The knotter has only two working parts. It is so simple and the adjustments are not delicate that almost anyone can keep it in working condition. The reason that no delicate adjustments are necessary is that the surface cord holder is unusually large. The surface holds the twine, yet it does not grip it too tightly to prevent the knotter from working properly. In tying a knot the cord holder feeds the twine toward the bill hook. This obviates the danger of breaking the twine.
I particularly enjoyed your “Setting Up A Binder” article in the last Small Farmer’s Journal. I noticed that the Champion binder has an IHC auto-steer tongue truck. I’m wondering if you know when that Champion binder was manufactured. There are many clever designs in the old horse machinery, but I have long admired how that tongue truck turns shorter than the tongue so a team can sidestep around a corner to line up for the next swath. We had one of these tongue trucks installed on a #9 mower back when Dad was still alive and farming. I still have a couple stashed in my windbreak.
Friend and Auctioneer Dennis Turmon told us about a couple of John Deere Grain Binders he has in an upcoming auction, and we couldn’t wait to take a look. On a blustery Central Oregon day (sorry about the wind noise), Lynn takes us on a guided tour of the PTO and Ground-Drive versions of this important implement.
We recently acquired a full color McCormick publication which included, at its core, this information on their binder designs. In a previous issue we published the mower portion. There is additional info we will offer in a subsequent journal. It is our mission to keep such material alive.
These photos were taken over two days this fall, ahead of the threshing on the McIntosh Lazy M Ranch in Terrebonne, Oregon. Their standby binder for several years has been a meticulously maintained John Deere. Recently Mike McIntosh acquired a second binder from the Rumgay estate; this one, a New Champion, is in excellent original condition but has not seen use in many years. A day ahead of the threshing Mike, Jacob and Jamesy allowed me to join them in assembling and assessing the unit for a test flight.
No sooner was first crop hay “put up” and it was time to “shock grain”. We could see it coming, a sea of green oats slowly turning to a duller, lighter green, then toward a yellow hue. The oats were ripening. It was a beautiful sight to witness the undulating fields turning golden yellow. Dad would walk out into the oat fields of the 238 acre farm out on Oak Grove Ridge in the heart of Crawford County, near Seneca in southwestern Wisconsin. He would reach down and pull a few grains from the stalks. Then he would shuck the grains in his hand and open up the husks, inspect the fullness of the pods, and shake a handful of oats for heft. Dad would announce at the supper table, “Tomorrow, we get the grain binder out.”
When you watch a field of wheat turn from green to golden and wave lightly in the wind, see the shocks lined up in rows as you pass by on the road, watch a load of grain auger into the grain wagon, and then see the cycle begin again. It is beautiful and worth it all.