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Refurbishing a Sickle Mower

posted Apr 13, 2010, 7:34 AM by Matt Francis
Sickle mowers used to be the only way to cut grass for hay.  More recently, they've been supplanted by disc mowers, which require larger tractors, but are less likely to be tripped up by rocks, sticks or the occasional t-post ;)  However, for us small-time hay makers, the sickle is still king.  They cut using a scissor action and require little power, but lots of fine-tuning.  We currently have two sickle mowers, one a "dynabalance" from Massey Ferguson (70's) and the other a classic pitman-type mower from John Deere (40's-50's).  This mower actually uses a wood "pitman" to transfer the notional energy of a flywheel powered by the tractor PTO to the linear cutting action of the bar.  I'll try to post a video when I get everything working, it's pretty wild to watch.  I refurb'ed the MF mower last year, which is much more modern and uses a "wobble box" to power the sickle.  We successfully cut our 10 acres with that mower last hay season.  This year, I took on the JD mower as a backup (I try to refurb one piece of equipment a year).  This mower was acquired for $100, and was in the condition to prove it!  I started by tearing the old beast apart and breaking it down into it's subcomponents.  I then went to town with a wire brush on my old drill, leaving what you see below.

Once all of the parts were broken free, prepped and cleaned, I shot a coat a primer using my most recent harbor freight purchase (on special for $12!  Set your compressor to 50psi, turn the air control all the way down, and go to town...)

Finally, a coat of John Deere Green and she's ready to be reassembled....

I find painting to be incredibly therapeutic... instant gratification!  Especially when it turns out this nice! :)