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Author Topic: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent  (Read 19919 times)

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Offline logbutcher

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ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« on: January 13, 2004, 04:32:07 PM »
Anyone out there managing a small (under 2-300 acres) woodlot w ATV's ?
Looking for tips, techniques(preferably without a logging arch), special tools.
We manage a 60 a. mixed woodlot Downeast ( in order of stumpage: poor spruce/fir, paper birch, red maple, cedar, small stands of green ash, and some white pine, very little red oak.) Besides clearing trash trees, cutting blowdowns, keeping the trails open, we cut 6-8 cords/year for the house heating.
Honda Foreman ATV , trailer, winch, Husky 136, Stihl 028 (on its last legs after 21 years- to be a MS260 soon).

Offline Scott

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2004, 05:02:22 PM »
 I use a dual range Big Bear on the familly's 200 acre woodlot. I only move firewood (8 inch max maple + birch) with the ATV. I used to ground skid but i bought a small trailer and now i junk everything up into 4' lenths. I only cut 3 cord a year and it works fine for that you could easily manage 6 cord its just that I don't work at it all too much. For any serious work look for a farm tractor. We plan to use a 4x4 tractor on the woodlot when dad retires and we can spend more time working in the woods and get into the bigger trees. If you really want to use your Honda buy a rear winch mount, my neighbor has one and it works amazing for skidding.

Offline jrb34

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2004, 06:52:21 AM »
I'm in the curiosity-building phase on this subject, too. I've got 50 acres of mixed hard- and softwood and am moving beyond benign neglect as a management practice toward something a little more active.

So far it looks like I need to be taking out 3 or 4 cords of firewood for home use combined with some precommercial thinning to prepare for commercial spruce and white pine cuts 10 and 20 years down the line respectively. The problem is getting out the wood in the meantime. The property is both wet and steep, and though there are existing logging roads they're pretty soggy and torn up--way beyond the traction capacity of the Ford NAA I used to own.

An ATV with a trailer and a winch would seem more cost-effective than a small 4wd farm tractor, and likely more nimble in the woods, but I've never seen anyone hereabouts (Maine) using one this way. I'd like to hear more from folks doing this.
JRB

Offline beenthere

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2004, 07:26:24 AM »
I've used (with good satisfaction) the small tractor (8N ford, 420 Deere, 4300 Deere) with logging tongs on the 3pt for that size woods as well as, when needed (on the steep slopes), a winch system (Farmi) on the 3pt of a larger tractor (150+' of reach), and would recommend that for 50 acres of firewood and timber stand improvement. Depending on your slopes, if not too steep to get around on, then your idea of the ATV might work just fine. Never been the ATV route and wouldn't even think of going there. But I am aware that they work okay for some.

If you are set on the ATV idea, then that is likely what you will try first.  :)  I would base the decision on what other 'jobs' or 'play' you intend to do. If the ATV is used for recreation, then this would be some real justification to use it for work. If however, you have other chores like FEL (loader) work (bucket and forks) and snow plowing (blade on front), then I would go with a 4x4 tractor of around 35 hp. You can fit your woods work in with your other needs to help make the right decision.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline jrb34

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2004, 08:52:26 AM »
I'm not set on the ATV. Except for a bouncing ride into a Canadian fish camp, I've never even been on one. I'm more inclined toward a tractor, as I can equip it with a bush hog and rototiller and sit through some of the jobs I've been doing with walking equipment.

But at $15000 for a new tractor with no attachments, my firewood will cost me about $700 a cord (leaving aside for the moment the cost of timber-stand improvement, mowing, etc.), so I'm looking at all available options.

Although there's a certain recreational component at work here--I go to the woods instead of the gym--economics will ultimately win out, at least for me.

Maybe I can find a good NAA again with a FEL, stick half-tracks on it and a winch, and stay off the trails until they freeze or go August dry.
JRB

Offline logbutcher

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2004, 09:05:55 AM »
This Foreman ATV is not for play  8), used only for the woodlot. Ranchers here in Wyoming/Montana, farmers and woodlot managers use ATV's more in Australia and NZ and Europe than here. Look at their use in big ski areas.
Big advantage: work ATVs need smaller and rougher trails to get around, can work on steeper and rougher terrain than tractors ( 3 lbs in each tire), quieter and cheaper to buy and run for smaller operations. No toy  :o. No substitute for a skidder or feller/buncher of course. Most tractors need at least 6+ feet width, a flat slope, smooth trail.
jrb34: we're Downeast. Our coastal forest was professionally logged 2 years ago as partial pre-comm thinning and patch cutting. Plenty of work to do in the woodland. The Honda has been just the right tool for what we need to do. Firewood is felled, bucked, and trailered to the woodshed yard. Keeps the body in shape while getting next year's wood and managing the woodlot.

Offline Scott

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2004, 01:16:20 PM »
 Our woodlot is very wet and has a few good hills. An Atv works OK but I'd take A 50 horse $x4 with a loader and farmi winch ANY DAY over the ATV. If you know how to drive some of these 4x4 tractors right you'd be impressed as to where you can put them. 150 feet of cable really appeals to me as well. I wish I had a digital camera, I'd snap some pictures of local tractor trails.

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2004, 01:33:56 PM »
   Hey Logbutcher! Another Mainer, yessuh! Are you by any chance a member of SWOAM? I've been chunking dues at them for 2 years and know Everett Towle- he did our forestry plan- but I just haven't got organized to go to any meetings yet. I'm down in Hollis (AKA haul-ass) and have a woodland that is slowly recovering from being scalped in 95. If only I could live to be 100+, I would see these trees doing really great. I figure since it's kind of a joke anyway, I should have a 100 year forestry plan. I know they have them in some countries where the state manages the timber.

  I mentioned long-term plans to a forester down in WV and he just kinda looked at me funny. Said there was no state/federal $s for that. Like if they don't pay for it, a plan doesn't exist.

  The thing is, it can. It just has to come out of your pocket somehow.

  My grandmother was one controlling person, and wrote a will that tied up money for 5 generations. I may not have as much, but if she can, I can. lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline logbutcher

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Management
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2004, 02:28:49 PM »
Sorry L., you're from the "other" Maine  ;D. I may talk w you.
Yes, SWOAM member, running until now the Downeast Chapter.
$$$ is available from the state to help out w your Forestry Plan. Not much but it helped us. It was a win-win-win: forester, logger, us. Paid for the ATV, trailer. The wood market has gone down the tubes lately and will recover. Housing is up, paper use is up thanks to our wonderful bureaucracy here ( the 3rd or 4th most expensive state next to--ta-ta : California, N.J., Arkansas). Another whole six-pack topic (then again, I drink a very expensive malt scotch from Islay).
Have you thot about running a Christmas tree farm? Matures in about 6-8 years for profit.
Stay warm, it's too cold cause of the wind to work out there right now. Aren't we wimps here?

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2004, 02:47:35 PM »
   Yes, I have a re-mod job in the barn that will only take me a couple hours and I'm just fussing about the fact that I want it *above zero* to be out there working. It will get better..  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Madman_Mark

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2004, 05:08:56 PM »
I use a 4WD  55 HP tractor with a loader (which carries my saws, gas, gear and lunch) and a new Farmi 351 logging winch.
No cab on it, it would just get banged up. Has rollover protection which is a must in the woods.
Also has 15 inches of ground clearance which is also needed and a steel drive shaft cover (should have a full skid plate/belly pan though, which it will some day).
I use it comercially 2 days a week or so and really enjoy it.
Very low impact.
The job I'm doing now is partly a thinning and cleaning up blowdowns and the landowner would never let a skidder or forwarder on his land because of the damage they usually do.
Winch has 165 feet of cable so I can stay out of the rough stuff (sometimes).
The mainline has 3 sliders on it so I can hook 3 chokers/trees at a time (if they're not too big).
A 4 wheeler would never work for what I do (or get through some of the terrain) but for someone cutting 5 or 6 cords of firewood a year it might.
Any questions, ask away ?

Offline Slofr8

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2004, 06:03:17 PM »
This site might interest you.

www.novajack.com

Offline IndyIan

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2004, 06:14:14 PM »
ATV logging tips...

For fire wood I find its best to cut to length right at the tree if I can get the trailer close enough.  If not, I use the winch to skid logs to where I can cut them and load them on the trailer.  I've got 50' of cable which seems to be enough so far.

Get a trailer that's barely wider than the atv which lets you keep the trails narrow and go off trail easier.  It's better to get the wood on wheels as soon as you can.

Sometimes it pays to cut little bevels on the end of the logs so they don't catch on roots, etc.

Bring a friend to ride on the back of the atv, gives you more  traction for pulling big trailer loads, they can run the winch and load the trailer too! ;D

For more winching power, put the atv in reverse and spin the tires into the ground or snow a bit so you don't drag the atv to the log.

If you get stuck with the trailer on the winch can usually pull both out at the same time.

Don't over load your trailer if your going down steep slopes and use 4wd and engine braking to control your speed.

If you've got trees of any size you pretty much need a logging arch to move logs.  A fully loaded atv with 2 people on is 1000lbs so realistically you can only skid on the ground 600 maybe 700lbs logs for any distance or slope.  That's a 16" 8' hard maple log.  

That's about all I can think of right now.  Also you might be interested in one of these felling lever/cant hooks if you haven't seen them before.  I always keep it in the box on the atv.

Ian      

Offline rebocardo

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2004, 07:13:58 PM »
I have property in central ME about 30 miles south of Bangor. What I am doing is putting in trails wide enough for my 4x4 trucks. It is hilly and muddy, especially with the moss and wet leaves. I have used my various 4x4s to pull wood out of forests before.

Where I use to work, they cleared the land by cutting the trees and rolling them into a depressed swamp like area because tehy were in a hurry. Then they cut and piled them and let them dry. Then they went to get them with their big trucks and forgot two important things 1) full size trucks sink easily in a swamp 2) trees grow close together in the woods
:-D  

So, the owner of the lot said I could have it all as long as I did not tear up the swamp, he did not think anyone could get in there.

So, I took my little Ford Bronco II, waited until it froze, and got probably three-four cords of white Birch out, cut and split, for nothing! Plus, I let my 5 year old daughter drive in and out of the swamp. I even let her ease between the trees with less than an inch on each side of my bumper (whew! - good thing I was doing the clutch and brake).

So, I am a fan of using small 4x4 trucks where an ATV can fit as long as it is not a big mud hole. You can carry more, you can drag more, you have A/C, plus, if you need to be rescued at least a small 4x4 can follow you in or out.

Offline Stan

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2004, 07:26:29 PM »
Here's a pic of my atv. 56" outside to outside rear wheel tread:

I may have been born on a turnip truck, but I didn't just fall off.

Offline UNCLEBUCK

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2004, 08:18:20 PM »
logbutcher it sounds like your 028 has been good to you ! I think that is neat how much work everyone gets from their four wheelers , I am now using a R john deere for dragging logs to the mill and it is narrow enough to sneak through the woods , I tried the arch type homemade hauler idea but found its too hard to back up through the snow in the woods so I just hook a choker cable on the butt end and go for now, with chains on the tires it unstoppable and have about 1000 dollars invested in it all , I have 40 acres of big oaks and ash. Maybe I make my homemade arch a little better come spring time , good luck with your logging !
UNCLEBUCK    bridge burner/bridge mender

Offline Swede

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2004, 09:14:12 PM »
I like to see swedish tools here. Look at this link. "Domänsaxen" is a tool I used a lot as a teenager using a horse in the forest but it works good after a small tractor, ATV (carefully) or winch too.

Perhaps I can use it for pulling a log from the back end of my saw mill? ??? All that bows around...........*hmmmmmm*

http://www.skogma.de/shop/

Swede.
Had a mobile band sawmill, All hydraulics  for logs 30\"x19´, remote control. (sold it 2009-04-13)
Monkey Blades.Sold them too)
Jonsered 535/15\". Just cut firewood now.

Offline jrb34

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2004, 03:47:24 AM »
Lots of useful information here. Yes, I've seen the Novajack site, and a fair amount of other ATV-related information on the Web of varying degrees of usefulness. But I was interested in first-hand accounts untwisted by marketing efforts. From what I've seen so far I like the trailers from Nichols over in Farmington.

For the Mainers, I'm in Searsport, nowadays roughly the border between Maine and the other Maine. Thirty years ago, the border was the Miss Wiscasset diner. I hope the advancement stops at the Penobscot, even though that leaves me in the Other Maine.

I recently joined SWOAM; their forester is coming over in a few days for a walk-through, and I've got a management plan being prepared by a local guy. The state forester was here and said what I pretty much figured out after this autumn's windthrow: I've got 4 to 5 cords per acre of overmature spruce that needs to come out in the next year or two. I have neither the time nor the inclination to do this myself and will contract it out, but the only way the timberstand improvement that also needs to be done will work economically is if I do it myself, hence the equipment search.

From what I've read, ATVs have lower soil loading, are cheaper and more nimble. Tractors are more versatile and can handle bigger loads, but require better roads and impact soil more (a fair-sized brook bisects and runs the whole length of the property). I can get my Toyota 4x4 into only the first hundred yards of woods road. After that there's a brook crossing and a spruce bog to negotiate.

The existing logging roads were laid out for horse and oxen back in the 1870s, when the property belonged to a shipyard and grew masts, and were slighly upgraded by crawler back in the 1950s, when it belonged to a now-defunct lumber mill. The last time it was logged was before I bought it in the 1970s, with a small cable skidder and a very careful operator at the wheel.

For firewood, I've always found it easiest to drop a tree and cut and split it where it falls, providing I can back my truck fairly close to the site. I take everything down to about an inch for kindling and biscuit wood in the cookstove. But except for some apple-tree prunings and a few red maple, all the good firewood is now on the other side of the brook, beyond truck range.
JRB

Offline Kevin

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2004, 04:10:33 AM »
I find an ATV is too light for the bigger sticks and they can't access wet ground unless it's frozen and then snow becomes a problem.
I went with  the Argo AATV, more weight, more wheels and lower ground impact .
I use it for recreation and hauling logs.
What I really wanted was the Berfor 2000 skidder but at twice the price of the Argo and limited use I couldn't justify it.

Offline Scott

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Re: ATV Logging/Firewood/Manage,ent
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2004, 07:01:02 AM »
 Madman_Mark, what type of tractor do you use? It sounds like exactly what I want to buy in a couple years. My neighbors dad has a 55 horse kabota with a Hardy loader, bucket and log forks, basic canopy with a canvas enclosure, a farmi winch and skid plates. He cleared his lot with this machine and i thought it was the perfect size for working the woods.


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