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BILLY 22 Aug 2021 16:47 #224688

  • cobbadog
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I bet you guys thought I have been just sitting around scratching me bum, but no, I have been busy drawing this up in my mind so after a bit more thought I made a start on it recently and then got this far today.
What am I on about? Well meet BILL my reproduction of a Billy Cart Mower by Merv Richardson of Victa Mowers Australia. It is more commonly called a Peach Tin Mower becasue of the fuel tank but when you look at the pictures of the original it is to me a 1 pint oil can with the screw top lid. My reason for doing this was becasue I could and because I wanted something different to display if Rallies ever happen again in our life time. Now there are many things wrong with this project, wrong model engine, wrong wheels, wrong orientation of the barrel and spark plug and so on but to me it was not about making a faithful copy of the original. It is all about showing the General Public what was the prototype of a rotary mower by Merv which led off to fan mowers then the Model 1, 2, 2a and so on. Merv did not invent the rotary mower just made his own variant of it. There was another rotary mower made just before this by another Australian but the engine was a marine one and weighed a ton and you needed muscles on your muscles to push it about. Plus there were others made over seas as well.
This is what I wanted the 1 pint oil can for but will make do with something else to make the fuel tank then a bracket to mount it. I also will be adding a blade holder but no blades will be fitted or a provision to fit blades, it is just that much more dangerous. I might look for some bigger diameter wheels which these are too small. The engine is sitting dead centre in both directions even though it doesn't look like it and the whole thing is well balanced as is. The handle needs a tweak to make it more symmetrical but that is something easy to do. The engine has been gone through and I found a problem with the electrics, both coil and condensor were kaput. Did a deal on another coil and replaced the condensor using a film capacitor which make condensors seem obsolete.
So right now in theory I should be able to put fuel in the carby and fit a throttle cable and it should run. This Villiers is a 4G and was initially fitted as a horizontal shaft engine on an Atco reel mower. Now it is a vertical shaft motor and I had to make the inlet manifold so I could do this plus cut the muffler off the flange, clean that up and turn it 90' and weld it too.

So if there are any mower purists here, let the flak begin !!
Cheers Cobba & Cobbarette
Coopernook, The Centre of our Universe.
STUBBOURN B@ST@RD
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BILLY 22 Aug 2021 17:00 #224690

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Wondered what you were up to....

Jarrod.

“I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them”

― Adlai E. Stevenson II
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BILLY 22 Aug 2021 19:37 #224702

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What no chrome wheel cabs ?

Looks good to me, wouldn't want my toe to touch the spark plug when mowing the lawn in my thongs

Paul
Your better to die trying than live on your knees begging
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BILLY 22 Aug 2021 20:05 #224705

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Folks bought the early Victas down our way, keep the grass down
around the farmhouses and snakes away.
Common injury the local doctors named Victa Syndrome. Dairy
cocky mowing in gum boots, draw the mower back onto the toes.
Neighbour did this, drove 15 miles in to the clinic with cow crap on
his clothes and boots. Told to go home and get cleaned up before
he would be treated.
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BILLY 22 Aug 2021 20:13 #224706

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They Didn't call them "toe Cutters" for nothing..
"Be who you are and say what you feel...
Because those that matter...
don't mind...
And those that mind....
don't matter." -
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BILLY 22 Aug 2021 20:22 #224707

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As a 14 year old cutting our grass, Victa flat chat when a long stalk of grass
fell against the spark plug top. Cit the power, so muggins grabs the stalk
only to find out how much kick the magneto delivered!
Know what Mrs Mackpaul means.
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BILLY 22 Aug 2021 20:54 #224711

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Villiers did make a rotary mower in their Ballarat factory ,called the "Austral Villiers"......it had a cast alloy frame and deck ,but for some reason they wernt popular........I recall when the first Victas came out ,the advert showed a tree being cut down with one ........this apparently impressed the old man ,he bought a new Victa ,and straightway attacked a tree with it.........After about an hour ,the tree was well mangled,and the Victa crankshaft broke ,and nearly cut his legs off.......needless to say ,it was straight back to Scurrs hardware ,and get his replacement mower.........no way ,it had to go back to the factory to be assessed for repair.,and took six months to come back..............clever ,because the warranty had run out ......he got a new crankshaft fitted ,that was it ,no new mower in those days.

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BILLY 22 Aug 2021 21:35 #224717

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Always up to no good Jarrod and love it. The only shiney part is the throttle lever that is enough chrome and that is over 55 years old as it sits there. Yes the early Model1 , 2 , 2a and so on were called toe cutters and the name stucl with later models even up to the Utility models in the 70's.
At the age of 10 I mowed the lawns at home for Pa using his Model 1, at the age of 14 I found one on the junk pile and bought it home and used the motor to power a pump up scooter as a mini bike, then it went I I bought a Model2 somewhere around the age of 16 and I still have and use this one for fun. I have more than enough Victa mowers to play with and love them.
The quickest way to loose a toe is to walk backwards with them unless you are over cautious or had a close call or worse lost a toe or two. To me they were the best mulching mower about. Cuts the grass and throws it to buggery leaving a nice light spreading of cut grass over the lawn unless you mow in the reverse order and re-cut the grass over and over then it really is mulched into the grass.
The ad used to say it turned grass into lawn, I prefer turns lawn into grass.
Yes flywheel magnetos can throw a nasty spark when everything is in working order. Now with a good 2nd hand coil and the film capacitor this does shoot a spark and a half. Same goes for the rotary magnetos on my hit n miss engines, keep fingers and other bits well away from them.
Yes Villiers made many engines and complete mowers down in Ballarat and this engine came from there. The original carby on this mower not shown is more a fuel mixer than a carby. It allows the flow of fuel and is metered by an adjusting needle buttt does have a slide for the control of air flow. In theory I can have the slide open up full but control the revs by leaning out the fuel. Can't wait to put some fuel in it and hear it run soon so will post a video of it once it happens.
Cheers Cobba & Cobbarette
Coopernook, The Centre of our Universe.
STUBBOURN B@ST@RD
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BILLY 01 Sep 2021 16:33 #225227

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Well today I struck GOLD and did it twice. The help to find an oil tin that is suitable for a fuel tank to suit BILLY actually arrived today. Thankfully 2 members here responded to my request for help and both are fantastic cans and are of the right size. One is slightly different in the way the top is fitted and because it being so unusual I will keep this one aside to be with other oil cans I have. What made it so different is that the small screw on lid is offset and when I saw it I thought I cannot make changes to you.
With the other can and I am just as excited about it too is exactly what I was after in size and looks. So my plan is to solder a plate on the bottom so I can drill and tap a hole for the fuel tap. Then once my MIG welder is either repaired or when the replacement one arrives I need to tack weld a bracket to the top and bottom lips of the can.
Cheers Cobba & Cobbarette
Coopernook, The Centre of our Universe.
STUBBOURN B@ST@RD
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Last edit: by cobbadog.

BILLY 04 Sep 2021 14:21 #225382

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Today I cleaned up the base of the chosen tin and sweated some solder to the base. Made a disc and did the same then attached the two together. I did clean both surfaces before sweating them together and adding a bit more solder becasue the base of the tin distorted a little bit and sucked in more solder. Drilled and tapped a 1/8" 27tpi NPT thread for the old style fuel tap I had in the treasure chest. Also dug out this old leather rope starter with wooden handle I made some years ago, possibly for a British Seagull outboard that now lives elsewhere. Just need to make the mounting bracket and attach it to the fuel tank then the engine.
Cheers Cobba & Cobbarette
Coopernook, The Centre of our Universe.
STUBBOURN B@ST@RD
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