utilized for the purpose. Get two tight, strong barrels, such as coal oil barrels, and make water tight. Put in the seed to be fumigated, cover with a blanket and close-fitting cover. Before covering pour carbon bisulphide, which is explosive, over the grain, at the rate of 3 to 4 ounces for 5 bushels of grain. If it is not desirable to pour this poison on grain, set a saucer on it, and pour the poison in the saucer. Place a small block near the saucer to hold up the blanket 1 or 2 inches higher, lay blanket over the barrel, and place cover securely in place and weight with stone. This will kill the weevil in peas and beans.
Binding Pins for Hay
Every person moving hay ought to have a set of binding pins. They are made in a minute and serve an excellent purpose for a lifetime. The sketch shows a rope stretched over the top of a load of hay or straw. The upright pin is worked down into the load and the other twisted in the rope and turned around the upright until the load is tightly bound. Then a small rope that is kept tied in end of the horizontal pin is tied to the binding rope and the pressure is held. Each pin is 3-1/2 feet long. One is sharpened and the other has a 1/2-inch hole bored through one end. Old fork handles are just the thing to make them of. One pin only may be made and a fork used to bind in the manner shown after the load is on.
Nothing is impossible to industry.
Combined Drag and Harrow
This road drag is all right. The front piece consists of a 4 x 4 oak strip, b, 10 feet long, through which are driven ordinary harrow teeth about 3 inches apart. This is attached to the rear piece, a, which is a 2 x 6 oak timber 10 feet long faced with 3 inches of 1/4-inch metal on the bottom, e, which projects 1 inch. These pieces are kept apart by wooden blocks, d, upon the bolts, f, and by the top strips, c, each 2 x 6. This makes a fine level road, as it harrows it and scrapes it at the same time.
How to Handle a Rope
A rope is one of the most useful articles that are constantly needed about the farm; but too many farmers are not familiar with the many uses to which the rope may be put. The various sailors' knots may often be used to great advantage. To sling a plank for painting or other purposes make a bight of rope as shown in Figure 1, bringing the rope entirely around the plank, so as to prevent its turning and throwing the workman down. One-half to 3/4-inch rope is usually sufficient for all practical purposes. A hemp rope is more generally used and stands wear better than other kinds.
A useful way to sling a can or pail from the end of a rope is shown in Figure 2. Prepared in this way the vessel is secure so long as the rope is not slipped off from the bottom. Secure the knot firmly at the top to allow no slipping and so that the pail may not become lopsided.
Scaffolding may often be erected by tying poles together as shown in Figure 3. This sort of lashing will not slip if made tight. In many cases a chain may be used as shown in Figure 4, in which case the weight should be on the side of the upright where the chain is lowest. All of these lashings must be drawn very tight so as not to allow any play, which may result disastrously.
An excellent hitch knot is shown in Figure 5, readily made, easily loosened and valuable for many purposes on the farm. This knot is readily untied by slackening up the drawing strand. It does not become tight and hard as many ordinary knots after heavy usage.
In many cases where heavy hooks are used they are liable to come unfastened unless a cord is affixed, as shown in Figure 6. A few turns of heavy twine or light wire in the middle will frequently prevent any loosening of the chain.
A ring hitch, shown in Figure 7, is a very effective and safe method, which may be made on short notice. The loose end of the rope is allowed to hang free or may be tied with a slip knot to the drawing strand.
Tying Some Useful Knots
A sailor judges knots for their holding qualities and also their ability to be quickly unfastened, without regard to the strain they have been subjected to. A knot's main office is to hold, without working loose or slipping, yet they do occasionally fail absolutely to accomplish this, when made by inexperienced hands. The accompanying diagrams show some of the simpler knots that may be of everyday use. In these, the mode of formation can be readily discerned, because the rope's position is shown before tightening. The overhand knot, Figure 1, is probably the simplest of all. It is used only for making a knot at the end of a rope to keep it from fraying or to prevent another knot from slipping. If a slight change in formation is made, as in Figure 5, it develops into a slip knot or, as it is sometimes called, a single sling, and its purposes are obvious. A double sling is represented in Figure 6, and though it is slightly more complicated, it is considerably more useful for any purpose where a rope is to be attached to a bar or beam and stand a steady strain.
Probably for convenience and emergencies no knots equal the bow-line, Figure 7, because it will not slip or give, no matter how great the tension; in fact, the rope itself is no stronger, and the instant the strain ceases it can be untied as easily as a bow. When the end of a rope is to be secured, the two half-hitches or clove hitch, Figures 2 and 3, are of great importance, for either of these bends can be attached instantly to almost anything, and their holding powers are exceeded by none. The square knot, Figure 4, can be used for infinite purposes, from reefing a sail to tying a bundle, the advantage being, if made properly, of resisting any separating strain on either cord, and yet can be untied immediately by pulling one of the short ends.
One of the best and safest slip knots is shown in Figure 9, made with the overhand at the end, which, until loosened by the hand, maintains its grip. When a rope requires shortening temporarily the sheep shank, Figure 8, affords a means of so doing. This knot can be applied to any part of the rope without reducing its strength of rectilineal tension.
Carrying a Barrel Made Easy
In the cities the ash collectors use a simple device, which farmers might make and often find handy, as barrels often become dried, weak and will not stand rough handling. The device is made of six pieces of wood; four pieces are about 2 feet long and 4 inches in thickness and width. Handles may be whittled on one end of each. About 10 inches from the other end, boards about 2 feet long and 8 inches wide are nailed as shown at c, c, in figure. Pieces c, c, are then cut in circular form so as to fit the outside of a barrel.
An old wheel tire may be straightened and four pieces cut to be fastened to the ends of each of the four handle pieces, as at d. These are then riveted together so as to make hinges as shown at d, d. The tire need be only long enough to fasten securely to the handle pieces. Of course, the blacksmith should drill holes in them, that they may be securely riveted.
To use this device, drop it over the barrel. One man lifts on the two front handles and another man on the rear handles. Boards c, c, close up in circular form, just beneath the lowest hoop round the upper end of the barrel, and cling tightly. The barrel is then lifted and readily carried without jar to its contents or straining the barrel. Of course, if all the barrels on the farm are of uniform size, the device could be made without hinges, and the barrels headed up could be rolled on pieces c, c.
The best part of one's life is the performance of his daily duties. All higher motives, ideals, conceptions, sentiments, in a man are of no account if they do not come forward to strengthen him for the better discharge of the duties which devolve upon him in the ordinary affairs of life.
The accompanying drawing represents a very handy harness mender which anyone who can use a saw and hammer can make in a few minutes. It is made of lumber of the dimensions indicated in the drawing. The clamp is tightened by the worker sitting upon the seat, which should extend at least 2 feet from the clamps. The drawing shows the device with a shorter seat than that. It would doubtless be better to have the seat extended to twice the length shown from the left of the clamps and to have the base extended in a similar manner, so that the device will not tip over too easily. The joint at the upper right-hand corner may be hinged with heavy wire run through holes and twisted together underneath, or real strap hinges of iron may be attached.
They who provide much wealth for their children, but neglect to improve them in virtue, do like those who feed their horses high, but never train them to the manage.
Substitute for Pipe Wrench
The drawing shown here illustrates a useful device for twisting pipe off or on its connections. Three or 4 feet of new rope is frayed out at both ends, which are put together and wound tightly around the pipe to be turned, so that the first coil twists over the loose ends and continues around the pipe, two or three times, ending in a loop, through which a bar of iron is slipped, to be used as a lever. This simple plan will be found very effective in ordinary requirements for the pipe wrench, and is worth a trial. A more durable wrench may be made by using wire instead of rope. The loop can be formed by closely twisting the ends of the wire with pincers. The rope is rather easier to handle because more flexible.
Market Wagon Conveniences
Farmers who regularly haul produce to market or deliver direct to customers will find the conveniences described to be of much value. They save much time and considerable trouble and cost but little effort to make them. Instead of wrapping the reins about the whip, or letting them lie over the dashboard, a hook, such as shown in the first sketch, may easily be made of stiff fencing wire and secured to the top of the wagon or the dashboard.
Two other hooks may be arranged at the sides of the wagon to hold an umbrella, which would be kept there rain or shine, and never forgotten and left at home. This will save a drenching some time and perhaps some valuable produce.
Another convenience is a rear curtain of oilcloth stretched over a light board frame and hinged at the top, as illustrated. Two old stays from a buggy top will serve to support it, when it must be left open, and it will protect the driver from sun and rain while taking things from the wagon.
Carrying Butter to Town
A refrigerator that one farmer uses in which he takes butter to town nine miles away in hot weather is made thus: Get two clean, tight boxes of some odorless wood, one 12 x 15 x 13 inches deep, and the other 9 x 12 x 10 inches deep. Slip one inside the other with a notched block in each corner to hold the inside box in place. Fasten the covers together so as to leave an air space of about 1 inch between them all around. The inner box will hold 20 pounds of butter nicely. It will carry butter solid in wagon all day in 90-degree weather.
To Sharpen Scissors
Do you know that you can sharpen scissors, and easily, by passing the blades over glass jars? Take a bottle or jar, make believe you are trying to cut it (have one blade in and the other outside of the top of the bottle) and then allow the scissors to glide off the hard surface naturally, just as if you were trying to cut the glass. Use firm but not too hard pressure, and repeat the operation several times.
How to Paper a Room
If a room has been papered several times, tear off all the loose parts you can and with a sponge and water loosen what remains on the walls, removing as much as possible, so as to have a smooth, even surface. If the room has never been papered, first go over it and fill all large cracks and holes with a paste made of whiting and water, or plaster of paris and water. When using the latter, mix only a little at a time, have it rather thin, and use quickly. Then, give the room a coat of sizing, which is made of common glue, three or four handfuls dissolved in a pail of boiling water. The sizing is applied with a large brush and should be allowed to dry overnight.
For very sunny rooms, select cool-looking papers such as blues, greens and browns in various shades, while for dark rooms pinks, reds, terra cottas and yellows are best. When selecting papers, pay careful attention to the color scheme of your room, and don't have an inharmonious mixture, which will offend good taste. Small, plain patterns are the most economical, and the easiest to match. The cheap, trashy papers, costing only a few cents a roll, are not worth the trouble of putting up. Gold paper is not to be recommended for wear.
No borders should be used for rooms having a low ceiling. For such, a striped paper of pretty design running right up to the ceiling is best. The ceiling may be papered in a plain or very small-patterned design, to harmonize with the side walls, or treated with several coats of tinted kalsomine or paint. A picture molding of appropriate color is used to finish the side walls, being placed scarcely 1 inch from the ceiling. The ceiling whether papered, painted or kalsomined, should be done first. It is a very difficult matter to paper the ceiling, and, unless you can have help, it would be better not to attempt it. Plain tints in paint or kalsomine are always pretty and in good taste. If, however, you want to risk papering the ceiling yourself, get some handy body to help you.
Paste and Tools
The paste is made by simply boiling flour and water together, and adding a very little alum, salt and glue -- about a tablespoon of each to a pound of flour. It should be of a consistency thick enough to apply easily, and not so thin that it will run.
Provide yourself with a good-sized paste brush, another one (a whitewash brush will do) to use dry over the paper, sharp scissors and a knife, plenty of clean rags, two barrels, two long, smooth, clean boards, each about 10 inches wide, and a step-ladder.
Make a long table by placing the two barrels about 8 or 9 feet apart and on top of these the boards.
Trimming and Cutting
The first thing to do is to cut the necessary number of strips of paper long enough to allow for waste in matching, and lay them all face downward on the "operating" table, one on top of the other. Next spread the paste evenly over the top or first strip of paper, being very sure to have the edges well pasted. Then turn top and bottom parts down, bringing pasted sides together, so that they meet, and none of the paste part is exposed, and carefully trim off edge on one side, with large, sharp scissors. Lift up the part thus trimmed and folded, and mount the ladder, which should previously have been placed convenient to the place where you intend to begin operations -- the largest wall space is best, next to a door or window.
Hanging the Paper
Now take hold of the top end which was doubled over (it will open and hang by its own weight) and adjust to its proper place on the wall. Then, with a large clean rag in your hand, rub downward, never up or sideways, and take great care to keep the edge straight. If you find that you didn't start straight from the top, loosen paper and do it over again. A "straight eye" is needed to do the work neatly. Don't rub too hard and always rub downward, doing a little part at a time, and lifting paper occasionally, so that no air bubbles are left under it. When the upper part is done, dismount from ladder, undo the folded part at the bottom of the width, and proceed in the same manner to adjust to the wall. When you are sure it is on straight and smooth, trim with a sharp knife along the baseboard. Then give the strip another smoothing by going all over it again with a dry, clean brush. Proceed in this way until all the full length parts are covered, and then match in the small spaces over and below windows and doors. All the matching must be done with great care.
Practical and Economical
Wainscoting in living or dining rooms are nice, and very practical, especially where there are small children. For this purpose burlap, or the less expensive dark, heavy papers that come in wood-grain imitation are good. Matting is sometimes used with very good effect, too. A narrow wooden molding is used to finish the top of the wainscoting, and in that case the work of papering the side walls is so much easier, the lengths being short.
The Farm Blacksmith Shop
A blacksmith shop is of immense practical value on a farm. To those who have one it is almost as essential as livestock, farm tools and crops. One does not need to be a professional blacksmith. The elementary practice in welding, upsetting and tempering is easily learned with a little practice. Nor is it necessary to have many tools. An entire equipment may cost but a few dollars.
An old railroad rail will do for an anvil. But after getting the real article one is better satisfied and can do the work with greater ease. The forge should be obtained at the start. With it almost anyone can heat any small iron to welding point with as much ease as a regular blacksmith.
In the equipment of an Ohio farmer are a pair of tongs that he made himself, two other tongs and a large pair of pinchers picked up in a junk shop. He got the hammer and sledge from a hired man who had worked in a car shop. The anvil and vise also came from the junk shop, and both were in good repair. These cost $8, the hammer and sledge, $1.15, and an old, second-hand forge, $1.80. Not a large outlay to be sure, but a wise expenditure. If purchased at first hand the cost would be greater, but cheap at any price when you consider what you can do in the way of making and repairing with such a list of blacksmith tools.
In addition to the above list this man, Frank Ruhlen, has chisels, pinchers, fullers and other small tools, all of which he has made out of old pieces of steel taken from old worn-out machines. By figuring and planning just a little, any farmer can make the greater part of his own tools and at a very small cost for materials and labor.
Why the Shop Pays
Mr. Ruhlen says: My shop was not started to replace the town blacksmith shop; and it will never do so. But it does serve for repair work, and it saves many trips to town. It is helpful in other ways, also. Last winter a sudden ice spell came on, so severe that I could not get the horses out to the field to feed the flock. Only one thing was possible: to have sharpened shoes put on the horses. But it was a disagreeable trip ahead to walk and lead the horses to town; so I decided to do the work myself. I had never set a shoe myself, but that trip before me quickly decided. The horses were brought into the shop, the old shoes pulled off and sharpened, and within an hour the feeding was done. Had I gone to town for the work it would have required time going and coming, and then, maybe a long wait ahead for my turn at the shop.
Last year I sharpened the shoes on the corn planter, and both cultivators, six shovels each. We wore out a steel point or shear, and never had it to shop but once, and then it was to get a new nose or point. I do not try to put steel points on anything, as it is too particular work for anyone who just picks tools up when something breaks. A sharp harrow is a luxury on most farms, because the average smith does not draw the teeth out enough, and they are dull in a few days.
And I do not believe the average smith can harden the farm tools as good as a farmer who has had some experience in tempering, as the farmer is the one who works with the tools, and soon learns when they are too hard or not hard enough. I sharpened my smoothing harrow last year before we commenced on our corn crop of 64 acres, used it on all the land, on some more than once, and my harrow is sharper now than my neighbor's, who paid $1.50 at the shop for the same work. We never use a dull mattock or pick now as we did before we had a forge. Welding chains, making chain hooks, open rings, clevises, are all easy to do on rainy days. I could not tell all the different uses I make of my shop.
Blacksmithing Not Hired Man's Work
I do the work in the shop myself, finding other chores for hired men. You cannot afford to break them in, for the reason that they may soon leave and all the teaching and trouble would be for nothing. By doing the work myself, I have learned a little more each year, have acquired the knack of it, and really enjoy doing what is to be done. Had we had a shop when I was a boy all of the repair work could have been done by the boys, and I would at the same time have had splendid training for my own needs now.
My experience is all in favor of the shop on the farm. It pays well. Get the forge first, and then gradually add other tools as you can. I used a claw hammer for some time before getting a smith's hammer. I did not equip my shop all at once. Start in a small way, build up gradually, learn slowly, and the shop will develop itself. Get a shop, and you will believe in it because of its help to you.
A handy lever for prying up boxes or barrels may be made by nailing an old horseshoe on the end of a 2 x 4, letting the ends of the horseshoe extend about an inch or two beyond the end of the timber. A more finished device may be constructed by cutting the upper part of the lever down to the form of a rounded handle. A horseshoe should be selected with fairly long and well-sharpened heel calks.
How to Paint Tin Roofs
Remove all rosin and other loose substances from seams and have roof clean. Paint immediately after laying is finished; do not allow the tin to rust -- you coat the base plate with tin and lead to prevent rust, and paint the finished goods to prevent oxidation of the coating. Use only the best red or brown oxide of iron, mixed with pure linseed oil all raw, or half raw and half boiled. Use litharge only as a drier. Litharge makes paint adhere hard to coating, so that when thoroughly dry you cannot scrape it off. Don't use any turpentine or patent driers.
Apply all paint with hand brushes and rub in well. This is very important. Don't put paint on thick -- one coat that covers well, and is thoroughly rubbed in, is better than three put on thick. Let roof stand two weeks to a month before applying second coat. Six months or so after applying second coat put on a third coat. After this you do not have to paint roof more than once every two or three years. Too much paint injures a tin roof.
Keep paint well stirred up; put on thin and rub well in. By following these directions you will have a roof that will last many years.
Creosote, or sulphate of copper or iron, are effective for preserving wood. There are objections, however, to their use for floorings or ornamental woodwork. Creosote leaves a permanent, disagreeable smell. The sulphates discolor the wood. Borax is excellent for keeping wood from decay. The preparation of it is simple, and consists in immersing the wood in a saturated solution of borax, which is then heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The wood is left for 10 or 12 hours, the time depending upon the density and size of the pieces of wood. When taken out, the wood is stacked until dry, then reimmersed in a weaker solution of the borax for a brief time, dried again, and are then ready for use. Boards thus prepared are practically indestructible from rot, and are nearly incombustible.
Another preservative is a compound of one part silicate of potassa and three of pure water -- the wood to remain in the solution 24 hours, then dried for several days, then soaked and dried a second time and afterward painted twice with a mixture of one part water-cement and four of the first-mentioned mixture. Thus prepared, it will not decay in the ground, and will be incombustible out of it.
Another process for preventing decay of wood is by use of a paint which possesses the advantages of being impervious to water. It is composed of 50 parts of tar, 500 parts of fine white sand, 4 parts of linseed oil, 1 part of the red oxide of copper in its native state, and 1 part of sulphuric acid. The tar, sand and oil should be first heated in an iron kettle; the oxide and acid are then added very carefully. The mass is thoroughly mixed and applied while hot. When dry, this paint is as hard as stone.
Decay in wood may be prevented by the following method: Take 20 parts of resin, 46 parts of finely powdered chalk, some hard sand, and a little linseed oil and sulphuric acid; mix and boil for a short time. If this is applied while hot, it forms a kind of varnish, thereby preserving the wood.
To Preserve Shingles
Following is an effective method to prevent the decay of shingles: Take a potash kettle or large tub and put into it one barrel of lye of wood ashes, 5 pounds of white vitriol, 5 pounds of alum, and as much salt as will dissolve in the mixture. Make the preparation quite warm, and put as many shingles in it as can be conveniently wet at once. Stir them up with a fork, and, when well soaked, take them out and put in more, renewing the preservative solution when necessary. Then lay the shingles in the usual manner.
After they are laid, take more of the preservative, put lime enough into it to make whitewash, and, if any coloring is desirable, add ocher, Spanish brown, lampblack, or other color, and apply to the roof with a brush or an old broom. This wash may be renewed from time to time.
Salt and lye are excellent preservatives of wood. Leach tubs, troughs and other articles used in the manufacture of potash never rot. They become saturated with the alkali, turn yellowish inside and remain impervious to the weather.
To Render Wood Fireproof
Rendering the woodwork of houses secure against catching fire can be done at an insignificant cost, and with little trouble. Saturate the woodwork with a very delicate solution of silicate of potash as nearly neutral as possible, and when this has dried, apply one or two coats of a stronger solution.
Another method is simply to soak the wood with a concentrated solution of rock salt. Water-glass will act as well, but it is expensive. The salt also renders the wood proof against dry rot and the ravages of insects. Still another method is to immerse the wood in a saturated solution of borax, heat being gradually applied until the solution reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. It is then left for 10 or 12 hours, according to the nature and size of the wood.
Fireproof Wash for Shingles
A preparation composed of lime, salt and fine sand or wood ashes, put on like whitewash, renders the roof 50 per cent more secure against taking fire from falling cinders, in case of fire in the vicinity. It pays the expense a hundredfold in its preserving influence against the effects of the weather. The older and more weather-beaten the shingles, the more benefit derived. Such shingles generally become more or less warped, rough and cracked; the application of the wash, by wetting the upper surface, restores them at once to their original form, thereby closing up the space between the shingles, and the lime and sand, by filling up the cracks and pores in the shingle itself, prevents warping.
Mix equal parts of gem salt, rock alum, white vinegar, chalk and Peebles' powder. After the mixture becomes quiet, put into it any wood or porous substance, and the latter becomes like stone.
How to Season Wood
Boiling small pieces of non-resinous wood will season them in four or five hours -- the process taking the sap out of the wood, which shrinks nearly one-tenth in the operation. Trees felled in full leaf in June or July, and allowed to lie until every leaf has fallen, will then be nearly dry, as the leaves will not drop off themselves until they have drawn up and exhausted all the sap of the tree. The time required is from a month to six weeks, according to the dryness of the weather.
Sometimes it is more feasible to bleach a small part of a wood surface, especially in repairing, than to darken a larger portion of the work. This can be done by brushing over the wood a solution composed of 1 ounce oxalic acid in a pint of water, letting it remain a few minutes and then wiping dry. The operation may be repeated if necessary. A few drops of nitric ether, or a quarter of an ounce of tartaric acid, will assist the operation; or a hot solution of tartaric acid may be used alone. Lemon juice will also whiten most woods. Cut the lemon in half and rub the cut face upon the wood.
When the bleaching has been done and the wood is dry, give a thin coat of shellac or French polish, as the light and air acting upon the bare wood will bring back the original color.
If the wood obstinately resists bleaching, it may be lightened by mixing a little fine bismuth white, flake white or ball white (the cleansing balls sold by druggists) with the shellac, and give it a thin coat. This whitens, but it also somewhat deadens or obscures the grain and is, therefore, not so good as the bleaching method.
Rub evenly over the wood a piece of pumice stone and water until the rising of the grain is cut down; then take powdered tripoli and boiled linseed oil and polish to a bright surface.
Take equal parts of sweet oil and vinegar, mix, add a pint of gum arabic finely powdered. This will make furniture look almost as good as new and can be easily applied, as it requires no rubbing. The bottle should be shaken, and the polish poured on a rag and applied to the furniture.
By the aid of glue in the solution, the colors are fixed in size stains. They are employed for the purpose of giving a color to cheap work in soft woods, such as chairs, bedsteads and common tables and ordinary bookcases. The colors usually wanted are walnut, mahogany, cherry color, oak and even a rosewood.
For Mahogany -- Dissolve 1 pound of glue in a gallon of water, and stir in 1/2 pound Venetian red, and 1/4 pound chrome yellow, or yellow ocher. Darken with the red and lighten with yellow, as desired. If the Venetian red does not give a sufficiently dark look put in a pinch of lampblack. Apply hot.
For Rosewood -- Same as mahogany, omitting the yellow, and using 3/4 pound Venetian red (or more) instead of 1/2 pound. Give one coat of this and then add lampblack, one pinch, or more, to the color; with the latter put in the figure or dark parts of the rosewood.
For Oak -- In a gallon of glue size (as above) put 3/4 pound powdered burnt umber. Lighten with yellow (chrome or ocher), if need be. Hot.
Dark Wood Stain
White woods may be given the appearance of walnut by painting or sponging them with a concentrated warm solution of permanganate of potassa. Some kinds of wood become stained rapidly, while others require more time. The permanganate is decomposed by the woody fiber; brown peroxide of manganese is deposited, which afterward may be removed by washing with water. The wood, when dry, may be varnished, and will be found to resemble very closely the natural dark woods.
Red Stain for Wood
Boil chopped Brazil wood thoroughly in water, strain it through a cloth. Then give the wood two or three coats, till it is the shade wanted. If a deep red is desired, boil the wood in water in which is dissolved alum and quicklime. When the last coat is dry, burnish it with the burnisher and then varnish.
Take 1 pint of fine sand, 2 of sifted wood-ashes, and 3 of lime ground up with oil. Mix thoroughly, and lay on with a painter's brush, first a thin coat, and then a thick one. This composition is not only cheap, but it strongly resists fire.
Glue and Cement
Dissolve 1 pound of best glue in 1-1/2 pints of water, and add 1 pint of vinegar. It is ready for use.
Cement for Metal and Glass
Take 2 ounces of a thick solution of glue, and mix it with 1 ounce of linseed-oil varnish, and half an ounce of pure turpentine; the whole is then boiled together in a close vessel. The two bodies should be clamped and held together for about two days after they are united to allow the cement to become dry. The clamps may then be removed.
Cement for Broken China
Stir plaster of paris into a thick solution of gum arabic till it becomes a viscous paste. Apply it with a brush to the fractured edges, and draw the parts closely together.
Cement for Crockery and Glass
Take 4 pounds of white glue, 1-1/2 pounds of dry white lead, 1/2 pound of isinglass, 1 gallon of soft water, 1 quart of alcohol, and 1/2 pint of white varnish. Dissolve the glue and isinglass in the water by gentle heat if preferred, stir in the lead, put the alcohol in the varnish and mix the whole together.
Broken dishes and glassware may be easily mended as follows: Fit the pieces in their proper places and tie a string around the vessel to keep the parts from slipping out. Then boil the entire dish for two or three hours in sweet milk. This will firmly glue the vessel together and it will last for years with proper care.
This will strongly unite pieces of glass and china, and even polished steel, and may be applied to a variety of useful purposes. Dissolve five or six bits of gum mastic, each the size of a large pea, in as much rectified spirits of wine as will suffice to render it liquid; and, in another vessel, dissolve as much isinglass, previously a little softened in water (though none of the water must be used), in French brandy or good rum, as will make a two-ounce vial of very strong glue, adding two small bits of gum galbanum of ammoniacum, which must be rubbed or ground till they are dissolved. Then mix the whole with a sufficient heat. Keep the glue in a vial closely stopped, and when it is to be used set the vial in boiling water.
Thoroughly mix the best powdered rice with a little cold water, then gradually add boiling water until a proper consistence is acquired, being particularly careful to keep it well stirred all the time; lastly it must be boiled for one minute in a clean saucepan or earthen pipkin. This glue is white, almost transparent, for which reason it is well adapted for fancy paper work, which requires a strong and colorless cement.
Take 1 quart of tar and 3 pounds of resin, melt them, bring to a cooling temperature, mix with as much sawdust, with a little charcoal added, as can be worked in; spread out while hot upon a board, when cold break up into lumps of the size of a large hickory nut, and you have, at a small expense, kindling material enough for one year. They will easily ignite from a match and burn with a strong blaze, long enough to start any wood that is fit to burn.
Mending Pipes with Water On
Many farmers have had trouble in repairing pipes where the water could not be shut off conveniently. A lead pipe which has been cut off accidentally in making an excavation, for instance, may be repaired by the following plan: The two ends of the pipe are plugged, and then a small pile of broken ice and salt are placed around them; in five minutes the water in the pipe will be frozen, the
plugs removed, a short piece of pipe may then be inserted and perfectly soldered. In five minutes the ice in the pipes may be thawed and the water set to flowing freely again.
To Join Water Pipes
Water pipes may be united by using a preparation made by combining four parts of good portland cement and one part of unslaked lime mixed together in small portions in a stout mortar, adding enough water to permit it to be reduced to a soft paste.
Welding together two pieces of metal of any kind can be accomplished only when the surfaces to be joined are equally heated, and both surfaces must be brought to such a temperature that the particles will form a perfect continuity between the pieces united. This embraces the entire theory of welding, soldering or brazing metallic substances of any kind. In addition, however, to the equal and adequate heating of the surfaces to be united, every particle of coal dust, cinders or scales of oxide must be removed, so as to present two perfectly clean surfaces at the very moment when the union is to be effected.
The piece of metal that would fuse at the lower temperature must be the guide, when bringing the surfaces of conjunction up to the proper heat. If, for example, two pieces of wrought iron are to be welded, the part that will melt at the lower temperature must be brought just to a welding heat, and the surface of the other piece must be heated quite as hot, or a trifle hotter than the first piece. Then, if the surfaces are clean when the parts are brought together, the union will be satisfactory. The degree of heat aimed at must be, not to produce a fluid, but simply to bring the metal into a condition between the fluid and plastic.
All steel is composed of individual fibers running lengthways in the bar and held firmly together by cohesion. In almost all farm implements of the cutting kind the steel portion which forms the edge, if from a section of a bar, is welded to the bar lengthwise, so that it is the side of the bundle of fibers hammered and ground down that forms the edge. So, by holding on the grindstone all edge-tools, as axes, scythes and knives of strawcutters, in such a manner that the action of the stone is at right angles with the edge, or, this is to say, by holding the edge of the tools square across the stone, the direction of the fibers will be changed, so as to present the ends instead of the side as a cutting edge. By grinding in this manner a finer, smoother edge is set, the tool is ground in less time, holds an edge a great deal longer, and is far less liable to nick out and to break.
Plane irons should be ground to a level of about 35 degrees -- chisels and gouges to 30. Turning chisels may sometimes run in an angle of 45. Molding tools, such as are used for ivory and for very hard wood, are made at from 50 to 60 degrees. Tools for working iron and steel are beveled at an inclination to the edge of from 60 to 70 degrees, and for cutting gun and similar metal range from 80 to 90.
Acknowledgments, Credits, and Bibliography
Cobleigh, Rolfe. (1910). Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them. Chapter 10. Illustrated. Orange Judd Company, New York.