2008 - Volume #32, Issue #6, Page #29[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Trailer-Based Firewood Processing System
Kelsey uses eight different trailers to get wood back to the farm. There's a log-cutting trailer, a log-splitting trailer, and four pallet trailers. There are also two small, covered trailers for hauling firewood. He uses his 1981 Ford 28 hp loader tractor to load logs and pull the trailers.
"It lets me cut and split wood anywhere I want. I can take the trailers to wherever the wood is and do my cutting and splitting there. I can hitch the cutting and splitting trailers behind the tractor one at a time or both together," says Kelsey.
"My wife and I heat our home with wood so we use these rigs a lot. Another factor is the height difference between her and me. My wife is 5 ft. 2 in. tall while I'm 6 ft. 6 in., so I set up the trailers at a height low enough for both of us to work comfortably."
The cutting trailer was made from an old house trailer that Kelsey bought at an auction. He added a 30-in. wide, fold-down panel onto one side with cutting blocks spaced 18 in. apart. After several logs have been loaded onto the trailer, Kelsey raises a hinged panel on the opposite side of the trailer to bring one log at a time onto the spaced cutting blocks, then cuts them with a chainsaw. After the log is cut to size, he picks up the pieces, turns around and uses the splitting trailer.
"The cutting trailer's fold-down panel is on the same side as the splitter on the splitting trailer. Although the cut logs are brought to the splitter one by one, it's only a few steps to go back and forth," says Kelsey.
The splitting trailer measures 8 ft. wide and is made from an old truck frame. Kelsey cut the frame down the middle and widened the axle to 6 ft. One side of the trailer is equipped with a pair of channel iron tracks. The 5 hp log splitter he uses mounts on wheels that move along the track, allowing Kelsey to use the full length of the trailer.
"I split one section of wood, then roll the splitter about 4 ft. down the track and repeat the process. That way I always have the wood at my fingertips," says Kelsey.
The pallet trailers are made from old hay wagons with the floorboards removed. The pallets he uses measure 3 ft. wide by 4 ft. long, with 40-in. high sides. They're placed directly on the wagon's metal rails.
"I pull a pallet trailer over to the splitting trailer, then fold down the gates on the splitting trailer and stack the finished wood onto the pallets. The stacking trailer is covered with a sheet metal roof to keep the wood dry. Whenever I need a load of wood in the house, I hitch the stacking trailer up to the tractor, drive it up to our house and bring the wood straight in."
He added a pair of forks to his loader bucket to handle the pallets of wood. "During the winter I leave the loaded pallets on the wagon, where the wood is up high and dry. Whenever I need wood in our house I just remove it by hand from the pallets," says Kelsey. "I often leave the wood on the pallet trailers for a full year before I burn it, so the wood gets really dry."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, William S. Kelsey, Jr., 5 Weber Road, Sharon, Conn. 06069 (ph 860 364-0288).
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