Threshing Machine Primps for Starring Role at the Bee

Our old threshing machine is really the star of the threshing bee. Getting her ready for the big day is a job and a half. This year is an extra challenge because of... you guessed it, the flood.

Introducing the Grease Monkeys

These five gentlemen were the people who stayed to the bitter end of getting the thresher up and running. There was a much bigger crew present when I first showed up so hats off to those absent as well.

Mr. David King is the top man. Below him and left to right in the photo are Mr. Ray Egeland, Mr. Doug Lansdell, Mr. Jordan Rasmussen and Mr. H.Barry Warnica holding the can of penetrating oil.

Valiant Crew get Threshing Machine Ready for the Bee

The flood forced us to cancel our 2013 and 2014 threshing bees. Not only that but our poor thresher got partly submerged and covered and choked with silt. So along with the usual checks to get her ready we had some major cleaning to do.

By the time I got down to the park things were already well underway. I assume the thresher had been hosed down any number of times as flood first aid so to speak.

Threshing Machine Belts

Complex system of Belts Runs Thresher

Our thresher is belt driven. In other words a big belt is slung between the thresher and a tractor. The tractor spins a wheel and that connects in a lot of very complicated ways to a whole bunch of other belts and wheels that are on the actual threshing machine.

While I watched the crew carefully attached the belts to the wheels. It was a slow process trying to figure out which belt went where and which ones needed a twist and how to make sure the wheels were all spinning the right way. So this is why we study gears and pulleys in science.

Silted Belt from 2013 Flood

To give you an idea of the state of these belts check out this photo... caked with silt.


More Silt... And Water Too

Back to the flood issues. The men started up the machine essentially to shake out the silt. We were soon enveloped in a cloud of dust. I pile of silt pellets collected everywhere there was a hole into the machine.

Shaking Out The Silt from the Flood
A Little Water from the Flood

Then someone had the bright idea to check the wheel hubs. A big wrench was enlisted and the hubs cranked off. They were still full of water. They were dried out and greased.


Fresh Grease and the Monkey

One of Many Grease Nipples

Finally the real grease monkey part began with a fresh tube of grease. There must be about a hundred grease nipples on our thresher, in all kinds of places.

Until now I had never really appreciated why grease monkey was a name. See the contortions one might get into trying to stretch to every grease nipple.

Monkey Part of Grease Monkey

You might want to check out Alex MacKenzie’s three page checklist to see the details of what goes in to getting our threshing machine ready ready.

How The Threshing Machine Works

A threshing machine simply separates the grain from the harvested plants. Alex plans to bring a picture of a large cutaway of the inside of the thresher to the bee so we can all see how it works. So i'm going to wait for that picture to show you how it works.

In the meantime here is a brief description of what's happening during the threshing.

The sheaves get loaded onto a belt that takes them up to these claws. The claws tear open the sheaves and drop them into a drum that more or less whacks them so the seeds fall out.

A sieve moves back and forth sending the grains through to a pan. They then move along to the auger that lift the grain, measures it and spits it out into a grain truck.

Any seed heads that didn’t break get thrown back into the drum for another round.

The straw, chaff and hemp twine are blown out into the straw pile.

See You at the Threshing Bee.