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Author Topic: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?  (Read 855 times)

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Offline hemlock_builder

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I have a stack of 54 20' hemlock logs ranging from 16" to 19" in diameter which are estimated to weigh from 1400 - 2000 lb. I have been looking for a machine to lift and place these logs perhaps as high as 14' onto my log cabin structure. I've been looking at midi excavators that can lift 4000 lb (such as the Bobcat E42 E45) and wondered if anyone has any experience using such machines. An equipment salesman didn't think they would have the lateral stability. I prefer a mini/midi excavator to a backhoe because the market is so robust for the excavators and such a machine would be easy to resell in say 3 years.

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 07:39:08 pm »
bobcat E45
http://www.bobcat.com/eu/excavators/models/e45/specs-options

bobcat E42
http://www.bobcat.com/excavators/models/e42/specs-options

i have a Bobcat E80, i would be most worried about is crushing the logs.


or get a crane
the two "lifters" i see at most log cabin builders are cranes and long reach forklifts.
I would only use the long reach forklift on FLAT ground.
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Offline red

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 08:19:45 pm »
Have you peeled any logs yet ?
We have a lot of good boys and girls in harms way
lets all support them and their familys.

Offline Riwaka

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2017, 07:01:31 am »
If you look at this log house build they use a telescopic loader with at least rear steer axle. (also a tire skid steer in the build)


Most house builds require a variety of  machiney -  variety of size/ weight excavators (<3000 pounds to 40 000 pounds or larger) to dig, prepare/ level / the site (with laser, gps equipment) etc, fork/ bucket telescopic loader to lift and unload delivery trucks etc. skid steer to shift crushed rocket, landscape soil , scissor lifts , access platforms, manlifts on wheels etc, rollers for drive way prep.



Offline Don P

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2017, 07:30:32 am »
We've been looking at the telescoping boom lifts. I've rented for ~$4k/month, I've seen them on the used market beginning around $20k, they don't seem to lose value beyond that point. Use it and sell it. She hates it when I say "how can you lose". They are completely expensive hydraulics. With the largest Skytrack on this job it set a couple of 60' green 12x12's 18' in the air along with all the logs for 2 log cribs 20x30'. I would guess he had $4k of repairs over 6 months.

Offline 47sawdust

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2017, 12:10:26 pm »
I think a Crane would be the way to go.A sling on each end makes for easy log placement without damage to the log.
Mick
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Offline jdonovan

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 08:14:29 pm »
I have a midi, 14,000 lb machine, and it just doesn't have the lift height/reach  at the radius you'll probably need to do the job.

if you got into a 30-40K size machine then probably... but thats a HUGE step in size/cost/operating costs vs a midi.

After having watched what my builder has done with a 25,000lb lull (rough terrain telescoping forklift), they are the shizle for a utility player on the job site. It can't dig, but when it comes to material handling, it just about can't be beat.

Offline Stuart Caruk

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2017, 02:42:09 am »
I'm amazed what I can pick with my Kubota KX-161. It's about a 12,800# machine and has no problem swinging 2500 pounds pinched between the thumb and the bucket. Problem is that as you go out and up, you run out of clamp strength and geometry and can't pinch a decent log.

If you drop the bucket and thumb, you can sling a decent load, even at full extension. Stick the blade down and lift over the blade and you will run out of hydraulics before you tip over. Just don't try to swing the same load around to the side without pulling the stick in, or you tip.

I've seen some long tube and even lumber extensions clamped to the stick, used to raise purlins and trusses...
Stuart Caruk
Wood-Mizer LX450 Diesel w/ debarker, Woodmizer twin blade edger, Barko 450 log loader, Clark 666 Grapple Skidder w/ 200' of mainline. Bobcats and forklifts.

Offline hemlock_builder

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2017, 08:43:18 pm »
Stuart's post is encouraging. I'm hoping the lifting can be done with as little outward extension as possible to maintain the greatest leverage. Hanging a sling is clever.

jdonovan when you say at the radius I'll need...I'm envisioning keeping the boom as close in as possible and then extending the arm to get full height. Is that what you mean?

Monday I'm going to a local-ish dealer who has offered to pull out a 2000 lb bucket as a test load. I'm looking at the Komatsu PC-50MR which lifts 5100 lb (probably at ground level). I'll look at other machines also. I want to avoid a 30-40k machine!

I wish I could weigh some of these logs!


Offline hemlock_builder

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2017, 08:55:33 pm »
I'm building within a clearing in the woods. I saw a boom lift at an auction today and I'd have to knock down a lot of trees to create enough space for that thing to work. I was also struck by the length of a full sized backhoe (Case 580B)--23'. Of course the midi-excavator is 20' long, but it is much more maneuverable with a vastly shorter turning radius.

I'll need to carry logs about 400' from the stack in my front yard, around my house and up a slight grade and through the woods. My path is not 20' wide so I'm thinking if the log is slung, the midi cab could be rotated slightly such that the log would hang parallel to the tracks and forward motion. If I had a bucket thumb, could the cab be rotated 90 degrees to the track and forward motion with the log held in as close as possible?

Offline jdonovan

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2017, 09:20:13 pm »
If I had a bucket thumb, could the cab be rotated 90 degrees to the track and forward motion with the log held in as close as possible?

yes, but you have REALLY crapy load ratings over the side, in most cases about 1/2 of the over the front lift. Even with just a bucket full of dirt I've had ex's lift their outside track as I was swinging over the side to get to a spoil pile.


Offline Stuart Caruk

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2017, 01:36:42 am »
The trick with an excavator is that you need to watch the leverage exerted by the load. With the stick in close, you can lift your maximum load, but your limited in how high you can go by your boom lift. You can never grab a log right beside the machine with a thumb and bucket, it's always easier to grab it when its about half way that you can reach. If you can curl the bucket and pinch it with your thumb and lift it there, you can pretty safely swing it around the side of your excavator and bring the stick in, raise it with the boom, and walk some impressive distances. I do this all the time when I don't want to tear up the ground with a skidder. The rig is more stable the close the load comes.

To lift a decent height though, you'll need to raise the stick or swing it out. This is where you need to be careful. As the load goes out and up, the leverage is greater, and it becomes easier to tip you over. As long as you are smooth though you should feel the machine start to tip as it reaches the limit. If you freak out and try to drop the load, and stop before it hits the ground, you will tip quicker than you thought possible. The solution is to curl the stick back in smoothly and the excavator should sit back down as the leverage is reduced. Sometimes you can collect your with and try again a bit closer in. Sometimes the answer is to drop the bucket and thumb. Mine weighs nearly 1100#'s combined, so that gives you that much more to lift.

Just watch the dealer. They may do a demo with the load in close and most likely over the blade. Lifting over the blade is easy. The fulcrum is the cutting edge of the blade, and the excavator weight hanging behind it is the counterweight. With the blade down, you can lift your maximum. The problem is that you need to lift your blade to travel, which reduces the load you can carry. the other problem is that when you swing to the side your have a smaller pad area balancing your load. The worst case is at full extension out to the side of your machine. See how much you can lift there, without tipping,and you can lift and carry that load anywhere.
Don't forget though that shock loads, starting to quick or stopping to quick shift the C of G of your load, and that action can tip your machine.
Stuart Caruk
Wood-Mizer LX450 Diesel w/ debarker, Woodmizer twin blade edger, Barko 450 log loader, Clark 666 Grapple Skidder w/ 200' of mainline. Bobcats and forklifts.

Offline Riwaka

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2017, 02:02:56 am »
Usually use a big crane for big logs (for a log house) in a large open area. Appears the term for the blue machine above used is 'reach forklift with a telescopic boom'. Should out lift a 10 000 lb excavator easily. Some house builds use a 'tower crane' like the city high rise projects do working in confined areas. Might use a large forestry track loader with a long boom to carry your logs down to the building site.
Shame the Merlo 'roto' costs too much. Rotates like an excavator and lifts like a telescopic loader.
https://www.machinerytrader.com/listings/construction-equipment/for-sale/17325613/2015-merlo-roto-4521mcss

big cranes on log cabins.
https://youtu.be/ffFxfoRUTac?t=18m47s

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2017, 12:34:15 pm »
you could divide the work by using two separate machines.
first - using a log-arch and a tractor, pickup, or ATV. use the arch on the back 1/2 of the log to lift the back end off the ground. then the tractor, pickup, or ATV to lift the front end and then pull it the 400' to the house site. ( make the log into a temporary trailer )

then a crane or excavator to lift the log into place.

so, you have trees near the house pad? are any of them big enough and close enough to use as a crane?


 

another option is ramp + rope to roll the logs onto the wall


 
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Can midi excavators safely lift 2000 lb logs for log cabin construction?
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2017, 02:49:28 pm »
I have set trusses and 30 ft spruce with my excavator. It weights 26000. To get enough reach and height I chain a price of 4x4 steel tubing to the bucket. It works well. But a small machine may not. A machine that says it will lift 5000 is in close at ground level. At full boom it may drop to 1000 or less