My new gourd racks

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Brad Biddle
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

My new gourd racks

Postby Brad Biddle » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:04 pm

I planned to add two of these to my setup this year. These have been my afternoon project for the past week. No comments on the poor appearance of the welds! I can weld steel very well, but aluminum is another beast all together. :grin: I made them to fit a 4" square aluminum pole. I made two of these racks and look forward to offering 60 more gourds this year. I still have to clean the smut off around the welds, but that's another project for another day.

Image
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Whippy
Posts: 417
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - ?

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Whippy » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:31 am

That's really cool.

Just last night I was teaching my son to weld. He's 14. I once tried aluminum but had a hard time with it and ran out of test stock. I have a Lincoln Weld Pak 3200 with the aluminum conversion kit. Will probably try it again one day as I like to build stuff as well. Until I saw this post, and your build, I hadn't thought about building a gourd rack. Now this is a game has changer. I won't get it done for this year but will take my time and build a couple for my ranch for next year.

Thanks for the inspiration. Please continue to post pictures as you put it all together. I'm looking forward to seeing the completed project.

Thank you. This is great.

Coolwhips

Spiderman
Posts: 735
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Spiderman » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:10 am

The welding and configuration look good to me. I can't imagine how tough it would be to weld aluminum. Excellant job for sure! Those will definately work!

The ones I have are similar in appearance and hold 28 Troyer Horizontal Gourds. They are on a 3" square pole and they have never been affected by wind while raised all the way up (15') with the gourds on them. We have had 80mph straight line winds here on the lake before.

I don't know how hard it would be to find 4" aluminum square pole stock?
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED

Dave Duit
Posts: 1560
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: state:Iowa / town:Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Dave Duit » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:43 am

Brad, You do great work. I had my cousin who owns a welding business make my gourd rack. I like your design. It is nice to see members making their own purple martin set ups.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.

Dave Duit
Posts: 1560
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: state:Iowa / town:Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Dave Duit » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:45 am

I also use 4" square pole. A little harder to find but well worth the time and expense. I got mine from US Steel.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.

Brad Biddle
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Brad Biddle » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:57 am

Thanks guys. We have lots of toys at our shop that most DIY guys don’t have. The welder that I used is a Miller 350P set up with a Alumni Pro gun. Our guys weld aluminum every day, I just don’t weld aluminum, ever. Truth be told I don’t weld much of anything anymore. Somebody has to run the place. :grin: I used our slip roll to roll the 1/4”x 1 1/2” flat bar for the outside perimeter. I made the center “hub” from 1/4” 3003 plate. Broke it on our hydraulic press brake. Made 2 channels and welded them together to form a square tube. I rolled the flat bar in 2 afternoons then built them both Friday evening and Saturday. I had to go back and add the angle and flat bar supports yesterday because there was too much vibration in the outer rings. One support on each level took the vibration out but I added the other for symmetry. I’ll make my pulley systems this week. I’m also going to make a ground socket for each pole out of plate as well. 1/8” plate would probably work but I’m afraid that the pressure of the concrete would deform the sidewalls of the socket enough that the pole wouldn’t go in so I’ll use 1/4” plate.

The poles that I got are 4” square 1/4” wall and they’re 24’ long. My thoughts are to put 4’ in the ground, leaving a 20’ rack height. If they sway too much I can always lower the rack.

I buy aluminum “in bulk” usually $3,000 or more at a time for repair and fabrication that we do in our business. The 4” square was in stock at my supplier so I don’t think it’s hard to find but I’m buying from people that most of you wouldn’t be buying from.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

tor
Posts: 201
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:35 pm
Location: Marlboro County, SC
Martin Colony History: Capacity: 72 Troyers on 3 X Super-24 racks

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby tor » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:21 am

Nice job. Tig is tricky, if you haven't been at it for a while. Mig,,no problem. Then again, I dont see a steel rack being appropriate :grin:
Using a Lincoln Mig on a regular basis. Never tried a Tig...or a Mig with a gun to weld aluminum.
Location: Marlboro County, SC

2020: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/11
2019: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/22 - 70 pair - 315 fledged
2018: Capacity: 70 - First Scouts: 2/18 - 60 pair - 270 fledged
2017: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 2/25 - 39 pair
2016: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 3/10 - 32 pair
2015: Capacity: 24 - First Scouts: 3/23 - 4 pair

Purple Martins Of South Carolina
Torlo.com - Live Life Like There is No Tomorrow

Brad Biddle
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Brad Biddle » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:46 am

Thanks tor. I've never TIG welded aluminum. The 350P that we have is low frequency pulse, where aluminum TIG is high frequency. It welds steel and/or aluminum. We have ours set up as dedicated aluminum rigs. They produce near TIG quality/appearance welds, at MIG speed. Well, it does that when someone good at it uses it. We've got some guys at the shop that can really make it shine. I just get by. :grin:
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

PMDavid
Posts: 372
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair moving into 2020 almost double pairs from 2019. Still have most of the month of March to go for new arrivals and April.

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby PMDavid » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:49 pm

Hey brad ,great work man! Ok gourd fans..... I have an Abare rack with 16 naturals. Is there anyone here that has used a satellite dish to make a gourd rack? I’ve seen it on the net and there is a post on pmca from Thursday April 3rd,2008 showing a double gourd rack made from satellite dishes. This guy left the mesh wire on but it could be removed also. I have been on the hunt for a satellite for sometime now and today the owner of a satellite place said he has two in his back yard that are aluminum not steel that I can have! One is 5’ and the other is 7’. I realize I’ll have to make a center for it to use on a pole,but I wanted to know if anyone else has done this and how’d it work out? Seems like it’d be pretty slick?

PMDavid
Posts: 372
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair moving into 2020 almost double pairs from 2019. Still have most of the month of March to go for new arrivals and April.

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby PMDavid » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:51 pm

Hey brad ,great work man! Ok gourd fans..... I have an Abare rack with 16 naturals. Is there anyone here that has used a satellite dish to make a gourd rack? I’ve seen it on the net and there is a post on pmca from Thursday April 3rd,2008 showing a double gourd rack made from satellite dishes. This guy left the mesh wire on but it could be removed also. I have been on the hunt for a satellite for sometime now and today the owner of a satellite place said he has two in his back yard that are aluminum not steel that I can have! One is 5’ and the other is 7’. I realize I’ll have to make a center for it to use on a pole,but I wanted to know if anyone else has done this and how’d it work out? Seems like it’d be pretty slick? Flyin Lowe had posted on here on that post 12 years ago,maybe he knows also.......

jhcox
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse
Martin Colony History: Started colony in 2014. First pair to stay and raise young in 2018.

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby jhcox » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:07 pm

PMDavid look on you tube for Jerral Johnson he has the largest PM colony that I have ever seen in person. Most of Mr Johnson's colony is made up of the old style satellite dish's that he has collected over the years. His site is made up of over 2000+ nest for purple martins. It is 100% made up of gourds its an amazing site to behold in person. Mr. Johnson is a very nice man and has actually put a road in on his property and welcomes visitors to drive through and look at his martins. Hope this helps you out. JHCox Heiskell TN

Brad Biddle
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Brad Biddle » Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:38 pm

Jerral is definitely the man when it comes to satellite dish gourd racks. I first met Jerral around 16-17 years ago. He didn't have Martins at the time. My Martin mentor and friend, Clyde Ashley lived just across the hill from him and had a large 200 pair colony. I met Clyde through his son who had poultry houses. That's when I worked in the commercial poultry industry. Jerral had 2 gourd racks at the time, up close to a barn, right at the toad. They were too close to trees and he had Tree Swallows nesting in the gourds on those racks. Clyde advised Jerral on getting Martins in one way or another and that's what's happened since. The house in the background of the video posted in the thread you started is owned by a friend of mine who has a large colony of his own, just across the paved road from Jerrals colony. My friend reported his first Martin of the year last week. He and I have ran neck and neck the past several years on returns, but mine are dragging around this year. I still don't have one back.

That didn't answer your question at all.... You can make a nice rack from a satellite dish. You'll just need to weld, or bolt a hub or plate in the center with a hole in the center large enough to slide over your pole. I would recommend using a large pole, 3" diameter at least. Those make a large diameter rack and will catch a lot of wind. I would only put one dish per pole.
Last edited by Brad Biddle on Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

PMDavid
Posts: 372
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair moving into 2020 almost double pairs from 2019. Still have most of the month of March to go for new arrivals and April.

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby PMDavid » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:33 pm

Thanks jh and brad,man that dude has got work on his hands! That’s ALOT of birds,amazing! I haven’t gone and picked up the dishes yet so I really don’t yet have a grasp of exactly what I’m gonna do in the center for pole fitment. I’ve got a fickled idea or two but may be better served with some other ideas,so bring on any suggestions and bright ideas. I wonder if I need to figure how to split this into two halves or get it over the pole in one piece after I concrete in or what? I guess if you had to put it on over the top you have to do it but once,right. I’m sure between all you guys and me we’ll figure it out....WE always do right! Brad ,how is yours gonna go on the pole? Split or one peice? Going to get em Saturday so I’ll scope it out then. Thanks guys. David

Brad Biddle
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Brad Biddle » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:55 pm

At one time Jerral had a full time employee just to work on Martin related things. He may still work for him. I don't know. Dupree was his last name. I never knew his first name, everybody just called him Dupree.

The racks I built are one piece. I'll put them on the pole before standing everything up. That's how I've done the other 3 racks that I've built.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

PMDavid
Posts: 372
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair moving into 2020 almost double pairs from 2019. Still have most of the month of March to go for new arrivals and April.

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby PMDavid » Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:17 pm

Brad ,I wasn’t sure about how to go about that but I like your approach better than two halves. Kinda like one and your done stand er up! Told ya “we’d” figure it out 😊. Thanks man. This is something I’m gonna work on for the next season,I got enough goin on now and fishing and riding season is all kickin off . Thanks again David

TerryW
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:02 pm
Location: Nashville, Arkansas

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby TerryW » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:07 pm

Wow! Great work! That will last forever!

Brad Biddle
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Brad Biddle » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:47 pm

Thank you sir! I hope that I proves to be completely maintenance free for a long long time
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Ladybug
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Indiana/ Jamestown
Martin Colony History: 2005-2019. Lots lookers, 2 successful nesting's.
2010- 1 pair nested,eggs destroyed(Wren).
2012- 1 pair nested, 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2019- 1 pair nested, 4 eggs, 4 fledged.

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Ladybug » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:33 pm

Very Nice Set Up. Have A Great Year.
Joanne

Brad Biddle
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Brad Biddle » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:49 pm

Thanks, I hope you do too.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Rodger Drye
Posts: 653
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Re: My new gourd racks

Postby Rodger Drye » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:12 pm

Brad, Brad, Brad,

You are the Man.!! Good looking Aluminum project. Looks very similar to mine. Sure wish I could post some pics of my new rack. For some reason it won’t let my photos go through. I must be doing something wrong or leaving a step out or something.? I buy my Aluminum at Stock Car Steel and Aluminum in an industrial park close to Mooresville Dragstrip.
My friends at Nitro Mfg. Helped me design and weld it. Thus, I adopted their name calling my rack the “Nitro - D”. Travis did most of the welding on it and man can that dude weld Aluminum.

One thing I screwed up on was the hub. I bolted plastic strips on the inside of the hub for it to run up and down on. NOT GOOD..!! It got stuck 1/3rd of the way down and had to take the whole thing down and cut out those strips. Now I have decided for next year I will have to cut out that Hub and replace it with a Hub I bought from Andrew Troyer. The new Hub will have those glide buttons in it. Actually I think the Hub will be o.k. As it is, no more than I run it up and down in a season.

Anyway that’s why I told you to take your time when building your rack. If you can place it on a make shift pole and hang the Gourd’s on it as you would hang them on the finished Gourd Rack. That way you can see if your Gourd’s are positioned the way you want them. Not only for the Bird’s to make an easy entrance, but also so you can make an easy Nest Check.
If you’re going to place your Gourd’s on it the same way you would place them on a Gemini Rack you’ll probably be o.k.

Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.


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