Old Tractors and Sewing Machines

I love just about anything old and mechanical, old sewing machines, old motorcycles, old cars, old tractors, anything where I can get my hands so dirty, I have to use hot water, Dawn dish soap, and a scrub brush to get my hands clean.

I used to own a tractor, a 1956 John Deere 420U with a Henry front end loader. I wanted a Farmall, but they were pretty scarce where I was living at the time, and the few that were in the area were way out of my price range. The JD 420 didn’t have working brakes (drop the bucket to stop), her tires were horrible, she leaked a fair amount of oil, and with a steering wheel that was perfectly vertical, she required a LOT of strength to steer – especially if there was a load in the bucket. She was a little cantankerous to start when she was cold, but a quick shot of starting fluid spray into the carburetor got her going without too much trouble.

When she was new, her 2 cylinder engine was rated at a whopping 27HP. I’m not even going to go into the laundry list of other problems that old tractor had. Suffice it to say, in spite of her flaws, I really loved that machine. Why? Probably because we had an understanding. Yes, she talked to me. She let me know in no uncertain terms when she needed more hydraulic oil, she told me when she wanted her ignition points cleaned, and when her spark plugs were starting to foul. In return, as long as I took care of her needs, wants, and desires, we got along very, very well. What I couldn’t do, was afford to REALLY get her back into top form. When I had that tractor, money was tight, and it simply wasn’t meant to be.

I mention that old tractor because I have a Singer model 66 from 1915 that kind of reminds me of her. She’s a bit butt ugly, and needs a lot of attention to get her running in top form. The difference is, I now have the time and skills to change the future of the 66, something I couldn’t do for the John Deere.

Sewing machines talk to me too. Spend enough time with one, and you know by the sound how they are doing, such as whether they want a drop of oil. They talk to you and let you know they don’t like a particular brand of thread, or type of needle.

Now the 66 is naked, stripped of every part, every screw, every bolt. Everything is being brought to better than factory condition. Her paint and decals though, they were beyond saving. So, in honor of old tractors everywhere, I decided to not only repaint the 66, I would repaint her in homage to one of my favorite tractors, the Farmall D-430. I went to the local Tractor Supply Store and bought some Majic brand Tractor, Truck & Implement Enamel in International Harvester Red.

After stripping her down to bare metal, giving her some Rust-Oleum self etching primer, followed by more sanding, I started spraying color! Some may call it blasphemous, but I don’t care, I’m digging on the 66 in International Harvester Red, I have to wait two weeks for the paint to fully cure before I can add the decals and spray the matching Majic brand clear coat. To be honest, the suspense is killing me. I really don’t need yet another model 66, and this being an early one without back tack or reverse, it won’t ever be my go-to machine, but I also know that when she’s done, I won’t ever sell her.

Pictures to follow when she’s finally going back together.

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