Publisher: Motorbooks International
729 Prospect Avenue
PO Box 1
Osceola, WI 54020-0001
Roger Welsch's long awaited second book on tractor restoration has finally appeared. This one was written during his restoration of "Woodpecker" an old unstyled Allis Chalmers WC. The tractor was given to him by a friend after being salvaged from a remote wood lot where it had been left to die many years earlier. This was a restoration he undertook on a dare, to prove he could do it. He did it for the fun of it. Roger doesn't work at restoring tractors, he plays and learns. He finds neat little lessons all over his shop.
The book is log of his restoration efforts. He hopes to provide a newcomer with a guide of just how to expect things might go with a tractor restoration. It is full of mechanical tips and techniques as well as addressing the spiritual aspects of tractor work. He shows us how time in the shop can be healing, even when it might not appear overtly productive. His focus on the process of restoration, rather than the end results, guides his time in shop and shapes his attitude toward the whole project. Learning is not just a goal unto itself, it is also a great reason to buy even more new tools.
Many books tell us how tractors are restored, but only Roger seems to address the question of "why" tractors are restored. He truly portrays the "restoration as adventure" aspect of the hobby. The nature of the friendships that can form around this hobby is also reported.
What's different about this book? Roger Welsch examines the Zen or "head part" of tractor rebuilding. What else is different is that this book includes a lot about the wrong way to do things. The best lessons are learned from mistakes, and Roger isn't afraid to share with us how much he has learned. Additionally, he doesn't assume the reader knows as much as most of the shop manuals seem to assume. Many excellent mechanical tips can be picked up from this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it makes me look forward to my next tractor project.