Back in business with a wooden wheel

I have an old Kubota tractor and an older Rhino PTO mower for the 3-point hitch. Both have been beaten like Keith Moon's drum kit in the tree farm--bashed, broken, and every which way spindled, folded and mutilated. It is a testimony to engineering that any of it works at all.

The mower has a trailing wheel on the after end. The original wheel lost its bearing and for a long time I just ignored it, letting the damn thing flop around back there as I mowed. Over time even the forks that hold the wheel axle nearly wore out. I finally took that wheel out and made a replacement wheel out of several disks of plywood that I glued and screwed together. I bought a long 3/4" bolt to use as an axle. It worked, but plywood being what it is, the weather eventually unplied it and the hole I had drilled for the axle wore out.

I actually was surprised it lasted as long as it did. Anyway, in the past couple days I built a new one, this time out of pressure treated 2x8s I had lying around from a different project. I built a jig for the jigsaw to cut more circular disks, but that didn't work nearly as well as I hoped. Cheapskate carpentry uses inferior, repurposed junk that never, ever materializes the concept the way I imagined it. That's the frustration. The pleasure is when, after tinkering and adjusting, you install it and it works.

It feels good. And that's the problem. Because then you operate, and put off going back to the workshop to improve the jig. The discipline to go back to the drawing board, or to the workshop to refine and improve that concept-to-product connection, is where the real success lies.


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