Hocking Valley Corn Sheller

If you’re going to farm, there are a lot of people out there with lists that will tell you what you need: good land, well-bred livestock, a marketing plan, etc. I’ve decided to add one more thing to the list: a personal antique dealer.

We’ve been blessed to know Don and Sam Maulding for years now. They own five acres just two miles away and have helped us raise our Jersey calves. We were very sad to lose Don after a long fight with leukemia just late last year. But Don and Sam have been antique dealers for a long time and we’ve enjoyed buying (and receiving as gifts) numerous antiques over the years. Don even gave me this dovetail saw:


I also bought a .45 Colt from Don and had it worked over by a gunsmith, but that’ll have to be another blog post. Just a few weeks ago, Sam generously gave us an old corn sheller. I’ve been grinding rust, scraping old grease, and repairing it for some time now. It was in decent shape but had been rode hard and put up wet. The shafts were quite worn, some of the woodwork cracked and the big flywheel was bent…

Here’s the sheller half disassembled; I’m working on cleaning the rust here, and repairing the other wooden side that was broken in three places.


One of the leg supports was missing and this was the other one:


This is the other side being glued back together:


Rusty old bolts being cleaned up:


The flywheel was bent badly. It looked as if the whole unit fell over at some point (probably after the feet were rotted off…) and gave the wheel a good whack. I laid the flywheel on the floor and with the help of a huge air chisel (it just happened to be a close fit into the arbor) I managed to stand on the wheel and straighten the hub by eye.

Willie enjoyed helping me a bit:


The top board was cracked in two, so Willie helped me make a new piece:




Most of the restoration went great, but one part is proving a real trouble-maker… This corn sheller is a rather unique one. It had a special, cast iron fan mounted below the sheller mechanism that blew the chaff from the kernels of corn as they fell from the sheller. The fan was driven from the hand crank shaft via an old leather sewing machine type belt. But, alas, this was the rustiest part of the whole thing, and I’m not the most experienced rust doctor in the world… I got one half of the fan broken loose, but the other half, well it just broke:


I’m still hopeful I can repair the fan though. The break isn’t a high stress area and I could even replace the metal part with a wooden one. I did that on a wheelbarrow when the brackets that held the axle together broke.

For now though, the sheller should work just as it should! Here’s the finished project, minus the blower, minus most of the rust, plus a few repairs and a coat of linseed oil:



DSC03773Next time we grow some dried corn, we’ll be sure to take some videos of Willie shelling corn so you can see it in action!


This entry was posted in Human-powered Machines, Woodworking and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Hocking Valley Corn Sheller

  1. Aremar says:

    David, this brings back memories of long ago.
    What a beautiful restoration!
    I’m looking foward to seeing Willie shelling corn.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Brenda Hightower says:

    What a difference, it’s really a good looking piece. I’m sure Willie will make a good corn sheller!

  3. Adam says:

    These kind of projects are the reason I subscribed to your blog. Beautiful work on an incredible piece! I would LOVE to see a video of this thing in action sometime! Great work!

    • David says:

      Thanks Adam! I love getting to work on old pieces like this. It’s great fun thinking about all the people and years a tool this old has seen. Whenever we get the opportunity to put the sheller to work I’ll try to document it.

  4. John Hilliard says:

    You did do so great work on this I have one like this and need the Mounted Bearing
    do you know any where that I can get them. Thanks john

  5. Grampa Denny says:

    Nice job and I like lil Willie too aren’t kids fun? I also have a Hocking Valley sheller but mine is different as it doesn’t have the cast iron chute with the number 14 A on it. Mine is just a flat square top but other than that it looks and seems to operate the same as all the others.

    • Daniel says:

      I love the old hand crank machinery; such ingenuity is amazing to me. Much more amazing than a computer operated robot… Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *