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Author Topic: Skidders  (Read 9797 times)

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Offline mainiac

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Skidders
« on: December 11, 2010, 11:28:01 am »
I have some questions. To give a little back ground first. Been working a 25 acre lot with my 21hp Kubota tractor for a selective cut for the last few winters(land owner not in a big hurry). I have been aproached to selective cut close to 100 acre lot and with that possability, am considering a small skidder. So here are my questions:

1)Can I get something decent for $10-15K? or is this where they are work 2 days repair the next 4 machines?

2)What models should I be looking for? Been around tractors for several years, but not skidders, so I am looking for somewhat easy to work on and operate.

3)One man show with a chainsaw. Would a forewarder make more sense? or is this alot more money?

4)Do people rent out there machines? I figure the skidder would only be used during the winter months. Might make more sense to rent 3or4 months out of the year.

I figure I would be able to spend up to $15k before it makes more sense to up grade my tractor for the rest of my business.

I realize it boils down to me for what is best for me, but a little guidence would be nice.

Thanks Mainiac
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Offline Mark K

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2010, 11:37:14 am »
I think you could find a decent older machine for that money. If I were in your shoes I think I would look around for a John Deere 440, TJ 208-230 or a TF C4-C5. There all decent smaller machines. Also depends on dealers in your area to get parts and service. Buying an older machine you have to figure in for some break downs. I feel that the John Deere's are more operator friendly but the Timberjacks and Tree Farmers are easier to work on.   
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Offline northwoods1

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2010, 01:26:45 pm »
I get all kinds of these logging and forestry publications every week month some just devoted to selling used equipment. There is always a good selection of used machines out there and entry level skidders. $15k can get you a fairly decent cable machine. A little more for a decent forwarder. Either will be much better than any farm tractor type arrangement. To answer is a forwarder or cable skidder is better? Well, you can do it all with a cable skidder, but with the forwarder you can deck the wood more effectively and sort it better/easier. A cable skidder is what most guys start out with because you need it to do the hills and it will work for any situation. But then a lot of them just wish they had a forwarder, I know I much prefer it working alone. I can go out and cut some timber and take the skidder right out, load up 3-4 cords on there and head back out to the landing and make real nice pretty piles any trucker would love to haul off of :) that is nice...

Offline tlandrum

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2010, 01:34:39 pm »
that kind of money can buy you a pretty good ol machine,and you will never get done with a tractor in 5 days what you can a skidder in  2 or 3
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Offline Bobus2003

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2010, 01:35:59 pm »
I think you could find a decent older machine for that money. If I were in your shoes I think I would look around for a John Deere 440, TJ 208-230 or a TF C4-C5. There all decent smaller machines. Also depends on dealers in your area to get parts and service. Buying an older machine you have to figure in for some break downs. I feel that the John Deere's are more operator friendly but the Timberjacks and Tree Farmers are easier to work on.   

Couldn't agree more.. I have a '69 JD 440 Its small and easy to operate.. Even the reapairs arn't too complicated. (Some of the hyd Valves are tricky and need a Deere Dealer to fix them) but for the most part if you can turn a wrench they can be fixed.. A 440 can be had for anywhere from $5k-$25K. You just gotta check over the machines really good.. Everyone knows a $20K macghine could be a bigger pile of junk than a $7k machine. My dad bought his '69 440 in '95 for $5500, ready too work, with 2 spare parts skidders and misc parts, in 2004 My brother bought a '67 440 for $3000, ready to work.. deals are to be had just gota watch for them

Offline treefarmer87

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2010, 03:38:12 pm »
I bought my c5 for $6000 and the only fix i have had since i have had it was the starter solenoid. you can get good deals on decent equip.you can find a good fowarder for your price range too. Get a treefarmer or TJ. i was a one man show with ocassional help. when i was cutting in VA, i could have a good loader and skidder and maybe even a truck for $15,000. check machinerytrader.com or your local craigslist. you are going to have breakdowns, its part of logging, whatever you decide to get check it over really good. A forwarder might work for you really good. there is an massey/iron mule 5000 on forestryequipmentsales.com also  http://www.forestryequipmentsales.com/listing/5826/Massey_Iron_Mule_5000_Forwarder.html
dont jump on the first thing you find though. it took me about a year to find a machine i liked.
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Offline Maine372

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2010, 09:08:04 pm »
you will have a hard time finding a forwarder in that price range in maine, they were never very popular here.

if i were you i would take a trip up to nash equipment in colebrook and look around. he has alot of inventory and you can see what you like and dont like. even if you dont buy there you can learn alot.

also a skidder isnt the answer for everyone. a larger tractor would get you more production. one logger where i grew up had a skidder and a tractor and given his choice would use the tractor because it was easier to see off of, get on and off, the power steering was more responsive and he could pile wood higher with the bucket.

skidders are nice, but not the answer every time. and 10-15k is a big investment for somthing you plan to use 3-4 months of the year. and i dont know of any place that rents them. i think one store in bangor used to have a TJ but havent seen in thier yard for several years.

Offline mainiac

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2010, 10:02:55 pm »
Maine372- What size tractor did he run? 4x4 or 2 wheel drive?
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Offline ephnyb

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2010, 10:10:32 pm »
How about a crawler?? When I started, I had a International TD6 Then bought a Caterpillar d2 With winch. You can pick them up fairly cheep.
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Offline treefarmer87

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2010, 10:16:33 pm »
i love those old international dozers, my neighbor sold one of the first ones ever made about a year ago
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Offline ephnyb

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2010, 10:30:08 pm »
I have three International TD6's and six Cat D2's. I think the Internationals are easier to operate and in a lot of ways the better machine. But the Cats are more available and resell for more. I am crazy about any thing with tracks. Never seem to have enough of them.
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Offline treefarmer87

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2010, 10:33:17 pm »
i have a deere 450c crawler with loader and backhoe with the clamp, just got a new water pump put on it this past week. i was going to buy a small one with a winch to skid with till i found my C5
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Offline bill m

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2010, 09:21:08 am »
Dozers are good but slow. Skidders are better but are only good for one thing - logging. The right size tractor can do the work and be used all year around for other jobs. A 4x4 tractor 50 hp or bigger with a winch can do a lot of work.
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Offline Maine372

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2010, 04:43:16 pm »
the tractor was an 80hp 4x4 newholland. with the farmi 501

i made a decent living for about a year with a 40hp deere and farmi 351

i had to get out of it because i couldnt sell the wood i was cutting, not because i couldnt skid enough to make money at it. admitedly i was working in a fairly developed area. small lots and short skids.

Offline Skiddah

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2010, 07:38:59 pm »
I wouldn't waste my time up in Colebrook, NH as advised, you're just going to see prices that will scare you into thinking a skidder isn't a good idea.  Check the internet sites for equipment, you'll see the prices of the place in NH vs. everywhere else and see what I'm talking about. 

You say right now that your skidder may only be used 3-4 months out of the year, but you also didn't shut the door on the possibility that you might use it more than that.  You might really like it and choose to use it more, or other opportunities for more woodlots might arise.  Your price range isn't crippling and you can get a lot of machine for that price.

I'd look for private sales.  Uncle Henry's here in Maine, equipment websites, etc.  Talk to some loggers in your area, they'll know who has what, what they're looking to sell, and how much they want to get.  Listen hard enough and you'll pick up some tips and some inside scoop about how that machine was cared for (or not).

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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2010, 07:57:20 pm »
We had tractors here of all sizes on the farm. We had 400 acres of woods, but we always went to the woods with the skidder. A tractor would be sitting on the yard to load the straight truck or we hired a self loader truck if trucking was a ways to go. We cut firewood, and logs and cedar and sometimes aspen pulp. We never pulped hardwood tops or upper logs, as that was always firewood. Seems that dad was always cutting firewood for all these buildings and houses to keep heated. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline JDeere

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2010, 08:37:55 pm »
I absolutely agree with Skiddah. Nash Equipment skidders are way overpriced and from what I have seen, I wouldn't give them $10,000.00 for the best three skidders they have. I have purchased a few things from Nash over the years, but never anything with a motor in it.
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Offline Maine372

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2010, 08:39:36 pm »
i didnt say it was a good place to buy, i said it was a good place to learn. for somone who doesnt know anything they can see whats availible.

Offline Ken

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2010, 08:45:45 pm »
Mainiac,

There are tons of great working skidders for sale here in NB for that price.  Tractors may be a more versatile machine for projects other than skidding wood but skidders are much more efficient for bringing wood to the landing.  Although I haven't owned a forwarder I can't see how they would be better to work with than a line skidder except during the muddy season(s)
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Offline mainiac

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Re: Skidders
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2010, 07:52:59 am »
I have decided to keep my eyes open for either a larger 45+HP 4x4 tractor or a skidder. Right now, there does not appear to be much iron for sale here in Maine. I am just starting my search though.

I appreciate all the input from everyone.

Mainiac
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