2018 - Volume #42, Issue #4, Page #38[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Labor-Saving Firewood Handling System
He uses his Deere 318 garden tractor to pull the equipment, which starts with a wagon running gear with uprights on each side. It’s followed by a 2-wheeled swiveling crane, which was fashioned out of a commercial crane originally designed to fit in the bed of a 1/2-ton pickup. The crane is equipped with 4 big telescoping outriggers and has a 5-ft. reach that can swing a piece of wood in a 360° arc. A hand-cranked bottle jack is used to raise or lower the boom.
Newman pulls the equipment to the woods and cuts logs into 8 to 9-ft. lengths, then uses the crane to load them onto the wagon. Once 4 or 5 logs are loaded on the wagon, he uses the crane at home to unload the logs onto a big home-built steel sawhorse, where he cuts the logs into 16-in. lengths. He rolls the pieces onto a nearby wood splitter, with his wife running the controls.
“It’s an inexpensive system that almost makes handling firewood a fun job again,” says Newman. “We had been cutting logs in our woods into 16-in. long pieces. We had to load them by hand onto a trailer, then drive home and split them. Now we hardly have to pick up anything. I crank the winch handle to raise or lower the boom, and release it to swing the boom around by hand.”
The crane rides on new 15-in. wheels and an axle that Newman shortened to 4 ft. “The tractor, wagon, and crane are all the same width, which makes it easy to maneuver them through the woods,” he says.
The crane swivels on a round 3/4-in. thick plate which Newman bought at a scrap yard for $200. “The plate just happened to be the right size,” says Newman.
A short, telescoping hitch that he mounted on front of the crane keeps the end of the boom positioned over the center of the wagon. “By extending the hitch I can use the tractor to tow the crane separately,” says Newman.
He used 4 and 3 1/2-in. square tubing to build the telescoping outriggers and then built an understructure to support them. Each outrigger is fitted with a pair of big screws that are used to adjust the outrigger’s height.
“The number and location of the outriggers I use depends on what I’m doing,” says Newman. “When loading logs, I keep the front two outriggers in the extended position and the back two in the collapsed position. The outriggers can be adjusted up to 4 ft. horizontally and 20 in. vertically in case the ground is uneven.”
He bought the wagon at Princess Auto for $300. “I bought the crane on sale for about $300, and paid $49 for the axle and $40 apiece for the wheels,” notes Newman.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Wes Newman, No. 20, 52210 Range Road 192, Beaver County, Alberta Canada T0B 4J5 (ph 780 993-2094; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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