Wood Scavenging #4: Equipment rigged - we're in business!

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Eric M. Saperstein posted 01-06-2013 01:28 AM 3323 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Walnut and Black Locust in the Mix Part 4 of Wood Scavenging series Part 5: The Maple Monstrosity! »

So – hurricane (super storm) Sandy brought down an unreal amount of trees. It’s still a royal mess around here and our area really didn’t get hit that bad considering the damage at the shore.

We’ve ramped up our efforts to scavenge and are making some great contacts with area parks, tree services, townships, and other institutions and venues as well as private homes. We’ll be picking up wood where ever and whenever we can obviously looking for the premium hardwoods and a few evergreens.

Main targets, cherry, walnut, white oak, maple (splated mainly), cedar/spruce for boat materials, apple, pear, osage orange, mulberry, and perhaps a few poplars for carving fun.

Given the volume we rigged up to handle up to about a 24” log depending on the type with our own winching gear. The rest we’ll be partnering up with friends who own tree services, excavating, or landscape businesses who have heavy equipment. – Pending a 30” + 30’ walnut tree for example we’ll be requesting some assistance in loading. We also have a 6ft diameter maple tree with an assortment of intertwined burls we will be working to pickup ASAP.

The rig is now setup on a 7700lb trailer – light duty for the project, but for now it’s what we have on hand. We’re planning to take some of the profits from this venture and buy a heavy duty dump trailer.

Meanwhile we designed a simple yarder and mounted it on the trailer. This setup is powered by a 12,000lb winch which is mounted on a secondary receiver on our truck. The yarder mounts as a drop in and bolt together accessory to the trailer. No permanent welds or even any bolts hold it on the trailer. It slides into the stake mounts. The wench cable is rigged through a pulley mounted on the yarder as a high point and will drag logs up onto the trailer. The high point helps lift the front of the log to reduce drag as it moves.

The winch is mounted high enough to clear the spare tire and jack assembly. I just welded up the winch riser this morning, it “works” but we need some improvement. The idea was to avoid any permanent modifications to the trailer as we are borrowing it. I will probably have to rig up a tripod on the front of the trailer to guide the winch cable and put it back lower directly in the second receiver. The leverage is too great with a heavy log.

We also picked up a skidder for the 4wheeler which seems to be able to handle a pretty good size log (up to 22”) as well. The goal is get the material up to street or trail level so we can pick it up onto the trailer deck. This is a rear load setup for the trailer – not the best as we’d love to have a side load. Well – love would be an articulated loader but again – for now this is the rig!

Now setup w/ a side ramp, its easy to get the 4wheeler up on the trailer crossways. This leaves us plenty of room for 12ft+ logs over the axle. The 4 wheeler balances out some of the weight over the tung. We unload it and use it to move the logs around and to clear a path for the winch cable. The skidder is actually pretty light so we just toss that on board on top of the pile.

Stay tuned if you like to see logs turned into projects! Of course this will take a while … the process generally will take a least a year from log to lumber. Some logs will take a few years to mill then air dry, then kiln dry, and plane down and edge or just leave as slabs. Then it will take us some time to figure out projects, get commissions, etc.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

8 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3358 days

#1 posted 01-06-2013 02:08 AM

oh yea Eric, this is way cool, this is what you should be doing, i hate to see good wood go to waste when these storms hit, this will be a huge resource, i hope it goes well, good to see this happening, cant wait to see this wood after its been milled…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3073 days

#2 posted 01-06-2013 03:27 AM

Good for you! I always hate to see good wood heading for the landfill! I picked up a couple loads of Rosewood from a guy in south FL who “rescued” hundreds of Rosewood trees that were slated to be cut down and head for the landfill. He talked with the owner of the trailer park where these trees were and worked out a deal where it was good for everyone. He is contacting many wood turning clubs in Fl and offering them a deal. That is how I found out about him.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3303 days

#3 posted 01-06-2013 03:55 AM

That’s great – we’re trying to do the same thing here. Even if we can’t use it we’ll take it in or find someone who can. I mean there’s “junk” at this point red oak and poplar are firewood that’s just the bottom line there’s so much on the ground its just not worth cutting.

Spalted / mineral stained maple is apparently all over. We’re starting to arrange to pickup a bunch of that. i have to huge trunks at a friend’s tree service lot just waiting for him to free up when I have the trailer to get it to the mill.

Black / honey locust is another target. Planning to do some outdoor furniture for my deck.

I’d love to stumble on a stash of rosewood, but doubting that’ll happen in NJ. There’s some exotics in local parts we’re looking into that option a well.

We should have some of last year’s salvages coming back from the mill soon. I heard it was going in the kiln a while ago – not 100% sure yet.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View DocSavage45's profile


8641 posts in 2898 days

#4 posted 01-06-2013 04:41 PM

Just got to looking at my email. I like your style! I pick up what i can at our landfill. Ever since I became aware of the waste and destruction of trees for whatever reason. When we have so much we don’t value what we believe is common.

Hope you can keep it up. Looks as if you guys have the resources and land area to do so.

Great job Eric!

Without trees there will be no mankind. And without trees there will be no woodworkers..LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2062 days

#5 posted 01-06-2013 04:49 PM

Helping the communitys and getting some prize lumber in the boot.

Good on you guys. (Or should I say YOUSE GUYS ) :-)

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

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2432 days

#6 posted 01-07-2013 12:33 AM

Awesome deal. I wanted to do the same thing down here in MD but don’t have the contacts. I see so many nice lumber trees listed on Clist for free but they are already cut up for fire wood.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3303 days

#7 posted 01-07-2013 12:45 AM

JustME – call your local tree services and tell them what you’re looking for. Also call your township/town and surrounding ones. Parks, other places – etc just call around or pop in and say hello.

The other day I just pulled into the lot they were dumping trees and brush for our township and said hello. By the time I left I spoke w/ the regional director and got the OK to pull out anything we wanted he said he would sort out the sticks and put them aside. I’m meeting with him probably Thursday or Friday to see what’s there and designate a plan. Then I’m sending trucks from a local lumber mill and having the stuff picked up. They want to get rid of it, and the cost per hour to run grinders is high. The more that can “disappear” the happier they are.

Plus this gives a nice green look to them too – I will get the OK and have the local newspapers print that trees were donated to local mills to be used instead of ground up. Etc … whatever works for good PR.

Also got a card from one of their guys there who is looking for a custom mantle.

Meanwhile – we’re working with the parks and I have to follow up tomorrow to see what they will allow us to do. I want standing dead and specific stuff out of there.

Several lawn/tree services are going to alert us and call me to run by w/ the trailer or bring it to our mill’s lot.

Also – call mills – not just the big ones call your local little guys who have a bandsaw mill on a truck. That can work out in situations where you may have to bring the mill to the tree.

Leverage the equipment that belongs to everyone around you, you’d be surprised. When you present something mutually beneficial it can work for everyone.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3303 days

#8 posted 01-07-2013 12:46 AM

Yes – we all need trees! I hate seeing this stuff go in grinders, even for firewood is a waste when it’s a good furniture grade wood. Plenty to burn of the sub grades!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics