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Author Topic: Skid Steer Logging  (Read 27001 times)

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Offline evergreenforestmgmt

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Skid Steer Logging
« on: November 25, 2007, 10:01:17 pm »
For a while now, I've gotten more interested in low impact logging on smaller lots.  I was wondering if anyone out there has done any logging with skid steers?  I am especially interested in using the machine for harvesting.  Most of the work I am doing involves cutting low grade timber.  Dymax makes a nice looking professional tree shear for cutting and bunching trees up to 14" diameter.  I'm also wondering if I was to purchase a skid steer for this purpose, would it be better to use a rubber tracked machine in the woods or should I buy a wheeled machine and put steel tracks on it?  Any thoughts?  Thanks!

Offline Furby

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2007, 10:06:01 pm »
Welcome to the forum!
How large of a lot is a "smaller" lot to you?

Offline evergreenforestmgmt

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2007, 10:16:34 pm »
Thanks, glad to be here.  I've actually been looking at this site for a year or so, but decided that I should register. 

      Well, for lot size I have a couple of jobs that are 30 acres or less.  We also own a farm with 240 wood acres that needs managing.  There are a lot of smaller spruce and firs and white pines that have grown so close together they are really tall, but most are 6 inches around and smaller.  I want to thin them out.  I have a small JD 440 C cable skidder that I'm trying to sell and would like to have a machine that I could use for the farm as well as the forest.  I have a tractor with a Farmi winch on it, but I'd like to have something to fell all those little trees too.  That's why I thought a tracked skid steer might be more efficient and versitile.  Plus it's hard to bale hay with the skidder.  I hate to sell it, but I just bought the tractor and I can't make both payments.

Offline Brad_S.

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2007, 10:32:48 pm »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum, glad you signed up.
A tracked skid steer has considerably less psi than a wheeled skid steer of equal size with tracks over the wheel. I don't have the exact numbers, but it is significant. The tracked machine has bogey wheels along the entire length of each side of the machine to spread the weight, the track over wheels still places most of the weight on two points on each side.
Have you checked out the sponsor area to the left of your screen and looked at the Timberline shears? I personally don't know a thing about them but they must be good people with a good product if they appear next door. ;D
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." J. Lennon

Offline Dakota

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2007, 10:34:46 pm »
I use a skidsteer to sort logs and move them around the log yard.  It's great for this, and there are many attachments for other jobs, but I don't think it would work well for logging because it would be too rough riding and slow getting from one place to another on your property.  Dakota
Dave Rinker

Offline evergreenforestmgmt

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2007, 10:43:11 pm »
Brad,

     That is a good point about bogie wheels spreading out the weight with a rubber tracked machine.  The part I was worried about is running over slash and the occasional rock with the rubber tracks.  I don't know how well they hold up compared to the steel.  Also, most of the land I'm going on is fairly easy going, but there are some hills and I didn't know if the rubber trackes could become slippery. Does anybody know how they handle going through the snow?  I'm looking at possibly an ASV RC100 or a Takeuchi TL 150.
      Yes, I did look at the link to the left for the Timberline shears.  I'm pretty much sold on the dymax shears because you have more control of the tree.  You can grab the tree, shear it, and move it around.  Shears like the timeberline are more for pruning, not for felling larger trees.

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2007, 10:47:10 pm »
Skid steers are real handy around the farmyard, but not particularly good in the woods. Primary reason is not enough clearance for soft ground, stumps and rocks.

There actually was a Bobcat skid steer made specially with a shear head. It was a 900 series machine so it was a huge skid steer. Bobcat later sold that large machine to another company and they are no longer made, nor do they make a machine larger than the 800 series. I did find a picture of one and they were called a Barko 1080. There was also a six wheeled Bobcat machine made, but it was not too well liked either

 

In addition to the clearance problems, with the shear head they liked to tip over sideways when you cut a tree off.  ::)   
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Online beenthere

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2007, 10:50:48 pm »
I've been in the woods with a skidsteer, and don't see it as a good tool for logging. Others may have a better experience.
Not sure what your woods are like, but if logs longer than 8' are taken out, then skidding while backing out with the log in a grapple, or on a chain/cable choker seems the only good way. Skidding around like skid steers do, seems pretty rough on your forest floor.  (edit, I see you are going the shear route, which might be good for plantation timber).
I'd take a 4wd tractor before I'd take a skid steer. Just my thought.

I've seen them used to take out bucked firewood in the bucket, but the woods was a torn up mess. But it was fast, with a dare-devil operator who could somehow keep the skidsteer upright.. Not sure how he did that, but he had to be quick on the slopes and over stumps and deadfalls.

Like Gary_C says.... ;D

Welcome to the forum.  Are you with the Evergreen Forest Management co. ?
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline evergreenforestmgmt

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2007, 11:03:35 pm »
Hi Beenthere,

     I wouldn't be using the skid steer for skidding anyways.  Just for felling trees.  Like I said, these trees aren't any larger in diameter than 6" or so.  It is all pulp and chipper wood.  I wouldn't be concerned about tipping over sideways, at least hopefully not! :o There is so much of it, I thought it would be much more efficient than hand cutting.  I wouldn't dream of skidding logs with a skid steer.  You can't see much, and my neck couldn't take turning to look backwards all day like that.  I have a farm tractor with a Farmi JL 601 winch for skidding.

      I am Evergreen Forest Management, LLC.  Sounds a lot more important than it is.  I'm just a part time logger who wants to go more full time, but stay low impact and not have millions of dollars in equipment assets.  I love being out in the woods and cutting wood.  Hopefully I can do it more on a full time basis. 

Gary, that's a cool picture.  That's pretty much along the lines of what I'm looking at.   

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2007, 11:24:58 pm »
I was afraid you would like that machine. If you are really interested it's for sale at http://www.richardsmachinery.com. But again I must warn you, I know of a large ranch in the Colorado flatlands that bought three big Cat skidsteers with shears for a timberstand improvement project and eventually sold them because they were always tipped over.

As far as tracks, there are many styles. The flat steel tracks are good for flotation and the narrow steel will give you good traction. The rubber tracks are usually used for less damage and flotation. None of the tracks regardless of rubber or steel are especially good on slippery side slopes.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline upman

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2007, 11:28:42 pm »
i bought a Case 440ct (tracked skid steer) in April. i am an equipment operator, but not a logger. never used the tree shear. i think that would work good. however i've already experienced what someone else already pointed out, low ground clearance. it's a real pain trying to get around EVERY cut stump. i can't see skidding in reverse being a quick operation. when i cut firewood, i use a grapple bucket and cut the logs approximately 6'. that way i just carry a bunch of them cross ways in the grapple. i use the area next to the wood shed as my "landing"(not a logger, but i can pretend :)). cut and chop there.

i have heard bad things about the steel over tire combo. apparently the wheeled drive units need some slipping and with the steel tracks you remove that causing premature wear of the drive train. 

if your really concerned with ride comfort. some brands of skid steers have track rigid mounted others have a suspension of sorts. mine is a rigid. i don't think it's that bad. of coarse i love the smell of diesel exhaust too.

have to wait a little longer to tell you how it handles in the snow :) (can't wait).

another warning--- attachments are addicting ;D grapple bucket, auger 6" and 12" so far.

also i had heard these rubber tracked models caused less ground damage. don't believe it. unless your going straight in and straight out.

Offline Furby

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2007, 11:35:14 pm »
Another thing to consider if you are planning to use this to thin the pine, spruce and fir, is just how you plan to thin.
If you are taking out an entire row, and then going back and picking out from in between trees, that's fine.
But with a fixed shear on the front of a skid steer, you would need to turn the skid steer and drive into each tree in order to shear it.
Thus for tight areas, you are going to have trouble.

Offline upman

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2007, 11:55:10 pm »
as for speed i think it'd be ok for a forty. but it seems like it takes a little to long when i have to travel much more than that. don't know what kind of cycle times loggers have for doing that kind of stuff. just feels like i'd be losing money at to long a distance. oops ::)i just saw you weren't going to skid with it.

i did clean out a small 40'x30' pond of all the brush that had been dumped in there through the years. only had about a foot of water in the bottom after i cleared all the muck out. we didn't get much rain this summer. it's a little over half full now. just cause ya got tracks don't mean it floats :D. seriously i think the machine did a great job at that task. i'm sure if i'd have had a wheeled model it'd still be in there.

if my posts make no sense, it's cause you guys keep replying while i'm hunting and pecking :D

Offline Woodcarver

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2007, 11:57:47 pm »
I read an article several months ago about a logger in northern Wisconsin who was logging with a skid steer.  He had equipped it with tracks (steel I think), a grapple and a winch.  The terrain where he was logging was probably relatively flat.
Just an old dog learning new tricks.......Woodcarver

Offline amberwood

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2007, 05:51:43 am »
if you really must go down that path there is another monster skid steer out there. The Mustang 2109 has taken up where the Bobcat 900 series left off. 1 metre (41") diameter tyres and a gross weight of 4217kg(10520lb). It can lift near enough to 2 tonnes. It could pick up my Mustang 442!!

http://www.mustangmfg.com/mustangmfg/products/products.php?type=1

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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2007, 07:01:24 am »
We use 277 Cat skid steers with a Tree Terminator made in Plato Mo.  I have used both the wheels with steel and rubber tracked skid steers.  We have never come close to tipping a machine over.  But we operate on relatively flat ground and any slopes we operate going up or going down slope.  We have cut mostly cedar, but some of those cedars were beyond the capcity of the machine to pick up both shear and tree.  Trees probably weighed 3000 plus pounds to 4000 pounds.
We have cut hundreds of acres.  The tracked loaders scuff up the top 2" of the ground, but do not make ruts at all.
Stumps are sheared at ground level.  Running over stumps with the tracks is no fun, but we do it all the time.

We normally wind row the trees so we can carry them out later.  We are doing pretty much a clear cut.  Trees could be bunched together so that a choker could be put around a bunch of them and pulled out with your tractor.

We are in our third year with these loaders.

You would be welcome to visit Oklahoma and see our cutting operation.

I just had our shear in Indiana doing some clearing of fields.  Cut a bunch of 8" dbh sycamores that were 20" at the base.

With the Cat and the clamping shear you can carry the tree vertically through small openings to get into position to lay the tree down where you want it.

You do not want to operate it sideways on slopes.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline stonebroke

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2007, 07:41:52 am »
I have used a case 1845 to prebunch in good conditions. They are handy in that they are very manuverable. Drive around the stumps not over them. I was using chains hooked to the bucket. and just backing up. Did it because I had the skid steer and I wanted to try it.

Stonebroke

Offline Cedarman

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2007, 08:44:02 am »
I have heard that skid steers are made for carrying.  That extended periods of pushing or pulling will be vary hard on the drive systems and cause early failure.
Anyone know the true facts (is there such a thing as false facts) on this?
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline Rick Alger

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2007, 09:13:42 am »
If you're doing small softwoodwood for pulp and chips, why not domino cut with the 440?

Offline ely

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Re: Skid Steer Logging
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2007, 09:23:33 am »
i use my bobcat 773 in the woods for carrying logs out. it does not have tracks ...yet. i will go with the agressive steel tracks when i do buy. i have to be careful in the woods or i think it could flip over backwards. they say the tracks will help that to an extent. who knows.  i only work up or down slopes never sideways.  i always have to open thetrails up so i can carry 10 ft logs out.  if the ground is a bit wet the bobcat is useless out there.