Vintage Sears Garden Tractors
Construction of the Rear Blade
I'm a tinkerer by nature. Sometimes I get ideas for projects in my head that just have to
wait for a rainy day. Making a rear blade for the Suburban was one of those projects. I had
seen an article in Mother Earth News many years ago that documented the construction of
a home made garden tractor. Part of that article had a section on making a rear scraper
blade. Of course I cut out the whole article and filed it for the appropriate time. That time
came eventually when I came into possession of a triangular shaped, welded up piece of
metal that was supposed to have been part of a snowplow mount on a John Deere garden
tractor. Then I ran across a spare blade for a Sears snowplow. There was no turning
back....it was time to make the blade.
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The idea was to make the wide part of the triangular piece
the attachment point for the arms of the three point hitch.
The narrow end of the triangular part was going to have a
piece of metal sleeve bushing welded onto it. Through this,
a large bolt was going to be inserted, which in turn would be
welded to the blade. This would allow the blade to pivot to
different angles, or even be reversed. I sawed the blade in
half using a metal saw prior to welding.
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Once the bolt was welded onto the blade, it was
inserted into the bushing that had been shortened and
welded onto the triangular bracket. The top of the bolt
was cut off, then a positioning plate was welded on the
top of the whole assembly. This would allow the blade
to be locked in place by a clevis pin. I put in a Zerk
fitting more for show than anything. It just looks right.
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A rod was inserted through the holes in the bracket so
the lift arms of the three point hitch could be attached.
Then a piece of flat steel was welded onto the top for
the center link. The blade worked effectively. The bolt
would twist if there was a load placed on the end of the
blade. If I had to do it over again, I would use a
tempered bolt, or redesign it to use flat steel for the
pivot like Sears/Roper did. All in all, I would have to
say it was a success though. And naturally I'm thrilled
because the whole thing cost about twenty dollars.
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Construction of the Dethatcher
I had always been interested in the dethatchers that you could pull behind your tractor. I particularly liked the ones you could mount on
the front of a Snapper, or other rider because you would lift and lower it with a lever, like a snowplow. I didn't have lot's of time to put
one together, but gave it a whirl one rainy weekend. Here's how I did it.
I had come across some square metal stock at the Berlin
Farmer's Market here in New Jersey. There were pieces of
angle welded at a 90 degree angle across the ends.
Something told me to buy them for a dollar. They would
later become the frame for the Dethatcher. The two pieces
were just bolted together at the ends to make a thin,
rectangular shaped frame.  A tongue was made of old water
pipe, with a slot cut into the end so it would fit onto the
hitch on the back of the tractor. I went to the Farm and
Family Center (now out of business) and saw that they had
tines for a haying machine in the discontinued item closeout
box. Wow, this thing was coming together nicely.
After bolting on the tines, I gave the rig a test run. Geeze, it
rocked back and forth like a lobster boat in a Nor'easter. I had
already installed wheels to the side, but the original intent was just
using them for transport purposes. Now, I had to go back and
configure the wheels so they would perform as gauge wheels also.
I hooked it up to the tractor, put it on level ground, then made it
so the gauge wheels could lock tight when the tines were just
touching the ground. This stopped the rocking problem because
the wheels would keep the tines from loading weight on them and
springing out. A piece of telephone pole cut to proper length
provided enough weight to give the proper ground penetration.
I was never completely satisfied with using the dethatcher
on my lawn. It would dig up just as much good grass as it
would dead grass. I did however like using it after
breaking new ground for a lawn. It would level the dirt
and remove the junk from the soil. One thing
though....the tines would hang on something, then spring
forward. Whatever was in front of the tine would get shot
forward with considerable velocity. The back of the
tractor took most of it, but once in a while it would bean
you in the head with something. Ouch! I wouldn't make
another one.
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All material © 2000 VSGT