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 www.artisansofthevalley.com