Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Powered Forestry International › Silviculture for Sustainability › Hybridized Timber Harvest – Horses and Fowarder
- September 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm #69049Carl RussellModerator
I am 100% behind Ronnie on this in general, but for the sake of discussion, I see these points as being about ways to increase participation. Upping production by bringing more operators into the woods at one time. Spreading the knowledge, skills, methods, and culture.
As far as Payday’s comments, I find quite the opposite. I work half as hard as I did at 26, and get twice as much done. I still roll logs every day, and find that I am no more stiff than I ever was. The more logs I roll by hand, the more tricks I find….. I have a tendency to respond to resistance by trying to find an easier way…… without resorting to high cost, and outside power sources. That being said, I appreciate your comments (Payday) and I can totally see how such equipment may give you just what you need.
As far as electrical motors. I have no doubt that there is enough power spent hauling a load, particularly on downhills that a generator could be installed to charge a battery bank. I worry about the housing of such though as I am wicked hard on logging equipment. My experience with electrical motors is that they are very inefficient ways to use electricity…. a lot on entropy… as seen by sparking and heat escaping from the internal mechanism. With this in mind I see quite a large battery bank… probably 4 deep cells.
I think the best solution to power assist is a motor with an accelerator so that as the assist is needed the teamster merely pushes harder on the pedal to get the trailer to keep up with the forward motion of the horses. The last thing we want is for the gearing mechanism to add drag. The power assist that seems to be common on Scandanavian equipment is an extra wheel positioned between the two wagon wheel. It is obviously smaller diameter, but it is on a tension arm used to lower the wheel into place when needed. By rotating in between the two wheels it can push the forward wheel, and pull the rear wheel. If connected to a variable speed regulator then the operator can drop the wheel into place at the needed location and step on the accelerator to accomplish the needed assistance. It probably could be set up to work backwards and collect electricity.
The other thing about generating electricity on the downhill is that the resistance could be used as a partial brake.
In terms on Robert’s questions about braking, the trigged wheel does work, but also compromises steering control, even when applied to rear wheels as the skidding wheel can slide downslope on sidling trails.
Using the power to run an electric winch will work, but I have found these winches to have very little lifting power. This may be directly related to the available amperage from a single 12 volt car battery. With more amperage, in a larger battery bank combined with a power booster, an electrical winch may be very effective in a crane to lift logs, but will undoubtedly use a lot of electricity. I have no experience with electrical motors running hydraulics, but it may be a more efficient way to covert the power.
Thinking about Ronnie’s comments, and Payday’s, I feel it is important to add a few more. One of the reasons I continue to use horses is the same reason I find I get more and more work done. I continue to improve my ability to use the animals’ power to my advantage. In this discussion about hybridized approaches to working animals and machines, I feel it is important to focus on the extreme value of the interplay between human intellect and trained animal-power. I very much feel like the craft of using horses in the woods plays a huge part in the final forestry product that I can deliver to my clients. It also plays significantly in the production formula, getting lore work done with less input.
As craftspeople evaluating potential tools to augment our performance, we need to find that cross-over point where the use of animals is compounding inefficiencies, and where the use of equipment can justify its cost. And as Scott so aptly put…. it depends. Each of us applies our craft in subtly different ways, each in different environments, in different economic realities, but somewhere in the mix there is a point where the qualitative and quantitative meet. Looking forward to seeing you all when we get there….
So to broaden the discussion, I am considering (seriously) getting a small crawler. After 25 years I am finally thinking I can justify this expense. Not for logging per se, but for trail building, landing work, and winter trail clearing for the horses in deep snow, and also for basic land infrastructure improvements here on the farm. I’m thinking JD 350 – 450 $10,000 range….. nothing firm yet, just thinking and looking. I have always relied on hiring friends in the dirt business, but I’m thinking I can make the thing pay for itself.
….. The funny thing is that in 1986 I all but had the papers signed on a JD 450 when I stopped to meet an old horse-logger I had been buying logs from as a procurement forester at a large softwood mill. He was dancing with his single horse, twitching logs out of a ledgy hole on the side of a mountain near here….. I bought a horse from him and never went back to the machinery dealer. You know the rest of the story…..
CarlSeptember 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm #69114
Ha! Those Scandanavians already have a power assist, huh? No sense reinventing the wheel then… So much of that European logging equipment looks so cleverly designed.September 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm #69070Scott GParticipant
If the question is does “power assist” already exist, the answer is yes. AKA “draw assist” has been available on some of the small tractor forwarding trailers for some time. Somewhere, buried from almost a decade ago, I have some video footage of it in action with a close up of the drive motors. The ones I have seen engage directly with the tires themselves, nestled in between the two tires on the bogie. They are driven by the loader/trailer hydraulic system and engaged with a lever located by the operator. They do not restrict force above and beyond what they are exerting. In other words, they won’t hold you back or create drag when they are engaged. I’ll look for the video, it may even be on an old VHS tape. I think it might be a rig made by Payeur.
So, with draw assist and brakes rear & front on a horse-drawn unit available, some of the issues being discussed are somewhat taken care of. The only serious doubt I would have is when you are “gettin’ after it” up a steep hill that the draw assist wouldn’t have the speed at that point to keep up & do much good. What I saw on the video were situations where they were trying to not get stuck in a hole or get un-stuck out of the hole. The only real definitive answer would be to find someone who has one of these rigs outfitted like that and get some feedback from them.
I agree with Ronnie for the most part; keep it scale appropriate and don’t build an operation larger than what you want to/can handle. That is why it is imperative that you have real numbers before you make a go/no go decision on cranking it up a few notches with advanced forwarding capability.
For my own situation, a horse-drawn Majaco, Payeur, or SJM forwarder would be perfect. The loader being key in creating the ablity to load a truck, build a large deck, sort, and be able to forward out decent payloads when given terrain that isn’t too severe. If I ever get to a point where I drag some of you out here to take on a large multiple team/teamster project during the cool Rocky Mtn summer (so you can escape the heat/humidity back there :)) I’ll contract out with some of my mechanical logger buddies for the forwarder capability to support that type of operation. It is all about what is scale-appropriate for your particular operation.September 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm #69121mitchmaineParticipant
i think ronnie said it best. keep it simple. let the horse do what it does best, hotyarding wood to roadside, and let the machine do its job moving the big loads.
back in the twenties when they came out with the lombard steam tractors, hauling hundreds cord of pulp and logs, they still had a pair of horses out front steering, until someone said just get over with it, and went head long into the machine.
its evolution. a natural process getting a machine to do the work. and we are all under the same pressure trying to find a way to make it smoother, and up pops a machine.
it ain’t how much you make as much as how much you keep, and machines cost money, up front and forever.
i bought a skidder with a worn out pair of ring chains, and the only thing i had to repair them with was a pile of no. 8 shoes with heavy caulks, so i welded in a few to keep the chains going and after a couple trips in and out of the woods, it pocked it up enough to look like i was still using horses, and i remember how disappointed people got when i had to stop and tell them i was using a tractor.
mitchSeptember 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm #69100Tim HarriganParticipant
One thing that draws me to working with oxen is the honest simplicity of the relationship and the tools. Now, I am not trying to make production in my logging and skidding, but the thought of these electrical add-ons freaks me out. I am sure they would expand my vocabulary though.September 13, 2011 at 6:06 pm #69115
If it weren’t for the presense of a 70% slope, I would guess simply adding more horses would be better too. You all would know better than I, but this really looks like a tough task even for a group of 4 (at least from the math). If it’s truly a tough task, than there really isn’t any problem to be solved in the first place. If it is, then that’s another story… Perhaps electrical power is not the way to go and other energy storage methods would be better… In the spirit of brainstorming simpler approaches that don’t use machines, how about this?
Attach a long bungee cord (probably a set of bungees cords) to the wagon when descending a steep hill. When you get to the bottom, stop and tie them off to something (presumably a tree). This stores the huge amount of potential energy that is usually lost when descending a hill. On you way back up, hook up the bungee cords and they’ll assist in pulling you back up the hill. Unhook at the top and there you go. No complicated noisy machines, no potential of spinning wheels, sure traction, sure braking assist without the potential of sliding wheels, and power that is always matched to the application. There would need to be details worked out such as how many bungees to use, how to attach and detach them, how long the cords would need to be, etc. This would probably have the greatest application where most of the slopes are in the range of something that the horses could handle themselves and this “assist” would only be needed on a few steep slopes.September 13, 2011 at 8:09 pm #69134BaystatetomParticipant
I was on a job awhile ago were I had a nearly vertical slope for 500′ or so. It was hard to walk up without putting your hands down. The cable skidder the logger used had to winch itself up the hill backwards and come down with one hell of a hitch. I kept thinking if I were ox logging that land I would run a cable up and down that hill with a snatch block at the top. So when coming down with a loaded scoot you could pull an empty one back up.
Where there is a will there is a way.September 14, 2011 at 1:29 am #69147AnonymousInactive
I think the small dozer and a team of horse loggers who have acess to a forwarder is a great match.
There are a few people with draw assist in around me. Its very slow and dosn’t work well in the winter or as the tires wear. In the better modles have free wheeling hydraulic moters in the hubs. The moters are can be purcased from companies who produce them for industrial mining equipment. However the cost is too much for me to swallow. I guess the point Im trying to make is the solutions are there but the 1.89 ton per hour production of the forwarder is to low for the cost.The smaller log loaders are around 850 pounds add 20L of oil and 6 wheel running gear the horses are half loaded before they get to the woods. On flat bottom no problem but put a few rocky hills into every haul road and its realy hard on horses. If at some point a lower price drive assit is thought of I would jump at the chance to go back to hauling wood with a log loader and horses.
For anyone considering a horse forwarder and has the conditions where they work well they can be built much cheaper than the factory turn key modles. I bought my first one for $3500 it was worn out and very simple but did the job. The loader was a 850 Hardy with a 5.5 Honda and a two stage pump. For brakes the back wheels had a chain link welded so one or both could be stoped from turning(never chain the front wheel on a boggie axle. stopping it from turning will cause the walking beam to stand on end and will fire you face first off the wagon) I hauled several hundered cord this way down a very steep hill with out any loss of control as 4 of the six wheels are still keeping the wagon on course. Going up hill it had a what we call a pole brake. Which is just a sturdy pole with a large spike mounted mid way back the frame facing the rear. Its hinged so when need you lower it down to drag along the ground. If for any reason the wagon starts to roll backwards the pole digs in and prevents it from going any farther. It all worked and alot of wood gotmove with that little rig. The man who built it said it cost around $9500 to build and he hauled 9000 cord. I traded it in on a new loader and trailer in 2002. Rebuilt a front axle from a MF 50 backhoe as a front axle. The loader was Norhydro had the same hydraulic set up Honda 5.5 with a two stage pump. The cost was around 1100. Some my best days in the woods were spent at the lines of a good team on those wagons. Man I loved watch them get into the collars when the engine shut off they knew we were loaded, just stand there in tight gear waiting for the lines to be picked up. But…. anyway I’m sure with a good used loader and some welding skills or a friend who can weld a good forwarder with real brakes could be built for under $1000.
For me I’m going to continue working like Carl with a tractor forwarder in the winter and I’m putting together a wire crane frowarder for the times when I’m working alone. For now its going to loaded Ronnie style but down the road hoping to install a winch and crane. Aiming to keep the cost to 3000. Heres a couple of pictures from tonight of the running gear.
Ps sorry for the poor spelling and gramar. Two young kids and some long days are taking thier tole 🙁September 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm #69087simon lenihanParticipant
At the forestry of grapenberg, which is part of the swedish university of agricultural science, research in the subject area of ” The horse in the forest ” started again in the early 1980s. The goal of this research was to improve knowledge, methods and equipment for horse logging. This was at a time when other countries throughout western europe were gearing up towards large scale mechanised operations, paying huge grants towards the purchace of Timber harvesters and forwarders, the ” horse in the forest ” a distant memory. It is no surprise that the scandinavians are leaders in harvesting timber with horses. I remember reading the results of the research years ago, time and motion studys extracting timber full pole and the more favoured shortwood system and realising that these scandinavians were on to a winner. The development of horse drawn forwarders, wire crane, 8 wheel bogie wagons etc, helped to mantain and encourage young people into the horse logging industry. Fast forward 30 years and we have hydraulic drive assist horse drawn forwarders, battery powered wire crane forwarders and 8 wheel bogie forwarders with floatation racing discs and racing braking pads. I know alot of people on this tread have spoken about keeping it simple and to a certain degree they are right but as others have mentioned alot is down to geography, markets, etc. I think alot of the philosophy around this new development is to try and make the job easier and encourage people back in to the industry. This is not easy as you only have to pick up any countryside magasine and from front page to back it is covered with adds of quad bikes and small tractors with all the above mentioned horselogging equipment available as attachments.
We have found that using horse drawn forwarders, 8 wheel bogies etc has opened up alot of extra work for us and has kept us in business during these tough times. However there are times when a tractor based unit is the best combination with horses and we will use this system if we have to. I will try and post some pics of wire crane forwarder and take some measurements next time i visit my friend up north so folk can get building during the winter, sorry in advance for spelling mistakes, long day.
simon lenihanSeptember 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm #69095Ronnie TuckerParticipant
how steep of slope you work is limited even going downhill with the timber.i know that if you have to hold to bushes to pull yourself up that is to steep for safe logging.my experience is with short steep slopes not true mountains. ronnieSeptember 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm #69082Jim OstergardParticipant
Looking forward to the pictures of the wire crane. I have all you have sent before but would appreciate a few of the front end and the mounting of the wire crane relative to the front axle. I am looking for a hydraulic winch with a gas drive motor. Also wondering how long an electric drive winch would last before having to put a charge on the battery. Getting ready for a job with my Percheron which would be great if I didn’t have to use my back to load. Thanks for all your posts.
JimSeptember 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm #69050Carl RussellModerator
@Jim Ostergard 29024 wrote:
….. wondering how long an electric drive winch would last before having to put a charge on the battery. ….
Not very long if it is just a 12-volt car battery. The larger the amperage storage, the longer the operational capacity. Without the numbers I can’t give you an estimate, but based on the Yard Hitch for example, a single deep cell 6-volt golf cart battery could probably run the winch for 1/2 the day. Have two on board to switch from one to the other, or incorporate a charger, but I think it would require a longer recharge period, as without a charge controller, more cost etc., the amount of charging needed per amount of available charging time from the turning wheel during work would not be sufficient to recoup the deficit.
Just brainstorming, CarlSeptember 19, 2011 at 12:26 am #69135BaystatetomParticipant
You are absolutely right, but when a 100 acres of 4-5mbf/acre of veneer cherry and sugar maple is your reward, you’ll push your luck.September 19, 2011 at 1:34 am #69116
I am still thinking about the challenge of going up and down slopes in excess of 50%. I kinda worry about loss of traction and spinning wheels at these slopes too (with power assist or even with tractors). I really like the idea of using a line or rope anchored on the uphill side to provide positive traction that can’t slip. Bungees can store energy from a descending load and assist in climbing it again, but the amount of tubing needed to store that much energy is enormous and cost prohibitive. I am most attracted to the concept of a counterweight. If one attached a load of two tons (perhaps some logs from a first load) to a tree at the top of the hill through a block and tackle (1:4 ratio), it would provide 1000 lbs of braking force on a steep downhill (this raises the logs) and 1000 lbs power assist going up the hill (the logs descend). Rigging the logs for 20 ft of verticle movement would allow for 80 feet of brake and power assisted movement up and down a steep slope. If the slope was longer, one would have to rig the block up rig up the block higher to allow for more movement. If the slope was steeper or the load heavier, one might want to use a heavier counterweight. 4 tons at a 1:4 ratio, would provide 2000 lbs brake and power assist, for example. 2 tons at a 1:2 ratio would provide 500 lbs brake and power assist over 160 ft for a longer pull. You might even be able to find a tree that would allow for longer verticle movement, and you might not even need the block and tackle… The concept would take time to rig things up, but it’s super cheap, low tech, and gives both brake and power assist on what would have otherwise been wasted power. It also adds zero weight to the fowarder. Perhaps this is already used, I seem to be on a tear of coming up with already invented ideas. 🙂
Even better, you could rig up a cable to run between an anchor tree at the top of the steep slope and another tree at the bottom of the steep slope and hang a log on it zip-line style. Attached through a pulley to your wagon and the top (or bottom) of the slope, this would give you pull and brake assist that is the same weight as the suspended log and would be exactly the same length as the total pull. No need to use an extra heavy weight and mechanical advantage to gain length.
More brainstorming from a bonafide nonexpert… Again, it’s fun to think about this stuff.September 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm #69071Scott GParticipant
If you are working ground in excess of 50%, you are well out of the realm of a ground-based harvesting system.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.