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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have noticed a couple discussions about sickle bar mowers here lately. This warning applies to the older mowers which when the bar had to be raised you manually picked the bar up and there was a steel rod which fit through the bar and you had to screw a hot to the rod to hold the bar up.
When I was working on a farm back in the late fifties the owner's son and I were cutting hay down in a large field I was running one mower behind a Ford 9 N and the son was pulling a mower with a John Deere B. When we finished the field we were getting ready to move to another field and he picked the bar up with one hand and had the nut in the other. Just as he was putting the nut on the bar the cutter bar dropped down with the knives moving so quickly he couldn't move. The weight of the bar the knives riveted to pushed the pitman bar back and the wheel rotated. He lost the end of his index and middle fingers back to the first knuckle and the forth finger was severed just behind the fingernail. Traumatic for a 14 and 15 year old to experience.
I grabbed a dirty rag out of the tool box of the B and managed to get the bleeding under control then with him hanging on to the side of the tractor we headed for the farmhouse. Luckily his mother was in the house so she loaded him into her car and rushed off to the hospital. I wasn't old enough to drive a car.
If you need to raise the bar up be careful to hold the bar from the backside far from the knives so this can't happen to you.
 

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For many, many years back in the early 60's I mowed hay for my sister using a Ford 2000 and sickle bar. What your pointing out is a real danger for those without experience using mowers of this type. We used chains to tie off the bar when in the up position, and we lifted the bar using the chains just because of the hazard you describe. Hope friend is OK in life.
 

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I call them finger removers too.

I was moving a 4’ in my garage and tripped over my own feet. My only concern was controlling the bar. I got a couple broken ribs from the bottom shelf of a bench I otherwise would have caught myself on.
 

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We also had a few three legged cats in the barn yard. They would get out of the way of the tractor not knowing there's an 8ft. bar lurking right behind the tractor.
 

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I have noticed a couple discussions about sickle bar mowers here lately. This warning applies to the older mowers which when the bar had to be raised you manually picked the bar up and there was a steel rod which fit through the bar and you had to screw a hot to the rod to hold the bar up.
When I was working on a farm back in the late fifties the owner's son and I were cutting hay down in a large field I was running one mower behind a Ford 9 N and the son was pulling a mower with a John Deere B. When we finished the field we were getting ready to move to another field and he picked the bar up with one hand and had the nut in the other. Just as he was putting the nut on the bar the cutter bar dropped down with the knives moving so quickly he couldn't move. The weight of the bar the knives riveted to pushed the pitman bar back and the wheel rotated. He lost the end of his index and middle fingers back to the first knuckle and the forth finger was severed just behind the fingernail. Traumatic for a 14 and 15 year old to experience.
I grabbed a dirty rag out of the tool box of the B and managed to get the bleeding under control then with him hanging on to the side of the tractor we headed for the farmhouse. Luckily his mother was in the house so she loaded him into her car and rushed off to the hospital. I wasn't old enough to drive a car.
If you need to raise the bar up be careful to hold the bar from the backside far from the knives so this can't happen to you.
Thanks for the story. It does happen easy. Thanks for the heads up. Chuck
 

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What you describe is real.
Helping Dad on the farm in the early 70's we a New Idea sickle bar mower with a 10' bar and OMG was it heavy even with the lift assist springs. We had a block of wood fastened in between the guards for the bar lift and to keep it from falling during transport. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I could get the bounce and lift motion right to raise and fasten it vertically.

I'll apologize in advance as I digress just a little....
Here's a picture I found online of one just like it. The large box on the left was for rocks and to keep the mower from sliding while dragging the bar through the hay.
783078

I hated to run that mower. Our hay ground had a few gophers (the escapees from that rest we eliminated), and unless the ground was powder dry, the moment you hit a mound it was plugged, and the swing hitch would release. The fun started when the hitch may or may not catch when you reversed to reset. Get off, clean the mud out of the guards, drive to the next mound, and repeat. Pretty slow going.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is one reason neighborhood kids carried .22's and hunted woodchucks with the farmer's blessings. Most of us would shoot a woodchuck and if it was near it's hole or we could find the hole we'd stuff the chuck down the hole and kick dirt in the hole. This flattened out a lot of those mounds.
 
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