With the main tube, wheels, front end and engine painted I reassembled all and had a much more maneuverable rolling tractor. The rest should be a piece of cake, right. All that was left now to do was the front loader, sheet metal and all the misc. small parts scattered about.
The sheet metal, fenders, hood etc. was in basically good condition with very minor rust. None the less, I thought I needed to get this project finished up and remembering that a friend had a custom car and restoration shop I loaded all pieces in the minivan and paid him a visit. While he was checking over all the parts I was reminding him of the good times we had when he lived in the neighborhood and what good friends we were.
All of this sucking-up drew no response from him and he finally rubbed his chin with his body filler dust covered hand and said "yeah, I think we can work it in". Big mistake, I didn't get a price quote since he said "If you're in no big hurry I'll work on it in my spare time and save you some money".
While waiting for him to do the sheet metal parts I began redoing the front loader. I made another trip to the building supply yard for more blasting sand and to Harbor Freight for more wire brushes. The front loader didn't require a whole lot of labor and all went well with not a great outpouring of capitol until I took all the hydraulic hoses in for new replacements.
The hydraulic sub-assembly components specialist, hose guy, said "are you sure you want to replace them all"? I said "well I'm in too deep to cut corners now". But, after his calculator stopped spitting out tape and I could see the total I began to doubt my logic. I checked the balance in the checking account that I use for rental property expenses and thought maybe I could write it off as a major equipment maintenance expense.
A little over a year later my friend from the "custom car emporium" called and said that my parts were ready. It took a moment to remember what parts. Then, when I asked him what I owed him he cleared his throat, grunted, paused and mumbled something. By now I'm thinking this ain't good, the second time he spoke loudly enough to be heard. After having a Redd Foxx moment I finally regained my composure and I remember thinking it could be worse, he could have charged me his prime-time rate.
Anyway, I stopped by the bank and fed the loan officer some wild story about needing a home improvement loan. I wasn't about to tell him that I had my tractor hood and fenders painted. I picked them up and they were beautiful, too beautiful. I packed each piece in at least two quilts and drove home carefully. After spending far too much time admiring each piece and fearing the thought of inflicting the slightest scratch to any one of them I began the arduous task of installing them.
Where did all those lag bolts, clip nuts, washers and misc. hardware go? Besides being an unbelievable source for hard to find items Handy Hardware was also, except for a somewhat minor jog, in route to my favorite pool hall. I might have made a few less trips if I had composed a more comprehensive parts list but I would have missed out on some really great 8 ball games.
I did this once before with an early 50's Ferguson tractor. I pulled it into the garage to fix the starter and a few months later I had a showpiece that I couldn't use. I sold it and bought the 310 workhorse vowing to never again spend that much time and money on an old tractor. Yeah, right!
Check out the FERGUSON TO-20 TRACTOR page for more info and