Since I built my sawmill a year or so ago, I’ve had one major problem. Getting logs here to mill.
I tried using my log arch but, with a 24” diameter log on it, there is no fun at all in pulling it on the highway with a big log, “just a swingin” behind you, held by a couple of straps, on a trailer with no springs. I’ve tried pulling them on the trailer and then pulling them off, but that way tearing up my trailer. My trailer is a 20 footer, about 18 years old, and I didn’t want to completely trash it. I tried hiring someone to load them on a roll back and that can get expensive.
A couple of months ago, I was contacted about three walnut trees. One was really big, a medium, and a smaller one. The guy said I could have them. All I had to do was cut them down and haul off whatever part I wanted and he would clean up the smaller limbs.
After thinking about it for a while, I decided to build a loader. Only problem, I didn’t have anything to spend of it so it had to be from stuff I already had laying around. I also didn’t want to tie up my trailer all the time with a loader in it so it had to be so I could take it on and off the trailer.
I had an old 3 wheel forklift that hadn’t ran it 10 years so I used the channel from the mast of it and other old rusty steel I had been saving. I had aquired a few pulleys over the years and last year I won a small 4 wheeler winch on ebay for about $60 bucks. It is a 3000 pound winch, only 1.2 horsepower, with 3/16” cable on it. Not what you would think of loading huge logs with. I also had a battery I bought last year at the junk yard for $20 bucks.
The pictures are of the loader after I got it built. They are of two different loads. It is on skids so I can take it out by unbolting one bolt and tying it to a tree or something and pulling it off. A small hand winch will pull in back in the trailer.
So far I have loaded 3 loads of 18 to 20 foot pine logs that a guy had on craigs list that he wanted someone to haul off (they were already cut to lenght, limbs cut off and stacked along side his driveway and they were free), two loads of persimmon and cedar logs and three loads of walnut (still have one or two more loads of walnut to get). One of the walnut logs, from the biggest of the three trees, I was given is 9 foot long, 35 inches diameter at the butt end and at the crotch it measures 4 foot 9 inches across and about 30 inches thick. According to the log scale, I figure it is somewhere around 300 to 400 board feet of lumber in it, maybe a little more. The sap had already started going up last week when I cut it. I don’t know how much it weighs, but it a lot. The little 4 wheeler winch, along with three extra pulleys, loaded it right up, only stopping when I took the pictures. It was so heavy that while I was taking the pictures, it actually bowed the ramp sitting there. If anyone knows anything about what a green walnut log like this weighs, please let me know. I figure it weighs more than most small cars. Not bad for a cheap little winch. I looked and they are only $117.00 new. Oh yeah, I also bullt a ramp on the inside of the loader, attached a couple of short pieces of chain to the sides so that it not only loads the logs, it unloads them also.
I am tired of welding and ready to get back to working with wood instead of steel.
Hope you enjoy!!!!!