HAY BALER? NO, A HAY PRESS
(Page 2 of 6)
Luckily, my press became obsolete before it wore out so putting
on a new operator's platform was the major restoration task.
Later a safety rail was added. My father, Paul Timmerman, (Mount
Pleasant, Iowa) did the restoration of the hay press. Then some one
asked who was going to whittle out the wooden blocks. What blocks?
It seems that the wood blocks play a major role in dividing the
long wad of hay into convenient size cubes. First, at some proper
time, known only to the experienced person, the operator quits
feeding hay and after watching the bale chamber clean itself out,
drops or stands the block on end into the empty bale chamber. The
returning plunger strikes the block (hopefully before it falls
over) and shoves it into the hay chute just like another wad of
hay. This is the division between the previous and next new bale
just like wax paper between segments of a taffy candy bar.
Secondly this block must have horizontal grooves on both the
front and back side. The grooves are too narrow for the compressed
hay to squeeze into but large enough for someone to poke a wire
through. (The 14gauged wires left straight are factory precut to
about nine feet with an eye twisted on one end. They are packaged
in bundles of 500 wires.) The block and wire are moved along the
bale chute by the addition of hay behind it. Again, at an exact
time known only to a few, another block is dropped in place to
start its journey down the chute, the other end of the wire is
poked through the groove in the block so both ends stick through to
the other side. The person on that side tied the wire, after
pulling the end through the twisted eye, forming the bound bale.
There were usually just two wires used to bind a bale but sometimes
for a super heavy bale such as old paper bales, a third wire was
used. Grandfather used red elm wood to make his blocks because they
could be bent almost double before breaking. Running out of baling
blocks has the same results as running out of wire to tie the
bales. My blocks were made of plywood centers with whatever kind of
wood used in troop seats for army trucks on the outside.
At last, after the blocks have done their mission of dividing
the bales and guiding the tie wires in place, they move along the
bale chute with the moving bales and fall free as the completed
bales emerge. The blocks are then carried forward and recycled
until worn out or broken. If a wire is pushed through on the wrong
side, the block will not fall free, but be tied onto the end of the
bale very securely. The bale must be broken to release the block
and then recycled through the press again.
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