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Moving Heavy Logs!

 
jesse markowitz
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Location: Hudson Valley, NY
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So we have been sawing up lots of logs on the sawmill lately, which means that we are also constantly felling trees, limbing them and cutting them to length, and then hauling them down to basecamp with our pickup.

We cut our logs to 8'6". The trees are a minimum of a foot in diameter, and some logs are nearly 3 feet in diameter. They're all green. Needless to say, having two people do this by hand can be pretty difficult.

Moving the logs by hand with log tongs can be hard, but what is usually the biggest challenge is getting the log up onto the trailer. Does anyone have any tried and true methods to get these logs onto our truck with less difficulty?

I've looked up some things online, and so far I really like the idea of using a parbuckle for moving the logs to the truck, and I am considering building some steps for us to walk the logs up onto the truck.

Any suggestions?
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Jesse,

Well I will assume you have a saw mill, but no proper support equipment like tractor or draft animals...

You have named one (parbuckling) choice, and the other is a "gin pole" or "shear legs" set up....

Good luck...

j
 
R Scott
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Have Tim weld up a heavy duty version of this: http://www.harborfreight.com/12-ton-capacity-pickup-truck-crane-with-cable-winch-60731-10018.html

If you can park next to decent sized trees, you can rig up a rope hoist without hurting the tree. Tree saver straps, pulleys, truck winch. NOT FOR OVERHEAD LIFTING, but you can get log into the air high enough to get the edge onto the truck.

I can think of several redneck farmer ways to do it, but not particularly safe ways...
 
William Bronson
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Thanks for the discourse, with just one question and just a few terms you have given me lots to think about.
From the sound of things you have a flat bed truck.
The parbuckling seems like it might be safer in that there won't be any free swinging ends, but where would one stand that isn't in the path of the load?
The shear legs /gin pole seems great, your shop probably could build a setup.
A mechanical ratcheting winch for the hoisting and a rope for positioning, seems very doable.
Hard to imagine how you are getting by now.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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This is more redneck than one might be comfortable with but...

Cut them just a little bit longer and then just temporarily bolt some wheels on one end of the log. Attach a towing rig or a giant eye bolt to the other end whammo! instant log trailer. Tow it where it needs to go then dismount the hardware. Repeat as needed.
I'm imagining something like a heavy duty dolly that you could mount to one end of the log with a bracket.
 
Jason Sergeant
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Location: Wheaton Labs
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Here's a picture of the situation we're in.
KIMG0286.jpg
[Thumbnail for KIMG0286.jpg]
 
Peter Ellis
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You are just putting them in the pickup bed? From the first post I thought there was a trailer, in which case rails and a parbuckle would seem like the easiest, safest, least complicated approach.

It won't work for putting them in the bed.
 
Peter Ellis
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Am I seeing a frame above the bed there? How sturdy is it? Would it handle a sling supporting a log? Run the sling at the tail end of the bed, buck the end of a log into the sling, lift and push from the other end. Might want to make the sling from steel cable or stout rope with a sleeve of sturdy hose that can spin around the rope and be a roller for the logs. Put few one inch round branches in to act as rollers on the bed of the truck as the log overbalances in the sling, so it can keep rolling instead of sliding. Probably be able to get it pretty far in without hitting the bed, just some counterbalance pressure to keep the nose up.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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If it is into a truck bed end first we use either:

Chainsaw Capstan Winch

or

Maasdam Pow' R-Rope Puller

Both are often rigged with a 2:1 or 4:1 arborist pulley blocks...
 
Dale Hodgins
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If you don't need the tailgate for this length of log, get rid of it.

The strongest point on the rear of the truck is the trailer hitch. A winch mounted there can really pull up a log without damaging racks and other light gear. A big winch down there and a smaller one mounted on the deck would eliminate most physical work.

  A nylon sling can be put around the end of the log furthest from the truck. This will allow you to continue winching until the close end of the log reaches the back window. It's always wise to put an expanded metal glass guard or a piece of plywood to protect the window when wood is being winched onto a truck.  A heavy plywood slide with rails nailed to it, can help to guide the leading nose of the log smoothly from ground to truck bed.

Logs are too heavy for a man to lift.  There should be very little physical exercise involved when doing this properly.

A flat deck trailer with electric brakes and winch would allow you to do this.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=f0T9dz-lvMY
 
Burra Maluca
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Thanks for sharing that video, Dale. I've embedded it below.

 
Mike Sved
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Michael Newby
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I agree with Mike, get yourself a log arch and moving those things around is going to be much easier.
 
Joe Braxton
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Maybe something simpler?




If getting dirt on the log is a concern for the saw, then another sled at the back would be prudent..
 
Dale Hodgins
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Log arches are great for big logs on good terrain.  I'm not so sure they would be good for a tangle of oddly shaped smaller logs.

Mechanics often use hand pumped small cranes for lifting engines.  They would work well for loading over the side.

Anyone who has a front end loader on a tractor,  knows how convenient that is in working in conjunction with a pick up truck.

A backhoe with a thumb,  is the next best thing to a self-loading logging truck.  In some ways it's better.  You can drive to difficult spots with the back hoe.  The logging truck can't dig a foundation. 

No matter what system you use, if the logs arrive at the mill covered in mud, you have failed utterly.
 
Bill Bradbury
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I don't have ant photos, but we use a crank style come-along powered jib crane mounted to the rack of a small(5x10) trailer. Very cheap and easy to use.
 
Peter Ellis
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If memory serves, the lab has a log arch. I recall a thread with discussion about repairs and/or reinforcements it required. I am assuming that this thread is about moving logs longer distances and more efficiently than is practical with the arch.
 
R Scott
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I am also assuming they are selectively harvesting, so it is a tree here and there and never park in the same place twice. The solution has to be quick to set up.

Ditch the tailgate, you will break it soon if you don't. Then get a good ramp built. It needs an angle iron bracket at the edge of the bed so you won't push it forward and inverted angles as skis for the log to prevent rolling. Then mount a winch up by the cab. A manual boat winch will work if you have a person to crank it but a cheap electric can be handy so the operator can be back by the log.
 
Michael Newby
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Peter Ellis wrote:If memory serves, the lab has a log arch. I recall a thread with discussion about repairs and/or reinforcements it required. I am assuming that this thread is about moving logs longer distances and more efficiently than is practical with the arch.


While reading this all I could do was picture the specter of my grandpa shaking his head while saying "A cheap tool will make more work than it finishes!"

I'm still going to make the case for a log arch as the most efficient way to move your logs around:

A 1' diameter 8' long white pine log will only weigh around 175 lbs (not impossible for two guys to wrestle around but no fun) but a 3' diameter log the same length will be tipping the scales at a little more than 1 ton. You're not going to be loading more than one of those logs on a regular pickup truck without doing damage to the running gear so you're already looking at one trip per big log. The smaller logs could be hauled by hand by two people to a central spot where you make a bundle to be hauled off. If I remember correctly Paul's brother is supposed to be handy with a welder. If that's the case then I would work towards being able to build 2 arches so you can be setting one up on the log while the other is being hauled with one of the electric UTV's or some kind of draft animal (hitch up a team of gappers? ). As mentioned before, mud is something to be avoided on logs destined for a mill, so if the log/bundle is too big to balance easily you can use two arches on one log.

Any method of putting wheels under the log(s) will drastically reduce the amount of effort required to drag it anywhere, saving a lot of wear and tear on what ever it is doing the dragging and/or allowing for a smaller unit to drag the same size load.
 
ben harpo
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I have one of those truck cranes exactly like the one R Scott linked too. That thing is handier than pockets on a shirt! Mine is on a utility trailer. I've loaded a number of heavy 3pt implements by myself using it. If I were going to put one on a pick up I'd mount it to the reese hitch and take it off when not in use.

For that matter, someone could make a pulley mast that fits in the reese hitch, a bit simpler and less costly than the crane.
 
jesse markowitz
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Location: Hudson Valley, NY
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Thanks for all the help everyone.

We have a log arch, and multiple vehicles to use it. The problem is that we are driving the logs down to basecamp, which means we are on public roads for a very little bit. We can't arch them on these roads, so we have to put them in a truck at some point.
 
Michael Newby
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Oh, being on public roads changes things a bit. If you like using the log arch you can look into registering it as a pole trailer. If the trailer GVWR is less than 3000lbs you'd only need brake lights/rear reflectors, over 3000lbs you have to have a few more.

If it's not too far of a haul on the roads you could move it as an "implement of husbandry". That would allow you on public roads as long as you had the triangle reflector on rear and didn't obstruct normal traffic flow. You can back traffic up behind you as long as you pull over and let them by when there's a safe spot to do so.
 
Peter Ellis
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Of course there is one other possible approach. The sawmill is portable and solar powered, roght? would it make sense to put the mill where it was more easily accessible to the logs, and then haul the milled boards?
 
Dale Hodgins
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If a portable mill is dragged to the logs, it might make sense to cut the logs into large cants and hand load them onto the truck. The wood could be further processed once it makes it to a better milling spot.

This leaves the sawdust and slabs in the bush. You can gather the slabs for firewood or leave them there.

Tree bark has much more nutrient value than the wood does. Returning the bark seems like the right way to go.
 
Roman Campbell
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Location: Blanchard, LA...zone 8b
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Well I've been harvesting pine tree that are about 10" in diameter and 13' long. I got them into my trailer using the parbuckle method. Now I have my first load at my house on the trailer and I'm sitting trying to figure out how to get the logs off the trailer, ha-ha. Any ideas?
 
Dillon Nichols
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Tie them to something strong, and pull the trailer out from under them, a few at a time? Obviously keeping in mind any rolling they might do after they come off...
 
Thomas Clodfelter
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Location: McDermott Ohio
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Would something like this work?
https://www.loghomestore.com/1378-lewis-winch.php
I've seen videos of the winch attached to the front bumper and a pulley system on the roof of the cab...drag the log into the bed on ramps.
 
brian hanford
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why not just use an A frame made from poles and rope anchor to the bed and use a pulley or winch to lift them then just push in to the bed.
 
Chris Sargent
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many folks up here cut their own wood from FS land for firewood and quite a few cut and mill their own boards as well. I also have a few friends who are in the firewood business. The tool of choice for moving and loading logs around here is a chainsaw winch. Various pulleys and ramps are rigged up depending upon whether the wood is being loaded onto trailer or trucks, space, setup, etc. I've seen a couple of strong boards used as a ramp to guide the log up and a pulley attached to the front of a ladder rack used to load into a pickup bed. The much more common method is a lower trailer and a chainsaw winch attached to the front of the trailer. I've helped a friend load 10-12' long ~2'diameter green cedar logs onto a trailer this way. He was milling logs for his deck. Works really well and 1 person can manage it themselves. With two people it's quite easy.
 
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