In another thread here on the Forestry Forum, I advised another user to build himself a sled to haul logs out of the woods to the landing.
Here is that story again:
When we were logging back in the 80's we didn't have anything but a tractor with a front bucket. Just a "snow" bucket not a dirt digging front bucket.
If you've seen my forklift attachment in any of my pictures you've seen my front bucket.
And as this machine was bought, just to plow and lift snow back in 1968, we just had a set of heavy arms on the back which we set a large concrete block onto, that attached to our top link, as we did have removable three point hitch arms. We had a mower and a York rake to do yard work with in the summer time.
But back to logging.
When my logger wanted to build his house, a log cabin out of stacked oak beams, he went to a woodlot and cut down 300 trees over two weeks. And cut these trees into 360 logs, leaving the tops basically untouched.
He worked in a factory full time then and only did this work on nights and weekends.
I was in the firewood business then and I work on these tops and cut them up for firewood.
When we started pulling out his logs from his lot, he got a real long cable and one pulley to use to attach to the log and snake them out of the lot to the skid trail.
This was a lot of work pulling the cable by hand out to the log and then rolling the log onto the choker and then pulling it out around other trees and stumps.
We did this the first day, as this was what he wanted to do.
He didn't understand that with a little work, you could drive right up to every log and pick it up.
While he was at work one day, I did this and I would move his logs out of the way, and get to the tops. I created a small off skid trail path to every log/tree/top.
Back then we were selling 4' lengths and we'd cut the tops into four footers and load them into the bucket and drive to the truck at the street. Sometimes we'd stack the four foot tops pieces into the bucket so we could just drive to the truck, with no tailgate on and set the load into the back of the truck. Thus, no hand stacking to load the truck.
With large pieces we may have to hand stack.
So the sawyer showed up one day to pick up the first load of oak logs from his site. He was mad as Hell-o when he saw how dirty these logs were from them being dragged with the cable.
He ran an old Lane #1 circular sawmill with no de-barker.
He suggested we build a sled to haul the oak logs on to prevent them from getting dirty.
He showed us some pictures he had and we made one according to his ideas/pictures/drawings and sketches. He called it a scoot.
It had hook spots on each end. You dragged it into the woods by the back end. Then you unhooked your tractor from it and then lifted the logs from where the fell and carried them a few feet over to the scoot.
After you had several on the scoot you'd attach the pull chain to the front end. And you'd pull the scoot to the landing.
We did this for the entire lot, and the sawyer was very happy.
We used this scoot for many years.
I'm sorry I don't have a drawing of one that we used. Or pictures of one that we used, but I did build something similar for a fellow who wanted to move some large granite stones at a retreat.
And I built two of these for him. A large one and a small one. Both were basically the same design as a logging scoot except that they had more cross timbers. And these cross timbers were very large.
They worked for the project he wanted them for and I don't know if they every were used again or not.
I did photograph the entire project of building them. And I was present when they used them to move the large stones at the retreat.
My advice to you, is to save your money, and just build a scoot for hauling your logs.
I can make up a plan for you, and you can build your own for short money and you can do the same thing, as we did. Which was what they did years and years ago before skidders and grapples.
end quote from that story.
Ok, so let's begin.
Back in 2001 I didn't have this fancy drawing program that I have now. I had a cheap or free floor plan drawing program and I was just able to draw some timbers to show the client what the sled/scoot idea would look like.
This is that picture:
Because this drawing program was so restricted to just doing floor plans I wasn't able to show how the long pieces on the bottom, called runners, are truly shaped.
They are cut at an angle on the bottom so that they don't just have a square end to dig into the ground.
When we build our first scoot the old sawyer told us to just have two runners and two cross beams. One at the front and one at the back. And to just make some maple "shoes" for the bottom of the runners. He suggested maple as that's what they did way back in the 30's and 40's when they made scoots.
We made maple "shoes" which were basically just another timber lag bolted to the bottom of the oak runner. But after a while we wore these maple runners out and right down to the oak, and broke off the bolts and we had to repair it and do it all over again.
So the second time we put the maple shoes on, we added some strips of steel to the bottom for the scoot to slide on.
The old sawyer warned us that these steel shoes would rub against rocks in the wood trails and make a spark. And that this could start a forest fire. So this is an important fact that anyone who makes a scoot and puts on steel shoes had to be aware of. You have to look behind yourself as you haul out your logs and see if you started a fire or not.
We'd walk the trail often, picking up and tossing out stones and rocks so that the scoot wouldn't start a forest fire, especially when it was dry.
Now to the new "rock" sleds that I have pictures of.
I don't actually remember how this customer found me, maybe through a tree service or something, but he wanted some oak timbers for these two sleds he wanted to build. He was going to build them and he needed this done by a certain date and as he was very busy with everything else in his life, I suggested he just let me build them for him. You see he didn't have any experience with large timbers, or woodworking tools.
He agreed and we began the process.
The first step was I had to go to get some logs:
Here is a picture of me driving my truck to Mr. Barker's wood pile way out on the other side of this field. This is where I got the logs for this project.
Here is a shot of the logs in the back of my truck parked next to my off-road log truck, next to my mill:
Sometime around this time, I went to the logging equipment show in Bangor Maine and saw someone there had a set of plans for a scoot. And this set of plans included some drawings of the steel pieces that you bolt to the runners for the chains to hook to. We bought a set of these plans and used the drawings to have the steel fabricating shop around the corner from me, to make up four pull plates and four backing plates for the two scoots.
Here is a shot of a pull plate on the side of one of the runners:
My picture label says these are called "draw irons".
And you can see how the bottom of the tip of the runner is cut up on an angle so that you can pull this along and it will not dig into the ground.
It was hot that summer and it rained a lot so I built a temporary roof over an area in my yard where I could work on these timbers out of the sun and rain:
This client wanted to move these large granite rocks at this retreat on these two sleds. So, he hired an engineer who I later met, to design the cross timbers large enough to hold up the rocks. The cross rails ended up being 8x8 red oak timbers. And lots of them:
Here is a shot of the short sled's runners before we put the cross beams on:
You can see the two draw irons on the inside of the rails and one of the backing plates on the outside of the right hand runner.
I bored holes through the runners and through the cross rails/beams so that I could put in some threaded rods to bolt these together. You can just barely see the holes bored in the runners.
Now in order to do this, I had the steel shop weld the nut onto the end of the threaded rod as once the rod was put through the runner I wouldn't have any way to hold it while tightening up the top nut.
Above is a shot of the runners with the threaded rod through the holes and ready for the cross beams.
More next post.