Chain harrows are very useful equipment that you use to break down soil. If you're working with a large area of ground, scattering up the soil for planting new trees or adding fertilizers using a ground fork can be a gruesome task.
It is in situations like this that you are in dire need of a chain harrow. Using the chain harrow, you can prepare the soil in your field and also pull up large chunks of dead grass.
Now, this amazing tool can be purchased from the market pre-made. But, you can easily make the tool at home, for half the price.
So why should you spend your hard-earned money on buying this tool? If you know how to make a chain harrow, you can get all the benefits of the tool without having to spend extra bucks.
Let's take a look at how you can make this neat equipment as easily as possible.
What is A Chain Harrow?
A chain harrow is an apparatus that is usually constructed of small claws. Attached by several chains, this series of claws is dragged across a field to help break down soil.
When the tool was initially designed, it was worked across a field with the help of horses. For the right results, people needed to use this tool at about 3 to 4 mph speed. Horses could drag this contraption at this speed quite comfortably.
Today, you use a chain harrow with the help of a lawnmower. Some people also prefer using a tractor, if they have one. If you're able to maintain the speed, you can use whatever vehicle or equipment you like to guide this tool across a land.
How To Make A Chain Harrow- Different Methods
A. Making A Chain Harrow Using Chain Link Fence Gates
Using a chain link fence gate is probably the easiest way to make a chain harrow. Here are the steps that you need to follow for making this tool.
Step 1: Prepare The Gates
The first thing that you need to do is get your hands on some good-quality chain link fence gates. Luckily, these are widely available online and in hardware stores.
If you don't want to invest too much money in buying a new one, you can also buy used ones. The used gates usually have rough edges, which might help in better harrowing.
We recommend using a chain link fence gate for making your chain harrow because all sides of the chained or wired mesh are already closed for you. Therefore, you won't have to add any additional metal wiring to attach the chains and close the borders of the wired net.
Step 2: Add On Some Weight
To help with successful harrowing, your chain harrow needs to have some weight on it.
This is where you can let your creativity flow. You can choose any object in your house to add some weight to the chain harrow.
Pieces of lumber or even bricks will do. Ensure that you attach these materials to the chain-link fence gate properly using a rubber or metal wire. This will make sure that the weights don't come off when you are using the chain harrow on the field.
Step 3: Attach The Chain
If you are using two chain link fence gates, you need to attach them using the same kind of metal or rubber wire. To get a better hold, you can attach the two gates using a chain.
After you've attached two of the gates, you need to add a long piece of chain to one of the edges of the gates.
While one end of the chain is attached to the border or edge of the gate, another end will be attached to your lawnmower. This is what will help drag the chain harrow across the field.
B. Making A Chain Harrow Using Wired Mesh
If you don't have access to a chain-link fence gate, the next option that you have is making a chain harrow by using wired mesh. Here are the instructions that you need to follow.
Step 1: Get Some Wired Netting
The first step involves getting some wired netting. This kind of wired net is available in hardware stores.
If you don't have access to the wired nets or mesh, you have to use wires and cross them manually to make your own net.
Doing this can be quite a tedious task. Firstly you will have to take five or six wires and place them straight. Then you take another five or six wires and attach them perpendicularly with the initial straight set of wires.
This will create a net patterned mesh-like cover, which you can then use for making a chain harrow.
Step 2: Close The Ends Of The Net
Now you will have to keep the chain or the wired mesh in place. To do this, you need to put something on the front and back of the mesh, creating a border.
Most people use a steel frame, or even timber to make this border. Attach the steel frame or the timbers with the mesh using more rubber or steel wires.
Step 3: Add The Chain
The last step involves you attaching a chain to the border of the mesh. Similar to how you made a chain harrow using chain link fence gates, you will attach one end of the chain to the border of the net and another end to your lawnmower.
Your chain harrow is now ready.
Keep in mind that this is not the most effective way of making a chain harrow. This method should only be applied when you have no other solutions and need a temporary fix.
Chain harrows made with homemade wired nets, do not last that long. You will probably get about one or two uses out of them at most.
Tips And Precautions When Making Chained Harrows
Since you will be making this tool at home, there are some special tips and tricks that you need to know about, which will help you achieve a more professional finish.
1. Be Careful Of How Much Weight You Add To The Chain Harrow
Adding weight to your chain harrow will allow it to penetrate deeper into the soil. If you have very clumpy or thick soil, adding this weight is mandatory. But do not add more weight than what your tractor can handle.
If you think that adding more weight to the tool will result in better harrowing, you are right. But adding too much weight will also harm your lawnmower.
When adding weights, start with a little bit. See how your lawn mower reacts to the added weight. If you think the machine can handle more, you can always increase the weight later on.
It’s better not to risk the durability of your lawnmower by adding too much weight in the initial trial.
2. Make Sure The Borders Of The Wired Net Are Sturdy
If you have chosen to construct a chain harrow by making the wired net or mesh yourself, you need to be careful about the borders.
If the borders or edges on the homemade wired mesh are not sturdy, the nets will come loose. This will create a very big mess on your soil. Cleaning broken and scattered metal wires off of the soil can be quite painful and annoying. Loose sharp wires on the field are also a safety hazard.
3. Attach The Weight Onto The Wired Net Or Chain Link Gate Properly
Make sure that the weight that you have added to the chained harrow has been attached properly.
In case you are using a metal or rubber wire to attach the weight onto the tool, you need to make sure that you have tied them together strongly.
No matter what kind of weight you have added, be it bricks or loose timber, it's better to have it held tightly in a secured position.
If the weights come loose and fly off of the chain harrow while you are operating your lawnmower, it can be a very big safety hazard. You never know where these weights fly off to, and whom these weights might hit. Therefore, this is a precaution that you need to take quite seriously.
4. Use High-Quality Steel Or Mesh
If you want your homemade chain harrow to last a long time, you need to make sure you're using high-quality steel or mesh.
Chain link fence gates are usually made out of good-quality steel. So the quality of the steel net is something that you won't have to worry about if you're using that method.
But if you're making the mesh yourself, ensure that the steel wires you are using are high-quality. You don't want the wires to tear when they push through the clumped-up soil.
There is no point in investing so much time constructing a chained harrow just for it to break within a few minutes of use.
5. Some Sharp Edges On Your Chain Harrow Is Good, But Not Too Much
We've mentioned before that using used chain link fence gates can be good sometimes. This is because they have a few loose ends or sharp edges that help to penetrate the ground even better.
But if the chain-link gate that you are using has too many loose ends, it might be a better idea to not use it for making the harrow. This is because the link gate might come off, or in simple words, deconstruct in the middle of your harrowing session.
Also, having too many sharp edges on a tool is dangerous for you. If you get a cut or a scratch from a rusty old steel wire, you will have to visit the hospital immediately.
Why You Should Use A Chain Harrow?
Using chain harrows can help to pull up large areas of dead grass at once. You can also use it in other ways to make sure that the soil is prepared for planting crops.
Harrowing is usually done on large farms, sports fields, smallholdings, or even equestrian venues. Usually, harrowing is done in the spring or summer time.
There are many reasons why you would use a chain harrow on the soil. The process helps with better penetration of fertilizers and has many other benefits.
Here are a few of the benefits that you get from using a chain harrow on the soil.
1. Removing Dead Vegetation
You can harrow a field to remove any dead plants and dead vegetation. If the soil that you are working with is heavy, you can use a chain harrow to break it up for easier plantation.
A chain harrow is usually dragged on a field of healthy grass to help remove any dead grass remaining at the base. During this process, lightly rooted weeds are also taken out.
2. Leveling The Ground
Large-sized fields usually have a lot of molehills, which can be smoothed down using a chain harrow.
Many people use a chain harrow to level out race tracks, or running tracks. This tool is quite commonly used in equestrian centers as well.
You can use this tool on a sports field for ripping out moss or for spreading and removing worm casts.
3. Allowing Better Air Circulation
What harrowing does is it gets rid of any clumps in the ground to allow better air movement. With improved air circulation, there is better water infiltration as well.
When the thatch is torn out, and air circulation is increased, vegetation growth is promoted in an eco-friendly way.
Root aeration is also a benefit that you get from using a chain harrow on your farm soil.
4. Treating Fungus And Parasites In The Soil
With harrowing, the soil in the field gets better air circulation and access to light.
If any sort of fungus or bacteria that might have been dwelling in your field comes in contact with air and sunlight, they demolish. This way the overall health of the vegetation that you are farming increases.
When you use a chain harrow on your ground in dry weather, summer or spring, the droppings or clumps that you have dug out get a chance to dry out. This way any parasites that might have been attacking your field soil die.
5. Preparing The Soil For New Plants
A chain harrow can create the perfect seedbed for new vegetation. You can also use this handy tool for covering the seeds after planting them.
Fertilizers can penetrate broken up, or loosened soil much better. So using the fertilizer after harrowing will make it more effective.
The tool also comes in handy when you’re trying to spread manure in soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Speed Should You Use Your Chain Harrow On?
To get optimum results, you need to drag your chain harrow at about 3 to 4 miles per hour.
Dragging the equipment any faster than this will not give it enough time to get into the soil, and aerate it properly.
2. Can A Chain Harrow Remove Weeds?
Yes, it can. But for that, you will have to use a coarser kind of steel wire on the chain harrow.
While it won't completely remove these from your garden, harrowing will certainly help reduce the weeds down to a manageable amount.
3. How Often Do You Have To Drag Your Pasture?
If you plan on adding manure, or fertilizer to your field, it's more than enough if you use the chain harrow about two or three times a year.
Take your time when harrowing, ensure that the ground has been aerated properly, and you won't have to repeat the process too often.
4. What Is The Difference Between Harrowing And Plowing Soil?
Plows have a more complicated construction compared to harrows.
A plow reaches a deeper layer, stirs up the ground. On the other hand, harrowing will only penetrate through the upper layer of the soil.
Harrowing can be a great way to improve the air circulation in the soil. It is a method that helps prepare the ground for planting new seeds, adding fertilizers, and even killing parasites.
But buying the equipment can take a toll on your wallet. So if you know how to make a chain harrow, you can get all the benefits of the tool without digging too deep into your pocket!
Using the methods that we mentioned above, now you too can make a chain harrow easily.