Straightening a sickle bar

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sevy
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Straightening a sickle bar

Postby sevy » Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:20 pm

The old pastures that I mow here in the Adirondacks have lots of brush and boulders. I have hooked into some roots, etc., that have bent my sickle bar a bit. In the past I have just put some wood blocks under it and hammered it back as flat as I could.
I bought some of the new adjustable hold downs, and thought it would be a good time to remove the guards and maybe take the bar to a shop to have it straightened.
Can this be done with a press, or will there be tempering required as well?
It currently works pretty well, but I would like to get a better cut, especially after this wet summer, as my hay and brush is really heavy this year.

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lowgearfarm
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Re: Straightening a sickle bar

Postby lowgearfarm » Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:38 am

I'd guess that tempering would not be to your advantage. Besides being an additional expense, the tempering process would make the bar more brittle and more prone to breaking when you snag your next root. Getting "off-the-shelf perfectly straight" is a pretty high bar [sorry for the pun], but a careful hand on the press might take enough of the bend out so that you could move on to worrying about something else.

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Re: Straightening a sickle bar

Postby Nelson 634 » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:28 pm

If there is a decent machine shop nearby they should have a set of rollers for rolling steel in an arc. This device will work nicely to straighten the "bar". Shouldn't take more than three passes through. One to barely curve it one way, a second flipped over and a final adjusted to straight. Or a ball peen hammer and vice or rail road rail or something hard and straight. Takes a little time, but it will work. It took me about 45 minute to an hour to straighten mine last month. Its not "perfectly" straight but for the Cub-22 sickle bar it is okay.
You don't want it make from hardened steel. It will break something. Maybe something more expensive.

I have a press. It just takes to much space and time, my experience is tapping it with a ball peen is the best for me.

I'm surprised one of the guys with a lot more experience than myself haven't responded yet.
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Re: Straightening a sickle bar

Postby Jim Becker » Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:35 pm

Nelson 634 wrote:. . . my experience is tapping it with a ball peen is the best for me. . . .

I have a feeling you are talking about the knife and sevy is talking about the cutter bar.

My first choice fix for a bent cutter bar is to find another one. It isn't one of the parts that gets lost. There should be one with every parts mower.

Nelson 634
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Re: Straightening a sickle bar

Postby Nelson 634 » Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:56 pm

My bad . Thanks Jim.
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sevy
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Re: Straightening a sickle bar

Postby sevy » Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:50 pm

Yes, it is the main bar. Another member has generously offered me a used one for parts.
Thanks for the replies!

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Re: Straightening a sickle bar

Postby JoeB » Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:33 pm

The main cutter bar should have a slight 'smile' curve to it when standing up right.

sevy
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Re: Straightening a sickle bar

Postby sevy » Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:10 pm

Spent the day driving to MA for another sickle bar generously offered to me by Ed. Just needs a little rust clean up, but otherwise looks like it was rarely used. Much better shape than my current one!
I really enjoyed seeing all of Ed's cubs, but I enjoyed talking with him even more. What a great asset to this forum!

Many thanks Ed, I will post some pictures when I get things cleaned up and installed!


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