Power At Work

Power At Work: A handy trick to save a worn shaft

Using a special, wider bearing, you should be able to fix a shaft that has become worn. And it’s a job you can do yourself


With certain repair jobs, the “proper” dealer or manufacturer way may take too much time or too many parts. So sometimes a clever guy can cut corners to save time and money.

Here’s a trick we sometimes use to save a worn shaft, where the bearing has turned on the shaft and caused about one millimetre of wear. This shaft is an intermediate, light load in a combine.

The original bearing has a locking cam lock collar, with a set screw lock. With time, the bearing has loosened, allowing the shaft to turn and wear. A normal repair would be to change the shaft and install a new cam lock bearing.

Power at Work: So there is such a thing as a Grade 12 bolt

An update on bolt grades, prompted by an observant reader


After my first article on bolt grading appeared in the December 2008 issue of Better Farming, the phone rang. An observant and knowledgeable reader assured me – very politely, I might add – that I had shortchanged you.

I had said that Grade 8 was the highest grade of bolt available in the imperial system. He assured me that, indeed, a Grade 12 is also available. When I inquired about the use and source, he told me that he regularly uses Grade 12 bolts to attach the bars to the feeder house chains in his combine.

The use of bolts allows him to change damaged bars without removing the feeder house chain.

Power at Work: Don’t oversize your heating units

If you are buying a space heating unit for your house, shop or poultry/livestock building, remember that oversizing can waste energy and cost you big dollars


There was a time, especially when we were young, when we held steadfast to the view that bigger is better. And, yes, even later in life we were told by sales personnel that we could get a bigger ice cream cone or tractor for just a few cents or dollars more.
But do be careful with that mindset if you are buying a space heating unit for your house, your shop or your poultry/livestock building. An oversized heating unit can waste energy and cost you big dollars.

Power at Work: Quick and handy repairs for damaged threads

This is not a simple, cheap do-it-yourself repair. But it can be done with the proper kit, or by your local repair shop


Missing parts are always frustrating and there’s nothing more annoying than missing threads. Yes, you try to tighten the bolt into the engine block, but there are no threadsthere – and no way to put a nut on the other side.

Well, back when I was a boy and my dad had this problem with some old tractor, he would just drill the hole out, rethread the hole to the next size larger bolt and move on.

Power at Work: Machinery parts need a good, tight fit

What constitutes a good bearing fit on a shaft? Zero or negative clearance


In our mechanic’s world, thread locker chemicals have a close cousin called retaining compounds. These are similar to the thread lockers. The purpose of the retainer compound is to take up small amounts of space and keep things in place.

With many bearing-on-shaft installations, even a space as small as one-half of a thin piece of paper is too much space. As the shaft turns, the inner race of the bearing will wear away the shaft. So, think about the last time you changed such a bearing. Did you run your thumb nail along the shaft and feel that little groove where the old bearing has worn away the shaft?

Power at Work: Surge protectors – peace of mind at a reasonable cost

For anyone with electronic equipment in their home or farm, these devices provide cheap insurance against power surges caused by lightning strikes


Many of you now have a computer and an internet connection. I’ll bet that most of you also have a surge protector on both the input hydro and telephone lines going to your internet system. The surge protection is often built into the power bar that you have sitting next to your system. In fact, you might not even know that it is there if it has not been “fried” yet.   

Use thread lockers to keep those parts bolted together

Whenever you have a mechanical situation with a bolt or nut you want to stay put, these handy retaining compounds will do the job for you

by Keith Berglind

“A little drop will do you” is the best way to describe the work of a thread locker chemical.

The common thread locker that most mechanics work with is Loctite. Yes, this is a brand name, but for many of us it is an industry standard word (used like the word Kleenex), so when I ask for Loctite, I want a chemical thread locker. Just ask your parts supplier what brand they stock.

Almost identical to thread lockers are the retaining compounds used when a tighter fit is needed with non-threaded jobs, such as splines, keyways and press-fitted shafts and bearings.

Power at Work: What you should know about bolts, metric and imperial

Some tips to help you through the maze of different grades and nomenclatures of bolts in use around farm machinery


Most of us buy bolts by size, but now that we have both the old imperial system and the more recent metric system, we can easily be confused. When we add the two grading systems for bolts, we become really confounded.

Bolt sizes. The old imperial system sizing was straightforward. We start with a nominal thread diameter of 1/4 inch and go up in 1/16 inch increments until we hit 3/4 inch diameter. These bolts can be obtained in a variety of lengths, usually in 1/4 inch increments from less than one inch to special order long bolts.

Power at Work: What to watch out for when doing your own wiring

When doing small electrical repairs, make sure you understand the principles and correct procedures. It could save your life


While we usually hire an experienced electrician to do major wiring projects on the farm, many of us tend to do small electrical repair jobs in buildings or on equipment to save time and money. But we must be careful. We must understand things like wire gauge, polarity, voltage, amperage and voltage drop, as well as conventions such as wirecolours.

What precipitated this article was a very recent personal experience. I acquired a used, older heavy-duty drill press from a farm sale. It was just what I wanted for drilling those larger holes in steel – and the price was right.

POWER AT WORK: Put your concerns in writing when your equipment fails

If your equipment starts to malfunction, keeping accurate notes and being prepared to put your complaint in writing can lead to a much earlier and much less expensive repair bill for both parties


How many of us wait until things go seriously astray and then expect others to respond positively? If you are as guilty as I am, then please pay attention.

What brought this to mind was a phone call from a Better Farming reader about a verbal understanding that somehow got badly distorted over a period of a year or two.