For many years, folks asked me: “Don’t you have a company logo?” And we really didn’t, as I just never took the time to come up with one…we just had “Earth Tools” written out in a blocky font, and that passed for a logo.
Finally, though, I decided to put some effort into it, and I hired my sister-in-law Trina Peiffer (my wife’s twin sister) to make a line drawing of the Earth Tools sign we have here at the shop. This sign is made out of a 4-foot length of Eastern Red Cedar log; the letters are carved with a chain saw.
I made this sign about 15 years ago (below is a photo). I figured this was a logo with some “meaning”…not just some arbitrary design. Hope you like it!
--Joel, Earth Tools owner
HAVING TROUBLE GETTING THROUGH ON OUR MAIN NUMBER ABOVE?
TRY 502-484-5550 or 0704
The "supply chain issues / delays" caused by Covid are pretty much worked out now, BUT -- we STILL get VERY busy in the late Winter & Spring, and assembling/shipping wait times increase, just because of the "log-jam" of Tractor / Implement orders coming in all at once at "the last minute". So -- DON'T wait until the "last minute" to order! If you want equipment for this upcoming growing season, ORDER EARLY! Keep in mind that we ship orders on a "first-paid, first-shipped" basis...we do NOT offer "expidited" assembling/shipping of tractor & implement orders for an extra charge. We appreciate your business and your patience, and we work as hard as we can to get orders out as fast as possible, WITHOUT cutting corners on the proper equipment setup, prep & checkout that we are famous for.
YOUR SOURCE FOR
bcs tillers, bcs sickle bars, bcs lawn mowers, bcs snowblowers, bcs brush mowers, bcs sweepers, bcs chipper / shredder bcs attachments & bcs accessories
rotary plows, mini hay balers, hay rakes, spaders, cultivators, flail mowers, seeder, potato digger plow, utility trailers & more!
We are now offering a “regional” delivery service for tractor & implement orders within a 400-road-mile radius of our location in Owenton KY. Earth Tools’ owner’s Father-in-law (Charles) will be doing the deliveries. Charges for this service will be a bit more than for shipping by truck freight (call for a quote to your specific location), but delivery will be with a pickup truck (and trailer, if needed) that can get to most any location – unlike a semi-truck. Also, scheduling of the delivery will be more flexible, to better meet your needs. More “perks” of this service are that the equipment will be FULLY assembled, and Charlie will show you basic operation of the tractor. Minimum merchandise order for this service: $6500. Call for a delivery quote!
Beginning in late 2017, the BCS factory started a new “paint scheme” for their tractors and implements: The tractors are just painted BLACK, and the BCS-branded implements are painted SILVER. (and in 2023, the tractor bodies started coming through SILVER as well) So, on the tractors, the only "blue" parts are now the plastic “beauty” shrouds for the handlebars.
Because the BCS factory in Italy produces 3 brands of walk-behind tractors on the same assembly line: BCS, Ferrari, and Pasquali (BCS purchased these other 2 companies in the 1990s…and no, this is NOT the automotive “Ferrari!”) . Historically, they had different paint-lines for each tractor and implement line (Blue for BCS, Green for Ferrari, and Yellow for Pasquali)…but sometime in 2017, they decided to optimize efficiency by painting all the tractors and implements “neutral” colors and just letting the plastic shrouds and decals delineate what brand tractor it would be. Hence, "non-blue" BCS tractors started appearing in the USA in early 2018. (We have told BCS that we think this is a bad idea...the "blue" was a color most people associated with BCS, and now, if the plastic "beauty shrouds are discarded or lost, there is no color for "brand recognition", and that would hurt them more in the long run than the few bucks a tractor they're saving by not having separate paint lines in their factory. We'll see if they ever bring the "Blue" back...)
Our walk-behind tractors can be equipped with various options regarding the wheels. The most popular are WHEEL WEIGHTS, OVERSIZE WHEELS, and FOAM-FILLING of the wheels. Here is a brief overview of pros & cons for these options:
WHEEL WEIGHTS: Any implement that requires lots of wheel traction to "do the work" (such as dozer blades, pull-type plows, cultivators, subsoilers, crimper-roller, etc.) will always work better if the tractor simply weighs more...because a heavier tractor can generate more traction. Adding this weight at the wheels is best, because adding weight at the wheels does not change the BALANCE of the machine...the weights are attached at the "fulcrum" of the tractor, which is the axle. Our "Barbell Weight Hangers" are the most popular option for this by far, because they utilize standard 1-inch center-hole barbell-weight plates for the actual weight...and you can find these just about anywhere, and used weights are just as heavy as new ones! (See this item on our Accessories page, Wheels section.)
PROS: The Barbell hanger option is inexpensive, and barbell weights go on & off the hangers easily & quickly. When the implement you are using demands extra tractor traction, put the weights on; when you want a lighter-weight, more maneuverable tractor (for example, for mowing), take the weights off. The posts can stay on the tractor even when no weights are in place.
CONS: If the "long" hangers are chosen, they do stick out a couple inches past the edges of the wheels.
OVERSIZE WHEELS: On most tractor models, you can move up to the next size larger wheel by just paying the cost difference between the two sizes (wheel prices shown on our Tractor Accessories page , Wheels section.
PROS: Increased clearance under tractor, less chance of "bottoming out" on rough/uneven terrain. Also increases ground speed slightly (for example: moving from 5x10x20" wheels to 5x12x22" wheels increases ground speed by about 10%).
CONS: Changes angle of tractor/implement, which can be a disadvantage with some implements...sickle bars & snowblowers particularly. A PTO extension can be used to help "flatten out" the implement angle in some cases. Also, the increase in ground speed can cause severe engine loading when using implements that can "max out" engine power in some conditions (flail mowers, snowblowers)...if the machine is moving 10% faster as a result of larger wheels, the engine is being forced to work 10% harder.
This option means that the air in the tires has been replaced by a permanent solid rubber (pumped into the wheels as foam, but it solidifies into a pretty solid rubber).
PROS: Never a chance of a flat tire--ever. Zero tire maintenance. Also, you gain some traction through the extra weight of the solid rubber (extra weight per tire-size shown on our Accessories page, Wheels section)
CONS: You cannot remove this extra weight--ever. Tractor weight will be increased 25% - 40% permanently. If you are aiming for minimum-compaction in soil beds, this could be problematic. Also, the extra weight increases the stopping distance...the extra inertia makes it more difficult to stop the tractor (most noticeable when mowing, and especially going downhill). It could be added that a foam-filled wheel is also impossible to remove from the rim without cutting the tire in half, but since the tires will not wear out on a low-speed machine like this in 30+ years anyway, this is not really a concern. Lastly, The company we use to foam-fill the tires does not always do a “pristine” job in terms of appearance…that is, the tires / rims sometimes get spattered or dripped on with the foam-fill material (dark brown stuff). If the looks of this residue bother you, it does peel off with a bit of effort…
A Differential is a gearing device in the center of an axle that essentially splits the rotational power between the two wheels that are on either end of that axle. Therefore, a differential allows the two wheels on the same axle to rotate at different speeds, or even one wheel to rotate while the other is motionless. All cars, trucks, large tractors, etc. have Differentials on their drive axles. (If they did NOT, every time you went around a corner in your car, one of the wheels would leave a black mark on the pavement…since during a turn, the OUTER wheels rotate faster than the INNER wheels, because the outer wheels are covering more ground.) Having a Differential on a Walk-behind tractor, therefore, allows the operator to maneuver the machine with little effort, since during a turn (for example, at the end of a garden row), the two wheels can rotate at different speeds, and therefore you do not have to “drag” a wheel during a turn. If a Differential-equipped Walk-behind tractor is also equipped with Steering Brakes (such as several of the larger machines are) , this adds the “next step” in ease of maneuvering, since the operator can simply apply one of the brakes, which slows down one of the wheels and therefore speeds up the other, and the tractor more or less turns itself.
Now, with a Differential, there are times when ONE of the wheels on the axle will lose traction, and it will just sit there and spin, while the other wheel does nothing. (Ever seen a 2-wheel drive vehicle stuck in the snow or mud? Typically only ONE wheel will be spinning) This is because the Differential does not know the difference between when the vehicle is going around a corner, or if it is trying to get out of a mudhole…if one wheel will rotate easier than the other, the Differential will simply put all the power to that wheel. This is why all of our walk-behind tractors with Differential are also equipped with a “Differential Lock”, which over-rides the Differential and locks the 2 wheels together. Once the Differential is “Locked”, you have equal traction with both wheels…but the tractor also gets much harder to maneuver, since the wheels can no longer rotate independently of each other! The Differential Lock/Unlock control is located right on the tractor handlebars, and can be activated anytime, even with the tractor in motion.
The smaller Walk-behind tractors typically do NOT have a Differential on the axle. (If there is no Differential, it is considered a “Solid Axle” because the axle is a solid piece that connects the two wheels all the time.) With this system, one of the wheels has to “break traction” during a turn, and essentially be “dragged” around. The smaller tractors are constructed this way for two reasons: 1. The differential is a very expensive-to-produce device, and not installing it keeps the cost down on the smaller tractor models; and 2. The smaller tractors are lighter in weight, and can be maneuvered with relative ease even without a differential. (the smaller machines come standard with a narrower wheel track as well, to aid in maneuvering…it is much easier to “break traction” on the wheels during a turn when the wheels are closer together)
PowerSafe™ is BCS’s brand name for a new “hydro-mechanical” clutch system introduced by BCS in Europe in 2011, and in North America in 2012. It appears in North America on the BCS models 660, 739, 749, 750, and 779. It is a clutch that uses hydraulic pressure to press the clutch plates together (rather than spring-tension, like in any “standard” clutch) to transfer power. Therefore, tractors with the PowerSafe clutch have a built-in hydraulic micro-pump, which circulates oil through an oil filter and to the clutch. This type of clutch is also in an oil bath, so it is cooled by the circulating oil (rather than just by air) and is therefore supposedly harder to overheat.
This type of system has never been used before in a walk-behind tractor, and frankly, we at Earth Tools do not know what the durability will be over time. As I can see it now (Joel, Earth Tools owner, writing 3/15/2022), here are lists of the advantages/disadvantages:
One further note: the “safety” system on the tractors with standard clutches is what you have been used to for the last 30 years, if you operated any power equipment at all: When you let go of the “safety” handle on the handlebars, the engine quits. This passes all North American safety standards for walk-behind power equipment. AND: If the operator needs to walk away from the machine while it is running, there is a provision to do so: Simply squeeze the clutch handle, and engage a small latch, which keeps the clutch handle in the “squeezed” position…this automatically keeps the “safety” lever down and allows the engine to run….but with the clutch handle squeezed, no power can go to the wheels or implement. If the clutch is released, the safety lever pops up instantly, and kills the engine. (I mention this because BCS America’s website implies that the PowerSafe-equipped tractors are the only models where you can walk away from the handlebars and the engine will not quit. This is a complete fallacy!! BCS is just trying hard to market the technology that they recently invested so many millions of Dollars/Euros in.)
The bottom line is this: As stated above, we don’t know how the PowerSafe clutches will hold up in the long run. They may be great, they may be a bomb…but without many years of service history to look at, we just don’t know. What we DO know is that the standard clutches have been around for many years, and when used properly, they can easily last up to 2000 hours of service….and that they can be replaced pretty easily by anyone who has basic mechanical skill.
So, take your pick…we stock all models (and we stock plenty of PowerSafe oil filters, too!)
These two models are “sister machines”—virtually identical except for ONE difference: The direction that the TRANSPORT speed functions in. The “working” speeds on all BCS tractors work in both directions, through a geared “shuttle shift” lever…but the because of the space-efficient way these transmissions are constructed, the “transport” speed (4th gear, in the case of the 800 series tractors) only goes in ONE direction, based on which direction the worm drive gear for the axle is cut. The result: The 852 has the 4th gear “transport” speed working in FORWARD ONLY when the tractor is in the FRONT-PTO (mowing) MODE, while the 853 has the 4th gear “transport” gear working in FORWARD ONLY when the tractor is in the REAR-PTO (Tilling) MODE (this is the direction that the tractor would pull a utility trailer, compost spreader, or anything hooked to the "tow hitch" of the tractor, which makes the 853 typically a better seller).
Because of the implement selection some customers choose, the transport speed operating in one OR the other direction (Front-PTO OR Rear-PTO direction) is sometimes more desirable…so we stock both the 852s and 853s, to better serve our customers.
For example: if an individual is going to be running primarily mowing, haymaking, or snow removal equipment (all Front-PTO), and will maybe run a tiller some, then the tractor that has the transport speed working in Front-PTO mode is desirable: this is the 852. However, if the tractor is going to be used for a mixture of applications (mowing, soil-working, etc.) and especially if a rear-mounted utility cart is one of the implements in your future: then the 853 makes more sense.
PLEASE NOTE: The working speeds (1st, 2nd and 3rd gears) on the 852 & 853 are IDENTICAL, so actual mowing, tilling, etc. speeds on both tractors are the same. The issue here is which direction you want the fast “point-A-to-point-B” 4th “transport” gear operational.
Implement applicability and all other features are the same on the 852 and 853.
Overview of BCS Tractors
The BCS company was founded near Milan, Italy in 1942 by Luigi Castoldi and two associates, Camillo Bonnetti and Severino Speroni (Castoldi is the “C” in BCS; the other two the “B” and “S”) and their first product was a motorized walk-behind sickle-bar mower.
The idea was to revolutionize small-scale hay mowing for the small mountainside farmer in Europe; the only other way to cut hay while on foot was with a scythe (great exercise, but a bit tiring on several acres) or hoofstock-powered mowing machines (which ate about as much as they mowed on small plots). The two associates thought it was too risky and bailed out of the company in the second year (so, even though the company retained the original name, they got rid of the “BS”!)…but Mr. Castoldi kept it going, and after WWII ended, government money was available to small farmers in Italy to help modernize/mechanize the small farms and get their economy moving and competitive. Sales took off, and by the 1960’s BCS had produced tens of thousands of machines. Up until the late ‘60s, BCS only produced variations of their original hay-mowing machine, with a few accessories (such as a transport cart which could be attached to the front of it, and a trailing “sulky” seat to ride)…
In 1967, a new chapter opened in the world of BCS when they began a technology-sharing venture with the GRILLO company of Cesena, Italy, who had been building walk-behind tillage equipment since 1953. The outcome was both companies offering multi-purpose all-gear-driven walk-behind tractors and a full range of soilworking, mowing, snow removal, transport and other assorted implements…every practical application was explored for these versatile two-wheel machines. The two companies collaborated until the early 1980s, and then they “broke up”…they currently operate as competitors, though each owes the other for where they are today. In the 1990s, BCS purchased two of their competitors in Italy, the Ferrari tractor company (not the same as the racecar company…Ferrari is a common name in Italy!) and the Pasquali tractor company, making BCS the largest producer of walk-behind tractors in the world.
Personal use: “Lifetime” on internal transmission components (all components that run in the oil bath of the transmission: gears, shafts, bearings & seals), 3 years on all other tractor components (except for PowerSafe hydraulic clutch, which carries a 5-year warranty) and BCS branded implements; parts and labor.
Commercial, Professional / Income-Producing use: 5 years on internal transmission components (all components that run in the oil bath of the transmission: gears, shafts, bearings & seals) and 1 year on all other tractor components and BCS branded implements; parts and labor.
Engines are covered independently by the engine manufacturers warranty (Honda, Subaru/Robin, Kohler/Lombardini, or Yanmar); Typically 3 years when used for personal use; 1 year for commercial or rental use. Warranties are to the original purchaser and are not transferrable.
EARTH TOOLS, Inc.
1525 Kays Branch Road
Owenton, KY 40359
(502) 484-3988 tel.
(502) 237-1026 fax.
Annual Winter vacation: closed from Christmas Eve until the first Business Day of New Year (in 2024, re-opening Jan 2nd).
Also closed Martin Luther King day, Memorial Day, USA Independence Day (July 4th), Labor Day and the Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving in Nov. (USA).
If you’d like to visit our shop, we have plenty of land to demonstrate our walk-behind tractors with any implement. But if you’re coming to visit, CALL AHEAD at least one day in advance! Retail business hours are by appointment (yes, weekends, too), so the more notice you give us the better we can set our schedule to fit your schedule. We are occasionally out of the shop doing deliveries, demonstrations or displaying equipment at trade shows.