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Winter Projects

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  • Winter Projects

    This spot seems to be wasted space lately. I just poked a stick at the Republicans on the Politics thread. I still feel like talking so I came here. I figured I would talk about my winter project. If you are building or remodeling something I'd like to hear about it.I built a new bed for my 1999 F150 farm truck. I use my pickup to pick up a pallet of bagged shavings every other week. In between shaving runs I put a large bale of bedding for heifers at the home place. I back into the shed and bed off the back of the truck. Half a bale at a time as needed.

    Until this year I would buy 3x3x8' bales of straw. This year I had some first crop grass hay that couldn't get cut till July because of a low wet area on a field. I had more first crop haylage than I had room for so I decided to big bale it. I had great drying weather. I cut and teddered and single raked and then double raked that hay. The hay was so big my rake tried plugging a lot . With a lot of work in the hot sun and no cab on the tractor I did get the hay ready for my custom baler.

    But......... since everyone else had way too much hay also my baler cancelled out. I did have him called after I had cut the hay but he had really big farms to do on the other side of his place. And since it was the Forth of July weekend he didn't want to work on Sat. the 4th.( FYI there was such demand he ended up working the 4th anyway). But anyway I thought maybe I could find someone else. In the local paper I found a baler and they were Mennonite. They don't believe in celebrating war so they said they could bale that bedding hay. Perfect !

    Well what I didn't know is they bale 3x4 bales. When they asked how long I wanted the bales I said 8 feet. Imagine my surprise when I saw a field full of 3x4x8 bales of bedding hay. In case anyone was wondering why I keep mentioning it was hay it is because hay is heavier than straw. I estimate the bale was probably double the weight of my smaller straw bales.

    The point is , when I put the first bale on the pickup I was real worried about the 16 year old bed with rusted out fenders. Tailgate stays open because the bed itself is 6 1/2 feet . The first bale was riding slightly on the wheel well but it looked pretty stable. When I turned the corner getting off the highway I heard and felt a big boom. I looked back and saw the big bale had tipped onto the other side fender. I stopped and got out tolook. The bale had crunched the side of the truck bed down onto the tire. I jumped back in and limped the truck another half mile to the heifer shed. I bedded off the whole bale , pushed the side of the bed sorta into place. At least it wasn't rubbing on the tire anymore. I drove it into the garage and started to think about how I was going to fix this old truck bed.

    It;s midnight and I need to check on the nice Holstein springing heifer . The barn camera hasn't been set up yet for this calving season. bye
    Last edited by RON11; 01-23-2016, 01:43 AM.

  • #2
    I'm back , no calf.
    Back to the rickety truck bed. I figured I would go the fast and easy route and beef up the old bed. I looked at running angle iron down one side , across the bottom and up the other side. I wasn't sure how the tailgate would work with an angle iron stuffed in between. Then I looked at the underside of the bed and fenders and decided there was not enough good metal to bother reinforcing anyway.I thought about replacing the bed with a similar bed but I don't think any sheet metal bed can hold up to those bales. And there are many many bales to go.

    The I thought a flatbed would be perfect for big bales. I started planning. It needed to be strong but light. It would need to be low because the truck is already an off-road model and is too high already. It would have to have enough tire clearance so it doesn't hit the tires when loaded. The distance between the axle and the axle stops was nearly four inches so I decided to make the frame out of the slightly lighter 4.5 (lb. per ft) 4" channel. To keep it low and light I ran a channel across the front of the frame , one along each side and one along the back. I added three more under the bed . Two were across existing holes and one short channel between the wheels. When the frame was tacked and squared I welded all the areas that were easy to do.The welds that were easier when the bed would be upside down were left for later.The bed would be tipped up side down to weld the sheet metal later.

    I drove the truck with the channel iron frame to the steel dealer and bought the sheet metal (1/8") and headache rack tubing. The headache rack goes up behind the cab to protect it.The sheet metal was cut to length and width to land all edges onto the frame (recessed 1/2 "). The front sheet was bent up , over and down over the headache rack. When I got home I tacked the sheet metal to the frame . I put about 1" of weld every six inches . First I did the corners the kept doing one in the middle , then one in the middle of those and so on to reduce warping.Next I built the uprights for the headache rack , tacked them in , put a cross piece on and welded it all up. I flipped the bed over onto a flat rack wagon and welded the other side of the frame channels and the sheet steel to the frame.

    I cleaned and scrubbed the whole bed to get rid of mill grease and welding dirt. Put the bed into a brothers heated shop for two coats of primer and two coats of paint. Used paint instead of bed liner because I didn't have the equipment nor experience to do bedliner. Brushing around all the frame channels seemed difficult and expensive to me. I bought commercial sized heavy duty primer and paint in aerosol cans. Two coats of primer and two coats of paint. Looks great and easy to touch up when needed. And paint and primer together was only $100. If I want a more durable top surface I could sand and roll on bedliner pretty easily. Putting bedliner on the underside is not needed since the truck is already 15 years old.

    Been using it for a while and really like it. Did not put any sides on it. If I do it would be to keep the calf box from sliding off. I find from experiance that the best way to see what you need or want is to use it first and add things later. If I put any side rails on they might be a raised pipe or square tubing. .Dirt falls off , stuff stays on and I have a rail to tie things down.

    So far I really like the flatbed. Much easier to put big bales on. Easier to get bedding off. Easier to put calf box on. More room to stand when unloading bagged shavings.

    If anyone is curious how it turned out I will try to put some pictures up. I'll ask my daughters to help. Otherwise you guys will have to tell me how.

    good night.


    • #3
      Sounds like a good winter project! You are way more ambitious than I!
      My winter project has been trying to find an entertaining agriculture based web site. As you can see I am still here so you know I have not had much luck! LOL


      • #4
        Sounds like you took on the bigger task ! LOL

        It was a good project. The best part was it made sense financially. Usually by the time you buy everything to make something you could have bought something better for nearly the same money. Especially if you add in your labor. A new bed would not have been as customized as I would have liked. They all have two layers of framing in order to make something that fits on every truck instead of something that fits really good on my one truck. That aside , new flatbeds were $2000 on up plus another $500-$800 to install. I couldn't see going $3000 on a old farm truck. The materials costed about six hundred dollars. That is a pretty good pay for my labor I figure !


        • #5
          Ron, your truck rebuild sounds like a good idea. You were able to build it the way you needed it done.. With the dairy economy as lucritive as it is. and the profitability of dairy farming, I wonder why you didn't just buy a new Ford F350 with a new rack. It would have saved some time. I just read that farmer price of milk was $11 / hundred wt over cost of feed. Graizers don't have to buy any feed, DO THEY???


          Actually you are lucky to have the place and the ability to build things. I get challenged with Lincoln log sets.

          BTW, You don't have to have that sinking feeling when you see I posted to one of your posts. I'm neuterd, harmless and unarmed. plus old and slow
          Totally harmless after huge doses of valium and vicodin


          • #6
            A winter project we want to accomplish this winter is taking a the rafter trusses out of a old barn with 8ft sidewalls and putting that heavy LVL lumber in along the roof. After we tie them together at 12ft of height with cross pieces to keep the walls from pushing out and put in a bigger door we gain a 24 x 72 cemented shed in the middle with a total shed size of 40 x72 for putting away smaller pieces of equipment in the middle and the sides will be catch alls.
            Don't get tripped by what's behind you


            • #7
              We make a bitof grass hay (2-300 bales) every year and put them into 3X3X8 bales. The guy we use got 1000 lbs. of 91% DM hay in them this year! Most of the time we haul them off the fields in flat bed trailers (I think we bought a 3 axle for 1500 used) because we have to go some distance on the road. If it is a short haul why not just convert an old silage wagon running gear to a flat top then you can trail with your pickup? Those things are handy for hauling just about anything if you don't have to go highway speeds.


              • #8
                leave the apron on the wagon and make it a power unload. Only have to get out to open gate.
                Don't get tripped by what's behind you


                • #9
                  KH - your real funny ! A new f350 HA. Wrote on one of these sight last year about this time how the girls took my barn car. They cleaned it up and used it for school and dating. Felt soory for them but the boys didnt seem to mind. Not sure why the boyfreinds didn't complain, oh wait --omg. Well anyway I was discussing on one of these threads about pick-up choices . New , used, big , small , high or low we discussed them all. But all of a sudden my wife comes home and says she has my barn vehicle situation solved. She bought a new Mazda crossover (cross of suv and car) and was passing her fairly new Chevy Impala to the girls. The girls passed my old barn car back down to me. Almost everyone is happy.

                  Wife gets new vehicle. Girls get really nice car. Boyfriends get to ride in very nice car-oh no ! Dad gets old clunker back. Guess I know where I stand in the pecking order.

                  flyingRoot that sounds like a good project. Never have to much storage space. When you get finished you maybe should start figurin' where to put stuff next ! lol

                  Dairydecider - we use custom bater's wagons plus smaller racks of our own for getting hay and bedding home. It is bedding a half bale twice per week where having it on flatbed pickup to back into small heifer shed is handy. The shed is in a grass field so having weight on a 4 wheel drive really gets through snow and backs into shed easily. I am usually bringing in or taking out a hay bunk wagon too. We do have ginseng farmers who spread straw over the crop to mulch weeds and reduce winter damage to the roots. They have 3x3 bale spreaders that would be cool to have but at 1/2 bale twice per week , my operation is WAY too small.

                  Got some real thinkers here . love it !
                  Last edited by RON11; 01-26-2016, 08:12 PM.