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Author Topic: Skid loader for firewood  (Read 2453 times)

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Offline 1270d

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Skid loader for firewood
« on: November 11, 2017, 10:32:44 PM »
We've been using one of our forwarders to load the processor and that works great, but also need something that can fork pallets and kiln baskets around easily.   And move dirt etc if needed.   I have been looking into the high flow option in the event I can pick up some mowing or mulching work.

Lift will have to be in the 3000 lb range I think.  The ctl machines seem to have a lot more lift and stability from what I hear.    I've been taking to the local dealers and so far they've got a case 450ct and a Deere 323.   Also I've been watching some auctions and the cat 247 and 259 machines seem nice.   

What is everyone's input?

Offline barbender

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2017, 11:40:18 PM »
The CTL machines are certainly more stable, and the added weight in the UC gives them additional lifting capacity. I've only ran an older Cat 287 (ASV uc) and a new Case 450ct. I put quite a few hours on that Cat, and it was well used when the company got it. In fact, it was the first machine Cat had set up with the ASV uc. ADV set it up and torture tested it. Other than a catastrophic engine failure (oil pump issue, it was common) it actually ended up being a good machine. The Case, I was only around for one season I think. It was a nice machine, as far as durability I don't know because I didn't stick around. I do know that company is running a Cat 279 now.I was just visiting a guy the other day (rented a firewood processor from him actually) he has an excavating company, currently he is running a Bobcat CTL. He had a Cat 257, he said it was laid out nice, a nice quiet machine and he really wanted to like it but it was always broke down.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Pclem

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2017, 08:45:57 AM »
Yes, as you guys said, ctl provide more lift and stability. My T190 increased the tipping load 2500# compared to the wheel machine. It handles much better in the woods for me than the tire machine with tracks over tires. [If you're considering a forestry mulcher]. The one thing a firewood guy needs with a ctl is a SMOOTH wood yard. when the ground freezes, any little bump or rut is hard on those things. [And me] :'( Cat does make some nice tracked machines.
Dyna SC16. powersplit. supersplitter. firewood kilns.bobcat T190. ford 4000 with forwarding trailer. a bunch of saws, and a question on my sanity for walking away from a steady paycheck

Offline Gearbox

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2017, 09:38:51 AM »
If your truck piles are high you may need to knock them down to 8 feet . Its scary in the cab when that pile lets g and the logs come butt first and try to get in the cab .
A bunch of chainsaws a BT6870 processer , TC 5 International track skidder and not near enough time

Offline Ivan49

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2017, 10:30:01 AM »
If your truck piles are high you may need to knock them down to 8 feet . Its scary in the cab when that pile lets g and the logs come butt first and try to get in the cab .
I had one come in the cab with me. There is not a lot of room when you weigh 200 lbs but some how I made room. The machine went to the shop and when I got done making a log proof door my only worry now is can my lard behind fit thru the door in the roof if I cannot open the front one

Offline TKehl

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2017, 10:58:01 AM »
3000Lbs will need to be a big skid steer.

Sounds like an all terrain forklift would suit what you need now, and they can be had real cheap.  (I'm bringing one home tomorrow!)

How much $ do you want to put into equipment for jobs you "might" get.  Plus, it'd be good to keep something at the yard as apposed to shuttling equipment back from a jobsite. 
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline barbender

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2017, 01:15:20 PM »
I was just looking over a Kubota machine, one nice feature is that the door slides up overhead, like a lot of excavators, instead of swinging on a hinge. The first time your loader settles and raises a bit from fully down you will realize the benefit of this😊 I really wouldn't want a track machine if it was primarily used in a wood yard, I'd get a big enough wheel machine for the lift capacity I needed.  It's a lot more money running around on tracks if you don't need them. Don't get me wrong, all else being equal I'd take the track machine every time, but does it make $$ sense?
Too many irons in the fire

Offline 1270d

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 02:31:25 PM »
Does the 190 work well pclem?    I'd be using for virtually the same application you use yours for.   Our wood yard is mostly paved or compacted crushed rock so it's nice and flat and will stay that way.

Not looking to spend a ton but it seems that any machine with a decent lift capacity is 15 k +

I don't think those off-road forks would fit into the kiln.

Log piles are low, and we using a forwarder mostly for loading the processor now.  It's a spare machine so it's not moving back and forth to the woods.

Offline Gearbox

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2017, 02:38:49 PM »
There was a Pettibone with a JD diesel just sold for $ 3500 . Self leveling sit still and use the push to load the kiln plus $ wheel drive .
A bunch of chainsaws a BT6870 processer , TC 5 International track skidder and not near enough time

Offline 1270d

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 04:16:06 PM »
A telehandler might do the trick, but I unloaded the baskets out of it once with a terex tele and it was kind of sketchy.   Granted, I don't run one of them daily but a 20-25 ft extension the forks had a lot of play.   And that was with the baskets empty.   Also looking to use the machine to load the processor on mobile jobs.  A Pettibone would be a bit more difficult to move around d wouldn't it?

Offline Pclem

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2017, 07:06:30 PM »
It works great for me, but my baskets are a little smaller than the ones you buy from kiln direct. Mine hold a touch more than 1/3 cord, and kiln directs are 1/2 cord they say. I do need to build baskets to fill up the kiln more, but they will still hold about the same amount. I'm sure my 190 wouldn't lift the 1/2 cord baskets. Barbender is right, if you only need a machine for the wood yard, get the wheels. I sure do like the ctl when I need it in the woods though! ;) Maybe you already know this, but they market the machines with different lift capacities. For instance, the bobcat s175, s185 and s205 can all lift the same, they just say 1750#,1850# and 2050#. So my old s175 was the same exact frame as the 205, and could lift the same. The engines are just different sizes. It's the same with the s250 and s300. They will both lift 3000#. [Same frame].I'm not familliar with other manufacturers model numbers, but would bet they are the same. You can probably get a forklift cheaper, but it sure is hard to beat the versatility of a skidloader.
Dyna SC16. powersplit. supersplitter. firewood kilns.bobcat T190. ford 4000 with forwarding trailer. a bunch of saws, and a question on my sanity for walking away from a steady paycheck

Offline 711ac

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2017, 09:13:12 PM »
If you get a big one, you don't need the added expense of tracks. These are just under 128c/f. ( 28" length shown)

Offline TKehl

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2017, 10:57:58 AM »
Nice machine.  VERY nice pallets.  Think I need to go build some of them.
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline shamusturbo

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2017, 06:57:04 PM »
Old post but I thought I would chime in. We have had a 287B CAT for the last 7 years. It is AWESOME!!! We have put around 2000 hours on it (not very many in my estimation) It was the best decision we could have made.

CAT is very expensive. I try to source aftermarket parts. (throttle cable, idler bearings, and muffler is all
i can think of right off) I did have them troubleshoot and eventually replace both (2) computers in the machine (~$1500). They are in a wet location on the machine. BUT, at the same time, I would guess the CAT is easily the most fuel efficient. I like the visibility out of the CAT as well. Some guys do not.  Pilot controls are awesome, and it has the best traction of any machine. I have some experience with a Case 450, Takeuchi TL240, Bobcat T300, Kubota SL90 and a Deere CT332. They all have some nice points. 

The bad: The undercarriage is very expensive if you have to replace it completely. About $8k per side plus tracks ($3k a set). You can go aftermarket as well. With that being said, our next machine will have a metal undercariage, not rubber coated steel, like the ASV system is on the late model 287, 277, 267, 257, and 247. Also, they are pretty terrible in packed snow, which becomes ice after you run over it 3 or 4 times. I sometimes think a smaller machine would have been a better choice. That "class" 10-12k machine, is all a 1-ton pickup can handle, around where I live anyways.   

Remember too, you sound like you want to load and carry (versus digging) which is quite a bit easier on the machine (fuel, bearings, rubber, pins etc.) Stick with a vertical lift pattern machine.

We have a homemade welded bucket (the same as a snow bucket) that holds a 1/2 cord, loose and it lifts and dumps into a 1 ton dump easily. We demo'd a 289D. It is very very nice. It was used with 1k hours, 2 speed, backup camera @ $50k. It is a steel undercarriage (idler and boogie wheels) anyways and somewhat more aggressive tracks. I am not crazy about the new "fly by wire" controls. They add a lot of cool features but I would never want to work on them. The older machines hydraulics actually flow through the hand control (which has its own set of issues, especially when its cold)
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Offline barbender

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2017, 07:52:18 PM »
I have many hours in a Cat 287 as well, it was the original 287, the first one (literally) to get outfitted with an ASV carriage. It was a good and capable machine. It had pretty poor visibility, especially to the rear, with the tall back end and the big linkage for the vertical lift loader arms. Personally, an ASV undercarriage is the last thing I would want for using around a wood yard. Actually, let me rephrase that- it's the last thing I would want if I was paying for the maintenance.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline 1270d

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2017, 10:28:38 PM »
Decided to go with the 450ct case.   Going to try it out this week to make sure.


Offline barbender

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2017, 12:01:51 AM »
I think you'll like the Case. The Case has a more durable u/c, and a decent lift capacity. The only thing I didn't like about the 450ct (and the 90xt) is the geometry of the bucket linkage. The buckets on those move more like a big front end loader, vs most skid loaders. For instance, with an 1845, or that Cat 287, you could "flip" your bucket back to get material in the back of the bucket. With the 450ct, the bucket just doesn't move that quick. In comparison to the Cat 287, the Case felt a lot more like a dozer, and they definitely ride a lot rougher, especially when the tracks get wore down.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Randy88

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2017, 05:17:27 PM »
This is an older thread, but I"ll chime in anyhow, first if you don't know about expense's associated with a tracked skid steer, you'd better learn fast before buying one, there are several ways to go to achieve the same thing, the last option being rubber tracked.    Most in my area are getting about 700 hours out of set of tracks, when you do the tracks you usually do it all from running in freezing weather, or that 8k per side thing, times two sides divided by under 1000 hours, not to mention all the grief of the daily operation of them and keeping them clean and unfrozen so the bogies actually turn and work before being flat sided or the drives tear off the lugs on the belt and the track slips, or in cold weather the tracks stretch and the adjusters won't take the slack up and you spin the tracks off is when the fun begins on those machines.       CTL's were a fad in my area and didn't take long for EVERYONE not absolutely needing one to get rid of them, or buy a second rubber tired skid steer to use when the CTL was broke down or in the shop for repairs.         

Go larger skid steer and if needed put over the tire tracks on it in the winter and in mud, otherwise just use rubber tires and don't look back.     Rubber tired machines can also be installed with hard tires on them to eliminate flats, somewhat higher priced but a fraction of the cost of rubber tracked machines in repairs alone.     

If your looking at telehandlers, which are far nicer than a tracked skid steer, you need one designed for using as a push loading telehandler, far different boom design than the regular lift designed boom on 90 percent of the units for sale.    Most telehandlers can't take the constant ramming into things like log piles before you break the boom or the pins that hold the boom on.     

If your not familiar with skid steers, run quite a few before buying one, each has its plus's and downfalls, depending on what your doing, myself you couldn't give me a CTL, or any skid steer with a cat logo on it, run enough of all of them to not want one.    Case depending on what model is fine, myself I like New Hollands, the older one's before they joined with case, bobcats are the slightly above cat on my list of one's not to buy, due to the difficulty of doing repairs on them.    Gehl isn't too bad depending on model and controls in the cab and boom configuration is a huge deal with any skid steer, along with visibility out the rear, or shall I say the inability to see anything out the rear on some models and brands.   

4x4 forklifts have their place as well and are a real nice option, far nicer to get in and out of than any skid steer, get around nice and depending on if you can get a grapple fork assembly on them, would make a nice processor loader and all around handy machine to use and have.   

The whole door thing on any skid steer is an issue if your not familiar with skid steers and depending on if your alone or have anyone around to help you when it comes time your stuck in the machine and can't lower the boom to get out, if in doubt yes it does happen, and with a swing out door, you end up either breaking the glass or popping it off the hinges to get out of the cab if nobody is around to help you.      Best of luck on whatever you decide to buy and use. 


Offline Stuart Caruk

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2017, 02:36:33 AM »
Not sure about other skid steers, but on a newer bobcat there are zip strips that you can pull to allow the front or rear windows to easily be pushed out of their gaskets. Yeas ago I flipped over a 632 Bobcat working on a really steep hill when I ran out of propane, and the skidsteer decided to start rolling down the hill. (emergency brakes never worked since I had it... I figured who needs that on level ground) Foolishly I figured tipping the bucket to dump and dropping it in the dirt would stop me. The bucket caught right at the edge of a shallow creek and pitched the sucker on it's nose. the cockpit was filling up as the skidsteer was slowly sinking into the muck. I wasted no time popping the zip strip and kicking out the rear window, and was delayed a bit reaching over the tank to release it so I could fit out through the opening. More than a couple lessons learned in that experience.
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Offline 1270d

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Re: Skid loader for firewood
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2018, 09:27:26 PM »
We'll, hopefully I don't have those bad experience s with the ctl.  I did end up going with the case 450.  It has been used for sure and has about 3400 hrs. It has the lift capacity I needed in a price range that we were ok with and the dealer is about 200 yards away.


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