Wood Tractor Cab

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Project by Wolfdrool posted 01-28-2013 05:51 PM 25723 views 4 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this cab for protection from the cold and snow when snowblowing. I’ve had the chance to use the cab three times now, and it works great. I stay warm and dry while blowing and so does the tractor dashboard. I do have to wear hearing protection as the cab magnifies the engine noise to a level similar to lawn mowing.

This tractor cab is made from 1/4 baltic birch plywood skins on select fir frames. Paint is Valspar tractor enamel on Glidden Gripper primer. This paint and primer are not sold as a system, so time will tell how this holds up. The Gripper primer is great for wood, and the Valspar colors are a great color match for the tractor. Both primer and paint are easy to apply, level nicely, and have excellent coverage. I used a medium nap roller for the tractor enamel to get good coverage, as I did not want to spray the enamel inside during the winter. It self levels pretty good after rolling and even better if lightly back brushed.

The cab is mounted on two wooden “box” brackets at the front and rear. The front box is rigid, but the back box has some flex (up to about 1/4 inch up or down) for easier mounting. The front box is narrow to allow the hood to be raised. The back box is wide for stability. The box brackets are mounted and supported on spacers to factory holes on the dashboard area and the rear deck area, so no modification or drilling of the tractor was needed.

I forgot to intentionally plan for gas cap access, but luckiily the design allows full access to the gas cap. That could have been a problem for sure!

The cab is very open all the way around the bottom for ventilation but no snow enters from below. The two box pods on the front of the cab below the windshield come off by loosening a pair of knobs each. After the pods are removed, the hood can be raised for service without removing the whole cab. I plan to mount a CO/CO2 detector inside by the front mounting box just in case.

I used 8x (8 times stronger than glass) and 50x (50 times stronger than glass) acrylic, and the 50X acrylic is so much better. The 8X tends to chip and crack when being machined. The 50x acrylic cuts smoothly using a Bosch 30 tpi laminate jigsaw blade and also drills great, too. The acrylic should have great UV resistance over time. The acrylic windows are screwed to wood window frames through slightly oversized, pre-drilled holes in the acrylic to accomodate expansion and contraction of the acrylic. The drill clutch setting is set very low to avoid cracking the acrylic when driving screws. Snow does not stick to the windows while blowing unless it is snowing very hard (I had to clear the windows during a heavy snowfall at 1 inch an hour, but not otherwise). The cab with 50X acrylic windows weighs between 70 and 80 pounds.

22 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5035 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 06:08 PM

View Brian's profile


185 posts in 3489 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 07:15 PM

Because of my love of John Deere and woodworking, this makes me extremely happy.

-- “Always take a banana to a party, bananas are good!” - Tenth Doctor

View Hawaiilad's profile


3386 posts in 4478 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 07:17 PM

Now that is using you brain…great idea

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 4559 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 07:28 PM

You are out there Wolf.
You better get a patient on that quick.
I’ve done some mods to my John Deere tractor but nothing like this…........................

-- mike...............

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8639 posts in 4810 days

#5 posted 01-28-2013 07:42 PM

Nice! I bet you couldn’t wait to post this fantastic build! It looks like your efforts were a total success! The cab Looks great! I had a Craftsman many year ago with a blower on it and always wanted to do something like this but never did. I’ll never have to either unless it starts snowing here in FL. in winter, hope not that’s why we moved here!
Nice work!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


24596 posts in 5133 days

#6 posted 01-28-2013 11:31 PM

That looks cool. Reminds me of the canvas shrouds they used to have on JD tricycle tractors in the 50s & 60s. Where is the exhaust? Are you sure you aren’t getting a dose of CO?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Wolfdrool's profile


60 posts in 4855 days

#7 posted 01-29-2013 12:02 AM

Good question regarding CO. It’s hard to see in the pictures, but no part of the cab along any part of the house perimeter at the bottom mates with any part of the tractor. Depending upon location, the gap is 3 to 7 inches. The only place the gap is tight is on the side of the hood. Notwithstanding the gaps, the snow stays out.

I also installed a KIDDE battery powered CO detector on the front mounting box inside the cab, and no alarm so far. I have multiple mounting locations for the detector, and will move it around. Also, if you look at the tires, the gap between the tires and cab is very large. In combination with this gap, I’ve got ATV tires with very deep (3 inches) tread instead of chained up turf tires with. This is my third winter with these tires, and these ATV tires do better than chained tires for traction and don’t damage things like chains can. Running at 4 mph or so, it’s possible that the deep tire tread might be acting like paddles to introduce and mix fresh air in the cab. If I end up with a CO issue, or CO2, I will remove the rear window or otherwise create substantial venting. The fact that there is no CO issue today does not mean that tomorrow will be the same, so the CO detector is a permanent fixture in the cab.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


24596 posts in 5133 days

#8 posted 01-29-2013 12:18 AM

You should be in good shape. The CO detector location shouldn’t matter much. CO is homogeneous in the atmosphere.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3648 days

#9 posted 01-29-2013 12:32 AM

great job,great idea.glad its working out and keeping you warm and dry.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 3923 days

#10 posted 01-29-2013 01:49 AM

like the cab, love the snow blower even better!

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View thewoodworker01's profile


93 posts in 3603 days

#11 posted 01-29-2013 02:21 AM

Boy that would be nice to have… I’m getting ideas together now…


-- Most people say "Measure Twice, Cut Once." I say, "Cut Twice, Measure Once".

View clieb91's profile


4267 posts in 5392 days

#12 posted 01-29-2013 02:33 AM

Awesome.. I so can let my guys at work see this or we will be building one.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3464 days

#13 posted 01-29-2013 11:59 AM

Take it and show it to your local Deere shop. You’ll make a fortune making these for other customers!
Excellent job

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View smitdog's profile


472 posts in 3563 days

#14 posted 01-29-2013 02:13 PM

Excellent! Even for mine with a plow blade this would keep the wind out of my eyes. I’m on a hill and the drive goes right into the main wind direction so it gets nasty sometimes. What a great, creative idea!

Love the out-of-the-box things that come up on this site!

-- Jarrett - Mount Vernon, Ohio

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3633 days

#15 posted 01-29-2013 03:18 PM

Ingenious! Amazing build, love the paint job and most specially it works.


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