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A skidder and a forwarder are not the same machines, but they basically do the same thing. A forwarder is used for cut to length harvesting.

My girlfriends father has a 1969 225 super duty Timberjack skidder, its a solid machine and was well taken care of. From what I can see, it doesn't matter what age the machine is, its all about how it was taken care of. A skidder in good condition can be rather expensive, but if you gonna use it, its worthwhile to buy a good one.

I can't say much about chains, but I do know that tracks are expensive as they are very well built. The process in which the metal is treated is complicated. If you were to weld on normal steel, it would not last as long as tracks and chains built by a well known manufactuer. That's my 2 cents, take it as you will. ;)

I work for an Equipment manufacturer now, so I'll throw in some market info for you.

There are two types of skidders - cable and grapple.  Forwarders are a completely different type of animal.

Grapple skidders are over 98% of skidders manufactured today.

There are two types of grapple skidders - single arch and dual arch.  In the US, typically 70% of skidders sold are single arch and 30% are dual arch.  In Canada, the numbers are reversed.

The single arch skidders have one structural piece "Arch" on the rear that moves the grapple head in an arc up and down to pick up a pile of logs. 

A single arch machine is simple to operate, has fewer moving parts and is cheaper up front.  Also, grapple choices are limited to smaller sizes and more machine movement can be needed to position the grapple to the load.
A dual arch machine has two structural pieces - the lower piece is called the "arch" and moves in an arc like the single arch structure to produce an "in and out" motion.  The "Boom" is atttached on a pivot on top of the arch.  The boom moves in an "up and down" fashion.  This combination of the arch moving in and out and the boom moving up and down makes a dual arch skidder a more versatile machine. 

A dual arch skidder is more versatile, can lift a load higher, can carry larger grapples.  It is also more difficult to operate, has more moving parts thuis requiring more maintenance, and costs more up front.

The question has always been asked, "Which is better - single arch or dual arch?"   There is no definitive answer.  Loggers that operate on flat ground tend to have more single arch machines while loggers opeating in swamps and rugged terrain tend to have dual arch machines.  The higher cost of a dual arch has made loggers shy away in the past, but more loggers are realizing the higher production potential by using a large skidder with a dual arch and a larger grapple and see a benefit there.

There are several segments in the market.  The AEM (Association of Equipment Manufacturers) tracks market size in two classes - <161HP and 161HP+.  1907 skidders were manufactured in 2004. 

In the competitive marketplace, however, there are four distinct classes.  This is a list of the major players in each class-

1 - Deere 548-III/TJ 360D
2 - Deere 648G-III/TJ460D, Cat 525B, Prentice 490/CTR950
3 - Deere 748G-III/TJ560D, Cat 535B, Tigercat 620C
4 - Deere 848G-III/TJ660D, Cat 545, Tigercat 630C

This is the market share of each of the skidder classes in 2004-

Class 1 - 6%
Class 2 - 68%
Class 3 - 13%
Class 4 - 11%

There are some specialty types of skidders as well that are sold in small numbers - clambunks, 6-wheel drive, 8 wheel drive, track drive.  Thee numbers of these machines are very low and most are built on a special basis.

Cosmo  THANKS for the information  :P  That helped me to understand the subject of grapple skidders a Lot ;D

Yes Cosmo, you are a wealth of information. :P 

I am wondering why your numbers leave out some of the manufacturers.  Notibly Franklin/Tree Farmer and Ranger. 


One type not mentioned but seen out west is the swing grapple.  It has a small boom and stick similar to a loader and is able to reach to the side to collect turns.  Maybe about 20'.  They are used to reach over and through obstacles to collect logs and skid them in.

On another side note there has been a large shift in western Oregon and Washington to shovel logging.  Shovel logging does allot less resource damage and is usually more productive than a skidder.  In fact I personnally would be very happy to never see a rubber tired skidder again working on any of my sales.  I may suggest that we eliminate them as an option all together in future sale contracts.  Shovels have the ability to build a mat of debris to work on and only make a few trips along these trails to move all the logs.  So far price wise a conventional skidder ground side is unable to compete in both quantity and quality of the job.  Shovels also load trucks and can carry a set of drums to cable yard upto 600' or so and or throw tongs up to 300'.  Far more versatile machine than anything I have seen so far.  One drawback is they tend to be wide and high which makes them less suited to hardwood thinnings.


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