The other day Alex and I went up to pickup some bee equipment in northern Iowa. One of the items we loaded up was an old 50-frame Woodman extractor. They were produced in Michigan, and they were built ultra-solidly. Between three guys, we decided it would be much better to tilt the trailer to slide it on rather than attempt to lift it. The plus side of the heavy construction is that it doesn’t flex the way modern extractors often will.
While I do like the direct drive boxes that motorize new extractors, I love the simple mechanics that make this one work. It basically comes down to a drive wheel that turns against a friction plate that spins the reel. I don’t think it matters too much that Woodman was absorbed long ago because there are still businesses out there that can provide these basic components. Here is the drive system:
To regulate the speed, you just adjust the lever to determine where the drive wheel hits the friction plate. Simple simple.
I did put it up for sale for now, but if there are no takers I think I’ll try to use it in the future. We always go to Old Threshers in Mount Pleasant to sell our products, and this extractor has a similar feel to some of the things we see restored there, but fixing this up shouldn’t be too hard–and the reel can spin extremely fast