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Author Topic: Tractor size  (Read 2823 times)

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Offline wbrent

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Tractor size
« on: November 19, 2018, 10:00:19 AM »
So Im new to this milling thing but enjoying it immensely. when I got my mill I had a pile of cedar logs to try it out with. Biggest one was probably 14" at the butt and a bit over 12'. I was able to man handle them on to the mill. So this weekend I went out to my wood lot. Dropped a moderate size Spruce, and was able to drag it out in a few lengths with my four wheeler and one of those log arches. However there was no way Im getting those up on to the mill without help. Im going to rig up some ramps and a winch for now and see if that will suffice for a while. But I foresee needing a tractor if Im going to progress at all. My question is. What size tractor do you think I could get away with? Uses will be to lift logs onto the mill. Carry lumber away for stacking. And probably dragging logs out of the woods. I dont foresee working with logs any bigger than 24" diameter and 16' long. Mostly I will be cutting logs closer to 16-18 " diameter. Im hoping to find an old cheap tractor to suffice. What do you think? 35-45 hp? Bigger?

Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 10:23:06 AM »
I would think a tractor in that size range would be big enough, A 2 wheel drive with a set of forks on the back would do a lot of work (may require front weight). Add a dead deck slightly higher the mill with a slight slope towards the mill and a couple of drop down ramps to the mill then you can stage several logs at a time.

Offline alan gage

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2018, 10:52:09 AM »
 I dont foresee working with logs any bigger than 24" diameter and 16' long. Mostly I will be cutting logs closer to 16-18 " diameter.
I guess part of it depends on if you want a tractor to lift your largest logs or the logs you'll be handling most of the time. Depending on tree species a 24"x16' log could be real dang heavy.
Around here it's hardwoods and after using my dad's 7040 Kubota (70hp and 2300lb. lift capacity) I bought a used Bobcat 873 Skidsteer that can do about 4400lbs. Logs are heavy and that tractor was pretty dang tippy when maxing it out. I had a lot of logs the tractor could just barely lift and a others it couldn't touch. More than once I had to engage front wheel assist because the rear tires weren't making contact with the ground. And more than once I had to suddenly drop the loader when the tractor went on three wheels and started to tip.
But I see pictures of guys picking up pretty big softwoods with pretty small tractors so if softwoods is what you've got you'd probably be ok with less. Calculate the weight of logs you plan to move and just make sure whatever you get can handle that much. You should be more concerned with lift capacity than HP.
Alan
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Offline Andries

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2018, 11:11:56 AM »
Judging a machine by it's engine size is a bit misleading.
Give this a try . . .
There are basically two kinds of tractors: agricultural and construction.

Agricultural machines are great at pulling, with good ground clearance and low weight. 
Construction tractors are heavy, have less ground clearance and great at lifting.

So, my construction machine weighs 11,000 lbs. and can easily lift 5000 lbs. It's perfect for sawmill chores. . . . but has a hard time in the woods, leaving ruts and getting hung up on stumps. The agricultural machines are much better at getting logs out of the woods, but struggle with lifting - for both height and weight at the sawmill.

The logs you said you might encounter are 16' long and 24" diameter.
That's about 3100 lbs. if the tree is an oak. Can the tractor you'll be looking for lift that? It may weigh in at 6 to 7,000 lbs. - regardless of horsepower. 
Here's a good website for tractor data: http://www.tractordata.com/farm-tractors/index.html 

Here's the humour part: Only you know what you'll value most in a machine. 
You'll know what you value, once you've owned a machine for a few years. 
Then you'll REALLY know which machine you need.  :D  :(  :D
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2018, 02:34:41 PM »
Compact tractor,that's what I have, 40 hp will kinda do what you want. But drop a front tire in a 6 inch hole,with a good size log up in the air four feet,bad things will happen quick. And I do mean quick.
I could use a bigger one.  ;D
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2018, 03:48:26 PM »
You can buy old, cheap, powerful and reliable equipment all day long, BUT - you can only choose three of those qualities.  I have done what you are tying to do and in the end found that there is no one size fits all, at least not on the cheap.  As it was said you are either going to have lifting capacity issues or traction / clearance issues.  It would take a little work but affixing a set of forks to a 3 pt hitch for your log lifting, basically along the lines of a bale spear,  would give you more capacity than a loader would for the same size tractor, the kicker there is you will be limited with how high you can lift.    
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2018, 04:02:54 PM »
Replace cheap with reasonably priced and it is probably doable.

It seems that the 30 to 40 hp range is in the most demand and the most held on to size tractor around my area bump up a bit in size and the prices seem more reasonable plus more lift capacity and height.

With some remote hydraulics a person could easily add a tilting function to the rear forks which would be really handy, with a bit more ingenuity some extra lift could be added as well.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2018, 05:06:20 PM »
It hard to get too large a tractor for use around the mill. An industrial (yellow) loader backhoe should do anything around the mill you need. Ideally another farm tractor for skidding and woods use. I modified a JD 45 loader on my old JD 60 with forks will handle about 3000 lb. If I can't lift it and don't want to shorten the log, I don't mess with it. Some like a grapple, myself I prefer adjustable forks. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline Wudman

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2018, 05:23:13 PM »
 


I have a set of forks that I welded up for the three point hitch.  I can lift close to a ton with the forks, but don't have the lift height to load a trailer with just the forks.  This unit is on a Fordson Dexta (2000 Ford - 32 horsepower).  It is a mast that I pirated off a Clark Forklift.  I stuck a pair of stub axles in the mounts for the forklift.  It will lift anything that you reasonable stick it under.  It has to be on solid ground or I hang myself up.  In reality it is too heavy for that tractor.  It is a three stage lift and is total overkill for my needs.  I bought it off Ebay.  The price was right - I paid $400 for the forklift, removed the mast and sold the tractor for scrap for $600.  After buying wheels, axles, and new hoses, I ended up with nothing in the lift.  It would be good on a 75 - 100 horsepower tractor.  I have seen commercial 3 point forklifts that are light enough to use without issue.  I have used this one with a 80 HP New Holland tractor to load a 20 ton highboy trailer.  Works ok.




Here is the overview of the unit.  Tight turns will cause the wheels on the mast to slide and puts undue stress on the lift arms and stabilizers.  I have to make wide sweeping turns to protect the tires.  I have been considering foam filling them so I don't slide one off the rim.  I would prefer to have dual remotes on my larger tractor and use it on that.




The stub axles bolted right in the mounts for the mast.  I used a section of 2 1/2 inch (I think) galvanized pipe for some shims.





This is what I started with.  Not very good for working on unpaved ground.





This is my log arch.  It started life as a 3/4 ton Chevy crew cab pickup.  I build it to handle tree length logs.  It is powered with a Mile Marker hydraulic winch.  I don't have a picture of my forks, but they are pretty basic with a hydraulic cylinder for the top link.  Work very well to move stuff around.

Wudman   

Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2018, 05:33:47 PM »
I guess cheap is a relative term as is reliable.  I've had a number of hoses and cylinder seals go out but that's probably due to age more than anything.


 
This can lift 9,000 pounds (I've maxed that a few times with logs ::) and often with boulders), up to 38' high (that should be high enough for anyone's mill ;)), has lots of ground clearance (I have it leaning towards the camera a bit) - about 20" and it was "cheap" at $8,000.  It is around a 1987 model.

Reliable?  I suppose.  I get about 3 months between annoying repairs.
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SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Andries

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2018, 05:43:34 PM »


 
Loading height can get to be an issue with smaller machines. If you're stacking lumber up high, or loading bins with bark and slash, height 'reach' gets to be important. . . and tippy. 
A heavy tractor/loader is better around the mill and log yard.



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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2018, 05:44:26 PM »
So you might have an idea on tractor size - I have a 2 wheel drive Kubota MX 5100 (54 hp) with a FEL.  With the rear tires loaded it is still light in the rear end.  I use a ballast box on the 3 point hitch.  I can lift (on the front forks) a green oak 24" dia and 8' long okay.  Anything much larger it gets sketchy real quick!   I can skid a considerably larger log but lifting onto the mill would be a real challenge.  If I can lift one end of the log skidding is much easier.  

A neighbor has a forklift mast modified for a 3 point hitch.  His rear hydraulic lines control lift and tilt. He can easily lift 2000 pounds+ 12 feet high.    Transporting is a slight challenge but doable.  He transports things as low as possible and lifts while stationary.  The bottom of the mast has steel wheels that rest on the ground when lifting.   A word of caution should you go this route, lifting too high on a side incline WILL cause a tip over.

 I agree an industrial backhoe is a good choice as a sawmill support machine.  Skidding could be a challenge. 

IMO the best machine would be a telehandler-a rough terrain forklift with an extendable boom.  Lift capacity with the boom extended can be upwards of 5000 pounds depending upon the machine.  A grapple or grapple forks can be used with a telehandler and it can be used to skid logs as long as the terrain is not too steep.  It's easy to spend somebody else's money.   :D
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Offline John S

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2018, 05:51:44 PM »
Check out Outdoors with the Morgans on YouTube.
2018 LT40HDG38 Wide

Offline Jack Lilley

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2018, 06:01:18 PM »
I have a New Holland TC30 (30hp), I use it to yard trees out from my woodlot, first with a bar on the 3pth I could hook chains into and this summer with a Igland winch. I have a set of bolt on forks for the bucket I use to load my sawmill. While this size works good something a little bigger would do the work a little easier. If I was buying another tractor I would look for something in the 45hp range, a little heavier machine with a little more hydraulic power. If you are going to do much yarding wood the winch is worth the money, so much easier and can do a better job being selective without damaging other trees.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2018, 07:26:23 PM »
Jack you are right on the size,what can be done and not done. The wife has the same size tractor,I have the 40hp. But that 30hp I can sneak through the woods with it. Not much sneaking goes on with the 40hp. It's that much longer and wider. BUt I can do more with the 40hp. I can haul alot more out with the 40,meaning less trips. Most of my woods roads time is at least 5 minutes one way. I have never really tried to haul as much as the 40 can,I have no winch on the 30,nor a loader on it. But I can not see it doing the work of the 40.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2018, 07:43:15 PM »
I was in the same boat last year at this time.  I had a 25 horse Kubota at the time, but it was too small to lift big logs.  I bought a 42 horse that has a much stronger loader.  Even still I have trouble with oak logs that are long and thick.  I donít want a bigger tractor though.  I can push the bigger ones around and lift them with my loading apparatus I attached to the mill.  Originally I used a farm jack to lift the apparatus with log on it.  Now I push a big log up on the arms and then I can use the tractor loader to lift the apparatus.  I definitely recommend 4wd if you will use a loader.
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2018, 07:49:03 PM »
This is the thread I started a while back.
http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=98556.0
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Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2018, 10:17:25 PM »
If I was buying another tractor, I would pay a little more attention to the gal. per min. flow rate of the hydraulic pump.  My tractor is a 70 horse power Kubota (M7040) but the flow rate is somewhere around 11 gal. per min.  Wish it was a little bit more.  Banjo
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Offline fishfighter

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2018, 06:35:16 AM »
I use a old Ford 2000, 36hp tractor with a old hay fork. It's a 1975. I am able to lift logs that are under 25"x16' long with it. I tried to lift a 26"x16', was able to, but was unable to move the tractor. :o That was a first. :o No problem, Used my backhoe. ;D 

I use the heck out of the tractor when sawing. I back up to my mill and as I saw, slabs and lumber go on the forks. Makes life easy. 8)

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Tractor size
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2018, 06:38:40 AM »
If you use the old circular sawyers trick and set your band mill up on a side hill you don't need to lift logs merely roll them. You can have the mill at a handy Hight and just roll the logs on. Frank C. 
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