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Emma: Workin’ on Rainy Day Projects

When there is down time we have little projects to help keep us busy. One of these projects is rebuilding the sickle. The sickle is the group of blades that cut the stalk of the wheat off, and every so often they need to be replaced with new blades to help keep them sharp for maximum efficiency. When the sections (blades) get dull you aren’t able to drive as fast, and it doesn’t allow for a clean cut. This puts pressure on other moving parts that drive the head so it is a must repair/rebuild. It’s like using a pair of scissors that don’t cut anything.

So, how exactly does rebuilding a sickle work?

First we’ll take the sickle out of the head and lay it on the work bench. We have to round up a few trash cans and a couple of plywood sheets to accomplish this because we need at least a 30 foot work area.

Pulling the sickle out of the header trailer tube
We took the sickle off in the field and brought it home inside the tube of the header trailer for easier transport.

Vincent, Dan, and August
Vincent, Dan, and August searching for new sections to install on the sickle bar.

Once we get set up we take off the nuts that hold each section in place. Dan is usually the one that does this with an impact wrench. August was the next one in the assembly line and took the old sections off and replaced them with new ones. Then we put the nuts back on to hold the sections into place. At the end of the line was Vincent and I. This job can be tricky because if the sections aren’t secure they can fall off, and if they are too tight the bolts will break.

This can be a dangerous job, too. The sickle blades are razor sharp. I had a small slip up and my hand slipped and I had a decent sized gash on the palm of my hand I was lucky I didn’t need stitches and I was all up-to-date on my tetanus shots. We always put safety first, but sometimes accidents just happen.

Vincent, August, and Dan in the shop
After the sickle is assembled with new sections, it’s time to re-install it onto the head.

Heidi and Jesse
Jesse and Heidi cooling off on the concrete shop floor.

August and Vincent

Be safe and God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta
Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com

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