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“Pincher” Turns Tractor Into Log Skidder
Tom Repko has the ideal attachment to turn your tractor into a log skidder. The mechanical engineer and woodlot owner developed the 3-pt. hitch skidder to harvest firewood and thin Douglas fir trees on his 40 acres of mixed timber and oak savannah near Dallas, Ore. It works so well he started Small Wood Lot Tools, LLC, and sells the skidder attachment for $500 (plus shipping).
    The low cost and simplicity of his attachment set it apart from other tractor-mounted skidders (hydraulic grapples start at about $3,000), Repko says. But his biggest focus is on safety.
    “The majority of the pulling load is from the tractor drawbar,” he says. The idea is to keep the pulling load below the rear axle on the tractor’s drawbar.”
    With the skidder attachment, the operator does everything from the tractor seat. He or she can lower the scissor tongs onto a log until the 1-in. gripping spikes on the tongs are below midpoint, then raise the 3-point hitch and drive away.
    “It’s like ice tongs,” Repko says. “The weight of the log keeps the spikes engaged.”
    To release the log, simply lower the 3-point, and the spikes release. Drive the tractor forward and the pull chain pulls the tongs clear of the log.
    The skidder can handle log diameters up to 22-in., and Repko has tested it with 16 and 38-hp. tractors. Customers have used it on up to 64-hp. tractors. Smaller tractors are limited in the size of logs they can pull, but 25 to 45 hp. tractors are ideal for the skidder. They have enough power and can maneuver better in the woods.
    Repko adds that he uses the skidder in numerous ways such as pulling down hung up trees, lifting entire trees off the ground for easy firewood cutting or limbing, and even log stacking.
    One of the things Repko likes most about the skidder is that for most skids he doesn’t have to get off the tractor.
    “Poison oak (and blackberry vines) are very prolific in this area,” he notes, from experience cutting 8 to 10 cords of firewood each year. “This tool helps avoid contacting those hazards.”
    The skidder has been on the market for 4 years and sold mostly to woodlot owners and woodlot association members. Some have been shipped overseas.
    “It’s not intended for large commercial operations, but some have been purchased for small-scale logging,” Repko says.
    The attachment is powder-coated and weighs 75 lbs. (Shipping costs vary according to location, but a recent delivery to Maine was about $80.)
    Repko also sells optional accessories on his website – quick hitch adapter, drop-on hitch receiver, and a choker and clevis.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tom Repko, Small Wood Lot Tools, LLC, 2080 Cherry Knoll Rd., Dallas, Ore. 97338 (ph 503 949-2209; www.smallwoodlottools.com; sales@smallwoodlottools.com).

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2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3