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Author Topic: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)  (Read 23401 times)

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Offline Piston

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My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« on: August 16, 2010, 04:31:37 am »
I needed to build a fence, so I needed to clear some land, so I could use the logs to mill into fence boards and build the fence around the newly cleared land.  So I needed a way to get the logs to the mill, about 400 yards away.  So I needed a log arch....Here's my build....

I've read many threads on homemade log arches and decided I wanted my own.  I built it with all scrap metal and ended up not having to pay for anything, other than the winch itself and the fairlead.  

I figured I would share my log arch build with all of you because looking at pics of other log arches really helped in my design.  
I knew I would be using this with a tractor and not ATV so I made it HEAVY!  I wanted to be able to easily skid a 16' log totally suspended, so I made the main top beam about 8' long, + the tounge.  I don't have much trouble with maneuvering the arch through the woods, just need to pick my line correctly  ;D

Here are some pics of my build, a friend of my father's was kind enough to weld it up for us as a favor....

I started with 2 pieces of 8' 4X6 box steel, they were laying in the dirt (literally had to find them digging off a couple inches) for many many years.  they had a lot of surface rust but nothing major, after running a wirewheel over them quickly they looked in good shape.
I didn't want to cut the beams in sections and have to weld them back together, so what I did was mark off the spots where I wanted the 'bends' to make my full arch, then I used a metal cutting blade on my mitre saw (I have since learned to NEVER do this, so I will NEVER do that again, if I ever need to cut steel again I'll buy a dedicated steel chopsaw)
I set the saw to 22.5 degree angle and cut out a 'wedge' shape.




I then flipped the beam over so the wedge openings (45degrees) were facing down.  I heated the only remaining side up with torches until it was hot enough where the steel would start bending down under it's own weight.  Using a large triangle square I bent the steel until it was at exactly 45 degrees.


I repeated this for all the 'wedges' that I had cut.  This worked extremely well and was a simple way to get a perfect shaped arch using basic geometry.




Here is the general idea...

"Dad, I swear it's gonna work, my forum friends do this all the time..."  :D

We didn't have any other steel laying around other than those 2 beams, so my father (one of those guys that just ALWAYS seems to find a deal) found a trailer for sale on craigslist for cheap money, well long story short it didn't have a solid axle, the asked why he needed that, he explained what we needed, the guy said "oh I have just what you need, and you can HAVE it"  So my dad, being the good guy that he is, picked up this trailer for me, for free...


Perfect!  We cut that bad boy up in no time, I actually didn't want to cut it up, it was in good shape and would have made a great woods trailer, but hey, the price was right...







The day before we started cutting the trailer, I had just had lasik eye surgery, so I stayed away from the 'steel fragments flying everywhere' jobs.  (Note:this build was many different days over a couple month period)


Obviously the axle would be too long so we had to shorten it.  (you can see where I used the left over waste from the "wedges" to tac the arch into the right shape)



Arch welded into shape and spikes removed:




We cut one of the wheel and hub assemblies off the axle:



We welded the this plate onto the bottom of the arch, ....The plate was one of the brackets that held the wheel/hub assembly on the axle (if I remember correctly.)



Truing up the wheel alignment....



Now it's starting to take shape...


The plate we used on the bottom of the arch beam (old axle bracket) worked great for attaching the hub, it couldn't have been a more perfect size.



Blury pic of fitting the main beam into position...





Installing a little extra stability with the brackets:



The main beam is welded on:




From here we do have more pics of installing the tounge and crossbar in the back, but I don't have them at this computer so I'll skip them for now.  Hopefully I'll remember to add them later.  Anyways I'll post some pics of the finished (mostly) product and some of it in use.  



Here is a little creative 'custom' work....

The cup holders are made of a solid piece of steel going across the bottom, and 2 spare muffler clamps welded to the main beam, this was another perfect fit...

This was my only mistake, up to the point of needing a winch and fairlead I hadn't spent a dime on the log arch, so I made the mistake of buying a northern tool Note:Please read the Forestry Forum's postion on this company:AKA JUNK AND CRAP STORE cheapo winch.  I wanted a self braking worm drive winch which is what I got, however it was way too cheap for what I was using it for.  We ended up using a cumalong to get us through the first few days of use.  I still need to buy a heavy duty winch for it, any recommendations??
The fairlead worked well, but the diameter is too skinny for my liking, I will buy a larger diameter heavy duty one that should last a good while.  I never should have skimped on these two important things, I should have bought the heavy duty, expensive winch.  Lesson learned.  
(I'm still keeping my eyes out for a good used heavy duty winch ;D)
More pics...









Putting it to use clearing land for my new dog fence (which was made out of 1x4 lumber I milled from the trees I cleared from the land)


Not a log arch photo but some of the logs we 'skidded'


and as a side note, here is the first appearance of my nephew on the forum, he LOVES tractor rides and playing outside....he'll be a forestry addict soon enough....





Nephew with his grandpa (Bubba)


I think I'm a bad influence..



Okay back to business, here is the longest log I have skidded so far...




f

Your probably wondering why I didn't just cut it into smaller sections since this won't fit on the mill anyways.......Well........because I wanted to prove my new arch alright!  :D






If you've seen any of my other posts...you'll know I always have to throw in a pic of my 'kids'


The newest member of the family..


One of my helpers taking a well deserved rest...



And the final product of many of the skidded logs:


I think that about does it for my log arch build, all in all it has worked great, aside from the cheapo winch.  I am very happy with the size, I read a lot about the advantages of the smaller ones in tight woods but I'm glad I went with the one I did.  I knew I would be using it behind the tractor so I made the width of the outside of the wheels about the same as the tractor, however still a bit skinnier.  
One thing that I thought of after I built it, that I wish I had planned into the design, was to make it wide enough so I could back the arch over my LT15, and lower the log right onto the arch.   I haven't tried this yet (or measured the width of my mill) so maybe it will still work.  I think if it is wide enough the the vertical clearance will be the next obstacle.  If it works then great, if not then oh well, however something to keep in mind for someone who is planning on building an arch and not worried about the size.  If I ever built another one I think that would be the main consideration in sizing it, however I don't think I'll ever need to build another one, this thing will outlast me and is built like a tank.  
I think if the width of the arch is enough to fit around the mill frame (so I could back the log right onto it) but I don't have enough vertical clearance, then I might keep my eyes open for some large military type tires and rims, that would give me enough clearance I would think.

The width of the inside of the arch is about 38" I don't have a tree on my land that is that large but I did this so it will make it easier when picking up multiple logs, like say 5 or 6 firewood logs.  The arch has saved a lot of grass, and keep the logs nice and clean for the mill.  Also helps with my chain life on the saw when I'm cutting firewood.  It really does make it pretty easy to skid a huge log!  
In the end my father helped a TON, both in the log arch as well as clearing, cutting, and building the fence.  He's a good guy to have around! ;D ;D ;D

Hope you enjoyed.....

-Matt
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”

Offline sprucebunny

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2010, 06:49:55 am »
Great job  8) 8)

Thanks for all the pictures !!
Twin Stihl MS180s, MS192, MS210 and an 026  Weeding and Thinning. Gilbert Champion sawmill

Offline Norm

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2010, 07:25:12 am »
Great post, thank you. :)
WM LT30HDD-E25

Offline Burlkraft

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2010, 08:36:49 am »
Nice arch!  8) 8)

Them are some nice lookin' logs too.

Thanks for all the pics
I'm not as good as I use ta be, but if ya wanna give it a go, I'm game.

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Offline tonto

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2010, 09:03:18 am »
Great looking arch, story and logs. Tonto.
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Offline Dakota

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2010, 09:31:31 am »
Good job Piston!  If you have occasion to haul many long logs, you might consider building a little tag axel like this:
 



 



PS.  I hope your wife didn't find out how you were using her dining room chairs.  :D
Dave Rinker

Offline tyb525

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2010, 09:54:22 am »
Wow great job! If you are just itching to build another sometime, I'll give it a good home ;). I am very jealous of all the fine heavy machinery you have there.
LT10G10, Stihl 038 Magnum, many woodworking tools. Seems I do more construction work than sawmill work these days.

Offline Chuck White

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2010, 09:56:36 am »
Great looking arch, Piston.

I really like the detailed pics.

Great Job by both you and your dad.  8)
~Chuck~
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Offline Magicman

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2010, 12:30:12 pm »
That was a very well thought out build.  Congratulations to both you and your Dad for turning out such a high quality arch.  I see many happy skidding days ahead.
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Offline Ron Scott

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2010, 09:08:41 pm »
Well done! Great photo story.
~Ron

Offline mad murdock

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2010, 01:54:50 pm »
Good to see old(north) american ingenuity at work.  Nice craftsmanship on the build and thanks for sharing the pics and story with us!  We can rebuild this country one board at a time here on the FF! 
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Offline shinnlinger

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2010, 07:39:22 pm »
I would think some 8x8's(or whatever you need) on the ground on either side of your mill will let you gain the vertical clearance you need for your drop the log on the mill idea, but a sweet arch!!!!
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Offline Bear

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2010, 09:10:08 pm »
Great build, thanks for the pics

Offline Lud

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2010, 02:23:28 pm »
A great build.  Very nice beverage holders.  You might consider a rack on top the arch for holding a cooler! 8) 8)
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2010, 09:08:59 pm »
Piston,

Great job on the arch.  Lacking welding skills, welder and materials, I had an arch built for me.  New steel, hitch, wheels/hubs from a '95 Grand Am and paying to have it welded set me back about $900.  I bought the same HF winch, what a waste.  I had to crank about 20 turns to raise the log an inch.  I had one of their $50 camo 3000lb 12v winches and it works much better.  Raising the log takes the push of a button (if you have a small 12v battery or wired to the tractor).  Mine works pretty well so far.

Couldn't get pics to insert, made it to gallery.
07 Timberking B-20, Custom-made log arch, 20' trailer w/ log loading arch, F350 SD flatbed dump.  Princeton piggy-back forklift.  Stihl 025C 16" and a Husqvarna 372XP 24/30" bars.
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Offline Piston

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2010, 04:00:01 am »
I like the idea of the cooler rack  :D

I have actually been eyeing those large atv racks, the type that hang over (and drop down a bit) the back of the rack, and you can put a couple 5 gal buckets in there.  I was thinking of adding one to the rear, and using it for my chainsaw and associated tools, not sure if it would get in the way though....

I just ordered a 60" peavey and 42" cant hook from baileys (also a log stand to go with it which has mixed opinions) and I got some rubber type clamps that I will install on the arch, and then just 'clamp' the peavey onto there.  I stole this idea from someones log arch build I read about on the forum. 

Here are your pics Tom Sawyer, and it looks great, love the electric winch...








-Matt
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2010, 04:46:40 am »
That arch is a dandy.  ;D

Thanks for the story and photos. The little guy will be run'n the show before long. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
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Offline Autocar

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2010, 08:21:38 pm »
Pretty darn cool ! ;)
Bill

Offline treefarmer87

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2010, 11:44:53 am »
good pics, you did a really good job! :)
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Offline Piston

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Re: My log arch build with pics and action shots :)
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2011, 05:35:59 am »
Since I bought my grapple for my front end loader, I haven't used this arch too much.  Mostly I just carry the logs with the grapple unless they are too long or too heavy. 
I started using the arch again on some longer logs that I've milled because I can't fit through the woods with the log sideways on the grapple. 

The junk winch I bought didn't hold up for anything.  At this point it can barely lift up it's on hook.  :o
 In the meantime I have been using a cum-along to lift and support the logs off the ground when in the arch.  This works, but is painfully slow and inconvenient, especially when lowering the logs. 

After using it quite a bit, I've learned a couple things I should have done differently. 


Some areas improvement are as follows:

-Obviously, I shoudn't have bought a cheap winch.  I should have bought a good quality heavy duty braking winch.         Ideally, an electric winch would be the easiest choice. 

-I should have welded some chain hooks on the forward portion of the arch, so I could chain the front of the log up against the main frame, while the center of the log is supported by the winch itself. 

-I should have added some steel at an angle (near the front of the top frame) to stop the front of the log from swinging side to side. 

-Looking back, I probably would have made the hitch a clevis type rather than ball type.  I have never once attached it to my truck, but wanted to leave the option open.

-I wouldn't have changed the size of it, for me and what I do, the size works really well.  I was worried about it being too long but it hasn't been too much of a problem, however I'll be using it in some tighter woods in the near future and that may change my mind  ;D  Something that worked out great and I didn't plan for, was that I really only use it for long logs, over 12' or so, since all the shorter ones are easily carried in the grapple. 
I really like how I can fully support a 16' log, even a bit longer than that.

Luckily I can add just about everything I want to change.  I will weld some steel in an upside down V shape to prevent the front of the log from swinging side to side.  I will weld on some chain hooks in the same area. 
I may cut off the trailer tongue and put a clevis type hitch on it, so I can just pin it to the draw bar rather than use a trailer ball.

As far as the winch goes, that is my first priority, as the log arch right now is very inconvenient to use, and I find myself not using it just because I don't have a good winch.   >:(

So that is my first modification to work on.    ;D


I had some safety points saved up from work and turned them in for a basspro gift card.  With that card, I bought an electric winch.  It is a 4500lb Superwinch ATV winch.  I bought a mount for it that will allow me to slide it into a receiver hitch, then bought a short section of square tubing to weld onto the arch, which I will then slide the winch into.  This will be nice because when I'm not using the arch, I can remove the winch itself and store it indoors, not only that, but I can use it independently of the arch as well.   ;)

I plan to hook up the new winch in a couple weeks.  I will post pics of any progress I make.   
Does anyone have any advice for hooking up an electric winch to a tractor?  I plan to use welding leads for the power and some heavy duty connectors for a male/female plug to connect the winch to.  It seems fairly basic looking at the instructions (Yes I read them :D) but I'm a wee bit worried about too much draw on the electrical system.  Although, it will be used for very short periods of time, not winching the logs from 50' away or anything crazy. 

I just wanted to post a few things I would have done differently in case other people use this thread for ideas of their own.   ;D
-Matt
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”