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Grapple Fork "Just Right For Small Tractors:
After he couldn't find what he wanted on the market, Mel Pralle, Greenleaf, Kansas, built a grapple fork for his New Holland TC 35 tractor using the frame off an old field cultivator.
  "I use it in my tree trimming business. It's big enough to pick up large quantities of brush and wood, yet is lightweight enough for my 35 hp tractor," says Pralle.
  The quick-tach grapple fork measures 64 in. wide and is equipped with 42-in. long tines. The upper tines pivot up or down on a homemade rockshaft equipped with stub arms. A 10-in. stroke hydraulic cylinder is used to raise and lower the shanks.
  The grapple fork's frame and most of the tines were made by cutting down the cultivator frame. The bottom tines measure 2 by 1 1/2 in., and the top tines are 1 1/4 in. sq. The two outside tines at the bottom are made from heavy gauge 3 by 2, 1/4-in. thick tubing.
  A quick-tach plate is welded on back of the frame, and a solid metal plate is welded on front of the frame to protect the quick tach brackets and hydraulic hoses from tree limbs. An opening on each side of the frame allows Pralle to see the outside tines and keep them from damaging lawns.
  "It works great," says Pralle. "I needed a grapple fork with long bottom tines that I can slide under large piles of tree limbs and pick them up. However, the bottom tines on most factory-built grapple forks are only about 2 ft. long. They work good for picking up logs, but when you clamp down on a pile of brush you don't get very much.
  "Commercial manufacturers have to limit the size of their grapple forks for liability reasons. But you just have to use common sense and not take too big a load so you don't tear up equipment."
  Pralle says his total cost was less than $350. "I paid $60 for the cultivator, $55 for the hydraulic cylinder, $88 for the hoses, and $129 for the skid plate," he notes.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mel Pralle, 2372 4th Road, Greenleaf, Kansas 66943 (ph 785 747-2457).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #6