Handy Farm Devices and How To Make Them

Compiled by Rolfe Cobleigh, NEW YORK, ORANGE JUDD COMPANY 1912, Associate Editor American Agriculturist.

Gates and Doors

Keeping a Gate from Sagging

THE average farm gate is heavy, and after a little time it sags. When they get this way it takes a strong man to open and shut one. Here is a remedy. Get a wheel, either big or little, from an old piece of machinery, and bolt it to the front end of the gate in such a way that the gate will be held level. Now the smallest child can open the gate for you. Try it, for it is a saver -- saves your patience, your back and the gate.

An Easily Opened Gate

Take an old buggy wheel and fasten it as shown in the drawing to the gates that are opened often. The piece of board indicated by c drops between the spokes of the wheel and holds the gate either open or closed. A child can easily operate the heaviest gate with this attachment.

A Gate that Never Sags

A farmer has used this gate for many years and never spent five minutes repairing it. Countersink two pieces and pin them together. Then set up two 2 x 4 pieces 2 feet higher than the gate so it can be raised in winter. Mortise and set in between the cross-pieces, which are 12 inches apart, the board, a, and fasten a cap to the top of the frame. The gate is 16 feet long, 12 feet being for the gateway and 4 feet for the weights to balance it. The frame is of 2 x 4s. Cover the 4-foot end with boards and fill with enough stones to balance it when hung.

Cover the gate with wire fencing and hang by a chain. Put a bolt through the lower part of the frame into the crosspiece, a.

A Cheap Gate

A light, useful and durable gate can be made of sassafras poles and barbed wire, as shown in the cut. Set a strong post 4 feet in the ground in the middle of the gateway and balance the gate on it.

The lower rail is made of two forked sassafras poles securely nailed together so as to work around the post.

A Simple Farm Gate

Many like such a gate as that shown in the cut. Material to be used depends largely on the purpose for which the gate is made. For a paddock or pasture gate, make it out of seasoned boards 1 x 6 inches, 12 or 14 feet long. The posts supporting the gate are about 5 inches apart, the one on the inside being about 8 inches ahead of the other. They are joined together by cleats or rollers which support the gate and allow it to be pushed back and swing open. If rollers are not obtainable, cleats made of any hard wood are good. They need not be heavier than 1 x 4 inches. If the gate is to be used for a hog pasture, the lower cleats on both sets of posts should be placed just above the lower board to prevent the hogs from lifting it up.

An Easily Regulated Gate

The gate hanger illustrated in the drawing is very handy for use where it is desired to let hogs pass from one pasture to another while cows are confined to one. As shown, the hanger is a piece of strap iron bent around the post and supported by pegs. These pegs may be inserted in holes at varying heights. Raise the gate to let the hogs through and lower it to keep them in, of course. This is also a good device for raising the gate above the snow in winter. Many would find this use of the adjustable hanger preferable to the gates made to raise only one end for snow. Of course it is desirable that there should be the least play as possible while the hanger slides up and down freely, and special care should be taken to set the post firmly. Otherwise the gate would sag.

Gate to Overcome Snowdrifts

In the picture is shown a gate which can be readily adjusted to swing over snowdrifts. It is easily made from ordinary lumber. A 1 x 6-inch upright is used for the lower boards, 1 x 4 for the upper ones. The uprights at the hinge post are double 1 x 4, one piece outside and the other inside the bars. The upright at the latch side may be the same weight of stuff or slightly lighter, and fastened in the same way. Instead of nailing the bars to these uprights, bolts are used, one for each bar at each end. The lowest board is notched as shown, and the double brace used from the top of the latch post to the bottom of the hinge post. For the brace, 1 x 3 stuff is strong enough. They are joined near the bottom with a bolt, which engages with the notches when the gate is raised, as shown at the right.

A Time Saver

To open and close gates that stock may be kept within bounds the year round is one thing which uses up a great deal of time, and makes no return. Every gate should be so made that it will fall into place of its own weight and stay closed and open without hitch or bother. The cut illustrates a convenient thing that should be in larger use on farms. It is always open and always closed against stock. Put up and well painted, it will last for many years.

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Keep the Gate Open

A simple and handy device which serves to hold the gate open is shown in the cut. To make it, procure a board, a, 1 x 4 x 12 inches and saw out a portion in the center, leaving a space on each side 1/2 inch wide, and bore holes for a bolt. Next get an 8-inch stick, b, and bore a hole through it 3 inches from the top. Bevel the top so that the gate will pass over it, and it will then fall back and hold the gate open. When one's hands and arms are full of things, as they often are on a farm, it is a great convenience to have a gate or door held open automatically. No simpler or more effective device for the purpose can be found. A similar device can be adapted to use as a latch to catch and keep a gate or door closed.

Good Bars for the Farm

It is an important matter to the farmer that his farm should be well equipped with good, substantial bars. Some farmers go to as much trouble in a year's time in moving a poor gate or bars back and forth as they drive in and out of fields, and in chasing cattle about, as making dozens of such bars as are represented here. Use round poles about 2-1/2 or 3 inches in diameter. Set two good-sized posts one on either side of the barway, and to each one, an equal distance apart, nail large horseshoes, allowing the round part to stand out far enough from posts to admit the bar poles easily.

Durable Floating Fence

This is a cheap and easy way to make a good, strong cable on which to hang a water gate, when it becomes necessary to have a fence cross a stream: Set two good, large posts about 3 feet deep in the ground and about 6 feet from the banks of the stream. Get a piece of wire (barbed wire will do, but smooth wire makes a much better looking job), long enough to go from one post around the other and back again about six times, being careful to fasten each end securely at the proper height from the ground. Then get a strong piece of wood about 1x3 inches and about 4 feet long, stand as near the middle of the space between the two posts as possible, and place the stick between the two sets of wires. Turn around until all the wires are well twisted together, being careful not to twist too much.

On withdrawing the stick, the wires will only untwist two or three times. After the gate is hung, the stick may be again inserted in the same place and several more twists given to take up the sag caused by the weight of the gate. Then fasten one end of the stick to the top of gate and it will be impossible for the cable to untwist any more. This has been found to answer all the purposes of an expensive cable and looks and lasts just as well.

Fence Across a Stream

To construct a fence across a creek or small stream, set a post on each bank and brace well. If a tree happens to be near at the right place, so much the better. Then fasten wire securely on posts, leaving enough slack so a weight in the middle will draw the wires toward the bed of the stream, thus making it impossible for stock of any size to get through. A large stone makes a good weight. It can be blocked up to desired height and fastened in position with smooth wire.

Temporary Sheep Fence

One of the best portable fences for use in soiling sheep is made in panels with supports, as shown. Panels are 10 feet long, made of 4-inch board solidly nailed together. After this fence is once put up, sheep are not likely to overturn it. A fence 3-1/2 feet high will turn most flocks.

Fastening Heavy Doors

There is little difference in the effectiveness of these two locks for heavy doors. The left-hand device is extremely quick and handy; the other very neat and substantial. The lock to the left has both bars pivoted to a lever handle, which is pivoted to the door midway between the ends of the arms. Moving the lever handle up moves both arms out of slots above and below the doors. The fastening may be also worked from the inside by cutting a slot through the door and setting a pin in one of the arms, so that it can be moved in the slot.

The right-hand fastening is worked by raising the lower arm so that the notch incloses the middle staple at d. Then the upper arm can be pulled down. Both arms stay firm and snug whether the door is shut or open.

Hold the Barn Doors Shut

A latch that will hold double doors shut is shown in the cut. This is put on the inside of the door that is closed first. It is made of hardwood 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. To open the door, turn the piece, a, to the right and pull down on the crosspiece which is fastened to the door by a bolt in the middle. This will raise the latch, c, and lower the latch, d, as shown in the cut to the right.

Open your doors to a fine day, but make yourself ready for a foul one.

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Fastening the Stable Door

A handy stall door fastener is shown in Figure I. It consists of a piece of oak or other hard wood 4 inches wide by 7/8 inch thick and 2 inches longer than the width of the door. It is fastened to the door by a 3/8-inch bolt through the middle and it works like a button. Cleats, b, are sawed out and fastened to the door jamb on each side to hold the fastener in place.

Another handy fastener that can be worked from either side of the door is shown in Figure 2.

There are three upright pieces, a, two of which are on the door and one on the door jamb or casings. Another piece, b, slides through these and holds the door shut. A pin, c, goes through the bolt and through the door to open or shut it from the opposite side. The bolt is kept shut by the spring, which can be made from a piece of hickory, or other tough hardwood, whittled down to the proper thickness. The spring feature is the chief advantage, and a very important one it is, of this excellent fastener. It is also a good point that the fastener works nicely from the opposite side of the door.

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They must hunger in frost that will not work in heat.

'Tis easier to build two chimneys than to maintain one.

Homemade Door Latch

This consists of three pieces of oak or other good hardwood, as shown in the drawing. For the handle use a piece 8 x 2 x 1 inches. Shape a flattish knob on one end 3 inches long. Work down the rest so as to pass through a 1-inch auger hole. Shape a knob on the other end by flattening the sides. The latch is made of a piece 5 x 1 x 3/8 inches. The catch is 8 x 2 x 3/4 inches. Bore a 1-inch hole for the handle 3 inches from the edge of the door. Push the handle through the hole and mark on it the thickness of the door; then bore in the handle a 3/8-inch hole for the latch.

Now assemble the parts according to the finished figure, which shows the latch thrown back. A little peg may be used to keep the latch from falling down when the door is open. By taking pains to shape and finish this latch nicely it will look well enough to please the artistic eye of the most fastidious.