Labor savin' devices

Time marches on ... and with it my desire to work any harder than I
absolutely have to . There is wood involved in this project , along with
the metalworking .
A year or so back I built myself a small pivoting jib crane to move
firewood from the trailer to the log splitter . With a boat winch for
the lifting , it worked remarkably well . I was using a cable with a
choker loop in the business end up until a few days ago , and it too
worked . But the other day my neighbor (not the blacksmith neighbor ,
this guy is fairly new to the neighborhood) brought me a set of
unfinished log tongs . I had to drill for and install a pivot bolt and I
did a little rework of the ring and shackle assembly . That made things
a lot faster and less work too ... so today , just to ice the cake , I
bought a HF 2500 lb 12V winch to replace the hand cranked unit . I'm
kinda laid up right now with a couple of probably-cracked ribs from a
slip while dismounting the Rusty Tractor , so I'm using the time for
things that aren't as strenuous as handling 100-150 pound chunks of log .
Just took the dog for a walk and got to thinking , I need to make the
winch mount removable so I can also mount it on the Rusty Tractor and
use it out in the woods to drag logs into position ... I think something
resembling a trailer receiver hitch . I'll still have to deal with the
power cables , maybe something like a dryer outlet so it's just all plug
and play . This winch came with only a wireless control , the first
thing I did when I got it home and open was take the cover off the
control unit . Looks to be very easy to convert to a cabled control when
this wireless remote dies . And it surely will , just a matter of when
and where .
And the wood content ? This is all about my processing firewood for
the coming winter . I started with about 5 cords last winter , and have
about a cord left . I've got several nice trees marked for harvest (all
have a problem of some sort , I don't just take healthy trees for
firewood) , and these improvements to my processing system will make a
lot of difference in how much work it takes . With the decrease in labor
I hope to have over 7 cords put up by the first of the year . I'm trying
to get a year ahead on firewood so it's seasoned better . The problem is
the not-so-cold times at winter's beginning and end . Low fires and wood
that's not well-seasoned are a recipe for creosote buildup . And that
can be a serious problem .
Reply to
Snag
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I used the 50amp three blade commonly used for electric stoves. Put it in a PVC box with lid on the back of PU. Used a pre-made maybe 6ft pigtail of the male plug on the trailer. Was for charging the trailer battery and helping run the 20,000lb hydraulic hoist for dumping. You can buy heavy plugs for this pretty easy though nowadays like these:
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I'd use the 2inch square tube hitch setup. Then you could use the winch mounted to your truck or whatever with some decent jumper cables on occasion too...
Hoping you're back in shape soon :)
Reply to
Leon Fisk
Time marches on ... and with it my desire to work any harder than I absolutely have to . There is wood involved in this project , along with the metalworking . A year or so back I built myself a small pivoting jib crane to move firewood from the trailer to the log splitter . With a boat winch for the lifting , it worked remarkably well . I was using a cable with a choker loop in the business end up until a few days ago , and it too worked . But the other day my neighbor (not the blacksmith neighbor , this guy is fairly new to the neighborhood) brought me a set of unfinished log tongs . I had to drill for and install a pivot bolt and I did a little rework of the ring and shackle assembly . That made things a lot faster and less work too ... so today , just to ice the cake , I bought a HF 2500 lb 12V winch to replace the hand cranked unit . I'm kinda laid up right now with a couple of probably-cracked ribs from a slip while dismounting the Rusty Tractor , so I'm using the time for things that aren't as strenuous as handling 100-150 pound chunks of log . Just took the dog for a walk and got to thinking , I need to make the winch mount removable so I can also mount it on the Rusty Tractor and use it out in the woods to drag logs into position ... I think something resembling a trailer receiver hitch . I'll still have to deal with the power cables , maybe something like a dryer outlet so it's just all plug and play . This winch came with only a wireless control , the first thing I did when I got it home and open was take the cover off the control unit . Looks to be very easy to convert to a cabled control when this wireless remote dies . And it surely will , just a matter of when and where . ...-- Snag Illegitimi non carborundum
======================= I've been through all that too. At first I put the 12V ATV winch on the pickup truck trailer hitch but the cable all wound on one side and logs dug into the dirt and jammed when they hit rocks or fallen trees, Winching worked better from the swiveling truck bed crane that helped lift jammed logs, like the short crane on a skidder.
After struggling with cheap cable pullers and boat winches for a long time I upgraded to chain falls and lever chain hoists for lifting and short horizontal pulls. A 3/4 ton lever hoist has been the most useful for logging and works well horizontally, which is awkward with chain falls. I use those mainly on the sawmill because I can stand further away from the load. My HF electric hoist is too fast and jerky for precise positioning on the saw bed, though fine for stacking beams from a safe distance.
I quickly learned not to trust log tongs until the tips had been hammered in a ways. A chain with a grab hook is nearly as simple to connect and doesn't fall off as easily if unloaded. I only use the tongs to lift one end of logs for clearance, then toss the chain underneath. 5/16" x 5' is a handy size, with a longer and stronger 3/8" chain for backup on logs bigger than 5' around. I looked at but didn't buy log skidding chain hardware because I'm less concerned with speed and more with safety, since I lift while standing near the log instead of from the cab.
Anderson (or clone) connectors are a better choice than a 30A dryer plug for high current DC connectors. Since the pins are shielded and bidirectional the same connectors are safe to draw load current from the battery or put it in from a charger. AC plugs aren't safe if the male side is hot. All the DC connections in my solar system are Andersons because battery and inverter/charger power can flow either way.
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Mine were surplus with cables attached. The connector pins had been crimped onto the wire in several placed with a round punch.
The U1R battery in my small tractor didn't take well to the current a 2500# winch draws. When I load-tested a new, freshly charged U1R it couldn't quite reach its CCR rating.
A regular chainsaw chain can rip log sections too heavy to lift or too tangled to split in half or quarters quite efficiently as long as you don't cut exactly parallel to the grain, which clogs the saw with strips.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
I absolutely have to . There is wood involved in this project , along with the metalworking .
move firewood from the trailer to the log splitter . With a boat winch for the lifting , it worked remarkably well . I was using a cable with a choker loop in the business end up until a few days ago , and it too worked . But the other day my neighbor (not the blacksmith neighbor , this guy is fairly new to the neighborhood) brought me a set of unfinished log tongs . I had to drill for and install a pivot bolt and I did a little rework of the ring and shackle assembly . That made things a lot faster and less work too ... so today , just to ice the cake , I bought a HF 2500 lb 12V winch to replace the hand cranked unit . I'm kinda laid up right now with a couple of probably-cracked ribs from a slip while dismounting the Rusty Tractor , so I'm using the time for things that aren't as strenuous as handling 100-150 pound chunks of log .
the winch mount removable so I can also mount it on the Rusty Tractor and use it out in the woods to drag logs into position ... I think something resembling a trailer receiver hitch . I'll still have to deal with the power cables , maybe something like a dryer outlet so it's just all plug and play . This winch came with only a wireless control , the first thing I did when I got it home and open was take the cover off the control unit . Looks to be very easy to convert to a cabled control when this wireless remote dies . And it surely will , just a matter of when and where .
for the coming winter . I started with about 5 cords last winter , and have about a cord left . I've got several nice trees marked for harvest (all have a problem of some sort , I don't just take healthy trees for firewood) , and these improvements to my processing system will make a lot of difference in how much work it takes . With the decrease in labor I hope to have over 7 cords put up by the first of the year . I'm trying to get a year ahead on firewood so it's seasoned better . The problem is the not-so-cold times at winter's beginning and end . Low fires and wood that's not well-seasoned are a recipe for creosote buildup . And that can be a serious problem .
Forklift power connectors are designed for high current DC loads. Its a bit overkill, but one of my buddies used one on the electric trolling motor on his boat. I just use the regular 4 prong trolling motor plugs myself. Typically a trolling motor has a 50amp circuit breaker, and the only time I ever tripped a breaker either the breaker was bad or there was something else seriously wrong. Actually I think I've only ever had a bad breaker. Come to think of it a bad breaker caused me months of headaches on my old '81 FX too. Anyway... there are lots of good options.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
...I'm trying to get a year ahead on firewood so it's seasoned better . The problem is the not-so-cold times at winter's beginning and end . Low fires and wood that's not well-seasoned are a recipe for creosote buildup . And that can be a serious problem .
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
... Forklift power connectors are designed for high current DC loads. ...
=============================
Yep, those are the Andersons and clones. The color corresponds to mechanical keying that can be milled out, with grey being the universal fit.
The connector pins can be soldered with a torch, or crimped by dimpling the sides into the wire with a punch. Squashing them flat risks making them not fit in the housing. Crimping is better for mobile use because the rigid outer end of solder concentrates vibration stress. The pins can be removed by lifting the end hook off the flat retaining spring with a small flat screwdriver.
So far I haven't had a problem with cheaper CCA, copper-clad aluminum, wire sold for high power car stereos. it needs to be 2 gauges larger than copper for equal resistance and current capacity. I use it for temporary outdoor DC power cables because it lies flat and isn't the tripping hazard of copper, especially stiff PV wire.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Use Anderson PowerPole connectors
Reply to
Clare Snyder
Since the upper section of the crane is removable , I bolted the winch to it . I'll build a "pin" that will mount on the trailer and one that will fit into the trailer hitch socket for the crane section to drop into . The swiveling upper section is female .
I'm not trying for precision positioning , I just want to get the rounds off a trailer and onto the splitter .
Ive ordered a battery for this , will be kept on a trickle charger most of the time . I won't be getting anywhere near the capacity of the winch as a general rule . If i decide the battery isn't working out , I have a backup plan to draw power from the camper's deep cycle battery . I need to find some more 8 ga or heavier wire for the hookup , I'm a few feet short . I'm undecided about how to handle the power hookups when it's not on the crane base .
Reply to
Snag
Since the upper section of the crane is removable , I bolted the winch to it . I'll build a "pin" that will mount on the trailer and one that will fit into the trailer hitch socket for the crane section to drop into . The swiveling upper section is female .
I'm not trying for precision positioning , I just want to get the rounds off a trailer and onto the splitter .
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
... If [the table] was larger I could position it between the splitter and the trailer and roll or hoist large rounds onto it. =======
I had to stop editing for a dental appointment.
To summarize, I think your answer is a dedicated or temporary table that you can hoist rounds from the trailer onto at one end and roll them onto the splitter beam at the other. It could be as simple as planks or loading ramps resting on sawhorses or the side of the trailer. My experience is that the table top should be at least large enough to hold half plus a quarter of the round back out of the way while you split the other quarter, and high enough to roll heavy pieces onto the beam but not so high that they snag on it while being split. About 6" below the top of the beam works for me.
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-jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Ive ordered a battery for this , will be kept on a trickle charger most of the time . I won't be getting anywhere near the capacity of the winch as a general rule . If i decide the battery isn't working out , I have a backup plan to draw power from the camper's deep cycle battery . I need to find some more 8 ga or heavier wire for the hookup , I'm a few feet short . I'm undecided about how to handle the power hookups when it's not on the crane base .
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
I made a small, sturdy table to store the splitter on so it can occupy the same covered space as my non-folding shop crane. When splitting I put the table under the wedge end so splits fall onto it instead of the ground. If it was larger I could position it between the splitter and the trailer and roll or hoist large rounds onto it. I don't because I can put the splitter under the sawmill's overhead gantry hoist.
Reply to
Snag
I built a rack on my splitter . About 16" wide total , I can balance a piece on the edge while splitting another . Pieces too big to balance on the edge get suspended on the jib crane and swiveled out of my way . I do have to make sure the column is plumb or pieces can come back ...
===============
Gravity must be female, she always gets her way.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
I built a rack on my splitter . About 16" wide total , I can balance a piece on the edge while splitting another . ==================== That seems to be the common solution. I think a larger table works better but it requires storage space and a separate trip to the firewood.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Ooh, sweet crane setup. Probably a couple grand when available.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Ooh, sweet crane setup. Probably a couple grand when available.
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If I was to make a portable take-down gantry from scratch instead of material already on hand I'd buy 4" channel iron which the Harbor Freight 1 ton trolley fits without modification, and make connections between the channels and legs that are less flexible than a chained tripod. Mine is meant to move logs and boulders to the trail on a forested hillside and requires considerable care to keep it from swaying and tipping. At the trail the shop crane converted to a low-bed trailer can take over. The gantry isn't high enough to load a pickup truck because I wanted to assemble it without climbing a stepladder on soft sloping ground. You could make it higher for firm level ground or pavement.
The last time I used the gantry more or less free-standing was with an electric hoist so I could stand back the length of the control cable. The beam was bolted to vertical wood posts braced with diagonal legs borrowed from tripods, and guyed to everything within reach.
To set it up I place a W-folding step ladder at the center with boards across the rungs at beam height, then balance the two channels on the boards and attach the supports to the ends. Once the beam is suspended I remove the boards and lift the ladder over the beam. Disassembly is the reverse. Two channels aren't ideal structurally, they just reduce lifted weight to allow assembly without a helper. They came from a heap of disassembled pallet racks and I had to use what was available, mostly C3x4.1 and a few C4x5.4, all 8' long.
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Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Be careful when using those calculators. The closest I saw that applies to the problem at hand assumes continuous lateral bracing, which is a reasonable assumption for a typical building floor system, but not for a simply supported lifting beam.
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A potential failure mode of a slender beam is somewhat analogous to column buckling.
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The AISC steel construction manual's beam tables & graphs take the beam's unbraced length into account.
Also keep in mind that both the AISC and (I presume) that calculator use a factor of safety of 1.67. The FS for a lifting device is typically much greater.
Reply to
Ned Simmons
A potential failure mode of a slender beam is somewhat analogous to column buckling.
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That could particularly be a problem for a beam made from two channels that are loaded near the outer edge of the lower flange, although when I tested for it by leaving out the bolts that join the webs the channels deflected to nearly the max extreme fiber stress for A36 steel without twisting. I had turned the trolley wheels to match the flange angle so they rode on their inner edges if the flange twisted downward. The channels also didn't twist much when I bent them beyond the yield point to straighten them.
The Harbor Freight 1300# electric hoist starts with a jerk that noticeably increases the deflection of the beam. I didn't measure the deflection because I don't want to be that close on a stepladder if anything fails.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
........................ The AISC steel construction manual's beam tables & graphs take the beam's unbraced length into account.
Also keep in mind that both the AISC and (I presume) that calculator use a factor of safety of 1.67. The FS for a lifting device is typically much greater.
Ned Simmons
====================
I have the 1970 edition, which should be good enough because I use old steel.
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Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Yes, I'm pretty sure the tables assume the load is applied in line with the beam's neutral axis, so an eccentric load will make matters worse.
It's been a long time since I've designed any lifting gear for others (and when I did I had a structural PE review the designs), but my recollection is that the codes require the "jerkiness" of the load be considered when choosing a factor of safety. When it's not yourself, there's not much you can do much about the jerkiness of the operator.
Reply to
Ned Simmons

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