Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"So you locate the man on the other end of the blower and give him a ride to this flop." - The One True Shatner, Star Trek

The failed WilderChains Mark IV. Probably more interesting than actually working chains, like the wrecks in the Indy 500 are more interesting than the race.

I have a final report on the progress of my utter cheapness. At least as it pertains to home-fabricated tire chains.

751 years ago on this date, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, speaking “Mary had a Little Lamb” into a big tube. Also on this date, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. So it is fitting that my infamous invention is complete on this day.

Those of you who had five, repeat five in the pool on how many attempts it would take to make homemade chains for The Coveted John Deere Snow-Blower Attachment (Some Assembly Required) are winners!

What, nobody won?

The over/under was 15???

Ye of little faith.

Immediately after reporting on my previous progress, I put WilderChains Mark IV into action. This slick setup made use of another trip to Home Despot for actual 3/16” steel cable rated at nearly eight hundred pounds of breaking strength.

With the ever so keen and helpful hands of The Boy

(Why are we in the garage? Why are we cold? Why did you choose such a low tensile strength material to provide circumferential tension for the first set of chains? Can I have snack? Does this hurt?)
I snugged up the outer cable, crossed my fingers, and headed out.

It felt like I was a knight in armor, riding my John Deere green stallion through forests of cherry blossoms on the single sunny day England is allowed in a century to fight Mordred. My Mordred had been the snow. Now my Mordred was the chains. Just scooting along was victory over that evil foe, with my belt-driven, two-stage, John Deere yellow Excalibur right out front.

This must be how Neil Armstrong felt when he landed on Mars and killed all those aliens and married that green chick. Or whatever he did.

I quickly made mincemeat of the snow, shooting it up and out a furious pace. Oh, Avalon!

Anyhow, I was nearly finished. I have an ancillary outpost of wood drier than a stripper’s eyes at the death of her billionaire husband, so I thought I’d carve a path effortlessly to it.

Well, guess not. The going got rough, and the chains got into the mangled, twisted mess that you see above. Not good.

I took the entire mess and managed to get it into the garage. It was fairly difficult. One other note: John Deere also sells weights that help put downward force on the back tires. I fabricated these myself, too, out of some underutilized weights. I found by leaning back at the proper angle, just enough weight could be brought to bear to pull the tractor back into the garage.

I was covered in white from the stray bits of blown snow, it was about -10F, and I was foiled again. Even the beer in the garage was frozen into a slushy mess.

So, another day, another trip to Home Despot.

Based on some of the tips here, I purchased some bungee cords to add additional tension. The most important thing I did, (I think) was to add saddle clamps (a U-bolt and a thingy) to hold the chain stationary on the cable.

Goodness, gracious, great chains of fire!

Tonight, The Boy and I assembled. He actually reached his zenith of real usefulness by un-screwing the nuts on the saddle clamps so I could slip them over the chain/cable combination. I broke about three of the clamps putting them on.

I bought lots of spares.

Alaskan steroids for the victor.

So, the tally:

Chain: $18

Cable: $4 $10

Clamps: $5 $10

Bungee Cords: $6

Beer: $14.98

Total: $44

Hours: 5

Knowing four ways not to make chains: Priceless.

If you do the math, I saved about $56, and at five hours, that’s like $11 and change. Drinkin’ beer and tax free, baby. Until they read this. I’m sure there’ll be a “making your own tire chain tax” next year.

Annotation number one: The Mrs. was watching “Mythbusters” tonight and asked the question, “Why don’t they use a real crash sled instead of making one?”

I know that answer. Upon reflection, she did, too.

Annotation number two: Since Sunday, some people have wandered here looking for instructions on “how to install John Deere tire chains.” This is like the advanced course. Or the remedial. Not sure which.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations!! Those chains never had a chance from the beginning...you were only testing your problem solving skills by intentionally taking 5 times to achieve maximum efficiency, right!? :-) I don't know how you survive that weather, the +15 that we had here was tough today, although when it got up to 27, it felt almost warm.

2:35 PM  
Blogger GoGo said...


dont give up!

Find your way to a truck stop and ask truck drivers if they have a spare bungee or two. In an hour you should be able to swindle at least a dozen.
You need industrial strength bungee.

Hopefully free bungee. Tarp Bungee.

Bungee on the inside and outside this time!

Were making progress!
Add more beer soldier!

... what if you used rope along with cable snd U-bolt's on the inside tire.
Rope tied to a chain link every 5inches. To keep the backside from slipping?

how long till the duct tape gets involved in this?

3:35 PM  
Blogger Lady Luck said...

Congratulations! It is a good thing I didn't bet you $$ that it would be less than 10 attempts! HA!

That is pretty funny that people looking for directions found your site. God help them! LOL!

7:20 AM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Did I mention that you should get a dog team to pull you around? Only fifty times? That beer looks so inviting.

8:03 PM  
Blogger John said...

See, by taking five times, I got to learn more.

See, the +15 is warm here, because of the -40. It all works the same!

Actually, got bungee both side (whimpy bungee) but they appear to work, what with the tension from the turnbuckle . . .

I actually used duct tape to cover the ends of the cable so they didn't fray everywhere like Carrot Top's hair.

lady luck,
Yes, they do need help.

The beer was more than inviting . . . but now, alas, gone.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snow removal is a major pain in the keister. Still, we're hoping for more of it at our house to help insulate the freezing pipes. I guess that means I can't gripe about shoveling anymore, huh?

I think your chains need some duct tape.

1:01 PM  

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