Handling Oak Trees without a Grapple

TheShadyKubota

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2021 BX2380 w/ a plethora of attachments
Apr 1, 2022
105
81
28
Manitoba, Canada
Evening everyone… I have a massive pile of oak trees I fell in the spring of 2021 ranging from 4”-18” when building my house.

Finally getting around to cutting the ~8’ logs into 14”-16” pieces for splitting… but I’m having a hell of a time trying to pick apart the pile with a set of Clamp on Bucket forks (I know.. not the tool) but does anyone have any other ideas Or methods to separate a pile?

i guess one method would be chaining each log and dragging it out?

any input would be great!
 

NCL4701

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L4701, T2290, WC68, grapple, BB1572, Farmi W50R, Howes 500, 16kW IMD gen, WG24
Apr 27, 2020
2,565
3,690
113
Central Piedmont, NC
I have a grapple. I haven’t always had a grapple or even a loader. Two methods I’ve used (assuming these logs are too big to move via unaided human power). Which one works better kind of varies depending on a bunch of variables.

1: Cant hook: You can roll a really big log uphill, over obstacles, past knots, etc. that you couldn’t come close to moving without it. If the pile is such that rolling the logs out is not going to help, might as well skip trying. But a cant hook or peavey is pretty handy if your dealing with logs or splitting big rounds.

My cant hook probably looked like this in about 1860 when it was new. I’m in my living room at the moment and I don’t keep mine in the living room so this one isn’t actually mine.
IMG_1201.jpeg


2. Chain, like you suggested. Having someone to drive and someone to hook makes that a LOT easier. If you need to do much of that, log tongs make hooking and unhooking much faster. You also don’t have the problem of the occasional log ending up with the hook on the bottom buried in the dirt where you can’t get to it. Of course if you have a cant hook you can roll it off, but log tongs do increase efficiency.

These aren’t my log tongs either being I don’t keep them in my living room. My log tongs look similar except there’s no paint on them and they’re 19th century vintage as well.
IMG_1202.jpeg

If you do go with the tongs and are having a little trouble getting a grip due to type of wood, bark that’s a little punky or tends to slough easily, etc. if the hook man gives each tooth a moderate rap with a 2lb hammer that helps quite a bit.
 
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GrizBota

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L3830HST/LA724, B2601/LA435/RCK54-32, RCR1872, CDI 66”grapple, pallet forks
Apr 26, 2023
1,152
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Oregon
With the equipment listed, I’m afraid you’ve probably got the solution. Pull them out with a chain and cut off chunks that are hanging it up.
 
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BruceP

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G5200H
Aug 7, 2016
841
356
63
Richmond, Vermont, USA
i guess one method would be chaining each log and dragging it out?
Yup --- use a dedicated log-choker chain. (or skidding-tongs) Do not forget a proper 'headache screen' and GRADED chain to protect yourself from flying chains 😮 (do not use Chieezium chain)

Years ago, I was helping a buddy in his sugarbush. (maple-syrup boiling) I used small bulldozer to drag logs and learned real quick not to turn too sharp... pulling log sideways with 'dozer will SNAP IT LIKE A TOOTHPICK if it gets wedged between standing trees. 😲 I had to go back and get the other 1/2 of the tree :rolleyes:

After we had accumulated pile of logs, they were cut to length and split/stacked near the sugar-shack.

Boiling sap into syrup is a LLOONNGGGG night of feeding firewood into the arch. (Sap runs during the day and is boiled all night long before it goes sour)

[I see you are from Canada so you know all about Maple syrup production.]
 
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lynnmor

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B2601-1
May 3, 2021
1,340
1,050
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Red Lion
I would try to cut to length in place as much as possible. Dragging logs may cause the logs to get dirty and dull your saw chain.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S,57 A-C D-14,58 A-C D-14, 57 A-C D-14,tiller,cults,Millcreek 25G spreader,
Apr 2, 2019
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Greensville,Ontario,Canada
Either way will work, how good depends on the jumble of logs in your 'pickup sticks' mess...BTDT. Probably a bit of both. If the logs are in row though, you can lift one with the forks and cut off left end, then right end, repeating until inside the bucket. This method keeps log up off the ground, chain stays sharp and your back straight.

No matter how you do it though, you'll get a workout and sleep real good that night !
 
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mikester

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M59 TLB
Oct 21, 2017
3,180
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www.divergentstuff.ca
Start by telling your wife you need a bigger tractor. Now that you got the tractor tell her you need some attachments starting with a grapple.
 
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woodman55

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L6060HSTC, RTV 1100
May 15, 2022
756
545
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canada
Another option would be to cut and split it right where it is. When you are done you will just have a pile of brush for a chipper.
 

mdhughes

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L3901DT
Dec 10, 2014
1,216
636
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Ste Geneveive county, MO
Before I got my grapple, I used pallet forks to move logs. I used a chain to pull the logs out of the pile enough to get the forks under the log and if needed used the chain to hold the log to the forks. It's a lot of getting off and on the tractor, but it worked.
 
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N3BP

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B7200DT, B7200HST-D, L2900GST, L3010 HST TLB
Sep 20, 2016
399
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Lebanon, PA
If your adventures enough and can physically do it, hop on top the log pile with the chainsaw and cut from the top down. That's the quickest and easiest way I've found to cut through log piles.
 
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Grandad4

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1949 Farmall M, previously owned: L 4610, BX 2230
Apr 5, 2016
280
58
28
Greensboro, NC
Have to agree with Mikester. 14" oak logs that are 8 feet + in length can weigh more than you and your BX. Untangling a pile of them could be sketchy, difficult and hard on the equipment. Perfect job for a 40+ hp sized machine but an overmatch for a BX.
 
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rc51stierhoff

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B2650, MX6000, (BX sold)
Sep 13, 2021
2,048
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Ohio
Without really seeing the pile…I wonder it is taller than working height if you are standing in the ground? If so, and assuming the pile is settled I’d probably chunk it up in place from the ends…after you cut a few roll the loader bucket up and roll the chunks in…repeat as necessary. If the pile is too tall to do that one way or another you have to get the logs or pieces down. I would think in that case if not comfortable working up on the pile, simply going to have to pull the logs off to a working height.
 
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skeets

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BX 2360 /B2601
Oct 2, 2009
14,243
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SW Pa
Welllllllllllll dont down play the BX, there have been more than a few 12/16 inch 10 footers of ash behind the old gal and in low 4wd she worked fine. A skid on the front of the log to keep the nose out of the dirt and your good to go.. But like everything, think it through once and then again before you start and while you are doing it. And standing on top of a pile cutting aint my idea of a fun time! Not that I dont have scares from it mind you
 
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Geezer3d

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Kubota LX2610SU
Apr 22, 2021
186
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Heart of the Catskills
Like NCL4701, I have a grapple, but I prefer to use a cant hook unless I am moving the log any distance before cutting it. However, rolling logs down off of the log pile is probably the second most dangerous part of cutting firewood, the first most dangerous being felling the trees.

My cant hook is a LOGRITE 60 inch which has a steel handle.
 
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Smokeydog

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M59, B26 grapples, backhoes, tillers, graders, diesel atv
Jun 2, 2020
572
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knoxville, Tennessee
Need to add a grapple to your plethora of attachments. Careful piled trees can store lots of potential spring energy.
 
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Jchonline

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Kubota L6060, KX040-4, M7060, RTV X1100C, M62 (sold)
Oct 28, 2018
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Not even sure a grapple on the FEL would lift the bigger ones anyway. I would just chain then...if you pull one that isnt on the top it might help the others roll off easier. Just make sure you have a damper on the tow line in case something gives.
 

jyoutz

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MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
2,568
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Edgewood, New Mexico
Cant hooks are great for turning logs, but not so much for moving them. For pulling them out of a pile, you need an old logging standby; a choker cable. These are far easier to use than a chain and the bell connector connects and disconnects in a flash.

 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S,57 A-C D-14,58 A-C D-14, 57 A-C D-14,tiller,cults,Millcreek 25G spreader,
Apr 2, 2019
10,116
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Greensville,Ontario,Canada
and you need another body, a 'swamper' to put the choker on the log...

one helper will cut your 'sort 'n store' operations by at least a factor of 4.....
 
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Grandad4

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1949 Farmall M, previously owned: L 4610, BX 2230
Apr 5, 2016
280
58
28
Greensboro, NC
Welllllllllllll dont down play the BX, there have been more than a few 12/16 inch 10 footers of ash behind the old gal and in low 4wd she worked fine. A skid on the front of the log to keep the nose out of the dirt and your good to go.. But like everything, think it through once and then again before you start and while you are doing it. And standing on top of a pile cutting aint my idea of a fun time! Not that I dont have scares from it mind you
Agree that BX's are great little machines that can get into places inaccessible to bigger equipment. But it's just way safer and more productive moving heavy logs with a larger machine. I used a BX alongside of a much larger Kubota for many years. If you have to use a BX for logging, take it easy and be safe!
 
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TheShadyKubota

Active member

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2021 BX2380 w/ a plethora of attachments
Apr 1, 2022
105
81
28
Manitoba, Canada
Thanks for all your reply’s.. ended up just using the forks as a “workstation” or “cut deck” for the 6”-under trees and just cut the bigger guys in place… ended up finding one of the larger trunks at the bottom of the pile.. 16” diameter and 14” long.. weighed in at 70lbs.. just shows how dense Oak trees are.

Gave the ole princess auto Remington 14” chainsaw a workout lol
IMG_4460.jpeg
 

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