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Author Topic: cable or grapple skidder  (Read 1383 times)

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Offline jb14972

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cable or grapple skidder
« on: February 11, 2021, 10:10:52 PM »
I'm currently running a 3 man logging crew, we are currently skidding with a jd650 and we are hitting 10k ft per day on great days and then only about 5k ft on bad days. im looking to add a skidder and i cant decide if a cable or grapple skidder is better. we are mostly on smaller tracts 20-75 acres and im wanting to average 15k ft per day. Im in WV so the hills can get pretty steep so that makes me lean towards a cable skidder for access and more pulling power, but the conveniences of the grapple sure would be faster than hooking up and unhooking constantly. any advice would be appreciated.

Offline Maine logger88

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2021, 10:23:18 PM »
Sounds like a grapple skidder with a winch would suit you best! Preferably a dual arch
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Offline jb14972

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2021, 10:46:41 PM »
im looking in the mechanical era of skidders so as far as a dual arch im looking at the deere 640 and 648 skidder. only concern is i dont want something slow, i want plenty of power and i have read some of the older dual arch skidders are slower. is the decrease in speed worth the dual arch over a single? 

Online Skeans1

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2021, 10:49:56 PM »
See if you can find a swinging grapple setup some had winches in the frame as well.

Offline chep

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2021, 11:31:08 PM »
What is the crew setup? Chopper, cable guy, landing guy? Gonna be hard to beat that just by substituting a grapple in. Add a 4th guy. 1 chopper, and cable guy bunching for the grapple. Keep their skid short and the grapple fulltime for the long pull and when he catches up he chops etc? Gotta have that cable machine in wv I would think. I think a bigger cable machine is the way to get the most wood to the landing. 
Just thoughts

Offline Southside

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2021, 12:11:40 AM »
My Franklin 170 has a grapple and a winch, all mechanical, Cummins 6BT power and plenty of speed. Don't be scared of the "can't find parts" stories, those were component built machines and many parts can be found at the local NAPA. They articulate and ossicilate so they do well on un even ground. 
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Offline jb14972

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2021, 01:32:35 AM »
1 cutter, 1 guy skidding and 1 guy at the landing bucking. cutter averages 15k ft per day right now, dozer just cant keep up. bucking logs goes fast now, im assuming the landing guy would still have some spare time after bucking. all logs go to my mill via grapple truck and get sorted there so the landing is a pretty easy job.

Offline stavebuyer

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2021, 03:40:07 AM »
I seldom see people want to get off a grapple skidder to pull cable; even when in many instances pulling cable would be quicker. Human nature. West Va is cable skidder territory. You have to step up a good bit in skidder size/weight to be able to grapple the same load and there is often that one steep grade/ledge/mudhole you can't cross without dropping the hitch.

Groundspeed of the skidder vs the dozer should get you to your 15K. Dual purpose anything always mean compromise. Grapple skidders large enough to not "need" the winch usually an awkward machine to "winch with" as they tend to be larger and taller machines.

Buy the cable skidder. It will make you enough to pay cash for a grapple skidder to use when you can.  8)



Offline grabber green

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2021, 07:43:29 AM »
Get a grapple skidder with a winch . Use the dozer to set logs out of the rough places to the main skid trail, get them to the landing with the grapple skidder, increase production. On jobs that require lots of winching and no dozer ,remove the grapple and  use the the skidder winch for the win. We have did it like that with success for many years.

Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2021, 02:47:48 AM »
Dual arch with a winch. Decent fenders you can still run it just like a cable skidder, i get on super long skids will bunch with the grapple, hook chokers and take 4-5 out in the grapple at the same time, downhill i was getting 13-15 decent ones a hitch. How you guys make any money down there skidding with a dozer I dont know 🤷‍♂️ We have very similar ground here and bunch to the skidder, this last job we had 30 chokers getting passed back and forth, drop to the edge of the trail and run back in with the dozer. 

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2021, 06:40:11 AM »
Grapple with arch would be best. But maybe find a cheap cable skidder and you could still park that dozer and only use it for the real bad spots. Your wearing iron out wich is not cheap and itís slow as a snail. Evan a plain old cable skidder will run circles around that dozer. I love tracks but they need to be used only when needed if your trying to watch your overhead. Also it sounds like your cutting only logs. Grapples donít fit many big logs. 1-2 most times if there good trees. 

Offline pwrwagontom

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2021, 11:01:01 AM »
1 cutter, 1 guy skidding and 1 guy at the landing bucking. cutter averages 15k ft per day right now, dozer just cant keep up. bucking logs goes fast now, im assuming the landing guy would still have some spare time after bucking. all logs go to my mill via grapple truck and get sorted there so the landing is a pretty easy job.
Could you use the dozer to bunch logs into hitches (like the books suggest for farm tractor winches) and then skid with the grapple?
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2021, 11:58:11 AM »
The problem is when hill terrain is too gnarly to get the whole wack up.  In a grapple you have to dump some then come back.  With a big cable you can drop the winch and leave the whole wack wherever you lose traction then drive up and reel them across the challenge spot.



I think a big grapple and winch is the way to go.  Dozer makes trail, waterbars, cuts out the switchback crossings and bunches to the skidder.  Hopefully the dozer can make most trail mild enough to leave the chokers dangling unused.  The time spent on roads is paid back in increased production with the grapple instead of cable.. But atleast the option is there if needed.
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Online Skeans1

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2021, 03:41:09 PM »
The problem is when hill terrain is too gnarly to get the whole wack up.  In a grapple you have to dump some then come back.  With a big cable you can drop the winch and leave the whole wack wherever you lose traction then drive up and reel them across the challenge spot.



I think a big grapple and winch is the way to go.  Dozer makes trail, waterbars, cuts out the switchback crossings and bunches to the skidder.  Hopefully the dozer can make most trail mild enough to leave the chokers dangling unused.  The time spent on roads is paid back in increased production with the grapple instead of cable.. But atleast the option is there if needed.
The high track skidder is a good combo machine the only bad part is if they had a swinger they donít have a winch.

1 cutter, 1 guy skidding and 1 guy at the landing bucking. cutter averages 15k ft per day right now, dozer just cant keep up. bucking logs goes fast now, im assuming the landing guy would still have some spare time after bucking. all logs go to my mill via grapple truck and get sorted there so the landing is a pretty easy job.
Could you use the dozer to bunch logs into hitches (like the books suggest for farm tractor winches) and then skid with the grapple?
Thatís one reason the swinging grapple skidders are so popular on the west coast they allow you flexibility for bunching and even using a pull through delimber.

Offline Maine logger88

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2021, 05:47:13 PM »
im looking in the mechanical era of skidders so as far as a dual arch im looking at the deere 640 and 648 skidder. only concern is i dont want something slow, i want plenty of power and i have read some of the older dual arch skidders are slower. is the decrease in speed worth the dual arch over a single?
The 648s all the way up to the G series has a mechanical engine and transmission g2 went to the electric shift transmission 
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Offline quilbilly

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2021, 06:02:41 PM »
If you've already got a cable equipped dozer then there is no need for a cable skidder, anything the grapple skidder can't get you can use the dozer for. The grapple is just light-years faster. I ran a 666 for years and will never go back to cable only.

Skeans is right about the swinger, especially in softwood. Not sure about hardwood. A swinger with a low mount delimber like a danzco would put out 15k feet with 3 guys in just about any kind of show. It would also be able to keep up if you decide to upgrade to more higher production equipment.
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Offline jb14972

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2021, 08:05:39 AM »
I would like to stay at 3 guys until I put on a second cutter or get a mechanized cutter. To do that it seems like it makes the most sense to just get a cable skidder. Then add another cutter, grapple skidder and full time dozer man. 

I guess it comes down to can I average 15k per day with out needing a fourth guy to run the dozer. 

I canít see the daily production being much different between a grapple and a cable skidder. Just bc a grapple of the same size will probably pull one tree less and still need to use the winch on 20-40% of the trees. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2021, 08:53:03 AM »
When you get a buncher youll get into more pulp and youll sore regret not having that grapple on the cable machine because now it means ANOTHER machine with all its repairs and problems and another operator and all his drama. The buncher will swamp the cable machines.  Another head for comp and employment tax... Your profits will shrink for that production and your stabilty through rain season or any other time when youre idled will decrease.  


Let the dozer man and landing man alternate as skidder operator for a while.   Whoever your worst sitter downer is, keep him busier.
Revelation 3:20

Offline grabber green

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2021, 09:49:54 AM »
If you ever do get a grapple skidder you will wonder how you could live without it. Having said that I have worked those steep mountain tracts where the grapple was  mostly unuseable . One or two jobs we actually took  the grapple off to keep from ruining the winch cable .   But overall grapple skidders increase production alot  plus less fatigue on the operator.       

Offline quilbilly

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Re: cable or grapple skidder
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2021, 11:27:56 AM »
If you can rent or borrow a grapple skidder with a winch do it and see what you can do on the ground. If you're in a logging area there has got to be someone around that has a spare skidder they'd rent out for a few weeks. Probably be money well spent. We have steep ground out west here and cable skidders are going the way of the buffalo. We use our 450 dozer with a winch to get anything the grapple skidder can't, and I can't imagine using a cable only. Grapples are seriously way faster.
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