Hand Hay Baler




This wooden hand-operated hay baler makes a compressed bale of dry grass clippings/hay approximately 12"x15"x28". The attached pdf illustrates the finished project components. A general construction approach, tools required and short bill of materials follows.

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Step 1: Bill of Materials and Tools Required

The baler was built with one 4x8' sheet of exterior grade treated 1/2" plywood, 5 treated 8' 2x4's, some leftover cedar 1x4 and a piece of untreated 2x4 for the handle. The handle was untreated wood to minimize skin contact with treated wood during operation of the baler. Additional materials are the hinges, bolt latches, hinge and handle bolts, and numerous deck or exterior wood screws of varying length.

Tools required are a chop or table saw for cutting the 2x4's, a rip saw for the plywood cuts, and a jig saw for the door slots. A drill is useful to drive the screws and drill bits for drilling the screw pilot holes and bolt holes. A tape measure, pencil and long straight edge for measuring and marking the cuts will also be needed.

Step 2: General Construction Approach

1. First, take the cut list of materials and lay out the optimal way to utilize/cut the materials on paper, to minimize lumber waste.

2. Cut the pieces and assemble the deck.

3. Cut and assemble the sides and back on top of the deck along with the two rear corner supports.

4. Cut and position the two front corner supports and front brace with the door in position on the deck. Pay attention to the door clearances. Once the front corner supports are properly positioned and mounted, then the door can be removed until it is completed and ready to be hinged and bolted.

The rest of the assembly process can be approached as the builder sees fit.

One note about positioning of the pinch pad and eyehooks: the intent of these four pinch points is to simply provide a way to pinch the baling twine in place at the bottom of the bale. The eyehooks must be close enough to the wood strip so that the twine can be pressed, or pinched BETWEEN the eyehook and the wood - not threaded through the eyehook.

Step 3: Twining and Operation

General operation of the hay baler should be intuitively obvious. However, a brief description of how to run the two strands of binding twine down the inside back, bottom and front door of the baler may be useful.

The twine should be looped over the back retaining hook, pinched at the bottom and run out through the front door slots and wrapped around the front retaining hooks. Once the bale is finished, lift the compressor arm out of the baler one more time and take the rear loop across the top of the bale and out the front slot. Compress the bale again and pull the twine taught and tie it off tight to the front end of the twine. The door can be opened, and the bale pulled out and up off the bottom pinch points.

Step 4: Details

I apologize for leaving out this detail document on the first publication. First time for everything.

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    3 Discussions


    1 year ago

    There are a number of YouTube videos showing this type of baler at work. They all look like they work well, and produce a good bale. I have used the same design to make bales for my Fall leaves. I save the bales in my garden, and add them to my compost whenever I need to balance off high-nitrogen materials.


    3 years ago

    Very nice! Looks perfect for any small-scale baling operation :)