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Author Topic: Small excavator in the woods  (Read 3234 times)

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Offline Quebecnewf

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Small excavator in the woods
« on: March 11, 2021, 05:23:29 AM »
Hi guys 

While I have been logging on a small scale for many years . By hand with a chain saw.

My age is making me wonder if I want to keep at it a few more years maybe I need to look into some small machinery.

Our forest is small to medium softwood ( spruce balsam fir ). Dense wood lots of brush and junk trees ( firewood ) growing tight together.

I have been toying with the idea of a small excavator  letís say 6 to 8 ton range to work in the woods .

My idea buy one with bucket/ thumb . Make a set of log tongs to dangle on a short chain onto the bucket . I would also install a Pullmaster winch on the arm with synthetic cable .Take this into the woods. Cut trails through and log out on each side of these trails


Use chainsaw to do the cutting but then use the excavator to pull the cut trees to the path . Bucket with thumb to hold them for bucking . Would buck  up the entire tree . Butt logs would be logs . The remainder would become fire wood . Logging and cutting to be done in late fall . The logs and firewood then get moved in the winter with snowmobile .
The excavator then being used to load the cut logs and the ( firewood ) logs onto the sleighs .

Anyone running or doing something like this .

Comments , questions ?

Quebecnewf


 

Offline PoginyHill

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2021, 07:32:37 AM »
I use my excavator in the wood only for road making - removing stumps and rocks and leveling ground enough to travel easily with my tractor/winch. If you were to use an excavator to drag trees for cutting, you'd be traveling almost every square meter of your property - unless I'm misunderstanding your thoughts. I would think a forwarding trailer with log grapple and winch would fit your activities better.
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Online thecfarm

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2021, 07:37:56 AM »
There was a member that was using his excavator as a forwarder. He hauled a small trailer and loaded it with a grapple. But that requires a lot of trips into the woods and back out.
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Offline Haleiwa

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2021, 07:41:30 AM »
First, I haven't seen many mini excavators with forestry guards, not that they don't exist but not real common.  That's probably because most minis aren't really strong enough to do a lot of good in the woods.  You will break windows,  tear off hoses and smash the lights if they are unguarded.   That's not directed at your abilities as an operator,  it's just reality.   An excavator is great at clearing out brush.  Set the bucket on top of a chokecherry and crush it, push it to the side or roll over it with the tracks.   It's actually really fun until you hear the crack of a window becoming fifteen pieces of window. It's hard to get over the natural tendency to pull work towards you when the safer way is to push away from the machine.   
Excavators aren't really built for for use as a winch base.  Unless you are lined up with the pull, you will sideload the swing bearings,  and they aren't designed for that. They aren't bulldozers,  unless you get into the Kobelco blade series,  which are a whole different animal.  You will need to be extremely careful if you plan to leave desirable trees.   I have used mine to clear brush before cutting junk for firewood,  and there was always a fair amount of scarring.   I didn't care since I planned to cut them soon anyway, but the potential to damage the machine is also quite high. 
There are better alternatives.   A mulching head on a loader to clear the junk, then the same loader with a grapple to move logs.  It's not a skidder, but if you find something like a Fecon 128 you can mount a winch on the back and have the ability to drag logs at least a short distance. Since I bought my Terex,  my excavator mostly works on land that has already been cleared or along fencerows.
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Offline tawilson

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2021, 08:57:11 AM »
I took my 2.5 ton mini in the woods with me last year to see how much effort and time it saved me. And it's a lot. For everything you said and more. And everything is broken off and flattened, looking a lot better when I leave. You said you are using the sleds to pull the wood out so that's not an issue. It's warmed up here and I took a walk out yesterday to retrieve it from my last session. I figure if a piece of equipment helps keep me going and doing what I want it's worth it. And when I'm done it still has value.
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Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2021, 11:39:49 AM »
Thanks for all the good info guys.

Just to update . Anything on wheels is a no go in our woods . Itís just not . Ground to soft and rugged . 

A few years back they were doing a small hydro dam project further up the coast from us . They brought in two brand new  skidders and two professional drivers to help speed up the removal of all the trees that the guys were hand cutting .some of the local guys warned them that they thought it was a bad idea . They twisted one in half within the first week and the other one was damaged badly shortly after that . The operators left because they could not drive on the ground and that was the end of that plan . 


I realize pulling sideways is not the way to go . Snatch blocks and proper planing can avoid  most of that .  .

I am aware that the guarding is an issue but with care and planning we should be able to work around that . We are talking med to small wood here . No hardwood 


 

One of Our piles we cut this winter . As you can see they are not big logs 

Quebecnewf 


Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2021, 12:23:55 PM »
If youre willing to build good trails for the machine i think itll be okay.  


Is bunching the logs in place and letting the sleds retrieve from numerous piles in the woods an option?


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Offline tawilson

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2021, 12:37:27 PM »
I put a piece of lexan across the front of mine because I had vision of driving with the cab reversed and a limb coming in and pushing on the drive handles forcing the machine more until it speared me.
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Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2021, 01:09:35 PM »
I have done similar-ish.

Using a small excavator with a set of tongs to move logs.  We would pick up the logs and set several of them on to a hay rack frame pulled by the excavator out to the mill. And then use the excavator to put them on the  mill or pile them.  Then to get back into the woods we would put the arm of the excavator over the hay rack frame and pick the entire wagon off the ground and drive back into the woods. 

I also am doing a fair amount of logging this winter with a tiny tractor and a winch.

Both methods get the job done but are slow if you are trying to make money at it.  Having a second person to hook up chains and tongs on each log  make things go MUCH faster so the operator doesn't have to get on and off the machine  3 or 4 times for every log.

My method is to use the equipment I already have to get the job done.  I don't think I would go out and buy an excavator if that was my only plan for it though.

Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2021, 01:36:03 PM »
If youre willing to build good trails for the machine i think itll be okay.  


Is bunching the logs in place and letting the sleds retrieve from numerous piles in the woods an option?
Thatís the way I plan . Piles along the path that the excavator moves through .
The log piles will be in 8/10/12í lengths 
The fire wood piles will all be 8 ft . 
When your working you remove the logs on each side of the trail out to 100 ft on each side . The fire wood comes from the tops and any and all junk trees you cut to thin out the forest to allow the better trees more room to grow . 
Quebecnewf 

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2021, 01:43:22 PM »
I have two excavators
Bobcat 331, 8,000 pound
Bobcat E80, 19,000 pound

Hydraulic hoses commonly damaged. keep wrenches and hoses in excavator
Thumb
Grapple

the E80 is strong enough to snap trees with bucket and thumb
the 331 is good for general work
i got a Frost ripper tooth for each, works great for removing stumps.
Features and attachments i recommend.
enclosed cab with heat and A/C
second hydraulics
third hydraulics, if available
Ripper tooth
rotator with grapple.

i use AgDirect for forestry loans.


my equipment and attachments
331-30ex brushhound mower head, the flail only works on brush and vines, not trees
331 - turbosaw rtex - nice circular saw head. go slow you can damage the engine
331 - Hydraulic auger, good
331 & E80 - farma grapple and rotator, only one that i switch between excavators
E80 - breaker HB 1180, going to try to use as a post pounder
E80 - hakmet Arbro 400 stroke harvester, have not used it much yet

Tractors
Mahindra 22Max, good light 4x4 tractor
Mahindra 5520, good 51HP 4x4 tractor
farmi winch jl501, 11,000 pound PTO winch, wish i could haul a trailer behind it
landpride rbt-40-108 hydraulic grader blade, good
pallet forks for the FEL ( Front End Loader )
clamp-on Bucket forks, I HATE these
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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2021, 01:53:18 PM »
now what i wish my excavators had
more GPM on the Hydraulic pump

maybe what you need is a harvester?


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Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2021, 01:57:47 PM »
Instead of a set of tongs can you replace the bucket with a grapple that has a hydraulic swivel?  Around here you can buy them off scrap equipment for a few hundred bucks.  They tend to be too big for a small excavator but some torch work and a welder can fix that.

Offline mudfarmer

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2021, 02:50:59 PM »
Don't have any experience with excavators but have been watching the market out of boredom or lust or something. One thing maybe to keep an eye on based on your post about the skidders is the tracks.

A used equipment dealer here has a 7ton on 24" wide steel tracks. They also have a few 8ton on 18" rubber tracks and a 9ton on 18" rubber tracks. That 7ton is actually the only thing <10ton they have on steel.

I think for my place I'd want the 24" steel on the lighter machine to reduce the ground pressure and not get all cut up on the rocks, but again have no experience and maybe there are good reasons to run rubber even if it is narrower? Can anyone that actually knows what they are talking about chime in on this subject? ???

Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2021, 04:23:26 PM »
I have two excavators
Bobcat 331, 8,000 pound
Bobcat E80, 19,000 pound

Hydraulic hoses commonly damaged. keep wrenches and hoses in excavator
Thumb
Grapple

the E80 is strong enough to snap trees with bucket and thumb
the 331 is good for general work
i got a Frost ripper tooth for each, works great for removing stumps.
Features and attachments i recommend.
enclosed cab with heat and A/C
second hydraulics
third hydraulics, if available
Ripper tooth
rotator with grapple.

i use AgDirect for forestry loans.


my equipment and attachments
331-30ex brushhound mower head, the flail only works on brush and vines, not trees
331 - turbosaw rtex - nice circular saw head. go slow you can damage the engine
331 - Hydraulic auger, good
331 & E80 - farma grapple and rotator, only one that i switch between excavators
E80 - breaker HB 1180, going to try to use as a post pounder
E80 - hakmet Arbro 400 stroke harvester, have not used it much yet

Tractors
Mahindra 22Max, good light 4x4 tractor
Mahindra 5520, good 51HP 4x4 tractor
farmi winch jl501, 11,000 pound PTO winch, wish i could haul a trailer behind it
landpride rbt-40-108 hydraulic grader blade, good
pallet forks for the FEL ( Front End Loader )
clamp-on Bucket forks, I HATE these
So you use both machines in the woods logging I guess?
How big are your trees logs etc?
Any hardwood ? 
Winter and summer ? Or both ? 
Any pics ? 
Quebecnewf 

Offline Haleiwa

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2021, 04:47:51 PM »
Don't have any experience with excavators but have been watching the market out of boredom or lust or something. One thing maybe to keep an eye on based on your post about the skidders is the tracks.

A used equipment dealer here has a 7ton on 24" wide steel tracks. They also have a few 8ton on 18" rubber tracks and a 9ton on 18" rubber tracks. That 7ton is actually the only thing <10ton they have on steel.

I think for my place I'd want the 24" steel on the lighter machine to reduce the ground pressure and not get all cut up on the rocks, but again have no experience and maybe there are good reasons to run rubber even if it is narrower? Can anyone that actually knows what they are talking about chime in on this subject? ???
Little excavators with rubber tracks are generally made with steel plates (almost like street tracks) covered with rubber.  When they are worn out, the rubber will stretch or tear and shed off the steel plate.  They don't provide much traction compared to grouser bars, but they generally are used in situations where not tearing up a lawn or getting arrested for travelling across a parking lot are more important than climbing obstacles in rough terrain.  They also are better for loading on a small tilt deck trailer, as wet rubber won't slide as much as steel on a muddy trailer floor.  They aren't intended for forestry service, and I would not expect them to last in those conditions.
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Offline mudfarmer

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2021, 05:38:34 PM »
Thank you, I thought so but thinking has gotten me in trouble plenty! There is a guy locally that uses a small JD rubber track machine but looks like mostly on landings. I have a lot of road building and fixing  to do as well as other non forestry related work and was thinking steel would be best for the varied use but semi frequent woods work. Need excavator a lot more than dozer. That Doosan in the video on steel is similar size for instance.

Can you put a wide(er) steel track on the smaller ďminiĒ class machines that seem to invariably come with rubber? If so, are they stable enough to actually leave the landing? For example I need to dig some bridge footings pretty far back in but do not really need a wide trail back there and in general do not need a midi except for some jobs that one could be rented for. If there is something I should be reading or watching instead of bothering you guys and cluttering up this thread please let me know  ;D

Offline tawilson

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2021, 06:01:42 PM »
Thank you, I thought so but thinking has gotten me in trouble plenty! There is a guy locally that uses a small JD rubber track machine but looks like mostly on landings. I have a lot of road building and fixing  to do as well as other non forestry related work and was thinking steel would be best for the varied use but semi frequent woods work. Need excavator a lot more than dozer. That Doosan in the video on steel is similar size for instance.

Can you put a wide(er) steel track on the smaller ďminiĒ class machines that seem to invariably come with rubber? If so, are they stable enough to actually leave the landing? For example I need to dig some bridge footings pretty far back in but do not really need a wide trail back there and in general do not need a midi except for some jobs that one could be rented for. If there is something I should be reading or watching instead of bothering you guys and cluttering up this thread please let me know  ;D
Kubota has a steel crawler track as an option for their mini's. I've never seen one and my dealer didn't know anything about it. The most damage I've seen on mine is from working around rocks, which in my neck of the woods can't be avoided. 
Tom
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Woodmaster 725 ordered

Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2021, 06:46:09 PM »
In our woods rocks are not going to be a big issue . I was thinking rubber would be better but what do I know . 

Quebecnewf 

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2021, 07:15:53 PM »
 

 I think you could use one just fine. It not going to be perfect.  But itís going to be pretty slow, really rough. For as many advantages there are going to be just as many disadvantages. If you have post holes or trees to plant you can switch out to a post hole digger and smooth bucket to clean ditches. A thumb for sure. If you have a glass cab like this with no guarding you better be careful 😂

Offline Stephen Alford

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2021, 07:28:49 PM »
I like the look of your ...deer...  I think the one on the right has more points... :D

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2021, 09:19:35 PM »
So you use both machines in the woods logging I guess?
How big are your trees logs etc?
Any hardwood ?
Winter and summer ? Or both ?
Any pics ?
Quebecnewf
i use all 4
mostly the 5520 with forks on loader, and winch on back
the winch also makes a good counter balance.
log loading
tractor or excavator.
Excavators are slow, and long distance trips put a lot of wear on the track drive assembly
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Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2021, 09:29:43 PM »
As I see it I would not be doing a lot of travelling with it . 

Working slowly and carefully through the woods . Mostly driving over the branches . Like I said all small branches from spruce and fir trees .in a cutting season I would see me going about a mile ( at the most ) into the woods . Then as soon as the first snow comes coming back out the trail loading the sleds that will be transporting the firewood and logs out of the woods .

Quebecnewf 

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2021, 09:35:53 PM »
rent an excavator for a week to try it

lot cheaper than buying one

and rent a skidsteer then a tractor, or see if you can borrow one
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2021, 09:38:15 PM »
Does the machine have to cross the ice or water?  If so what is the maximum weight or size?




This is what id be aiming for.  But i would add knife edges in the up and down plane for delimbing the tree better while still standing, then shear it off. 








I understand for sawlogs youll still be using chainsaw to prevent shear damage, but between limbing most of them and cutting most scrub and firewood i think your physical labor could drop 70%


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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2021, 09:49:54 PM »
i also built a job box for the logging tools and chainsaws
built it with two 6x6's so i can get the forks under it

yes there are 4 forks, makes it into a tractor-pitchfork




 

 

 
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2021, 10:15:33 PM »
Nice 👍

Offline Southside

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2021, 11:04:32 PM »
All I can say is if you do go that route put ROPS and FOPS protection on the machine.  Those cabs are only designed to keep the rain out and the radio noise in.  I have bumped dead pines with my fellerbuncher and knocked out a 16' or so piece and when they smack the cab she rocks like a Tonka toy.  Jump the daylights out of you but being that Big Pig has a full FOPS system on it all it does is make noise.  I know some of those would flatten a mini-ex cab.  
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2021, 06:51:43 AM »
this could get expensive in a hurry. rubber tracks would not stand the strain. steel may not either. they are not built for this. triple grousers will fill with snow turning to ice quick. wide pads would be the last thing you would want. they put more strain on the track chain. that isnt going to be big enough to begin with. no track guards. tracks will come off. i know it sounded like a good idea. i though the same thing 30 yrs ago when i converted a excavator to woods work. never again

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2021, 07:28:50 AM »
 When I worked for the highway dept, I talked them into buying a grapple with the swivel rotor and we pined it on the back of the backhoe bucket where to pin is for using a chain. They use it all the time cleaning road side trees and loading into the dump truck. Last summer they used it for putting culverts in too 8) ;).

Offline PoginyHill

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2021, 08:06:13 AM »
My excavator is mid-sized, about 16,000lbs. I was lucky enough to stumble across this rather locally. 1990's, so it's not very compact for it's weight - but does make it easier to work on. Came with a hydraulic thumb and 24" tracks. You can see the rocks I deal with in this pic. Size and power have been perfect for my application. The counterweight swings well over the tracks, so being careful when swinging I've had to learn the hard way. This cost me about $22k. Hour meter shows 4,000+ hrs, but doesn't work. Probably more like 6-8,000 hrs.

 
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Offline Skeans1

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2021, 08:49:45 AM »
Iíve track equipment out in the brush shovel logging about like what youíre talking about. Steel tracks are must single or double bar grousers with the narrowest set available to keep the power up on the travel system. Next full rock guards are a must otherwise youíll be putting tracks on left and right all the time. After that youíll probably bust off the upper rollers so either slides or bottom rollers put up top. Every pan and plate on the under belly needs to be about 3/8Ē to 1/2Ē thick minimum to keep from being bent as easily. After which the whole  right side plus the rear needs guarding which can be fun on a non tail swing. After all of that you have full cab guard with screening on every window donít skip any of this or it could cost you a lot of time or money down the road.

Online Iwawoodwork

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2021, 01:20:02 PM »
After  fully reading this post and most of Q,s other post many of you are forgetting that the trees that Q handles are quite small compares to what we in the NW or east US are used to plus the ground does not appear as rough, At the time of use the ground will be frozen and/or snow covered, With his small wood and doing the corridor\trail yarding will not be exposed to the larger trees. 
I have a Hitachi ex50 with thumb, rubber tracks, and a blade with the half cab (Not good for limbs and brush) but handles logs with the thumb where you have an open area to rotate 180 degrees, decking or loading. Mounting a winch, preferably hydraulic, would be a great help in moving the logs to the trail side for skidding.  With your small wood I think a 6000 to 10,000 LB machine would do fine and on packed snowmobile trails rubber or metal tracks will be fine. The rubber tracks are a plus in dry fire season over the steel for me.
I have used tongs on my Komatsu pc 60for loading logs but it is slower than a thumb,
The excavator would work great for your decking and also putting the logs in the water. With your logging trails only being about a mile out per trail the excavator travel would not be a big issue. On the smaller excavators like my EX50 the tracks are solid rubber , not rubber on steel and relatively inexpensive to replace.  In previous pictures of your logging I did not see ground conditions that warrant rock guards or cab guarding beyond an enclosed cab.

Offline Mattjohndeere2

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2021, 11:45:39 PM »
Having both a 16k lb excavator and a dozer, and spent a little time in the woods with both, I would say your better off with a little dozer with a winch in the woods. The excavator is great for making trails and moving the brush and whatnot, but when it comes to hooking onto a tree and getting it somewhere, especially when you say it's pretty crowded in your woods, a dozer/winch combo will be much more effective. Swinging the excavator around gets tricky in tight woods, and it's just easier to plow over trees if necessary with the dozer and winch anything in any direction. Plus, you get a good hook of logs and chances are you can still travel a bit faster with the dozer than with the excavator. Plus steering clutches are quite a bit cheaper than final drives...

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2021, 11:59:54 PM »
Having both a 16k lb excavator and a dozer, and spent a little time in the woods with both, I would say your better off with a little dozer with a winch in the woods. The excavator is great for making trails and moving the brush and whatnot, but when it comes to hooking onto a tree and getting it somewhere, especially when you say it's pretty crowded in your woods, a dozer/winch combo will be much more effective. Swinging the excavator around gets tricky in tight woods, and it's just easier to plow over trees if necessary with the dozer and winch anything in any direction. Plus, you get a good hook of logs and chances are you can still travel a bit faster with the dozer than with the excavator. Plus steering clutches are quite a bit cheaper than final drives...
Good recommendation but maybe he just needs to get both a excavator and dozer then he would be really set. Itís just money 💰😂

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2021, 12:02:15 AM »
My excavator is mid-sized, about 16,000lbs. I was lucky enough to stumble across this rather locally. 1990's, so it's not very compact for it's weight - but does make it easier to work on. Came with a hydraulic thumb and 24" tracks. You can see the rocks I deal with in this pic. Size and power have been perfect for my application. The counterweight swings well over the tracks, so being careful when swinging I've had to learn the hard way. This cost me about $22k. Hour meter shows 4,000+ hrs, but doesn't work. Probably more like 6-8,000 hrs.
(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

That is a dandy 👍💪

Offline Mattjohndeere2

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2021, 01:50:20 AM »
Having both a 16k lb excavator and a dozer, and spent a little time in the woods with both, I would say your better off with a little dozer with a winch in the woods. The excavator is great for making trails and moving the brush and whatnot, but when it comes to hooking onto a tree and getting it somewhere, especially when you say it's pretty crowded in your woods, a dozer/winch combo will be much more effective. Swinging the excavator around gets tricky in tight woods, and it's just easier to plow over trees if necessary with the dozer and winch anything in any direction. Plus, you get a good hook of logs and chances are you can still travel a bit faster with the dozer than with the excavator. Plus steering clutches are quite a bit cheaper than final drives...
Good recommendation but maybe he just needs to get both a excavator and dozer then he would be really set. Itís just money 💰😂
Haha very true! Having both is definitely nice. They are just tools and both have their purpose. From experience, cuz I find myself doing it at times - I just know that if it was only an excavator you had in the woods, you start doing things that it isn't meant to do, like pushing trees or stumps, or hooking onto logs and pulling them.  Enough of that and the final drives will most likely give up. You can beat on a dozer pretty good in the woods and can do just about anything except reach high, and it'll take the beating. Get into wet areas and instead of walking an excavator out there, sit on solid ground and winch everything in. When it comes to hills, much safer with the dozer and winch. Now I've never used an actual skidder machine, supposedly that would be even more effective than the dozer - but I think when things get wet and soft the dozer does a lot less ruining of the logging trails than a wheeled vehicle

Offline Mattjohndeere2

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2021, 01:55:37 AM »
My excavator is mid-sized, about 16,000lbs. I was lucky enough to stumble across this rather locally. 1990's, so it's not very compact for it's weight - but does make it easier to work on. Came with a hydraulic thumb and 24" tracks. You can see the rocks I deal with in this pic. Size and power have been perfect for my application. The counterweight swings well over the tracks, so being careful when swinging I've had to learn the hard way. This cost me about $22k. Hour meter shows 4,000+ hrs, but doesn't work. Probably more like 6-8,000 hrs.
(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

That's a nice machine. I have pretty much the same exact thing. Hydraulic thumb is a must!


 

Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #38 on: March 13, 2021, 04:50:16 AM »
Thanks for all the info guys itís making me think about it more .

I need to explain a bit more maybe how I see this working .

 The trail and the cutting will be all done by chain saw . 

We would open up say a 50 ft long section just a bit wider than the machine . The machine then goes forward and stacks the fire wood logs and good logs on each side that this cutting has produced . The slash is placed on the ground and used as a bedding to smooth the trail . 

The machine backs out to a safe distance and we start working blocks on each side of the trail . Taking down some (log trees ) and older scrap ( firewood ) trees . The machine moves back in and pulls these trees to the trail where they are processed ( logs cut of and tops cut into 8 ft lengths as firewood . ) 

At no time will we be pushing over trees or clearing a bunch of hang ups that could fall on the machine ( an excavator cannot run) . We will use the machine to dig out stumps as needed but the ( road) will be mainly made of a bed of limbs . 

As Iwawoodwork said . These are small trees mostly . The ground is soft and uneven but not rough in that sense . We will have lots and lots of small wood to fill in and make the ď roadĒ level . 

The excavator does not forward the logs this is done with snowmobile later . The excavator will then be used to load the logs and the firewood into the sleighs .

As soon as the spring breaks and the thaw starts the excavator will be parked next to the log piles by the shoreline and used to place the logs in the water for rafting home to the mill . 

Quebecnewf 

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #39 on: March 13, 2021, 05:15:58 AM »
So what excavator do you plan on getting?

Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #40 on: March 13, 2021, 06:32:19 AM »
So what excavator do you plan on getting?
Now that is the question . Iím looking at different ones . Maybe a JD or a Kubota .
Shipping into our area is a big cost . 
Any good brand name will do Iím thinking . Iím sure like everything guys swear by different brands .
What are youíre thoughts on models ? 
Quebecnewf 

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #41 on: March 13, 2021, 06:48:59 AM »
Yanmar was the pioneer of the mini. There are several really good ones. I would figure out what size your going to get and then really compare 

Offline teakwood

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #42 on: March 13, 2021, 08:26:46 AM »
a excavator will be perfect for you. maybe with a winch, a quickcoupler with loggrapple, tiltbucket, ripper you can spend two fortunes at useful attachments 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2021, 09:45:31 AM »
I would put two ripper shanks on the outside edges of the blade for parking pawls into the dirt and put a 12k electric or hydraulic freewheeling winch with 4 slides, mounted ontop the blade where its easy to fix a birdnest or flip the neutral lever.  Dont use the chinese fairlead, make a good roller system or buy a delrin hawse and angle the winch mount up at the next part im gonna describe.


weld a mount tab on the inside face of the elbow made by the stick and boom as high itll go without interference. so that you can hang a swivel pulley for a cable redirect on the apex of the boom that goes out either to the left or right without bind or cable issues.  the bucket is parked with the live thumb grappling tight on a stump so the load is not trying to slew the carbody around and break the swing gear. Screen all the cab glass for sure.


3 reasons for this rigging suggestion:

1- winching with the machine at a slight angle so that a snapped cable and slides has a better chance of flying into the boom instead of the cab.

2- a low mounted cable just pulls logs into the dirt, so you want it up as high as you can get.  Easily this doubles winching capacity of small winches in my experience.

3- winching straight in from a stationary location is like reeling a lure right straight through a tangle of weeds.  Only brute force can succeed in that tactic but its an inefficient mess that breaks fishing line and cable alike.  With the tackle up on the boom as i have described you will be creating a fishing pole that with just a two finger pressure on the sticks can change the entire alignment on the fly in a dynamic log fishing tournament through the weeds.


 I did it with winch on the grapple of my bobcat and the results of logfishing have to be seen to be believed.  There is no way to have a lower impact that i can think of.  You will be able to Z and corkscrew through the woods without rubbing anything at all.  



I think your idea is perfect.  You just need to add cables so that the machine is a self propelled micro yarder reeling to it from every direction on a perfect brush trail only to preserve the machine.  Anything to spare the UC.  Winches are what you want to design in and wear out.  The machine should just be an achor with an engine making voltage and hydraulic pressure for cable drums to reel while the excavator moves as little as possible and stays tight.  Let the cables do the travelling, not the tracks.  The excavator only moves to reposition or redirect a cable. 


Me personally i would put two winches, both on the blade, to try a mini skyline carriage for the firewood limb collection.  The clusters of many light pieces would be sped up alot, id just use carabiners and prusic loops made from my old rope scraps.. I do that all the time for sub 8" wood, much better than chain.  Buttlogs would probably pull the skyline to the ground.


Also if theres 2 winches and 2 tackle sets, one operator can sit in the cab while the groundman rigs one cable.  Operator starts reeling that in while groundman starts pulling 2nd cable to another hitch.  By the time he is done the first hitch is in and he walks back, unchokes and heads out again.  It will double production with a good help.


Both of you lay trees down together one day or morning. then yard them all and move ahead.  Youll be putting up more wood than ever before.


Brand wise, takeuchi, wacker, daewoo, doosan and ihi are often forgotten about.  Whatever machine you buy make sure nothing will stop you from putting a drill or welder to it.  You are buying a dirt machine, it will need conversion to a woods machine.  You dont want reluctance creeping into your heart when you look at new paint or warranty fine print.  Added metal may mean someones life, thats the warranty we need most.

Psalm 37:16

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #44 on: March 13, 2021, 10:49:09 AM »
Im not sure why i do all that typing instead of just sketch it from the getgo.  





I made an error in this sketch.   the winches have to go on the base of boom. You cant swing the carbody if the winches are on the blade due to hoses or cables.  Unless you put a selector valve on the blade cylinder ports to run the winch but then u need to get out every time u need to switch. 


  I would go with a steel track midi over a mini for the more stable base, stronger physical structure, wider blade, bigger power, cooling and fuel capacity.  If needed i would do pin on stabilizers to widen the blade base to help prevent tip.  Also a boom thats on a left right pivot for tight work would be very helpful rather than just carbody swinging it.  Youll want to tuck the crane in tight at times to get around keepers.  




A small ryans style rotator grapple with a barsaw for bucking, sortingg and piling would be the cats meow future addition.  This would be the rambo knife of TSI. Too bad no one makes it.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2021, 11:52:33 AM »
   I know electric winches arent popular with loggers but theyre worth considering for tsi or small softwood stuff.  

  Dirt cheap and easy to put as many as you want.  Putting dual hydraulic winches is big, big bucks, and you may not have room for the valves on a mini.

   The duty cycle on electric winches is lower but with two winches to swap back and forth your human duty cycle is lesser than theirs, i can promise that.. I have never moved fast enough to overheat my junky old pummelled 8k.   A chinese 12k is about $500 by the time its on the machine and a US made is maybe $1500.  I use old stick welder cable with anderson connectors.

 
   Dual deep cycle batteries will be sufficient without an alternator change for nonstop all day winching.  My tractor has one standard car battery and i have to bring rpm up a bit to protect the battery by feeding it amps.

  The bobcat has dual group 31s and i never needed more than idle on a delco 12SI alternator.. Maybe 80 amps?  Idk.  But im not even in the machine most of the time for winching.  You want dual batts to keep voltage high for the winch windings to not draw too many amps at lower volts.  The batteries get charged up when i reposition so its purely idle work with minimal fuel consumption.   Ive never hurt the bobcat batteries or stalled the winch.



Hydraulic winches will have you reeling at full throttle to make the gpm for full line speed.  More cost, effort and fuel to go hydraulic, yes hydraulic is better in every single way but hydraulic cant compete with electric on a cost basis at all.  You cant even buy the hyd winch for the price of being in the woods running the electric one.. Never mind install cost.


I dont see any logs in your pile that even a chicom electric winch wont laugh at.




























These are visual representations of just a few of the hardwoods my $300 smittybilt junk 8k has reeled in, so the proof is right there.  All oak except for the maples with red rope.  I am being very adamant on this because it is extremely common for the forestry forum to advise a person to spend $30k plus on every little issue that completely defeats the purpose of doing the job yourself.. To save money.  For the kind of money we collectively recommend spending here every job could be hired out cheaper.   There is no point in spending more than you have, in order to have more than you needed in the first place. You dont need a D6 to fetch tops or a cat 330 to dig out the hedges. You dont need a 15k hydraulic winch on a 3k excavator, itll just fall over or slide.  My winch will drag my bobcat or flip my tractor when its on something it cant budge.




I did break it once.  I winched all of these tangled tops in at once with no issue..











But then i pulled the hitch with the machine while repositioning to get around a tree,  not knowing that an 8k winch only has a 4k holding brake, which mangled.  I got a replacement from summit for $50 shipped and built this mechanical drum brake if i ever have to skid with it again, but i generally dont. I switch my chokers to the rack on my 3pt because the winch is too far back on the tractor causing wheelies.


The brake is simple if anyone wants to skid with one.




Ive been trying to kill this winch since about 2007.  The brushes still havent worn out.  Its dragged campers, machines and vehicles with no wheels onto the trailer, etc etc.  Never snapped the cable either.  A new 12k electric... I dont think you can break one on a freestanding machine that weighs under 8k.  I have 3 of them and only use 1.  never tried to care if it breaks.. Its honestly become a challenge at this point.  I think id have to put it on the dozer to really truly break it.  Maybe i'll do that.


Psalm 37:16

Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #46 on: March 13, 2021, 01:34:24 PM »
I really like the winching idea and have been beating some ideas along the same lines in my head .

I have a Portable Gas Winch with capstan head . We use it all the time to winch our logs .

Could fab up a mount to have it clipped on the excavator . Run two winching lines at the same time with this setup . While your winching in one the chaser is running and setting the other . The excavator is as you said just a movable base for your winch . I KNOW this would work great . One of the issues now when we winch in a bunch of logs we have to then pile them as well with the winch . This is a slow process . Now the excavator becomes our movable anchor tree AND our very fast stacking system . 

Quebecnewf 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #47 on: March 13, 2021, 02:17:44 PM »
Yup.  Yarders ruled the west coast before a bajillion dollars of other tech unseated them.  A pee wee yarder with a bucket is still perfect for you.


If you put a self release snatch on the end of the bucket you can have the ground man switch your cable over to there in order to really lift your line height way up once the log is reeled in so it just fetches right up ontop the pile.










With the bobcat i can grab a pole in the grapple for a stabilizer leg to winch from max height.  This is my first try and its 2 small oaks coming out of the bottom of my former stump dump trough.  This is about as big as i could pull without any stabilizer (both whole trees are coming in at once with stumps ontop of them, just a test run) and not flip the machine but a fast line speed would mean if a log snags you can get yanked over fast if distracted.  With a prop pole it can raise a good sawlog completely in the air and not tip at all. No pics of that.


With your bucket and thumb you could easily bolt or lash together two stubs of wood for a prop to winch from 12 or 15ft high, as long as you are aimed right at the cable.  Or use that to make your skyline and then pull the choker carriage to you with another winch.


When the tree comes in and jumps up on the pile, ground man can just buck the sawlog to length right there so that your front stack is sawlog and your back stack is firewood tops without any further rehandling or piling.   The brush tips can be left to lay out the next row that youll make a main trail of,so there is work saved not having to redistribute the slash mat very far if at all. 


 I am confident this is a very workable and efficient plan from the pics ive seen of your worksite.  Your hard labor will drop and production will climb. Like you said its the time to re-rig the capstan then muscle stuff that the ex will fling on 3ozs of diesel.  Spend your money and spare your spine.






2 more benefits of electric winches.. Your machine can be flipped over or submerged and unable to run, but the winches will still work for a while to get your righted as long as the freespool handle is accessible and protected.


Having the ability to put cable up to the bucket is another must IMO.  Some day you will sink the tracks and be immobile.  If you keep moving you sink deeper.  The blade can only lift you so much or in real soup not at all.. In fact itll become a mud plow once you sink enough.


Put a cable up to the bucket all the way up in the air and pull on a tree. Youll have the leverage to lift your tracks 3 feet high via the boom valve to pile a limb mat under you.  Then spin  the carbody the other way to tip the other end of the track up and pile under that side. Now you are up ontop a log piling and with a thumb can walk yourself out of a swamp by picking and placing logs to walk onto like conventional swamp work with mats.


Im pretty excited for you man.. I hope you do it stat.  


Psalm 37:16

Offline tawilson

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #48 on: March 13, 2021, 02:54:52 PM »
Last fall I bought a couple of quick attach ears, a couple skidsteer latch boxes and a mounting plate with the intention of making an adapter for my mini to use some of my 3 point and skidsteer attachments. There are aftermarket setups but they are pricey. Could mount a winch to one for your future excavator,  then when you decide to add a skidsteer you'll be all set. 😆
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Offline Andries

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #49 on: March 13, 2021, 03:08:37 PM »
I'm watching the marriage made in heaven develop between Quebecnewf and mike_belben.
The lone logger on The Rock (aka Newfoundland/Labrador) and the salvage yard inventor in Middle Tennessee.
Both are clever, hardworkin', upbeat, outside-of-the-box thinkers. 
And the Forum is the matchmaker - thanks @Jeff

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #50 on: March 13, 2021, 03:22:42 PM »
Maybe we are kin.. My people are from up there.   ;D
Psalm 37:16

Offline Tin Horse

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #51 on: March 13, 2021, 05:28:03 PM »
Maybe we are kin.. My people are from up there.   ;D
Wait now! Are you saying your kind of Canadian? That may change everything. ;D
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Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #52 on: March 13, 2021, 05:45:28 PM »
Iím afraid Iím not from NFLD and Labrador . My great grandparents were . Iím a born and bred Quebecer . An English speaking one but like a lot of Quebecers we speak both English and French . Mind you my French is not as good as I wish it was . 

Now back to the subject at hand .

I have used some of those self releasing snatch blocks but never got them to work as good as I wanted . 

In this area ( not to blow my own horn ) but we are masters of moving things with winches , block and tackle. This comes from a lifetime spent moving things with no heavy machinery around . 

I have been using the capstan head winch now for many years and the step up to mounted on an excavator is going to be a learning curve for sure . 

Iím quite sure it will work as I see it but thereís going to be adjustment along the way . 

Quebecnewf 

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #53 on: March 13, 2021, 06:03:50 PM »
When you get creative you can do some amazing things with what you have or what you want to do. You donít always have to conform to the way it should be done ✅ 

Offline bushmechanic

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #54 on: March 13, 2021, 06:22:15 PM »
Well I've been just reading this thread and am interested in the ground your on. I am wondering how soft this ground is??? Your timber is identical to what is on the island but we have either rock or bog here. Would a J5 work in your area? Hate them myself but it may work perfectly for you. A tracked machine comes with it's own problems in snow. You will need to have reliefs in the track pads or snow will build up and stall the hydraulic's. This comes from years of steel tracks winter time, not sure how rubber tracks will work in snow conditions! Did the skidders sink in the soft ground? Does your ground not freeze up in the winter time? I was in Labrador and it was all sand, is your terrain like that?

Offline Mattjohndeere2

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #55 on: March 13, 2021, 07:53:33 PM »
Thanks for all the info guys itís making me think about it more .

I need to explain a bit more maybe how I see this working .

 The trail and the cutting will be all done by chain saw .

We would open up say a 50 ft long section just a bit wider than the machine . The machine then goes forward and stacks the fire wood logs and good logs on each side that this cutting has produced . The slash is placed on the ground and used as a bedding to smooth the trail .

The machine backs out to a safe distance and we start working blocks on each side of the trail . Taking down some (log trees ) and older scrap ( firewood ) trees . The machine moves back in and pulls these trees to the trail where they are processed ( logs cut of and tops cut into 8 ft lengths as firewood . )

At no time will we be pushing over trees or clearing a bunch of hang ups that could fall on the machine ( an excavator cannot run) . We will use the machine to dig out stumps as needed but the ( road) will be mainly made of a bed of limbs .

As Iwawoodwork said . These are small trees mostly . The ground is soft and uneven but not rough in that sense . We will have lots and lots of small wood to fill in and make the ď roadĒ level .

The excavator does not forward the logs this is done with snowmobile later . The excavator will then be used to load the logs and the firewood into the sleighs .

As soon as the spring breaks and the thaw starts the excavator will be parked next to the log piles by the shoreline and used to place the logs in the water for rafting home to the mill .

Quebecnewf
Ah, I see better now what your into. For that much road building and log handling, an excavator with a log grapple seems like a better choice all around. I guess I'm used to getting big stuff outta the woods, not stuff a snowmobile would handle

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #56 on: March 13, 2021, 08:05:24 PM »
......Spend your money and spare your spine.........
best advice.

you can always get more $$
you only have one body
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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #57 on: March 13, 2021, 08:10:31 PM »
here is the ripper tooth

we welded triangle teeth to the back edge of the tooth to help break through big roots
It did not work



 
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Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #58 on: March 13, 2021, 08:45:09 PM »
I have a 17,000 pound excavator that I've used in the woods quite a lot. Mostly to build trails or smooth out the mess the loggers left in my soft ground. I've used it mostly in predominately softwood forest. Hardwood is sneaky and after your windows.

While I have ripped off a hose a couple of times, you learn where the vulnerable things are and pay attention so as not to snag them. I was only detracked once and the tracks were very stretched out/old steel. It was a mixture of rocks that got me. I bought new steel tracks.

I don't have a thumb or any desire to try to do much in the way of logging with it. It is very useful for clearing trees up to about 8-10" diameter. Just push them over and often I can do a lot of limbing with the hoe. Most of the time, the stump comes up too. I just pile them up and make firewood later or mash them down to decompose.
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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #59 on: March 13, 2021, 09:02:29 PM »
Maybe we are kin.. My people are from up there.   ;D
Wait now! Are you saying your kind of Canadian? That may change everything. ;D
Both my parents and their parents were boston based.  Before that youve got russia, poland, nova scotia.. All dead before my time.  If you go back several hundred years it appears we were western europeans who settled in labrador, thunder bay, st johns and those coastal areas.  All salt water fisherman until my dads teens.  I was born inland.   There is one strand on my mothers side that seemed to be frontier folks leaving a trail from virginia to TN, MO and TX.  Dont know much about any of them.
Psalm 37:16

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #60 on: March 14, 2021, 12:32:23 AM »
Lots of Nova Scotians ended up in Boston to work, there was a ferry boat(s) that left Yarmouth and went direct to Boston, it started in the late 1880's and ran with various boats and companies until the late 1950's. My grandparents on both side of my family had moved there and my parents were born in the Boston area and moved back to Nova Scotia as children. Then back again to Boston as young adults.  I still have lots of relatives over there but have only met a few.

Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #61 on: March 14, 2021, 12:48:46 AM »
Back to forestry, I always thought those little 8x8 Alstor forwarders would be the cats behind for the kind of area were talking about. I notice they mount their boom winch back on the first section of the boom and have a block further down the boom to winch from after setting the grapple on the ground. The winch is operated by a remote so you can be on the ground while running it.

 

Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #62 on: March 14, 2021, 05:53:03 AM »
Well I've been just reading this thread and am interested in the ground your on. I am wondering how soft this ground is??? Your timber is identical to what is on the island but we have either rock or bog here. Would a J5 work in your area? Hate them myself but it may work perfectly for you. A tracked machine comes with it's own problems in snow. You will need to have reliefs in the track pads or snow will build up and stall the hydraulic's. This comes from years of steel tracks winter time, not sure how rubber tracks will work in snow conditions! Did the skidders sink in the soft ground? Does your ground not freeze up in the winter time? I was in Labrador and it was all sand, is your terrain like that?
I think a J5 would be an excellent machine to have around . They are hard to come by up my way . I may be wrong but Iím thinking they are no longer made so maybe on there way out . 
Our ground is very soft . The area where Iím cutting now is clay underneath a bit of topsoil . If you move too much in one place it can get real tricky . Lots of bog around as well . 
I foresee logging prime time to be . From Sept to dec . Mainly nov and dec to be the best of that . . Ground starting to freeze but little snow . 
My biggest problem to solve is moving the machine on site . I have to barge it in . Very shallow bay ( dries out at low tide ) . Itís all clay flats and rocks in the bay so not good . Maybe 6 ft of water tops at high tide . Special barge needed for this type of operation . Itís going to be a tough nut to crack .
Quebecnewf 

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #63 on: March 14, 2021, 06:46:10 AM »
I think a small excavator will work well for you. Especially with a winch like Mike mentioned.  We sold 11 tonne thinning harvesters with levelling cabs. They were productive, but expensive to buy and parts were a challenge. I did see a fellow in BC purchased one from NS and placed another loader for chucking. Awesome looking machine.

Since someone mentioned the Alstor, I did find this 8x8 made in Quebec.

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #64 on: March 14, 2021, 07:09:55 AM »
 

 
This is pretty much what I need . 

Quebecnewf 

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #65 on: March 14, 2021, 07:13:24 AM »
My biggest problem to solve is moving the machine on site . I have to barge it in . Very shallow bay ( dries out at low tide ) . Itís all clay flats and rocks in the bay so not good . Maybe 6 ft of water tops at high tide . Special barge needed for this type of operation . Itís going to be a tough nut to crack .
Quebecnewf
Have you thought hovercraft? Kind of, buy any old barge hull. Fit a skirt and two fans to it, and you're set! :D 
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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #66 on: March 14, 2021, 07:34:20 AM »
That's a nice barge. If the engine dies the excavator can paddle to shore.  ;D  looking forward to seeing pics of what you end up with.

This is the excavator that was built with a shear. Not what you need but it's cool. https://www.heavyequipmentforums.com/threads/building-a-custom-excavator.68631/page-14

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #67 on: March 14, 2021, 10:08:58 AM »
Man, You folks are determined.  Will you be leaving it there or moving it back and forth?


What if you sledded this thing over the ice on a stone boat? Could it be safely left somewhere, hidden and pickled?
Psalm 37:16

Offline pwrwagontom

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #68 on: March 14, 2021, 10:58:45 AM »
Last year I bought a new Kubota KX018-4, and purchased an aftermarket Work-Brau 24" grading bucket and hydraulic thumb.  Been very happy with both by the way- the grading bucket gets most of my use with the thumb.

Smaller than I would have purchased if it was just for forestry use, but it was purposely spec-ed for single track trail building.
I use it for sorting and stacking, logs at the landing and brush piles in the woods.  It works adequately for both of those things, and can handle large logs although it gets a little tipsy.  I guess my main suggestion (based off my experience) is that using one of these are a forwarder will be extremely slow and unproductive.
What I would suggest is using a nice 40-60HP farm tractor with a winch of some sort, and this for stacking as I do.  Probably would get a few sizes larger if you're buying it special for forest use- I get that.  But as a side note, if you have a small one you may be able to haul it to the site on a trailer behind your tractor/winch.

One other thought...I would look at machines advertised with zero tail swing.  I thought my machine was pretty compact, but have gotten wedged pretty tightly a few times.  Using it as you say you'd want to I picture losts of weaving in and out, and this would be an obvious advantage.

I'm a young guy, but have had a recent back surgery so I definitely get the desire to lessen the strain on the body as you age!

Just my two cents.
Never give an inch

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #69 on: March 14, 2021, 12:25:23 PM »
@mike_belben your thinking is the reason why I have 2 electric winches on my trail buggy pickup. The normal up front and 1 in the rear, because you donít always want to go forward. Iíve even had to use it 1 time on myself, because itís either back or go through the RIVER! Itís also come in handy for using on my self-righting deer stand that I can easily move from 1 clear cut to another. Thatís a lot less expensive than making 2 permanent.
Trying harder everyday.

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #70 on: March 14, 2021, 01:27:50 PM »
In my area it's 2 makes of mini ex
Bobcat or Kabota a Hataci or 2
Lt 40 wide with 38hp gas and command controls , F350 4x4 dump and lot of contracting tools

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #71 on: March 15, 2021, 11:48:31 AM »
.......I don't have a thumb ........
my 2 cents
get the thumb.
think of it this way, how useful is the thumb on your own hand?
same holds true for the excavator.
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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #72 on: March 15, 2021, 12:03:05 PM »

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 
This is pretty much what I need .

Quebecnewf
OK, but get a little bigger than you think you need.
a cab is good, has heat, A/C, and protects you when a bee hive or yellow jacket nest is disturbed
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Offline PoginyHill

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #73 on: March 15, 2021, 01:49:44 PM »
Both my parents and their parents were boston based.  Before that youve got russia, poland, nova scotia..
Now back to @mike_belben 's ancestory. And all this time I thought he was Australian. Wasn't Mad Max / Road Warrior his biography?
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #74 on: March 15, 2021, 03:10:53 PM »
Somewhere I had a picture of a barge with a small excavator on it that was making its way out to some local Islands. Not having any luck finding the picture but I can tell you that it looked like it was made from large propane tanks like you will see outside of a restaurant. 

Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #75 on: March 17, 2021, 11:15:43 AM »
If you are working by yourself it is nice to have a winch that you can control without having to climb into the cab every time.  I have used several winches.  One couldn't be used unless you climbed into the cab, sat down, waited 10 seconds, and then you could turn on the pto.  Another one could be operated by just standing next to the operator station.  And the third can be operated totally from outside.  It can even be run from a distance by tying a rope to the handle and keeping pressure on the rope.

The one that required climbing into the cab felt like the constant climbing up and down was the most strenuous part of the job.   After 50 times in and out of the cab those steps to climb up there start looking bigger and bigger.

You may also want to look at bigger options.  When I first built my winch I planned that the biggest log I would move with it would be about 10 inches in diameter and 20 feet long.  But I keep using it to pull bigger and bigger logs.  The biggest so far was 26 inches at the big end and 34 feet long.  I had to use 2 snatch blocks to pull it, which took a lot of time to reset up for each pull.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #76 on: March 17, 2021, 12:37:29 PM »
Bigtime on the stairs.  I can hand pick and place 4ton of flagstone on pallet in a day no problem but what really wears me down to an elderly snail's pace is those 50 trips up and down the 7ft loader steps. 


A remote winch is worth the trouble.  And honestly a $75 ATV winch will move most any softwood log ive seen in the pics.. Theyre just slow. 
Psalm 37:16

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #77 on: March 17, 2021, 04:58:09 PM »
That's what put the finishing touches on my knees was in and out of the tractor loading the old Thomas mill. As my tractors progressed they got higher and higher.
That can wear a man down.
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Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #78 on: March 22, 2021, 11:04:36 AM »
What type of small dangle grapple is available for this type of machine . Maybe with a quick connect would be great . 

Quebecnewf 

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #79 on: March 22, 2021, 10:32:32 PM »
Check ryans equipment.
Psalm 37:16

Offline 47sawdust

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #80 on: March 23, 2021, 07:34:05 AM »
Small Dangle Grapple-
Pickens Farm Equipment
Waterloo,QC.
They will ship. Ask for Brad Charby

 

This is the smallest one. Made by Farma in Estonia .Has a rotator as well.
Mick
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Offline Brandon1986

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #81 on: March 23, 2021, 10:41:38 AM »
$.02 from someone who uses an excavator for logging 95% of the time.. I use a 50,000# excavator so take that for what its worth..

It works really well on an acre, if you have to shuttle more than that, its just to all fired slow.  Ditch the fancy grapples tongs and thumbs that won't grab more than a log and dangle 1 or 2 cat chokers off the bucket, yes you will have to get out of the seat, but you can skid way more per trip than you can carry.. Carrying large handfuls of logs tends to twist and crack the boom if carried in a thumb without any sort of hinge to let the load swing.. On our thumbed hoes we are always welding cracks on the top strap, assumedly for this reason.  There are some other possibilites for this repair, but that's one of them.. Be prepared to buy undercarriages, and buy as narrow of pads as possible.  Putting wide pads on stumps twists the rails and wears them out that much faster..

If you have to skid more than between 100-200ft to your landing, buy something more forestry oriented, if not... an excavator is in my opinion the MOST versitile piece of iron you can have for what we do.

Good luck deciding!

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #82 on: March 23, 2021, 11:07:39 AM »
Quebecnewf.

Have you considered a GAZ 71 with winch and crane? ;D

Well, i would get one in a pinch, if i had lotsa dough. I love the look of the thing.
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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #83 on: March 25, 2021, 06:39:02 AM »
 That looks just like mine that I built in 2001 but I didn't put a rotor on just used an 1 1/2" bolt where the rotor goes, I can swing the log or logs by letting the low side touch the ground or wood pile. It's worked great for then till now.

Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Small excavator in the woods
« Reply #84 on: March 28, 2021, 07:04:12 AM »
Small Dangle Grapple-
Pickens Farm Equipment
Waterloo,QC.
They will ship. Ask for Brad Charby
(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

This is the smallest one. Made by Farma in Estonia .Has a rotator as well.
Been looking at their site . They are in my Provence . Thatís good . Will be visiting them as soon as Covid permits .
Still pricing out small excavators . The search continues .
Quebecnewf 


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