SFJ

Facebook  YouTube

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PST

I Built My Own Buckrake
I Built My Own Buckrake

Buck on the left and Atlas on the right pushing a big one just for show.

I Built My Own Buckrake

by Ken Gies of Fort Plain, NY

One of the fun things about horse farming is the simplicity of many of the machines. This opens the door for tinkerers like me to express themselves. Sometimes it is just plain nice to take a proven design and build one of your own. Last spring I did just that. I built my own buckrake. I’m proud of the fact that it worked as it should and that my rudimentary carpentry skills produced it.

My buckrake is built for Haflingers. The basket is 10 feet wide and 8 feet deep. The full width is 14 feet with horses in place and it is 16 feet long. I probably could have made a full-sized rake, but my ponies are smallish and I didn’t know what they could really do. After all, it takes all three of them to pull my 5-foot McCormick #9 mower! I had two 18 inch, steel wheels that fit a 2 inch pipe nicely so they became the foundation of the rake. The caster wheel came off an old pickup header from a self-propelled forage harvester. The wood is dimensional lumber.

I Built My Own Buckrake

Starting a load.

 

The rake teeth are made out of 2″x6″x8′ lumber. The poles and crossbar are 10 and 14 foot 4″x4″ posts. The pieces are bolted together with 3/8″ carriage bolts and flat washers. I used Schedule 40 pipe for the axle and the trailing frame. If you remember back a few years, I wrote an article called “One Horse Haying.” In it I described a one-horse buckrake built on a mobile home axle. I believe that it would work for a side hitch or a push style rake too. If you use a mobile home axle there will be a couple of extra wide spaces between the teeth to fit the tires.

I Built My Own Buckrake

Ready to drop load.

 

I built the basket first. The teeth are tapered 2×6’s. Cut a 1.5 inch wide wedge off the side of the board fading from the tip to the five foot mark. Do that on both sides of the tooth. Then cut a ski shape on the tip so that the tooth won’t dig into the ground when loading. I laid the axle and the teeth out so I could space around the wheels. The remaining teeth are 12 inches apart on center. It is best to mount the basket hanging beneath the axle. This will be important if your wheels are 24 or 30 inches tall. Lowering the rear mounting point reduces the angle of the teeth and lets the hay slide on better. The crossbar extends to the outside teeth to compensate for the “short” axle if a mobile home axle is used. The rear crossbar/pullbar extends 2 feet past each side of the basket. The single trees attach to the ends with short chains. They are wrapped around the 4″x4″, then cinched tight with 1/2″ ready rod.

I Built My Own Buckrake

Unloaded and ready to go.

 

I drilled and bolted the basket to the axle and added the poles. I decided to make them straight, not angled outward like most of the pictures I had seen. The back end of the pole bolts under the rear crossbar and over the axle to give the needed upward slant. They are 10 feet long and have a bent pipe bolted on for a pullback point on the tip. I used short chain and long pole straps with an extension to lower the breast strap for backing. I added a 5 foot angle brace from the rear crossbar to the pole to stiffen the pole side to side.

I Built My Own Buckrake

View from behind.

 

The trailing frame and lift took the most time. I think that I could have used the basket alone and let the teeth ride on the ground. That would have made the buckrake simpler. I have run it with the teeth down several times. It drags more when loaded, but the ponies manage fine. However, I built a triangular frame that is 7 feet long and 3 feet wide at the base. It pivots in two pipe tees bolted to the rear crossbar. As an alternative, I could have used 1″x1/4″ flat steel bent around the frame and bolted in place. I mounted the caster wheel and seat stem, then built a lift lever that locks over-center. I may tinker more and try converting it to a push style rake later. The lift is connected to a pipe tripod bolted to the crossbar and backboard. I added side chains to the lift because the basket flexed too much when loaded. I would recommend using a 6″x6″ especially if you opt for a wider rake. The chain is 1/4″ inch.

I Built My Own Buckrake

Tapered 8′ tooth

 

I Built My Own Buckrake

Tooth with ski shaped end.

 

I Built My Own Buckrake

Another view of the lift pylon and trailing frame attachment.

 

I Built My Own Buckrake

Wheel fitted between teeth and side wear plate.

 

I Built My Own Buckrake

Over center lock in up position.

 

I Built My Own Buckrake

Over center lift-lock in down position.

 

I Built My Own Buckrake

Attachment method of trailing frame and basket lift point.

 

I Built My Own Buckrake

Caster wheel and seat post.

 

I Built My Own Buckrake

Single tree chain and pole attachment.

 

If I build another buckrake, I will change several things. The teeth will be 7 feet not 8. There won’t be a trailing frame. I will use a sliding seat or platform instead. The rear crossbar will be a 6″x6″. I will angle the poles and eliminate the pipe pullbacks. These changes could cut the build time in half. The rake will fit in the tight spaces by my haymow and be lighter weight. I encourage you to improvise.

If you want to see some vintage footage featuring a buckrake, visit www.archive.org/details/buckrake. This links to Vermont’s historical film preservation site.

Good online plans are free at http://ejackson.net/FarmPlans/NorthDakota/plans/nd334-3-1.pdf.

YouTube has some good clips too. Google buckrake.

Just don’t get trapped by the computer — there’s hay to make!

I Built My Own Buckrake

 

I Built My Own Buckrake

Spotlight On: Livestock

Horseshoeing Part 4A

Horseshoeing Part 4A

According to the size of the horse and his hoofs the nails should be driven from five-eighths to an inch and five-eighths high, and as even as possible. As soon as a nail is driven its point should be immediately bent down towards the shoe in order to prevent injuries. The heads of all the nails should then be gone over with a hammer and driven down solidly into the nail-holes, the hoof being meanwhile supported in the left hand.

Portable Poultry

Portable Poultry

An important feature of the range shelter described in this circular is that it is portable. Two men by inserting 2x4s through the holes located just below the roost supports and next to the center uprights can easily pick up and move it from one location to another. Frequent moving of the shelter prevents excessive accumulation of droppings in its vicinity which are a menace to the health of the birds. Better use will be made by the birds of the natural green feed produced on the range if the houses are moved often.

Cultivating Questions The Cost of Working Horses

Cultivating Questions: The Cost of Working Horses

Thanks to the many resources available in the new millennium, it is relatively easy for new and transitioning farmers to learn the business of small-scale organic vegetable production. Economic models of horse-powered market gardens, however, are still few and far between. To fill that information hole, I asked three experienced farmers to join me in tracking work horse hours, expenses and labor over a two-year period and to share the results in the Small Farmer’s Journal.

Ask A Teamster Halters Off

Ask A Teamster: Halters Off!

When my friend and mentor, the late Addie Funk, first started helping me with my horses, he suggested that we get rid of my halter ropes with snaps and braid lead ropes on to all the halters permanently. Actually as I think about it, it was more than a suggestion. Knowing him, he probably just braided the new ropes on, confident that anyone with any sense would be pleased with the improvement. In any case, when the task was completed I clearly remember him saying to me, “Now nobody will turn a horse loose around here with a halter on.”

Black Pigs and Speckled Beans

Black Pigs & Speckled Beans

by:
from issue:

As country pigs go the Large Blacks are superb. They are true grazing pigs, thriving on grass and respectful of fences. Protected from sunburn by their dark skin and hair they are tolerant of heat and cold and do well even in rugged conditions. Having retained valuable instincts, the sows are naturally careful, dedicated, and able mothers. The boars I’ve seen are friendly and docile.

Cultivating Questions A Horsedrawn Guidance System

Cultivating Questions: A Horsedrawn Guidance System

Market gardening became so much more relaxing for us and the horses after developing a Horsedrawn Guidance System. Instead of constantly steering the horses while trying to lay out straight rows or cultivate the vegetables, we could put the team on autopilot and focus our whole attention on these precision tasks. The guidance system has been so effective that we have trusted visiting chefs to cultivate the lettuce we planned on harvesting for them a few weeks later.

The Big Hitch

The Big Hitch

In 1925 Slim Moorehouse drove a hitch of 36 Percheron Horses pulling 10 grain wagons loaded with 1477 bushesl of wheat through the Calgary Stampede Parade. It is out intention to honor a man who was a great horseman and a world record holder. The hitch, horses and wagons, was 350 feet in length and he was the only driver.

Methods of Feeding Turkeys

Methods of Feeding Turkeys

In a survey made before starting this experimental work, it was found that there was considerable confusion in the minds of many poultrymen as to the relative efficiency between the mash and pellet methods of feeding. A review of the literature on turkey nutrition and methods of feeding failed to disclose any studies which would be of assistance in answering this question. As a result, an experimental program was outlined to investigate several methods of feeding growing turkeys.

Living With Horses

Living With Horses

by:
from issue:

The French breed of Ardennes is closer to what the breed has been in the past. The Ardennes has always been a stockier type of horse, rude as its environment. Today the breed has dramatically changed into a real heavy horse. If the Ardennes had an average weight between 550 and 700kg in the first part of the last century, the balance shows today 1000kg and more. Thus the difference between the Ardennes and their “big” sisters, the Brabants in Belgium, or the Trait du Nord in France, has gone.

Fjordworks Horse Powered Potatoes Part 2

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes Part Two

These types of team implements for digging potatoes were the first big innovation in horse powered potato harvesting in the mid-19th century. Prior to the horse drawn digger the limitation on how many potatoes a farmer could plant was how many the farm crew could dig by hand. The basic design of these early diggers works so well that new models of this type of digger are once again being manufactured by contemporary horse drawn equipment suppliers.

American Milking Devons and the Flack Family Farm

American Milking Devons and the Flack Family Farm

by:
from issue:

On a sunny early September day I met Doug Flack at his biodynamic and organic farm, just South of Enosburg Falls. Doug is an American Milking Devon breeder with some of the best uddered and well behaved animals I have seen in the breed. The animals are beautifully integrated into his small and diversified farm. His system of management seems to bring out the best in the animals and his enthusiasm for Devon cattle is contagious.

Boer Goats

Boer Goats

by:
from issue:

The introduction of the Boer Goat has stirred up a lot of interest in all sectors of agriculture. The demand for goat meat exceeds the supply; goat meat is the most consumed meat in the world. One of the main points about South African Boer Goats is that out of all meat goat breeds the Boer is the top meat producer whereas in the cattle business you have over 100 breeds of beef cattle that all compete for the beef dollar.

The Equine Eye

The Equine Eye

by:
from issue:

The horse’s head is large, with eyes set wide apart at the sides of his head; he seldom sees an object with both eyes at the same time and generally sees a different picture with each eye. In the wild, this double vision was a big advantage, making it difficult for a predator to sneak up on him. He can focus both eyes to the front to watch something, but it takes more effort. Only when making a concentrated effort to look straight ahead does the horse have depth perception as we know it.

Work Bridle Styles

Work Bridle Styles

Here are fourteen work bridle styles taken from a 1920’s era harness catalog. Regional variants came with different names and configurations, so much so that we have elected to identify these images by letter instead of name so you may reference these pictures directly when ordering harness or talking about repairs or fit concerns with trainers or harness makers. In one region some were know as pigeon wing and others referred to them as batwing or mule bridles.

Ayrshire Ambassadors Cooperative

Ayrshire Ambassadors Cooperative

The Ayrshire Ambassadors Cooperative was founded in 2016 by a group of dairymen who want to be outspoken advocates of the Ayrshire breed. Ayrshires are one of the most cost-effective breeds for dairy farmers, as the breed is known for efficiently producing large quantities of high-quality milk, primarily on a forage diet. These vigorous and hardy cows can be found grazing in the sun, rain, and cold while other breeds often seek shelter.

The Broodmare in Fall

The Broodmare in Fall

by:
from issue:

Mares are not the major emphasis in the fall since they have performed their task of foaling, lactating and being re-bred. After foals are weaned, most breeders tend to focus on weanlings and yearlings that are being prepared for shows, sales and/or performance in the case of long yearlings. Fall management of broodmares is far more critical than some breeders realize and can directly impact foaling and re-breeding successes next year.

Mini Horse Haying

Mini Horse Haying

by:
from issue:

The first mini I bought was a three year old gelding named Casper. He taught me a lot about what a 38 inch mini could do just by driving me around the neighborhood. He didn’t cover the miles fast, but he did get me there! It wasn’t long before several more 38 inch tall minis found their way home. I presently have four minis that are relatively quiet, responsive to the bit, and can work without a lot of drama.

Ask A Teamster Horse Don't Won't Can't Turn

Ask A Teamster: Horse Don’t, Won’t, Can’t Turn

After moving the drop ring on the other side down we went out to the round pen for a test drive. The difference in how she ground drove and turned was amazing – not perfect, but real sweet. With the lines at that level a right turn cue on the line obviously meant go right to her, and a left turn cue meant left. After we drove around for a while with me smiling I couldn’t resist moving the drop rings back up to the line rings – Bam, back to the old confusion.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT