Last week I put the finishing touches on the multipurpose tractor carrier. I enjoy building one-off projects, especially when I can scrounge many of the materials from my offcuts and from the discounted “shorts” piles in the back room at Albany Steel. I fabricated most of the steel work in January during evenings and in-between other tasks, so I’m not sure how much time it took. Our January weather was mild; most of the time I was working in the teens and twenties, which is great welding weather. My welder is a bit lightweight for my needs, but below 30 degrees I can run it continuously on the hottest setting without it overheating or popping a breaker. I would have preferred to paint the frame before laying the decking, but I don’t have a heated shop so that will have to wait another couple of months.
The box is four feet deep and a little over eight feet wide. It mates to our bale forks and I prevent it from sliding off the spears by securing a binder across D-rings on the frame. It has inswinging gates with slam latches at both ends, so I can load and unload pigs between pens, trailers, or pastures as needed. The sides are 42 inches high, which is too short for big pigs, but I also made extensions to increase the height to 60 inches. In keeping with the multifarious theme, I wanted the sides at that height because this carrier will also make a handy aerial work platform for replacing greenhouse covers, picking apples, and innumerable other elevated tasks. (Alright safety police, go ahead and tell me how dangerous this is. But, “let the tractor operator who has never stood in the bucket throw the first stone.”) The front panel is also removable, so I can load plywood or any bulk item and use the contraption as a carry-all.