Reconditioning New Idea Corn Sheller





Introduction: Reconditioning New Idea Corn Sheller

This New Idea corn sheller was purchased from a retired farmer near Muscatine, IA in 2008. After retirement, it was now time to restore it to its near original condition.
New Idea purchased the Sandwich Company of Sandwich, Ill in 1930, which provided New Idea with a much larger line of farm equipment. One of the products was a very fine corn sheller. The Sandwich Company had been developing small corn sheller since 1856.
The farmer who sold the sheller indicated that he remembers seeing this sheller in the mid-1940's. Therefore it must have been made between 1930 and 1945.
The two photos below show the corn sheller as purchased and after restoring. Each of the steps listed above following show the intermediate steps that were completed to restore the New Idea corn its near original condition.

Step 1: Corn Sheller As Received

When purchased the sheller was operational except for the plate which applies pressure to keep the corn cob in contact with the cast iron wheel that removes the kernels. The wood crank handle and fan belt were missing.

Step 2: Disassembly

Many pictures were taken during the disassembly to record information to assist in reassembly. The frame and Internal parts were very rusty as well as the frame. Some effort was required to remove the bearings from the shafts. As can be seen in the final two pictures in this step every part was removed and could then be cleaned as shown in the next step.

Step 3: Cleaning Failure

The first attempt to remove the rust from parts was by electrolytic derusting. It is a technique for returning surface rust to iron. by using the effect of a small low voltage electric current and a suitable electrolyte. As shown in the last picture, the part after 12 hours in the bath still had considerable amount of rust. Therefore the method was abandoned.

Step 4: Cleaning by Sandblasting

A sandblasting cabinet was made from a clear tote box. Two holes were made and gloves attached to box. Also ports for air hose, grit material, and vac hose were added. The device worked well and all parts were cleaned in a total of 7 hours.

Step 5: Painting

New Idea used an orange and green colors for all their equipment. Since the New Idea company in no longer in business the exact shades of these colors are not available. Rustoleum Harvest Green was used since it is a very close match. Old Kubota tractor orange matches NI orange very well.

A paint booth was built to reduce the over-spraying drift. When using a paint booth make sure it has a floor since large paint droplets will not be carried in the air but will settle out in a very short distant.

Step 6: Painting on Name

A stencil was made by sizing a stencil font on the computer and printing. The letter were then cut out with an exacto knife. The panel was covered and stencil painted.

Step 7: Making Wood Crank Handle

A new crank handle was turned on a lathe from solid oak.

Step 8: Reassembing Sheller

Lower half of sheller was assembled and then the cast gears and sheller parts inserted. After the top half was assembled the galvanized metal was masked and the bolt heads and nuts were painted orange.

The last four photos show the finished reconditioned corn sheller.



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    13 Discussions

    Very nicely done. In my opinion, you should switch the order of the first two images so the finished project is the one that shows up as your main image. Five stars sir.

    2 replies

    Thanks for the suggestion on switching the images. The finished sheller should now appear first.

    YouTube shall provide. Here's another brand of machine, in action. If you want, you can skip ahead to 2m20s for the actual corn shelling action.

    (Thanks to the OP for allowing embedding)

    Very good restoration work, congratulations!

    To remove the rust I use steel brush and after I apply phosphatizant liquid. But your sander method is very effective.

    I remember these shellers very well. We never had one on our farm, but they were always fun as a plaything when visiting a farm where a friend lived. There is a geared effect that makes some of the internal parts turn very fast. It was fun to see how fast we could turn the crank, and it was fun to see how rapidly the kernels were stripped from the cob when an ear was inserted into the top of the sheller. If I remember, the operator placed a bucket under the sheller to catch the shelled kernels of corn. I think I have seen the sheet metal hoppers resting or hanging somewhere, but do not remember ever seeing one actually on one of the shellers. (I grew up near Monticello, Iowa; which is not very far from Muscatine.) Thank you for showing clearly what is on the inside of these shellers.

    2 replies

    Phil B,
    Thanks for your comments.
    Your memory is good in that a bushel basket or box is placed below the sheller to collect the shelled corn. The cops are ejected out the side opposite the side where the corn ears are inserted. I have attached two pictures of an advertisement brochure that was produced by New Idea. Enjoy.

    Brochure corn sheller 1.jpgBrochure corn sheller 2.jpg

    Thank you for the original brochure. A friend moved into a house on property where there was an old garage. In it were quite a few original brochures and booklets for J. I. Case threshers and tractors from the 1930s. I also remember it was fun to see how fast the cobs came flying out the side. If OSHA had been around 30 or more years earlier, these machines would never have made it to market! Yet, I never heard of anyone receiving any kind of injury on one of these. We all had enough sense not to put our hands into moving machinery.

    Great recondition!
    It's too bad the electrolytic derusting didn't work, I would have liked to see more information and techniques using that method, it's hard to beat sandblasting though.

    Assuming it'll remain non-operational have you given any thought to covering the outside of the galvanized (aluminum?) with a clear coat to make it pop? Might really go well with that orange!

    1 reply

    The original plan was to paint the galvanized sheet metal, but this would have destroyed the look. So the metal was only scraped clean and buffed with a pad made especially for metal. Thanks for the tip to apply clear coat.
    Once ear corn is available later this fall, the plan is to make a video of the sheller's operation.

    Very nicely written up! Some might consider this overly specialized, but it's got some very nice techniques for dealing with antique mechanicals.