PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson
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September 3, 2019

Today we cover tractors and tools. I don’t necessarily mean the tools needed to work on tractors, but rather tools you carry in your tractor’s toolbox that you might need while you use the machine for various projects. Many tractors, whether lawn mowers or utility tractors, offer built-in toolboxes so you can keep useful tools and items on hand while you work.

The tractor toolbox is a convenient place to store certain tractor-related maintenance tools, too, but you can also fill these toolboxes with a variety of general tools for your farm work. This way, if you’re out in the field and a project comes up, there’s a better chance you can handle it on the spot. Maybe you notice a fence that needs repairing. Maybe you finally remember to measure the width of that barn door. Who knows what you’ll come across?

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I keep my tractors well stocked with commonly used tools. When I’m out on the far reaches of my farm, this stockpile in the toolbox frequently saves me a long trip back to the tool shed. The only limiting factor is the size of the toolboxes (they tend to be small), which means you must carefully consider the number and size of tools you bring along.

Here are a few useful tools you should consider adding to your tractor’s toolbox.


1. Hammer

A basic claw hammer is a good place to start, because farms often seem to be built from the ground up using nothing but nails (and maybe a little baling twine). Butyou can also use hammers for pounding small stakes, loosening tight bolts and other tasks requiring a hammering action. Bring along some nails, too, so you’ll have what it takes if a slightly more complicated repair is necessary.

2. Multi-in-One Screwdriver

I’m fond of large multi-in-one screwdrivers stocked with exchangeable bits of various sizes and styles. These screwdrivers pack an amazing amount of versatility into a small package. While it’s more difficult to drive screws by hand than with an electric drill/driver, the screwdriver takes up much less space in your toolbox and never runs out of batteries. Be sure to pack a few screws of various lengths, too.

3. Pruning Shears

I’ve taken to carrying pruning shears in my tractor toolbox. Not only do they come in handy for their intended purpose (I frequently make small pruning adjustments to fruit trees when out and about), in a pinch you can also use them s a pair of sharp scissors to cut rope, plastic wrap, thin wire and so on A utility knife is a similarly useful tool, but without the ability to prune branches.

4. Ratcheting Straps

Sometimes when I’m out cutting brush or cleaning up debris, I’ll fill my trusty red wagon so full fear the top of the load might spill off the sides. When I handle such a big load, I grab a ratcheting strap out of my toolbox and tightly secure the load.

5. Tape Measure

Need to measure a fence section, or the height of a post, or the distance between two trees? A tape measure ensures you always have the measurements at your fingertips.

6. Hitch Pins and Trailer Hitch Balls

You never know what wagon or piece of equipment you might need to haul on a given day. Have a few sizes of hitch pins and trailer hitch balls in your toolbox so you can install the right one when needed.

7. Adjustable Pliers

Pliers (regular, tongue-and-groove and locking), a crescent wrench, a ratchet and socket set—there’s no end to the number of pliers and wrenches you could keep on hand. But to save space in the toolbox, I usually settle for a couple of pairs of tongue-and-groove pliers. If you’re willing to work with something less than a snug grasp, they work with a very wide variety of nuts and bolts.

8. Shear Pins

If you work with heavy machinery—a hay baler, or perhaps an auger—add a few machine-specific shear pins to your toolbox. In the event that a shear pin gives out, you have a replacement on hand and can quickly get back to work.

What items do you like to keep in your tractor’s toolbox?

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