While attending tractor shows, do you look at the nice looking tractors only, or do you admire all of the tractors no matter what shape they are in? While walking through shows, I like to watch "non-tractor" people as they approach a display, and just study what they do or how they react. Almost 80% of the people, will stop and look at the nicely painted tractors, and will just walk by the unpainted, rusted tractor, without even making a comment. I understand most of us can't afford to restore their tractors, and a lot of us admire the original looking beauty, as these tractors are only original once, so don't think I'm criticizing these guys or their collection, as I'm not.
What I am trying to point out though, is I've seen so many guys spend time in "painting" a tractor, but so very few give attention to the small little details. If we are going to claim a tractor is restored, shouldn't we do the best we can to give a professional result? Although the tractors I see aren't mine, it still frustrates me when I see a beautiful looking paint finish on a tractor, but then after checking it out a little closer, I find the belts are painted, the serial plate painted over, over spray on each of the tires as they weren't masked off, decals that weren't masked off neatly so now they are covered with paint along the edges, grease or oil that wasn't cleaned from the spindles, engine head, or wheel hubs, but were painted over anyway, ect, ect, ect.
I feel that if we are going to tear the tractor completely apart, or even just down to a rolling chassis, why not spend a little extra time in paying attention to some of the finer details before reassembling the tractor back together? Remove the belts before painting, tape off the tires before painting the rims, clean the grease and oil off of the engine head before putting all of the tin work back on, maybe check with your local sign shop to see how much it will cost to have the decals reproduced, clean off the over spray from serial plate before the paint dries, try to fix the rear axle leak before you paint, so you don't have gear oil running down over your new finish, and maybe put some time into fabricating a new wiring harness if a replacement isn't available.
Again, I'm not trying to step on toes, as I know we all come from different teachings and circumstances, but I think a little extra effort can really go a long way. Wouldn't you rather have the public ooing and aaing over your display, rather than just walking right past without giving you the time of day?
Be proud of what you have, by presenting it the best that it can look!