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Author Topic: Thinking about a grapple skidder...  (Read 4529 times)

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Offline finding the trail

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2016, 04:27:01 PM »
 I have both a cable and grapple machines (540, 548 )   Both machines have their pros and cons but if I were to pick one for the type of wood I cut, it would be the cable machine.  Both machines are 2013 models with low hours the only difference is the 548 has 28L rubber. Like you, I always wanted to experiment with a grapple machine, and with the current market conditions for this machine it was now or never.   Some jobs the grapple is more efficient and vice versa. The 540 came with extra high arch and it is amazing how much more wood this machine will pull compared to the standard size arch I had on my last 540 machine.

Offline danbuendgen

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2016, 06:27:40 PM »
I have both a cable and grapple machines (540, 548 )   Both machines have their pros and cons

Is your grapple machine a dual arch? Where does your cable machine do well, and where does the grapple do better?

Again, I will be needing a machine for a large job, 500 acres mostly a heavy cut in low grade. Its Vermont, so plenty of grades to climb also.

I just spoke with the guy selling that Rottne Forwarder, there bottom dollar is 22k as is where is. Im thinking that may be a good machine for my needs, Long skid, small wood, and small landing, It might be a lemon, or with some TLC it could be a good machine. They are going to be putting me in contact with the last owner.

Thanks for all the reply's so far!
Husqvarna ~ TimberJack ~ Dodge Cummins

Offline finding the trail

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2016, 07:11:49 PM »
 My grapple skidder is NOT a dual arch.   The positive's of the enclosed cab are you turn on the heat or AC depending on the season, take off the gloves, listen to the radio and pull wood. You generally make more turns in a day but less wood per turn. Of course you use more fuel per day and work a little longer as you don't get as tired climbing on and off pulling cable, hooking and unhooking trees.   If you know of rain or bad weather the next day or so you can put down wood then spend the bad day pulling wood in essence you don't have as much down time weather related.  If the landing is plugged you can prebunch . Just lots of flexability with the grapple machine. The cable machine is meat and potatoes, a no frills, go at it, get it done machine. Depending on a lot of factors I pick one machine or the other to match the job.

Offline danbuendgen

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2016, 07:47:22 PM »
I assumed that both your skidders were enclosed cabs being 2013's. I like the idea of working rain days in a cab with the wood ready to go...
Husqvarna ~ TimberJack ~ Dodge Cummins

Offline finding the trail

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2016, 08:00:16 PM »
 The grapple has glass all around (climate controlled ) the cable is a third glass the rest screened.  I used to be a real bean counter in logging matters. Understanding the correlation of productivity and profitability will make the right machine pay for itself.

Offline danbuendgen

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2016, 08:27:27 PM »
Do you hand cut, or follow a buncher?
Husqvarna ~ TimberJack ~ Dodge Cummins

Offline finding the trail

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2016, 08:31:51 PM »
 a sharp chainsaw

Offline Mike_M

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2016, 09:19:18 PM »
We have a TJ 360 single arch grapple with a winch. We try to shovel log everything with our log loader, but when the ground is favorable and skid distance is long a grapple skidder moves logs fast. In my humble view I wouldn't get a grapple skidder without a winch for reasons that others stated and for that situation where you need to winch yourself out. I have worked in hand fallen thinning units and have pulled logs to a staging location until I have enough wood to skid to the landing. It works well for us and sure does save jumping on and off the machine to set and unset chokers. A swinging grapple would definitely be a bonus at least in our area. Its hard to say what works good in your neck of the woods vs where we log. I again am just basing my opinion on what works for us and our terrain. After having a grapple skidder it would be hard to not have one. Just my 2 cents.

Offline loggah

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2016, 06:47:39 AM »
Dual arch grapple with winch, on real long pulls you can use the winch to bring in a bigger hitch,when your fairly close to the yard use the grapple and get back and forth quickly. Dual arch to get you thru those steep ,or wet spots by pushing your skidder thru them. I had that setup on my 660 Franklin and it worked great.I also made a tree pusher on top of the grapple beam ,you could really reach up a tree to help directional falling.
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Offline xalexjx

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2016, 03:24:23 PM »
i have a timberjack 450c with a dual arch cutting by hand, I also had a small cable tree-farmer that i planned on keeping, after it sat at my shop for 6 months without moving i sold it. Im in upstate ny and cut some pretty gnarly ground and havnt had much of a problem getting to stuff with a grapple, just have to plan your cuts on really steep ground. I would not go back to pulling a cable after having the productivity of a grapple. If i didnt have an excavator or dozer available i would had kept the cable skidder incase of getting stuck. My 450 is a 94- or 95 with the joystick controls and everything is very simple to work on, (not much for electronics)
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Offline danbuendgen

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2016, 06:23:17 PM »
Thanks for the replies. I am torn between a grapple skidder or a forwarder. I think a grapple skidder would be simpler to work on and fast, but my landing is small ( I have 3-4 years of work on this job for one guy ) and we sell a fair amount of split firewood, forwarding would keep wood clean and convenient to set wood in front of the wood splitter.

The forwarder I posted about earlier, Nortrax would take 22k for it bottom dollar. They also have 2, 4 wheeled Rottne harvesters that were traded in along with the Rottne forwarder, one is a parts machine and the other is ready to cut wood. For all three machines Nortrax would take 50k delivered to my job site. I am waiting to hear back from the last owner on the condition of the machines. They are all look kinda rough.... but I have to start out some where right? At my current job, there is a ton of low grade wood to mow down, and all the other jobs I am bidding on are not much different.

Again, thanks for all the replies so far.
Husqvarna ~ TimberJack ~ Dodge Cummins

Offline Plankton

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2016, 08:06:02 PM »
I can't help you on grapple skidder advice I just run a cable skidder but if you haven't already seen it there's a 450 dual arch grapple with a winch for sale in the central mass craigslist popped up when I was searching something yesterday and I thought of this post. Might be worth a look.

I was very close to calling about that forwarder you had for sale but I couldn't scrape up the money :(

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2016, 08:33:11 PM »
Trouble with an old high hour/low price "modern" forwarder with electric over hydraulic controls is they can be electrical nightmares. If you can afford a bit of downtime and are good with a multimeter then maybe it won't be so bad...

Offline RHP Logging

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2016, 09:00:14 PM »
Danb- how did the Franklin handle 16s and hills?  Was it pretty stable yet or could you pop wheelies pretty easy if you had it packed tight?  I happened to look at your add when you had it for sale and noticed the bed extension.
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Offline danbuendgen

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2016, 05:41:23 AM »
I think the old Franklin 132 did real well. Holds long wood good, I would try to keep firewood under 20 foot but it could handle 22s if you load it right. For doing CTL the cab would have to be fairly level, otherwise if you try to pick something heavy up on the down hill side you would just lift up the opposite side tire. Does that make since? I was thinking about loading the front tires, but that would add 10k pounds to the machine, and I thought it would tear it up too much. Going up steep hills was slow, First gear wide open, if its was wet, the diff lock needs to be on up steep hills. I had put on new rear tires and that helped out a lot. Loader had a ton of power, it would lift anything. Good machine for 25k. I had to do a LOT of little TLC projects the first month I got it, after that I was fairly reliably, and had tight pins with low hours. I would suggest a 132 with the dual bunks to anyone, if you can load on flat ground.
I the reasons I sold it was because it was too time consuming bunching for it with my 240 TJ, and I actually got it for my wife to run, when shes not doing firewood, and she hates it! She constantly felt like it was going to tip over (but it was fine, shes just not used to it), I would chop and bunch and she would forward, it didnt work out. Plus she it sensitive to exhaust and she was getting bad head aches with the open cab and exhaust not far away. Then I tried CTL working alone, and it works in a heavy cut on flatish ground, but limiting to where it can get traction. Plus, I log everyday and it would be nice to have a cab with heat in winter, and help to stay out of the rain. If I could get a grapple skidder or forwarder with a cab I think I could get my wife to operate it now and then. I think a newer forwarder would "feel" more stable. Same with a grapple skidder.
Husqvarna ~ TimberJack ~ Dodge Cummins

Offline danbuendgen

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2016, 05:54:27 AM »
Trouble with an old high hour/low price "modern" forwarder with electric over hydraulic controls is they can be electrical nightmares. If you can afford a bit of downtime and are good with a multimeter then maybe it won't be so bad...

Exactly, this it my biggest fear.
Husqvarna ~ TimberJack ~ Dodge Cummins

Offline RHP Logging

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2016, 07:49:53 AM »
22s?  You could really stack wood on that thing.  Did you add the extension ?  It looked like it extended beyond the back tire and not from the center to back axle?  My bed is only 9 ft long so 16s can be a pain.  you have to make a bed for them to lay in if you don't put em in the bottom. Mine is open cab too but I made plexiglass for it.  The heater will cook you out of there.  Yeah they take some getting used too.  I've done some pretty crazy hills with them.  Standing on the dash kind of stuff where the blade ram won't extend far enough to dig.  As long as you keep em straight up and down.  They can climb forever but will dig a hole in a hurry.  Like you said you really wouldn't want to add weight to the tires.  I've really only had a close call or two of tipping over and I'm usually on some kind of hill.  The one guy I hired to run her a few years ago nearly tipped her over twice  in 3 weeks.  He lost his nerve after that.  A great solid machine in my opinion.  It's put a lot of wood out for me in the last five years.  Pretty easy to work on.  No way could I put my wife in it tho.  I've seen grown men terrified when picking up a good sized log 😀.
Buckin in the woods

Offline danbuendgen

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2016, 02:44:44 PM »
Did you add the extension ?

No the wagon is factory from Franklin, they are hard to find with a 16 foot wagon.

Nortrax just gave me the number of the last owner of that 95 Rottne Rapid SMV and I just had a positive conversation with him. I told him the price we agreed on (22k) and he nearly crapped his britches! He said a year ago he had 2 guys interested in it, but it was not for sale, one guy offered him 55k the other 60k. But it was not for sale at the time. Then a year later, the forwarder, and two cutters were traded in for a new excavator. The owner claims the hydrostatic pump and hydraulic pump and been done, new tracks, tires and chains 1000 hours ago, and all new electronics. He said for 22k thats the best deal for a 6wd forwarder he has ever heard about, he also said he would send me the operators manual, parts manual, and repair manuals for the machine. It does have some leaks that need to be addressed, and I need to get the a/c working asap, but I decided to go with this machine, not a grapple skidder.

Thanks to all who responded to my post!
Husqvarna ~ TimberJack ~ Dodge Cummins

Offline killamplanes

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2016, 10:43:34 PM »
Let us now how it goes. And getter hot :D
jd440 skidder, western star w/grapple,tk B-20 hyd, electric, stihl660,and 2X661. and other support Equipment, pallet manufacturing line

Offline danbuendgen

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Re: Thinking about a grapple skidder...
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2016, 05:55:08 AM »
Sure, I can keep you posted, The machine should show up Tuesday to Wednesday. But before I run it much, I will need to do some tlc work to it.
Husqvarna ~ TimberJack ~ Dodge Cummins


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