How to Build a Hay Wagon: Do It Yourself and Cheaply

Making several round trips to get hay can be bothersome. Larry Brumfield teaches how to build a hay wagon to cut down that time spent on multiple trips.

| March/April 1976

Sooner or later, most folks who put up more than a few tons of hay each summer begin to dream about owning a hay wagon. I know, after four years, we did.

To put up our ten acres of hay each season, my wife and I had to make about thirty-five round trips between the field and the barn in our trusty '64 pickup (hoping all the while that it didn't rain).

"If we only had a wagon," we thought, "it could be hooked right behind our baler. Then one of us could stack the bundles of hay directly onto the wagon's flat bed while the other drove and baled." Attacked that way, the whole job could be done in a mere fraction of the time, using much less energy, without abuse to the old truck, and with a great deal less fear of rain. Terrific! The only problem was how to obtain a serviceable wagon at a reasonable cost.

We ruled out a new rig right away, since one that came complete with tires and a rack would have set us back five hundred bucks. (The least expensive one we saw at an auction went for $245, which was still too much.) A few calculations, however, convinced me that I could build my own hay carrier for a lot less than that. So, I added one more spring project to the "must do" list.

My first step — and the real key to this whole construction task — was to visit the nearest auto salvage dealer. I explained my problem to the man who worked there and we began to search for a car or truck chassis that could be converted to a hay wagon. Truck frames are a little heavier, and therefore perhaps more desirable but darn few usable ones turn up at junkyards. And anyway, the fellow working at the yard felt that an auto chassis would do just as well — so we finally settled on the undercarriage from a 1964 Chevy (although of course other makes and models would also have worked). After a little haggling, the salvage dealer agreed to cut the body and engine from the car and deliver the bare frame — with four usable tires — to my house for $28.00. I had my start!

(By the way, before I had even gotten down to construction, I noticed a nice little bonus: The car frame carried the remains of an old hydraulic cylinder-operated power steering system. I was later able to use the cylinder and two-way valves on another project as the hydraulic lift for a snowplow.)

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