Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Equipment Category › Equipment › logging forcart › Reply To: logging forcart
Just to be clear, the Barden design is not a farm cart. It was designed specifically for logging, integrating efficiencies that are valid to commercial applications.
If logging with horses was just about pulling logs, then hitch height might be the only consideration. Teamster safety, comfort, and stamina, all play huge roles, as do bio-dynamics of the draft animal, maneuverability, teamster skills, and operational techniques and methodology.
I have two log carts, one of the high hitch/high seat models (since 1986), and a Barden cart (since 1993). Between the two I have moved over a million board feet. I still use the high cart for many tasks in the field and woods. While I do not take on a lot of commercial work, it has nothing to do with financial inefficiencies, or functional restrictions.
I started working for myself 27 years ago to work for me. I have always worked off the farm to afford the work I need to do for myself, including building my home and barns, sawing lumber, building roads and other farm infrastructure, raising and processing food, as well as other external costs of home schooling, community organizing and advocacy, etc. I work 65% of my time for myself, earning nothing but the value of the investment, and 35% making money.
Everything I have ever done, whether working for myself, or for others, has been done with a sharp pencil. I know my expenses, and I know how they stack up against the income they generate. One of the basic principles I work under is keeping expenses low, and bringing efficiencies to my work through improved skills and quality workmanship.
With that in mind, the Barden cart is by far one of the most effective tools for anybody wanting to seriously work horses in the woods. In 20 years I have had clearance issues that I can hold in one hand. I have worked over hundreds of acres throughout Vermont on every type of terrain. I can back that cart up steep grades, turn in tight places, and yes I can, and do hook large logs and whole trees.
I have worked with many teamsters who use the higher carts, and it is clear that they are not as easy to maneuver. The high hitch may give the log some lift, but it reduces the horses’ ability to lift, and turns their power into a push. This may seem insignificant to some, but after as many years as I have been doing this, having the horse be just as committed at the end of the day as they were at the beginning is huge. The high hitch makes traveling easier, but makes starting more difficult, and on uphill skids this is very evident.
Walking all day, or having to climb up and down for every hitch has a real and lasting impact on the teamster, including the emotional and physical commitment to chainsaw work (which by the way is the most important work that a logger does). The difficulty in maneuverability leads to short cuts in felling that are production-based not silviculture-based, and there is a tendency to put less effort into the saw work, saving energy for the work of skidding.
All-in-all, everybody gets comfortable with what they have, but I generally work all by myself, so I don’t have anyone on the ground hitching for me, nor do I construct my enterprises so that having another person around is necessary at all.
If I didn’t already have a line on another used Barden cart, I would be on my way to get that one from Paul. I have to say that I admire your workmanship, and the fact that you want to/and can build your own, but it is my opinion that you should not hesitate any longer, and just go get that cart.
Say hi to Paul for me, Carl