I had an old Allis Chalmers CA far tractor that I needed to move about 30 feet further into our property. This would be simple except the tractor has not ran in 10 years, the tires have sunk deep into the mud, and one of the rims is rotted out and the tire has a real bad flat spot. So the tractor will not move under it's own power. It is also in a place that nothing but another tractor can get to, and because of the geometry of the tractor it is not candidate for pushing. There are no trees anyplace in front of it to pull it from. What to do?
I knew the answer was a dead man, but I resorted to a simple test first. I found a very heavy U shaped metal fence post and used my post pounder to plant it over 2 feet in the ground, and wrapped a chain around one end of the tractor, wrapped another chain around the post and put my come along in the middle and started cranking.
The fence post put of a good effort. I let me tension up the chains to the point that I could not crank the come along, I had to switch it over to it's power pulling configuration and re-rig the chains. This time before the tractor moved at all, the fence post started canting over. With each crank of the come along the post canted over more, the tractor did not move at all, and eventually, the post canted over far enough that the chain could slip off of it. The simple fence post was not going to work.
I did take some time and pull the post out and examine how it failed. To my surprise the post did not bend at all, the post held the load against it, the soil the post was set in failed, ripping forward on the surface and backwards below the surface.
We had a few days of nasty weather, cold and rainy and I had some time to think. The next sunny day I got out and took stock of my scrap pile. I never scrap though. I look at the pile when I need something and figure out how to get from there to where I need to be,
In this case the answer was an old bed frame. This one was made out of larger and thicker angle iron than your typical bed frame, and held together with hollow rivets. This was good as hollow rivets can be drilled out. Most bed frames are built with solid rivets that need to be ground out. Drilling them out is much faster and in no time I had the legs and casters and the boxes that held the headboard and foot board off, leaving me with 4 nice pieces of angle iron.
The basic shape of the dead man resembles a sail boat sail. One vertical member than goes a couple feet into the ground, a horizontal piece that goes forward along the ground, and a piece at an angle that joins the two pieces. For good measure I also welded a spike pointing downward at the end of the horizontal piece along the ground. The angled piece is shy of both the top of the vertical piece and the end of the horizontal piece.
I used my vice grips to hold the thing together and as I figured out how long the pieces needed to be I used my metal cutting chop saw to cut them out. After I had all the pieces cut out and dry fit with the vice grips I used a sharpie to outline the areas that I needed to remove the paint and rust with my grinder. Once I had nice shiny metal where the welds needed to be, I welded all the joints together. I am not a good welder so I went over them a couple times and made sure to weld along any two surfaces available.
Once I had it built, I brought it over to where I needed it. I discovered one mistake right away. I should have left more of the vertical angle iron before the angled brace. My post pounder did not bottom out on the post but on the junction of the vertical piece and the angled piece. I figured my weld would break but I gave it a good slam with the post pounder anyway. The welded joint much to my amazement held. In fact after a few blows the outside lip of the post pounder started to rip...Read more »