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Author Topic: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor  (Read 7779 times)

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Offline Riles

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Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« on: May 22, 2007, 05:00:54 PM »
OK, I'm about finished here in Lousiana and I'm moving my pin on the big map again. I've got my forester's logo, 35 acres, and a skillmill and a Kubota on order. The tractor is a 4wd, 32hp diesel with a loader. For log handling, are plain forks sufficient or should I spring for a grapple? Or maybe some sort of combination like this: http://www.craig-mfg.com/html/loaderforkcpalletsing.htm

What works best for folks?
Knowledge is good -- Faber College

Offline beenthere

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2007, 05:22:16 PM »
Simple forks work good for many things. Adding a top hold-down or grapple just adds weight, reducing what you can lift. My 32hp Deere can handle some reasonable logs, but not a lot of extra to spare. I think a grapple will need more hp to be very handy. Like around the 45-50, I'm guessin.

But for sure, get the forks.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Tom

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2007, 06:00:45 PM »
If your tractor has a quick release Front end loader, forks are great.  If not just get forks to fit your bucket that you can mount and dismount without  leaving the tractor seat.   If you are using it mostly just around the mill, you will be surprised at the ease of handling logs with a skid hook and the Front end loader bucket.  You just need an extra set of hands on the ground.

With 30 horses of tractor, you will probably only be messing with one sawlog at a time anyway.  Remember that a sawlog is probably about 200 Board Feet.  If the log is all it cares to move, then so will 200 board feet.

The hold-down on top would be handy if you are moving trash, but usually tilting the loader is sufficient to hold a log.  You soon learn to guess the center of the weight and can balance it.
extinct

Offline mike_van

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2007, 06:21:11 PM »
Riles, I like the grapple idea, especially when logs are icey or snow covered. Some with the bark falling off can be slicker than snot too. I don't know how high your loader will lift for unloading, but if the grapple saved one log from coming over the loader down towards you, it'd be well worth it.
I was the smartest 16 year old I ever knew.

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2007, 07:12:19 PM »
As mentioned, the grapple will add a bunch of weight, which if you are movine logs will not be good. They are great for brush and other debris though. I borrowed a grapple for my L-48, and it was awsome for landclearing, but it was pretty heavy. Most of the grapples I have seen lately are aimed at the bigger skid loaders that have crazy tipping load ratings. At 32 horse, you might want to try Toms methods.


Dave
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Offline brdmkr

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2007, 07:36:32 PM »
I don't have either, but a grapple sure comes in handy for moving slabs.  But, you may be a little light in the HP department.  The fellow that moves my slabs for me has about a 60 hp Kubota 4wd behind his grapple.
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Offline eamassey

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2007, 11:12:01 PM »
I am a heavy user of forks on front end loaders.  I haven't figured out how a grapple would help me much.  Let be tell you how good a "self-leveling loader" works,  worth the extra money.  And 4WD.  I use a 84 HP tractor with 4WD and a 55 HP 2WD.  The bigger one is good for 4500 pounds with no rear counterweight.  The smaller will do 2000# but only with a counterweight on the back. 

Offline jbeat

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2007, 08:27:20 AM »
Hey Riles, I have a pair of forks but, for loading the Peterson, I find 3/8 chain hooks welded to the top of the bucket and hanging the log works the best. Use two hang points so you don't have to be exact on the balance point.
John B

Offline TexasTimbers

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2007, 09:30:54 AM »
Riles, I have, and use, both forks and a grapple. A grapple is an absolute must for a log yard. Once you have one and use it you will wonder how you got along without it.

There are also times where forks are better. When I am moving a whack of smallish cedar logs that are all in a nice pile, the forks do better than the grapple. When I am moving larger logs, or laogs that are wedged in with other logs, or logs where only the end is sticking out of the pile and can grab the thing with my grapple and finesse it or manhandle it out of there.

There are just too many scenarios i can't even recall where I have thought "Gezz! I am SO HAPPY I bought this grapple!"

I chose a lightweight one because like bt I did not want to reduce my tipping weight on my skidsteer. The welds on the claw cylinders wrecked on the very first job. I ended up having to weld some 2" x 2" x  5/16" thick angle to beef it up but have not had a problem since and I saved over 600 pounds over the heavy duty model they offered!

Get one for sure you will not regret it I promise.  But also as bt points out, ask your kubota dealer AND the manufacturer of any grapples you are looking at if 32HP is enough. I think it is but don't know for sure. Mine is 42HP and seems like it has power to spare for a grapple.
The oil is all in Texas, but the dipsticks are in D.C.

Offline TnSawyer

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2007, 10:37:27 PM »
grapple! got to have it.

Offline Riles

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2007, 10:45:44 PM »
OK, no consensus here.  ;D

The Kubota has the quick disconnect and can take skid steer attachments, so somebody name a few manufacturers and models of what's being used so I can educamate myself some more.
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Offline TexasTimbers

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2007, 10:59:41 PM »
I cannot recommend my grapple manufacturer. Not just because the engineering and design was scrappola and i had to spend from 6 til midnight re-fabbing it, but also because of their attitude and customer "service".
Ii would recommend getting a referral from someone who is happy with both the product and the company behind it. Does Baker or Woodmizer make one ???
The oil is all in Texas, but the dipsticks are in D.C.

Offline MikeH

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2007, 11:36:42 PM »
 I have forks and grapple, use forks 99% of time on skid steere. Would use grapple more often but can move several logs out of way and get what I am after in less time than changing attachments.

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2007, 01:49:21 AM »
I too have both forks and a grapple, (and my forks have a grapple hook with them).  I find myself using the forks more often than the grapple.

My forks and bucket are made by Long Mfg, I don't recall the brand of the grapple offhand.

One tip - get forks that don't "swing" when your tipping them forward.  You will need to be able to spear them in-between logs in a log pile, and the swinging forks (usually hang off of a bar) don't cut it.

I started off with a 39HP 4WD Kubota, but it was way too light for log work.  After almost turning it over several times, and rebuilding the steering and front end (steering multiple times), I upgraded to a 65HP Kioti, then added a backhoe and a skid-steer to the collection.

If I had it to do over again, I would forego the grapple on the forks (and get a bigger tractor first!)
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and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.

Offline woodsteach

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2007, 02:24:29 PM »
I have both for my skidsteer and use the grapple in the timber and forks around the log lot to load and unload logs and also to load the mill.  If I were to buy and I wasn't going to the woods logging, I pick up forks with a grapple of some sort on top.

woodsteach
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Offline TexasTimbers

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2007, 10:35:16 PM »
I think I have identified a pattern here. A rarity for me. i am not trying to start a skidsteer versus tractor debate that has been worn out. Just trying to help you (Riles) make an informed decision. You are going to be using a tractor in your logyard. I think a grapple is more suited for a skidsteer. Skidsteers are considerably more nimble than tractors and maybe that's why skidsteer operators like grapples in addition to forks. A tractor cannot fully utilize the benefits of a grapple compared to a skidsteer.

A tractor can pick up a much heavier log than a skidsteer without tipping so you would think that would be a feather in the cap for a grapple on a tractor since it weighs alot more than basic forks, but since the speed of a skidsteer (not highway speeds and long straight run speeds) around a log yard is much greater than a tractor, the time it takes to utilize a grapple is compensated for much more so with a skidsteer.

I think you need forks first. Get a grapple when you come to your senses and buy a big heavy skidsteer. ;D

The oil is all in Texas, but the dipsticks are in D.C.

Offline jack

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2007, 01:07:00 AM »
well,  Grapple is great, But if your capability of the loader is your limiting factor... 50 hp and above would be best for a grapple that can LIFT logs, not just little trees.  I have a 40 Kubota articulating loader,  quick disconnect and 4 in 1 bucket... it can lift some logs but its small in the jaw.   A flat bucket with a OVER REACHING GRAPPLE.. it is more like a sideways "L".  would give you capacity, say a 30" diam  log.   I Also have a L50B Volvo Loader with a Werkbrau grapple on a 2 cubic yard bucket... It does well on the lift capacity but the grapple should be over reaching  sideways "L".  the L50 Grabs 2  30" logs.   I have FORKS FOR EACH loader and for the money.............get STRONG long forks.....you can always attach a small length of chain to hold the log on the forks if you need.  Other wise roll the forks back and take off.

If i didnt have the grapple,, I WOULD get FORKS>>4' and really stout.

IMHO
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Offline sgtmaconga

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2007, 02:32:06 AM »
what are the best folks to order the forks from?
Measure twice cut once

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2007, 01:25:22 PM »
I would buy forks from Woods, I think they are the DF4800 model, not sure though. 48" and we have used them on a Bobcat T300 moving 60" rootballed trees ~5000lbs. I believe the Bobcat forks are close clones of the Woods model. It has a nice back to it to keep lumber piles and logs on the forks and hopefully off the operator. I second scsmith about the swinging forks, they will drive you mad if you are doing anything but pallet work.


Dave
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Forks vs Grapple for a tractor
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2007, 01:42:57 PM »
Here is a set of forks I made for my L48. Note that they are the swinging variety. I had intended to make a clamp that pivoted off of the same bar the forks are mounted on, but I have not gotten to it yet.

 

Here is how I solved the swinging problem:

 
I welded a square harrow axle under the fork frame and welded angle iron tabs to the forks.  Problem solved!


Dave
Wood-Mizer LT40HDD51-WR Wireless, Kubota L48, Honda Rincon 650, TJ208 G-S, and a 60"LogRite!


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