As you may recall, I went through a winch-collecting period. I bought winches. It was like a sickness. Well, actually it was more like a runaway train.
I needed a winch but, as I don’t know much about them, I found one I thought would do the job on Craigslist and bought it. A friend was down in Victoria on other business and agreed to pick it up for me while down there. While that was happening another winch came up and it seemed better than the first so I bought it. And that one was was in transit, too, when I found a third. It seemed perfect so I bought it as well.
I had purchased three winches in the space of a week and lost my standing as a sane husband in the process. Sal didn’t approve. Still doesn’t.
To be fair, it was not like I didn’t have a winch or three already. Having six seemed to her like overkill. Women, eh? I tried to explain but we eventually had to agree to disagree and, of course, Sal tried to ‘put away’ the ugly winches so that she didn’t have to look at them every day. For the record: there is no such thing as an ugly winch!
An extra winch is like a garden ornament to me. Looks good just sittin’ there, ya know?
Anyway, she had a bit of a point and so, as the months wore on, the presence of all those winches seemed more hormonal than logical to me and I felt obliged to put at least one of them to work so as to save some semblance of face.
Over the last few days I have been working on my winches.
We pull logs up a steep hill for our firewood. The winch I use for that is a replacement, one-half horsepower, belt-driven contraption I bought for $100.00. one winter many years ago. It replaced a noisy, smelly, prone-to-break down gas-powered winch that offended everyone and often hurt or burnt me. Number #2 was a real ‘contraption’. It was a Rube Goldberg designed hodge podge of shafts, gears, levers and gizmos and it confounded everyone. Weighs a ton. And it was slow. Took us twenty minutes to bring up one log. But it worked.
The most recent purchase is a three horsepower, specially-designed winch that also weighs a ton but seems just right.
If not, there are two others under the shed to try…….but let’s stay positive, shall we?
Winches are not like lawnmowers. You don’t just ‘roll ’em out’, fire them up and do the job and then ‘put ’em away’ all in one motion. No. Winches need to be prepped, mounted and hooked up. And mounting a winch is bit of a science in itself.
The first gas-powered winch was anchored by a chain and, even though it tended to move about some, it was somewhat manageable. The second also moved around but it was so heavy it was barely manageable. So lining up the pull so that the machine stays put is critical. Otherwise the machine or else the cable wants to move and it then wraps on the drum incorrectly.
I also wanted to make the pull different from before. This time I wanted to be able to see the whole ‘lift’ operation from start to finish. The previous winches had been set back from the edge of the embankment and I couldn’t see the lower half of the operation. That seemed a smidge dangerous as Sal sets the chokes and is at the bottom of the hill. I’d prefer to see that she is out of the way before pulling. To date we have used walkie-talkies.
As you also know I tend to salvage junk hoping to use it someday. And I had some old steel tubes and frame-type junk that I wanted use up before it rusted away. The challenge was to hack and chop, bolt and strap, fix and place and secure and anchor whatever junk-based platform I could make suitable for the new winch and then align, rig, paint and test it before it was needed. And that was how I spent the last few days.
“Dave! So what! Anyone can do that!”
Yeah. I know. It was not rocket science. But you’d be amazed at how much it challenged me. Anyway, it is solid, looks good and, after I fix the electricals, I am hoping it will do the job nicely. If not, it will be dismantled and put under the shed with all the other lawn ornaments and I’ll go back to ugly #2 winch until the mood-to-build strikes me again. It is not like I don’t have other winches to try out!