Old hay rake now used to lift implements

If you are in the second-hand business, you have to load and unload implements daily. A businessman from Cradock in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa converted an old hay rake into an ingenious device for loading ploughs, graders and other implements.

You would have to search far and wide to find a more cost-effective implement than a hay rake that has been given a new lease on life as a shifting device for a mere R300 and is strong enough to handle 1 ton.

JJ van der Watt is an auctioneer at BKB auctioneers. Besides his career as an auctioneer, he began his own second-hand dealership 20 years ago, buying old implements, repairing them and reselling them. “The business repairs and sells mostly implements used for working with the soil, such as ploughs, rippers, small planters and rakes.”

Because JJ has only one employee who can help move the implements he had to come up with a plan to be able to move them in the easiest way possible. “I first built another implement out of steel pipe and other scrap metal, but it wasn’t strong enough.”

The ‘aapstert’ (‘monkey’s tail’) can lift about a ton with ease.


About 10 years ago, JJ came across an old hay rake at an auction and bought it to repair and later resell. Spares were unfortunately a problem and he had to put it to one side with the other scrap for a while.

Two years later he came up with a plan to make it functional. JJ first removed the reels from the rake, straightened the rake arm and the turned it around so that the rake arm formed a sickle shape.

Then he fixed a chain to the arm that is used to hold the implements in place. The bend on the arm is what led to the name “aapstert” (“monkey’s tail”).


The ‘monkey’s tail’ is connected to the tractor’s power take-off so no hydraulics are needed for lifting implements.

The ‘monkey’s tail’ uses the original rake’s connection points to link up to the tractor’s PTO and is able to lift up to 1 ton. The implement to be moved is hooked onto the ‘monkey’s tail’ and with the tractor’s PTO, is lifted and moved to a mobile crane or block and tackle, from where the implement is loaded onto a lorry for transport.

“The ‘monkey’s tail’ can easily lift more than 800kg up to a height of 2.5m. The heavier implements are lifted just off the ground and moved so that the block and tackle can lift them higher,” explains JJ.

The whole device, purchase price and labour included, cost less than R300. “The rake at that time cost R250 and I had the metal from the scrap that I removed from the rake to reinforce the arm of the ‘monkey’s tail’. And then there was the cost of the welding rod that I used to weld everything together,” he laughs.

JJ van der Walt.

ENQUIRIES: JJ van der Watt, email: taaibosimp@telkomsa.net; tel. 048 881 3811; cell 082 772 2060.

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