When his father and grandfather shared stories about the equipment they once used on their farm, Ray Davies listened carefully. And when he began scratch building implements in the late 1990s, he brought those stories to life by re-creating the implements he had been told about.
"When I started building scratch toys, it was from stories that my dad would tell about different implements that they used on the farm. I would get a picture of it and re-create it," he says.
Ray, who lives in Estes Park, Colo., likes to build farm toys that are not being produced by manufacturers, including a sugar beet loader and a sugar beet truck that were used on farms in the 1940s.
"It was from a story that my dad would tell about my grandpa raising sugar beets and it perked my interest and I thought I could re-create that," Ray shares.
The beet loader was made from tin bent into shape, while the loader chains were made from wire bent to the shape of a loader chain. Wheels were purchased from Dakotah Toys. Ray spent about six months building the loader, practicing lots of patience. The loader chain included approximately 70 links, and Ray bent each link by hand.
"That took awhile to bend and hook them all together," he says.
The sugar beet truck was purchase from Outback Toys with a grain box on it. Ray removed the grain box and replaced it with a beet box he built from wood. The sides fold down and the box dumps to the side, just as the real ones did.
"Back in this era, sugar beets were pulled from the ground one row at a time. The tops were but from the beets all by hand, and the beets were put in a windrow. Thus, the need for the beet loader to load them onto a truck," Ray says.
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