Monday, November 23, 2009

Franken Mower!

I don't do 'Yard'. That isn't to say that I don't like to work in my yard, or that I don't enjoy having a yard that looks like something. No, instead it means that my idea of looking like something isn't what most folks view. Blame it on my parents, who used to agree on maybe only this one thing...a mowed yard looks good. What you mow isn't nearly as important as keeping it mowed. I still subscribe to that today. I don't spread a load of chemicals on the yard, and while I refuse to climb aboard the St Augustine Grass Con-Job Express, I will spread rye seed in the winter, for a bit of green. There's something therapeutic about mowing. Especially when your job is an endless string of similar land development issues...getting out on a hot day and mowing the grass and seeing that you have finished something is rewarding.

I've had the same lawn mower since about 1985, or so. It was actually the push mower that my mother got back in the day so that I could mow her yard. Today, because she now uses a service, and because as Presbyterians we don't ever waste anything, the mower is mine...has been since we bought the house over 6 years ago. It's a simple machine, and I've given it new blades and plugs and oil and filters over the years, and the little Tecumseh engine needed a carburetor a while back, but otherwise...going strong.


Yup, that's a big crack in the mower deck just forward of the rear wheels. Not good.

And the crack just forward of the left side rear wheel...looks like the agricultural equivalent of the Liberty Bell!

Well, like most folks who find themselves with a mower catastrophe like this...I went shopping for a new mower, and what I found wasn't good. Lots of regurgitated American mower brand names slathered on flimsy imported crap mowers and hocked for pennies at big box stores like Lowe's. Bolens, Wheel Horse, Troy Built. All seeming much more flimsy and floppy than even my split-deck Craftsman, now old enough to buy a drink and vote!

The Internet wasn't much help either. Snappers and Toros, the fancy-schmancy made in USA boys, sell for 350-500 bucks for a non-self propelled mulching mower, (I aint bagging anything, ever!) Way too pricey. And while folks love the Snapper Toro stuff, the reviews of the cheap-o big-box mowers were not good...things like, "seems OK, like it will last for a few seasons anyway" littered the boards. I don't want a disposable mower! I just want a decent mower and I don't want to spend billions to get it!

So I fixed the one I own. Made a few brackets our of angle steel and bolted the thing back together with Loctite and washers to keep it from falling apart under the vibration.

The Brackets and some of the hardware...getting ready for my surgery.

Tah-Dah! Bolted together and ready to roll...but a bit ugly still. There are three of these brackets holding the ass of the deck in place. Two on the topside and the one there in front of the rear wheel. I ran it around a bit after I bolted the crap in place, and the old beast works fine. Ugly, but functional. Now about that ugly part...

Blast it with a bit of primer, and let it sit for a bit before the final spray.

Scene of the "crime!" HA!

Flat black top coat. Hey, what can I say...Only the coolest home-owners own 'Murdered Out' push mowers with Frankenstein bracing! Dead Sexy!...In a Helena Bonham Carter-Frankenstein's Girl kind of way.... New plug, oil and air filter and we're good for another 25 years.

Next up...Bike crap. Here's a teaser...


Steve Reed said...

It's awesome that you're still using the old family mower! I hope it continues to last!

utahDOG! said...

What's awesome is the 400 bucks still in my pocket!

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, that's a big plus, too. Hopefully those braces won't break and cause the thing to gnaw off your foot! (Not sure how that could happen, but you never know...:) )

utahDOG! said...

Don't think that didn't cross my mind!

Anonymous said...

James--I got my grandparents 1972 sears push mower in 1992. Used it once a week on a half an acre. in 96 it developed the same type of crack. I bolted some scrap across the top. When I left it in '98 it was still going strong. I miss that mower!- caroline