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charlieb

handling loose logs

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Hey all. SImple question really: can a standard front-loader digging/levelling bucket be used to pick up loose dry logs reasonably easily?

 

We're building up from a very small firewood business (where we handle the logs into back of pick up for sale) to a slightly bigger firewood business where I want to lift them in using to-be-purchased tractor with decent front loader.  Just thinking ahead whether a standard bucket will do it or whether some sort of grab thing would be needed.  I'm planning to build a new dutch barn for drying and can cut heavy-duty sleepers for the edge, so front loader would have a hard backstop to push against. 

 

Or does everyone dry in bags/boxes???   At the moment we cut rounds in the woods and split these in the shed into a big pile of split logs to dry.  I've considered splitting straight into boxes, but that would be another thing to think about. 

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Hi Chalie

 

 The trick is to use rotate the bucket while pushing to load it up. Not that we store logs that way but I was working at a site which had a small hydrostatic loader that I had a go on. It was a large bucket and pile of boiler sized oak logs. I drove into the stack and did not get many but the chap who's machine it was had the knack of rotating the bucket a filling it right up. 

 

Crates are great in combination with a loader and box rotator but quite an investment in kit.

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How do you get the logs of the pickup truck Charlie? Is it a tipper, or do you use a roller mat/ or handball.

I can't vouch for the bucket loader method as I use cages.  The low tech system I use is this - deliver IBC cage of logs on a trailer (I load onto trailer with tractor and 3 pt hitch pallet toes).

When I arrive at customers I unload the top half of the cage by hand, at this stage the cage is reasonably light enough to heal over and off the back of the trailer thus emptying the remaining contents fairly effortlessly. Not sure I would continue using this system is I was doing more then 100 loads a year (I'm small time as well).

 

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Thanks both.  Good to know getting them into a loader bucket is possible.  (We're upgrading to a semi-decent loader tractor. knacks and tricks will be part of it.  I don't like taking rickety loader on current MF565 near the landy very often - don't trust it.)

 

Rowan we unload by hand.  Tbh the time taken on this doesn't bother me.  We only deliver within a 5 mile radius so it's a good time to catch up with people - they nearly always give us hand, and appreciate that we can chuck over fences, etc.  It's the time loading in the shed that's dead time, though there is the advantage that we can chuck aside oversized or rotten logs for our own stove.                     We're currently doing about 20 loads a year but I'd like to build this up to 50 or so.  Just our own logs from the estate.  Never going to be a full time business. 

 

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Handball?    I looked at one of those roller mats and decided it wouldn't save much time on balance.  And we'd be too tempted to use it for wet logs so it would be bound to disintergrate. 

 

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If you've got something to push up against and a reasonably level floor a bucket shouldn't be a problem. Just bear in mind every time you move it you'll knock more bark and rubbish off into the logs and probably best not to get one with teeth. 

 

Boxes and bags are easier but a big expense and it's surprising how how much time you'll spend loading and levelling them. 

 

If you're cutting a big heap try and divide it up and get maximum airflow. We started out like you and it's amazing how fast a small patch of white mold will spread through 50tons...

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I built my rounds up from about 10 loads a year to friends and family. I also just started with processing into a heap, but the game changer for me was investing in the cages. I started off with 10 IBCs I got for free from work, and bought a cheap set of pallet toes for the massey to sit on the 3 pt linkage. I also thought about a front end loader tractor, but settled on the £200 pallet toes instead to see how things would go. 10 years on I still have those same pallet forks, that serve me well and sourced another 40 or so cages along the way. The beauty of the cages is the drying time increases massively, you can have a 6-7 month turnaround pending on when you split your logs. And they are pretty robust, you can move them about easily with a small tractor. Because they are mobile, I tend to fell, ring up and split straight into the cages all at once insitu down the woods. This immediately cuts down on the number of times the wood has to be rehandled, which saves time, money and physical stresses on the body. Sometimes I can get away with only touching a log once - i.e fell tree in woods, lift up tree on pallet toes, debranch and ring up insitu, pick sawn ring up, split and toss over into the cage for drying, 12 months later deliver cage locally on tractor, and tip out using the tractors hydraulics.

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19 hours ago, charlieb said:

Handball?    I looked at one of those roller mats and decided it wouldn't save much time on balance.  And we'd be too tempted to use it for wet logs so it would be bound to disintergrate. 

 

If you mean a Loadhandler then no, wet logs won't hurt it.

 

I have a slightly used one available if you want... 😊

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I sell mine in bags and have looked into various ways of reducing handling . I split them into crates which I make out of free pallets they are 8ft x4ft x 4ft they hold about 5 or six bags . I find they dry better in crates and I can move them round easily with the forklift . To empty the crates I can remove one of the sides and handball into the bags I find this leaves us a very clean sample which is appreciated by the customers

 

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Yeah, you can't beat a bit of quality control and pick out any crude as you prepare for delivery, that and manual splitting on a machine which means you get the perfect shaped log for your customer every time ( and charge correctly for a real premium product).

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