Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sinking Some TEETH Into It....

A few years back, we had a chain of stores in the Midwest (the REAL Midwest, not the Ohio Valley Midwest....) called Country General.

It's a convoluted mess, so suffice it to say -

They went "belly up"......

During their last few days in business, they were DRASTICALLY discounting EVERYTHING in the stores. Sometimes, if you got there at the right time - and were REALLY lucky, you could find an incredible deal on something.

One of those incredible deals we happened to run across was on a 3 point PHD (Post Hole Digger) for my tractor. It was during a 70% off day, and it was in a pile that was considered "tractor parts". I had convinced my wife that I couldn't live without one, so she figured out a way to get it.

She got her trusty calculator out and figured on it until smoke was coming out the back, and we had the necessary $120 we'd need. We loaded up the parts - along with several other things - and headed to the check out.

When the checker got done, she told us our total was something like $8.29. Both of us - almost in unison - told her that there must be a mistake. After checking things over, the checker told us, "Nope, that's it".

Now, to make a longer story shorter, we ended up arguing with her AND the manager about the price, but they told us that everything was as it should be, so we headed out the door with my new PHD that we paid a whooping $1.20 for (yes, ONE DOLLAR and TWENTY CENTS).

I have DEFINITELY got my money's worth from this machine! I don't know how many holes I've put into the ground with it, but it has to be in the hundreds. I use it all of the time, whether it's for fence, building a shed, or planting trees. It has even been used to drill the hole to place our beloved dog, Crystal, in her final resting place.

While the original 14" auger is the one I use the most, I was given a 12", and bought a 9" at an auction this winter for $4. So now I can drill a small hole for a small post.

Lately, I have been trying to fence in part of the farmstead beside the barn. It doesn't get much use, so it gets over grown a lot. I figured that the goats could help me take care of the problem.

Several of the posts were small, so the 9" auger would do. However, I wanted to use Rail Road ties as gate posts, so I'd need the 14" to drill those.

Things went well with the 9" auger, it drilled right into the dry ground with ease. The 16" was a different story - it fought and fought, then flat refused to dig anymore.

I had wore out the "teeth" on the tip of the auger a long time ago, and had replaced them, then wore THAT set out, and replaced THEM. Now this set was so badly rounded off on the outside, that the ends of the auger flighting weren't even cutting into the soil.

Bad Tooth

New teeth at Tractor Supply, Orschlens, etc, were in the $25 range for 4 teeth. Not having any cash, but having lots of scrap metal, I figured on making a set or two. Since the metal would have to be durable and at least 1/2" thick, I had the perfect solution.

A grader blade bit.

I used a chop saw to cut off two pieces that were 2" wide and as long as the grader bit was wide.

I had learned long ago that the bolt you are SUPPOSED to use to fasten the tooth onto the auger with, will NEVER stay tightened for ever. They always work loose, then the tooth turns and doesn't work.

To end the frustration, I just weld the tooth to the auger, and am done with it. If I need to change a tooth - like I did today - I grind the weld off, clean it up, and weld on the new tooth.

The worn tooth in the above photo started out life the same size as the red one in this photograph:

Compare

The bigger tooth in the photo is the one I made. The other is a store bought one. Experience has also taught me to not put the on "straight" - angle them to the outside just a little and they cut in SOOOO much better.

I used it to drill the last three holes this afternoon, and was amazed at how well it cut. This auger has NEVER cut this good before. These teeth SHOULD last for quite a "bit" longer (pun intended...) then the ones I bought.

I just wish I had thought of it sooner......

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