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A Tumbleweeds View of Scrapping

| A Day in the Life of a Scrapper
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    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    A Tumbleweeds View of Scrapping

    Many members chronicle their scraping adventures in one thread because they concentrate in one area. Since my scraping adventures change constantly, it was decided to have different posts for different projects. That way the story can be told in chapters. This thread will be dedicated to scraping farms and a farm restoration company.

    Tumbleweed is another nickname given to me because tumbleweeds are my biggest companion other than my two scraping partners (labs named Filly and Tater.) Therefore this thread will be through the eyes of tumbleweeds as they blow through the farms being scraped. It will include day to day challenges and life in the rural mid-west. Most information will be about scraping, but everyday life will highlighted. Geese migrations, black bird swarms, and deer in the rut are all fair game. Essentially you will get a picture of my office and all of my co workers.

    As usual the lessons learned will be shared and ideas, input, or advice would be greatly appreciated. If you have a story to share, please feel free to do so.

    Thank you for reading.




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    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    In another thread it was asked if wire from a previous project was collected for winter work. Since retirement I have lived day to day and not worried about the next activity. Therefore this thread will start with one of my work areas. This is only used during storms when I cannot get out of the yard with the loader, four wheel drive trucks chained on all four, or the skid steer. The shed does not have a door, but it has a concrete floor, keeps the wind off for the most part, and most importantly keeps the employees dry. Sometimes we have to chase a raccoon or skunk out before getting to work.

    My strategy is to collect non ferrous throughout the year and unload the truck every night in this shed. During storms the material is prepared. I use chemical tubs as gay lords and once a year haul 12 gay loads at a time to the scrap yard about 60 miles away.

    These pictures were taken a while back, before the shed was completely filled. There are 24 tubs in the shed right now. Four of those are dedicated to aluminum cans, three for different types of wire, two for different types of copper, two for aluminum cast, two for aluminum, two for aluminum breakage, one for dirty radiators, two for electric motors, and six not dedicated yet.









    100 lb. propane bottles are used for the torches and for heat.

    Last edited by Patriot76; 11-26-2014 at 02:58 PM.

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    I like your setup Patriot. I use those chemical totes also. You can leave them outside, open the valve, and the water runs out the bottom. Do you weigh them empty for tare? Or just dump em out at the yard? They can vary in weight quite a bit.

    I'm going to enjoy this thread
    Money is not the root of all evil, the love of money is.

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    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    If you cannot tell, being back at the cabin limits my scraping activities, so it is time to turn to the next best thing SMF. This is a picture of the work horse of the crew, a 2000 F 350 with a 7.3 diesel and 250,000 miles. It is called the Silver Bullet because nothing ever slows it down and it is bomb proof. Behind it is the small flatbed used to haul vehicles and machinery.

    This is one method used to haul cars. After specific goodies and fluids are removed, the top is crushed. Some fill their vehicles with other scrap, but I get less money for cars and keep them separate. Many times tin and barb wire are thrown on the bottom of the trailer and vehicles placed on top.

    The tie down system used here requires only two chains and two cable pullies. That is the same chain on this side with the com-a-long centered and attached on the other side. You can see the com-a-long for the other chain on this side. The key to making this work is removing the valve stem from all tires so they become brakes and cannot slide.


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    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjost View Post
    I like your setup Patriot. I use those chemical totes also. You can leave them outside, open the valve, and the water runs out the bottom. Do you weigh them empty for tare? Or just dump em out at the yard? They can vary in weight quite a bit.

    I'm going to enjoy this thread
    I weigh the entire trailer on the truck scale and then they weigh the non ferrous separately on the floor scale. Then when I leave I reweigh the trailer. If the floor scale and truck scale to not come out the same, the manager and I negotiate. Since they are his scales, he usually is very fair.

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    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    This is another one of my trailers. It was an old stock trailer, converted into a steel tub. A while back I posted a thread titled "Lessons Learned, One of Many" about how I transformed a stock trailer into a steel hauler. It was a disaster. If you want a good laugh and want to learn what not to do, search for it. As was said back then, breaking down on the highway was some of the best advertising a person could ask for. Yes, many thought I was an idiot, but more respected me for my creativity, resourcefulness, and persistence.

    Anyway this trailer is the result of the lesson learned on the first attempt. It has a reinforced gooseneck, three inch angle iron supports on top, reinforced sides, and the wooden floor was replaced with pressed steel. It has a back gate that opens that allows me to load my skid steer.


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    In the second post the strategy of collecting non ferrous daily and emptying the truck at night was discussed. Here is a picture of one days collection.


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    I wish I had that kind of room. Nice operation!

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    P76- Because I know your general location, I suspect you're not doing much of any "curbside shopping" in those small towns around you so most of your haul is coming from cleaning up farmsteads, either unoccupied or occupied? Do you actively advertise in the local-to-regional papers, farm & machinery fliers. etc. (forgive me if you have stated this all before somewhere)? I think a good number of folks on SMF probably don't appreciate the low population density of rural SD, even the more populated cropping eastern half of the state vs. the ranching/NA reservation western half outside of the Black Hills area. The number of places in rural SD is much lower than say rural OH,IN, or NY. But the density was higher at one time (say 1930) and I take it you probably clean up a good number of old farm sites that are no longer lived on but the land is still farmed. After spending the first weekend of Nov. trapping 2 old farm sites owned by one of my aunts and her sons, I wish I could convince them to let me take out all the metal laying around that will never be used again by them (the one place most of it is now under the grass cover). Do you have regulars or maybe occasional stops at small town businesses that want to get rid of their scrap as well.

    As pjost stated, I think I'll find this thread very interesting !!

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    Patriot, I once went to a yard that had an inbound scale and an outbound scale...I never thought much about it (back when I was a teenager scrapping to pay my gas) except their trucks NEVER used the inbound scale. Turns out they were cheating people coming in on one scale and leaving on another. Since then, I do exactly what you do, scale, scale the non ferrous, scale the truck empty, if it doesn't match well...words will be exchanged and no scrap yard wants their scale shut down until the state can come and re-certify it.

    It was also mentioned about a bad load cell in someone elses thread. I noticed that too a few times. Now I stand on the scale before weighing non ferrous and walk the perimeter. I'm sure the yard men know what I'm doing but they never stop me. I just want to make sure everything is fair. I know within a pound or two how much I weigh with clothes and boots on...scale should reflect that.

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  20. #11
    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DakotaRog View Post
    P76- Because I know your general location, I suspect you're not doing much of any "curbside shopping" in those small towns around you so most of your haul is coming from cleaning up farmsteads, either unoccupied or occupied? Do you actively advertise in the local-to-regional papers, farm & machinery fliers. etc. (forgive me if you have stated this all before somewhere)? I think a good number of folks on SMF probably don't appreciate the low population density of rural SD, even the more populated cropping eastern half of the state vs. the ranching/NA reservation western half outside of the Black Hills area. The number of places in rural SD is much lower than say rural OH,IN, or NY. But the density was higher at one time (say 1930) and I take it you probably clean up a good number of old farm sites that are no longer lived on but the land is still farmed. After spending the first weekend of Nov. trapping 2 old farm sites owned by one of my aunts and her sons, I wish I could convince them to let me take out all the metal laying around that will never be used again by them (the one place most of it is now under the grass cover). Do you have regulars or maybe occasional stops at small town businesses that want to get rid of their scrap as well.

    As pjost stated, I think I'll find this thread very interesting !!
    DakotaRog - Thank you for your interest and questions. This type of communication makes forums valuable.

    The only advertising done to this point is word of mouth. You are correct about the density of population. Therefore if you do not maintain an outstanding reputation, you are out in the cold, literally. No I do not do any curbco shopping or contact any businesses. Here is a key to those wanting to expand into my type of scraping.

    When I go to a new place we do a tour. Everything they want scraped is painted with a red X. That eliminates any confusion. If there is a cylinder, wheel, etc. they want saved it is painted with white. If they have machinery that may be valuable to another farmer I inform them and tell them that will be saved for last. If someone has already contacted me for specific machinery or parts I provide contact information to both parties. I tell them I am out of the deal and will not accept any money and they make the deal between themselves. I do not make a profit, but no responsibility as well. Those that know about this lifestyle know many of these individuals purchased the same machinery from the same retailer during good years. Therefore many different pieces are combined to make one.

    As a history and economics major the following is important, good for the business but not necessarily for the country. The price of land and equipment is well beyond the ability of the next generation. Because of this and lack of interest in farming by this generation, many small farms are being swallowed up by bigger operations. The bigger operations are not interested in scrap, old machinery, or anything other than dirt. Some old timers have saved their scrap as a rainy day fund and want to sell before retiring. Sometimes farmers do not want to damage their farm equipment selling scrap. These are the three biggest clients.

    The result of the strategy is new clients that tell me to maximize the profit and referrals. As farmers talk over coffee my name is mentioned as a source for parts. I have had individuals tell me to help their neighbors and do not want any of the profits.

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    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by armygreywolf View Post
    Patriot, I once went to a yard that had an inbound scale and an outbound scale...I never thought much about it (back when I was a teenager scrapping to pay my gas) except their trucks NEVER used the inbound scale. Turns out they were cheating people coming in on one scale and leaving on another. Since then, I do exactly what you do, scale, scale the non ferrous, scale the truck empty, if it doesn't match well...words will be exchanged and no scrap yard wants their scale shut down until the state can come and re-certify it.

    It was also mentioned about a bad load cell in someone elses thread. I noticed that too a few times. Now I stand on the scale before weighing non ferrous and walk the perimeter. I'm sure the yard men know what I'm doing but they never stop me. I just want to make sure everything is fair. I know within a pound or two how much I weigh with clothes and boots on...scale should reflect that.
    Thank you about the insight about the bad load cell and your strategy. This is new information to me. It will become part of my new strategy.

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    I've got the same pickup with same miles except mines a dually. I love it. A 250 would do what I need, but it was a deal.

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    P76-
    The bigger operations are not interested in scrap, old machinery, or anything other than dirt.
    Full article at Scrap Metal Forum: http://www.scrapmetalforum.com/day-l...#ixzz3KFRpChoW

    So true. And as much of it as possible. My paternal g-dad, who farmed with tractors before he went broke and lost the homestead in the 1930s, then share-cropped with horses, and then reluctantly got tractors again after the war, would just shake his head and go "aye, aye, aye" seeing the scale of most family farms nowadays. But to get on and stay on the general commodity threadmill that's what most have had to do.

    There's a place on my 13 mile commute to work that looks like an agricultural armor division park. From what I've heard, these guys crop 25,000 acres in several states (get the corn & soybeans in around here, take a month off and go harvest winter wheat in Kansas). One night coming home from work these guys were working one quarter section of land (160 acres) of soybeans. They had 3 combines working that were being served by 3 or more semi trucks. The combines were being followed by a big tractor doing the fall tillage. How long do you think it took them to take down 160 acres of soybeans (for those of you that don't know, 160 acres was the size of the original Homestead Act farm started in 1862 where a person could get it from the fed gov for free after 'proving it up" after 5 years of working it). Now (actually this is dated by about a decade so I'd have to check) the ave. size of a Midwest strictly crop farming operation raising corn & soybeans is 1,600 acres or 10 Homestead Act farms. Things have changed a bit since the 1860s...

    Full article at Scrap Metal Forum: http://www.scrapmetalforum.com/day-l...#ixzz3KFRpChoW
    Last edited by DakotaRog; 11-27-2014 at 12:51 AM.

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    Nice thread, have u had any jobs before scrapping that helped u obtain all this machinery? also how did you get the Gaylord tubs. Thanks

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    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevinThaScrapper View Post
    Nice thread, have u had any jobs before scrapping that helped u obtain all this machinery? also how did you get the Gaylord tubs. Thanks
    I was a principal and teacher before taking early retirement. Experience as a millwright while in college gave me the skills to work with steel. The equipment I have was from raising horses, training horses, and wanting to be a cowboy.

    When I retired from education and started scraping, the F 350, a 12 in. torch, personal tools, and S tanks were my only inventory. At this time all metal was loaded into the back of the truck by hand. At this age, machinery and trailers have expanded life expectancy in the present operation.

    All profits were reinvested into the business in the form of tools, vehicles, trailers, and other equipment. To this day, all business profits are reinvested into the business and personal expenses are covered through other methods. All of the trailers are home made from farm scrap, the s tank has been replaced with three k tanks as well as liquid oxygen tanks, and the one torch has expanded into four sets of gauges, four torches (including a two ft., three ft., and four ft., as well as four trailers in the production stage. Two big loaders and a skid steer have been added to the inventory in the last two years. The reason for the large number of torches is the need to have one in the field and one in each of the shops.

    The chemical tubs use to be free for the taking two years ago. Now they are regulated and go for a hefty price.

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    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    Pictures of preparing iron during low prices. Hope this helps some of the members.



    Members have been informed about rural scrapping. Here is an example of how we take care of trash.



    This is the side of a Heston bale stacker. These machines were used to create the old bread loaf hay stacks. In the future it is hoped that pictures will be taken of equipment before it is prepared.


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    Patriot76 started this thread.
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    The two pictures are of elevators used to move grain and hay up to the top of barns. The frame is cut so they lay flat, the shaft is cut in half, and the chains are removed to add to prepared iron. Motors are drain and removed, pipes saved for future projects, and cables/chains are saved for other projects.




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    More pictures of my bank account, cashing it in this spring.




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