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Post-frame innovation

For a quickly constructed, relatively inexpensive building, it's hard to beat sinking some poles or posts into the ground. The trouble is, even treated lumber tends to rot soon after it touches the soil. Pouring concrete footers can help anchor and protect the posts but requires added expense and time.

Indiana-based Perma-Column Inc. offers an innovative solution — laminated posts designed to quickly attach to ready-made concrete footers. Each unit consists of a 10,000-psi concrete column that is buried below grade. A U-bracket welded to the column's rebar structure holds the wood column along with ½-in. through-bolts. The system is sized to accommodate three- and four-ply 2 × 6 columns and three- and four-ply 2 × 8 columns.

The company says using its product costs less than pouring concrete footers and costs only about 3 to 5% more than using wood alone. Contact Perma-Column Inc., Dept. FIN, 2570 N. Main, Craigville, IN 46731, 800/622-7190, visit or

Professional chain saw

Echo offers a new chain saw that eliminates routine oiling and features easy engine starts. The CS-341 chain saw incorporates an automatic adjustable oiler that ensures proper bar and chain lubrication at any engine speed. It also has a side-access chain tensioner for easy on-site chain adjustment. This new model features a slope advance ignition system that matches ignition timing of the engine to the operating rpm, resulting in easy engine starts.

The CS-341 comes standard with a 14-in. bar and chain and costs $310. To locate an Echo dealer, call 800/432-3246. For more information, call 866/704-1406, visit or www.freeproduct

Denver's first biodiesel station

The next time you drive through Denver, stop at Shoco Oil station and fill up with biodiesel produced from soybean and other oilseed crops in Colorado. Blue Sun Biodiesel, supplier of the biodiesel, is developing regional farmer cooperatives to produce the biodiesel from local crops. Blue Sun President and CEO Jeff Probst states that Colorado farmers may plant oilseed crops such as soybeans in rotation with dryland winter wheat to sell for biodiesel production. The company is currently recruiting growers for commercial cultivation of biodiesel feedstock on up to 60,000 acres for next spring.

Shoco Oil reports it wants to sell the biodiesel because of its technical advantages. Diesel today is “dry” because of EPA-mandated reductions in sulfur. Biodiesel will increase lubrication, in addition to cleaning an engine's fuel system and ensuring top engine performance.

The station is located in Commerce City, CO.

Board straightener

Fix warped and crooked boards with the BowJak from Vaughan & Bushnell. This new tool will close gaps up to 2¼ in. wide. It fits next to a bowed board and, with the leverage from a pull handle, straightens the board before it is hammered into place. It may be used in any position and weighs only 26 oz.

The BowJak is available at hardware stores, home centers and building supply stores. Price: $37. Contact Vaughan & Bushnell Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, Box 390, Hebron, IL 60034-0390, visit or

Cool threads

High vibration has a way of loosening bolts on farm machinery. If you are tired of constantly tightening (or adding iron to your fields), it might be time to check out a new threading technology called Spiralock.

Recently proven on NASA spacecraft, Spiralock fasteners feature a unique 30° wedge ramp that is harder to vibrate loose than nuts or fasteners with conventional 60° threads. When clamp load is applied during assembly, the thread form of the Spiralock locks any standard male fastener in place by drawing the crests of the male thread tightly against the 30° wedge ramp. This creates a virtually “wedge-locked” thread joint.

Prices for fasteners and thread tools vary. Contact Madison Tech Center, Dept. FIN, Box 71629, Madison Heights, MI 48071-0629, 800/521-2688, visit or

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