Hillybilly tractor repair

With acres of meadow that must be cut down before the fire season kicks into high gear, a push mower just doesn’t cut it.

Fortunately, a friend gave me indefinite loan of a John Deere lawn tractor. Flat tires, didn’t run, etc. I got it going, and it served us well for a couple of years, but eventually the area where one of the pulleys mounts to the deck rusted through. I really need to find a good used welder and learn to do that, but it’s not happening before August, so it’s Creativity Time.

Here’s the problem – I’ve circled the areas where the deck rusted through around the three mounting bolts. We need to create a backing plate and hunt up some donor parts and washers:

Today’s donor is an old circular saw blade, chosen for its shape and springy tenacity. Here it is having its center cut out for the pulley shaft to pass through:

Here it is right before my hands got too dirty to touch the camera, the spindle hole cut and marks for the bolt holes Sharpied on:

Getting the drill started on this slick, springy stuff was a challenge, but once it was all bolted back together, it roared to life.

Well OK, I left out about fifteen minutes of puzzling over the proper path for the belt, and jump-starting the mower from the van after a few shots of starting fluid…but it cuts, which has saved me countless hours of push-pulling a regular mower. More time to learn guitar, read books, sleep, party shovel goat poop!