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Wheelbarrow maintenance

 
gardener
Posts: 491
Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
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These wheelbarrows finally got to the point that I could not use them anymore. I considered my options and sadly decided to buy wheel replacements. They were easy enough to replace. The steel wheelbarrow was rusting badly in places so I decided to use a can of rust paint to protect it.

Ideally I'd have liked more permie solutions to the wheels and rust.

I suppose I theoretically could have put together a wooden wheel.

I have no idea how else to repair and protect large surfaces from rust though. What would you do?
IMG_20211021_191422480.jpg
beat tire on aluminum flat frame wheelbarrow
beat tire on aluminum flat frame wheelbarrow
IMG_20211021_192421482.jpg
new solid tire on flat frame aluminum wheelbarrow
new solid tire on flat frame aluminum wheelbarrow
IMG_20211021_121518859_HDR.jpg
beat wheel and tire on rusted traditional wheelbarrow
beat wheel and tire on rusted traditional wheelbarrow
IMG_20211021_130821541_HDR.jpg
restored steel wheelbarrow with solid tire
restored steel wheelbarrow with solid tire
 
master pollinator
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Location: Surrey, UK to Singapore to New Jersey
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Great restoration job.

Have you ruled out building a wooden barrow or hand cart?

Here’s an example.
Classic wooden hand cart with bicycle wheels


Or maybe using bamboo if you can get hold of the big stuff?
 
L. Johnson
gardener
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Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
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If I had a bigger property I would totally consider making that cart. As it is we use the wheelbarrows to lug trash out to the collection site, and I use them to haul materials down from the mountains.
 
pioneer
Posts: 172
Location: Australia
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Hey,

In my experience the best solution with any tool, is to get quality,
Stainless steel wheelbarrows are available!
Plastic will often break when someone throws a brick into them,

the other thing is to take care of your tools, for wheel barrows that are metal, cover them,
with a tarp, or put them in the shed, or under a home.

clean them when your done, especially after mixing concrete.

I assume you used a zinc based paint to coat the wheel barrow!

Wheels can be fixed with a puncture repair kit!

the metal wheel can be beaten back into shape!

having a foot pump to keep the psi up is important!

in addition, putting the nuts on the correct direction, small goes inside, is very important!

Also often wheel barrows will break because people try to get them over kerbs etc and bash them against the surface.

additionally with your wheel barrow the weak spot is the thumb screw, they often come loose and get lost.


most importantly do not let the wheel barrow be filled with water, dirt, leaves, wood, for long periods of time!









 
L. Johnson
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Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
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Good tips.

These wheelbarrows were left by previous owners who were in their 90s and couldn't keep anything maintained anymore...

I second storing things in a way that water cannot collect in them and cleaning out debris after each use for keeping them.

My main tip for anyone that wants to keep any tool well maintained is to use it!

Regular use prevents rust and it keeps your attention on the tools level of wear and tear.
 
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I purchased the foam filled tire for ours, after getting tired of filling the tire every time I went to use it. That was ten years ago and one of the best things I ever did to a law tool. The tire is, now, on its second wheelbarrow.
 
pollinator
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I feel that the replacement of worn/broken parts IS the permie way, rather than trashing the whole item. Usually it is just one thing to replace (like a worn out tire), and it has new life.
Care. Storage being the most important aspect... also cleaning, careful use, not abuse, are all ways to get a long life from the tools. Paint and oil are a help. Regular use will polish a wooden handle smooth, and keep rust off a blade, but paint and oil will keep the other areas protected.

Pneumatic tires are nice, they are cushioning, and light as air. Hard or foam filled wheels can be jarring if you hit an obstacle, and can be heavier. Foam filled tires seem less permie because of the foam, but the lack of maintenance is a bigger benefit? adding inner tubes can get some more life from tires as they age and get holes or cracks, and the tubes themselves can be patched.
 
Kelly Craig
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Considering how many tires I've replaced over the years, that the no-air one has lasted ten years now and will last at least ten more, it gets farther down the "permie" road for me than does replacing three or more standard tires (and, probably, rims too).  And add the convenience of just grabbing the wheelbarrow and going, rather than having to carry it over to the shop to inflate it, there is a lot of win in that investment.

I have a farmer friend and one of his small tractors has foam tires on the front.  Going down the road, it looks the tire should have been replaced fifteen years ago.  It's still going though, it just looks terrible (sidewall threads about fifteen inches out, as centrifugal force throws them out.
 
Posts: 10
Location: Garner, NC, USA
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[quote=Alex Moffitt]Hey,

In my experience the best solution with any tool, is to get quality,
Stainless steel wheelbarrows are available!
Plastic will often break when someone throws a brick into them,

the other thing is to take care of your tools, for wheel barrows that are metal, cover them,
with a tarp, or put them in the shed, or under a home.

clean them when your done, especially after mixing concrete.

I assume you used a zinc based paint to coat the wheel barrow!

Wheels can be fixed with a puncture repair kit!

the metal wheel can be beaten back into shape!

having a foot pump to keep the psi up is important!

in addition, putting the nuts on the correct direction, small goes inside, is very important!

Also often wheel barrows will break because people try to get them over kerbs etc and bash them against the surface.

additionally with your wheel barrow the weak spot is the thumb screw, they often come loose and get lost.


most importantly do not let the wheel barrow be filled with water, dirt, leaves, wood, for long periods of time!

[/quote]

Hear Hear! Great advice!!

I will add that I have given up on pneumatic tires. When they quit holding air, I buy a solid tire and replace them. They work great for me and require far less maintyenance.
 
pollinator
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Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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There are many different designs to help you carry stuff over rough terrain. I've mixed cement in my wheelbarrow and then washed it thoroughly immediately after each batch of cement was done. This needs to be done after each batch of cement, not just after you are done with that job. It is a pain, but you gotta do what you gotta do. [I can use a break anyway, so...]
A traditional steel wheelbarrow [one wheel, 2 handles, inflatable rubber wheel] is great for mixing cement and transport it to where it will be dumped. If you are not carrying wet stuff, however, I'd much rather have a proper cart, with 2 bigger wheels:
Placing the load directly over the axle will make transporting the load a breeze. With a wheelbarrow, you are still hefting a good part of that load. and resting on one wheel [one point] means it is very top heavy, so not very good for balance. With 2 wheels, you are balancing the load over an axle [a line]. It could only topple forward, since you would have resting braces between you and the load. To me, that is superior for balance.
Every equipment will need proper care and maintenance. Even a stainless steel wheelbarrow will rust if mistreated. And for my budget, they are very pricey
https://mrhardwarestore.com/33024/
Sunshine is the biggest enemy of rubber tires, as is improper inflation. Even while I'm working, I try to orient the wheelbarrow at rest so as to shade the tire. In the winter, it gets stored standing up, inside a shed and leaning on its point against a wall after being "winterized". [scrubbed hard and oiled if the paint is still good, sand and repaint with a rust oleum product if not]...
They do sell just the 'bowl' of the wheelbarrow because after a while of cementing, the attachment point to the wooden handles will not be water tight. I have noticed also coming on the market some much thicker plastic bowls sitting on the wood handles. If they were to sell them separately, I might give it a try but for now, I will keep fixing what I have: Cold plastic and hard shock spells cracks to me.
The inflatable tire gives your load [and you, by extension] a more comfortable ride. We have an old brush mower with hard rubber tires, and bumping it against a curb will jar you, so I'm not a big fan of solid tires.
As I'm getting older, I'd love to build a 'hybrid' between the wheelbarrow and the cart. The cart, because it has 2 wheels is inherently better balanced, less "top heavy". The cart, however is more difficult moving in the garden where I have all beds and need to turn 90 degree angles.
The solution would be to create a cart with 2 wheels spaced close enough to go between my beds [2'ft]. [That is not a very wide cart!] Making the cart longer might increase the load I can put on it[?] I could use 2 regular wheelbarrow tires [20" diameter], but then mount the platform higher than the wheels, which would also shade them from the sun. and it would be a platform rather than a cart, [although I could make 3 removable sides].
As far as the cement, at 73 and with a bad back, my cementing days are behind me, I'm afraid. I would mix smaller batches in a homer pail, right on top of this platform. Where there is a will...
 
Posts: 9
Location: The soggy side of Washington
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My husband recently rebuilt 2 wheelbarrows with parts he got off Craigslist. I guess you could say it was a "parts" barrow. We use them all the time but I still prefer the Rubbermaid 2 wheeled cart with bicycle tires. The ONLY thing it isn't ideal for is pushing through deep mud but the plusses outweigh anything else. It was pricey, even 30 years ago when I bought it but it's virtually indestructible. I DID have to replace the tires but not the wheels.  I've hauled hay, gravel, firewood, bags of grain, use it to clean stalls, goat houses, chicken houses, you name it! Yesterday, I put a stubborn goat kid in it who refused to be led to the trailer taking him to his new home.  It's wonderful because you only need one hand to operate it, which is nice if you are holding the goat with one and tipping it back up with the other.  I know it's plastic but considering the quality....👌

Uline

 
pollinator
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As a tool that gets near daily use, a wheelbarrow is one of those necessities that I’m willing to spend on. I learned long ago that metal is not the best choice. A poly contractor grade wheelbarrow that was close to $100 over a decade ago is still going strong. Valuing my time more than anything, I like that it never has to be painted, can’t rust out, is a flexible plastic that does not crack even at -30F, does not need constant rinsing when mixing cement, and came with a quality tire that is still doing just fine, no leaks or cracks. I drilled and tapped the hub and added a grease fitting so the axle easily stays lubed, and in all these years have only had one issue- a broken handle that was easily replaced with one I cut on the bandsaw. Even if concrete or dirt hardens or freezes in the tub, it’s easy to just flip it over and thump a couple times with a rubber mallet and whatever is in there pops out.
One of the rare plastic items (along with a rugged Otter sled) I’m truly happy exists!
 
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wheel barrows are one of those bulky things more likely to be left in the rain. I usually tip mine on its side, when not in use, so it doesn't fill with water an rust more.
 
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Great tips here. Thank you.
However, not meaning to sound like a "smart ass" (can I use that phrase without offending anyone?)
I have one simple rule that encompasses few added on rules which may sound a little "bipolar" );

Buy, rescue, chip in some $ with those who want to buy you a gift ,  for the the best $ you can ( I get tools, seeds, or plants I can use,  versus clothing or some other silly things I call silly, to me).
Don't get lazy and take good care of what you have.

P.S. I know, I know...I didn't discover anything new but I just "have to say it" so bear with me please?
Any mechanical driven things need care. Live with it.
Don't loan anything to anyone who can't return it the way they "it" (what ever the "it" may have been. Learned this lesson VERY hard, expensive way more than once. Be assertive).
I've metal, 2 wheel barrel for years. Two wheels are easier than one. Foe me. The tires DO get flat. So what? I pump them up and live goes on
I clean all my garden tools every time I use them. If I don't...rust will set in or I will have to clean later (been there, done that and I reformed )



 
Kelly Craig
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Wood handles. That's a big deal. They dry out, so shrink, causing cracking and splitting.  Learn how to treat them (I'm a huge fan of penetrating non hardening oils). The oil replaces lost moisture. Unlike the moisture, it doesn't evaporate. Rather, it soaks in further (wicks), so you just keep adding. Ideally, until the wood is saturated.

Ela La Salle wrote:. . . . Any mechanical driven things need care. Live with it.
Don't loan anything to anyone who can't return it the way they "it" (what ever the "it" may have been. Learned this lesson VERY hard, expensive way more than once. Be assertive).
I've metal, 2 wheel barrel for years. Two wheels are easier than one. Foe me. The tires DO get flat. So what? I pump them up and live goes on
I clean all my garden tools every time I use them. If I don't...rust will set in or I will have to clean later (been there, done that and I reformed )



 
pollinator
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"As I'm getting older, I'd love to build a 'hybrid' between the wheelbarrow and the cart."

Cecile: I LOVE this idea! If I may suggest...elongate the nose and put a small THRD smaller wheel so that one could pop off the side wheels when maneuverability was required, or pop off the front section when length or dumping ease was required??? And it would allow one to keep it from tipping too far forward when parked...
 
Ela La Salle
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Kelly Craig wrote:Wood handles. That's a big deal. They dry out, so shrink, causing cracking and splitting.  Learn how to treat them (I'm a huge fan of penetrating non hardening oils). The oil replaces lost moisture. Unlike the moisture, it doesn't evaporate. Rather, it soaks in further (wicks), so you just keep adding. Ideally, until the wood is saturated.



What type of oils do you use?
I am "cheap" (LOL?) . I use ....clear shoe polish. Lots of it while storing  over  Winter months :--)
And....car wax for the metal "tub".
Maybe not very Permies-like but,  I already have those products.
 
Kelly Craig
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Oils come in two flavors, hardening oils and non-hardening oils.  Hardening oils include linseed (flax), tung and walnut and so on. Non-hardening include things like mineral oil, motor oil, and shingle oil.  

Untreated non-hardening oils are poor protection against the elements. They penetrate a bit, when thinned, but harden on the surface only, stopping future penetrating applications.  

Common motor oil works as good as anything for the purpose of getting oil into wood. Generally, it's cheaper than mineral oil.

Even used oil can be used, but, because of the metals and other contaminates, probably shouldn't be used where your hands get all over it.

Interestingly, if you were to use dirty, black motor oil to oil your cedar fence, you'd have a beautiful fence. You'd never know how black the oil was.  The wood would be a beautiful golden color (and, if treated regularly, wouldn't crack, split and go gray).

Key to using oils is, thinning. Common paint thinner works great.  For old dry handles, try about a 20% thinner mix.  If putting it on a fence and using a pump up garden sprayer, AROUND 15% would be fine (wear a mask, you don't need to breath the mist, and it WILL mist).



There are products made from hardening oils that are great at protecting wood, but the oil is treated (e.g., boiled linseed oil, pre-polymerized tung oil) and I think some of them are great. Daly's makes some (Seafin and Profin), but they are far from cheap.  I like them because they do penetrate and protect, though they do harden.


Ela La Salle wrote:

Kelly Craig wrote:Wood handles. That's a big deal. They dry out, so shrink, causing cracking and splitting.  Learn how to treat them (I'm a huge fan of penetrating non hardening oils). The oil replaces lost moisture. Unlike the moisture, it doesn't evaporate. Rather, it soaks in further (wicks), so you just keep adding. Ideally, until the wood is saturated.



What type of oils do you use?
I am "cheap" (LOL?) . I use ....clear shoe polish. Lots of it while storing  over  Winter months :--)
And....car wax for the metal "tub".
Maybe not very Permies-like but,  I already have those products.
 
Ela La Salle
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Kelly Craig
Wow! That's an interesting and informative post and tips! Thank you.
P.S I wonder if used oil would work on pressure treated wood too? Something to try next year Who knew!




 
Kelly Craig
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It would work the same with treated wood. In fact, treated wood tends to rot from the center out, because most of the treatment is on the outer layer. As such, soaking treated wood in thinned oil wherever it comes in contact with the ground would crank up its life span.

Keep in mind, the dryer the wood, the more it likes oil.  

Years back, I bought an end grain butcher block for absurdly cheap, because it was cracking and splitting.  I brought it home and slathered mineral oil on it.  I'd get to one end and the area before that had absorbed the oil, so I kept adding more, until it slowed down [absorbing it].  Then I'd touch up spots when I walked by it and noticed dry spots.  A day or two later, it had eaten a pint, but wasn't taking more on very fast, so I just slathered another thick coat on and walked away.  

I got side tracked for a few weeks and when I got back to it, all the cracks and splits were no longer visible. The oil had soaked in and swelled the wood up to its original moisture content, closing the hundreds of gaps.

Applications like I described are cumulative.  When I did the aggressive treatment to a garage door I made from cedar I got from a spalt pile (the leavings of cedar mills in the course of making cedar shakes and shingles), the first coat seemed to have been a waste of time. So did the second. Both seemed to last only a few months in the minimal hot sun of a Pacific Northwet summer. However, the third application showed years down the road.

The reason the oil applications did not seem to hold up is because they do wick in [rather than evaporating].  The initial coats wicked into the dry wood, making it look like they had evaporated.

If a person was aggressive in applying the oil in the first several years, it would go far toward saturating the wood with oil, greatly extending its life, since it wouldn't dry, thus shrink, resulting in cracking and splitting. Too, it the technique is applied to shakes and shingles, they can remain resilient, so walking on them would not cause them to crack and split. Too, if full of oil, they won't take on water, which can freeze, causing more damage.


Ela La Salle wrote:Kelly Craig
Wow! That's an interesting and informative post and tips! Thank you.
P.S I wonder if used oil would work on pressure treated wood too? Something to try next year Who knew!

gift
 
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