Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forum › Equipment Category › Equipment › logging forcart
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- September 22, 2013 at 5:43 am #81191
This is a response to a question from a different thread and I hope that others will be able to chime in as well with thoughts, ideas, and observations about our design and hopefully add something about their designs and experiences also.
Our logging forcart is a home made rig and unfortunatly, this is the best picture I have of it. It’s a little hard to see, but at the height of my feet in the picture there is a rolling drop bar which is where we carry most loads. There are also two slip and grab hooks just below the drop bar. Above that on the back of the seat are two more slip and grab hooks where we usually carry the chain but they also work good for straight forward pulls in open terrain since they are so easy to reach from the seat, but I try not to use them in the woods since they are so high. There are two angle iron wheel fenders and the steel tongue swaps between this and Chucks I&J forcart, attaching with a single pin in a receiver hitch. (This seems to work fine since we tend not to be using the I&J in the fall winter and spring when we are doing most of the logging, and vice versa.) Also we recently got a set of the forcart ski’s from pioneer that bolt right onto the same lugs if we pull the wheels off..makes for a much smoother ride across snowy fields. We are not full time loggers by any means but between 3 dwellings that heat with woodstoves, a small saw mill, and a maple sugaring operation we seem to move around a lot of wood. I would be curious to hear the thoughts from some of the more experienced loggers on this forum about design and function. ThanksSeptember 22, 2013 at 9:23 am #81194
Your cart looks and sounds good. I like that you made it. I had some plans drawn up to make my own when I found a Forest logging arch for a very reasonable price. I am curious what you use the slip hooks for? I have two on the sides of my arch (in between the set of grabs) and have never found a use for them.
GeorgeSeptember 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm #81195
My son made a conversion for his Pioneer cart to use it for a skidding arch.He has two slip hooks near the middle and two grab hooks near the outside.You run the chain from the log through the slip hook and over and catch it in the grab hook. With a flip of the chain you can unhook even under good tension.This maybe what your’s are for.
carl nySeptember 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm #81201
I also converted a pioneer cart with a hang on arch conversion, it is for a single horse and works well for us, we get plenty of lift on the but end of the log and we carry our tools and saw along with us in the woods.
I can carry my saw, oil, gas and peavey along with me in the woods.September 22, 2013 at 11:56 pm #81206
Yours is a lot different than ours but the hooks are about the same,only we have two slip hooks in the middle about 4″ apart.
carl nySeptember 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm #81217
Carl and others-
Nice photos of your woods carts. Carl, your arch there is more similar to what I run in the woods, in contrast to the low design of the barden. When I worked in the woods in Maine we used a barden cart in the field frequently, but I have found that it’s lack of clearance and log lift is an issue for commercial work. Carl Russell and I have discussed this back and forth. He really likes that barden style for logging – low to the ground, safe to get on and off, and easily carries his tools. I prefer a high arch that gives more clearance and allows larger stems to be cradled under the beam. John Plowden designed and built my rig, and I have yet to find anything that works better. I guess in the end it depends on how you want to use the tool. I work almost exclusively in the woods on commercial jobs, and I do little field work with it, so I like a single purpose tool. Those who do a combination of jobs might prefer something more similar to the barden or pioneer style carts.
-BradSeptember 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm #81219
Great discussion. I hope others will ad their designs in here too. I am still in the process of building a fore cart/logging arch and hope to finish it later this fall. I have a start from an old portable air compressor we used to use. I am torn though whether to keep going or to just save a little money to buy one. I found an Amish Pioneer dealer near me that has a draft size fore cart with brakes, bench seat, new tires and has only been used a couple times and is asking $1000. He has had it a couple years and used it as a loaner and demo unit. That is a lot of money but time I gather the stuff I need and spend endless hours trying to perfect one it may be worth it. Anyway pictures, pictures, pictures, I would appreciate them as well as I’m sure others would to. I have searched through the past posts and there is good discussions but no picture previous to the switch to the new site. Thanks, PaulkSeptember 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm #81220
We only use ours for fire wood and a few logs for our own sawmill so the conversion works good.It only takes about ten min. to change over and we have another homemade forecart. If I figure out how to post pictures on here I’ll post some in the future.My other son might come home this weekend and he can help me.
carlSeptember 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm #81221
The arch that my son built looks alot like the one that Mark Cowdrey builds.He has a picture of it posted back in January,2013 under the topic of the Les Barden arch.That’s where he got the idea.
carlSeptember 24, 2013 at 8:10 am #81222
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, CarlSeptember 24, 2013 at 11:20 am #81225
I have used a Barden cart for about 15 years. It has been the right tool for my applications as a one man crew in marked softwood. The ground clearance is 14″, enough to clear most any chainsaw cut stump, but low enough to making climbing off and on easy and safe. The relatively slight angle of lift keeps the center of gravity low and adds to the cart’s stability and safety on down hill skids. And as Carl pointed out, it is very maneuverable. I have loaded the cart by hand on my pickup by rolling it on planks fron a banking.
I’m not saying other styles wouldn’t work as well or better in other applications, but I am saying there is a lot of understated efficiency in the Barden style cart. Les spent years refining this tool. It’s far more than just another backyard project.September 24, 2013 at 6:46 pm #81226
I’m wondering if it would be possible or would Les consider having the plans for his cart available through Dapnet. I like the versatility of this piece of equipment and ease of use. Also, having a look at the ways you are using it in all those videos, if I would have one for sale close it would be here already.
MikeSeptember 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm #81227
Carl and others-
Great discussion here. I want to make a couple of points concerning Carl’s thoughts. First, I would argue with the contention that a higher cart is a less maneuverable. The degree to which a cart moves easily in the woods is based primarily on its width, rather than its height. Given the fact that I can adjust my wheel width on the Plowden cart, I can match the relatively narrow width of the Barden cart or go wider for more stability on steep ground. Having used both a Barden cart and the Plowden arch in the woods, my arch is every bit as maneuverable. And, I can roll over debris that used to catch up our Barden cart at the bottom. Stumps are not so much the issue as they are usually cut short in any case. Second, the argument over high hitch point versus more lift is difficult to quantify. I have never seen any factual evidence to indicate that the higher hitch point somehow negates the extra lift I get on the arch. The extra lift, however, is measurable and on some stems it makes the difference between being able to get a large stick moving and leaving it on the ground. I have never found my teams to be any less willing at the end of day based on the fact that my angle of draft is a few inches higher than that on the Barden cart. I well understand that as draft angle rises beyond the optimal point that you take away from the horses ability to pull that load, but the more of the stem you get off the ground the less friction you are fighting. Also, note that the angle on the Barden cart, or any cart for that matter, is higher than optimal in terms of the perfect draft angle. Uphill, flat, or downhill, the arch works really well. And, so does the Barden cart. To the point that getting up and down all day is tiring, this is absolutely true. However, I find that I like walking as I skid from the stump in most cases, even if I can ride. I typically only ride when ground is flat or I am forwarding with multiple stems in the hitch. I take issue with the notion that a high arch means that I am more inclined to take “shortcuts” in felling that are based on making my skidding easier. Yes, I do try to make the work as easy as possible for both myself and my team, but that is just common sense rather than cutting corners. I put just as much energy into the saw work as everyone else, and I still have plenty enough to get up and down off the arch when I choose to do so. I chain and hitch my own loads in the woods as well, and the arch does not make this process any more difficult. Finally, one the distinct advantages of my arch over the Barden cart is that I have multiple chain slots on the bar so that I can take three or more chained stems. The allows for greater efficiency when needed, as multiple stems can be drawn in under the main beam of the arch. And, if needed I can move the wheels farther apart to make forwarding with multiple stems easier – more space between the wheels means you can fit more wood between. The point here is that just as much thought has gone into John’s arch design as into the Barden cart, as he has more than 20 years in the woods with horses. His arch designs are far from backyard welding projects, and I would challenge anyone out there to take his arch and a Barden cart and use them both in the woods, as I have, and see what you think. I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both, and realizing what they are makes the decision of which tool to use easier to make…
-BradSeptember 24, 2013 at 7:54 pm #81229
Thank you all for this thoughtful and useful discussion. JaySeptember 25, 2013 at 4:58 am #81230
Hey Brad, I am not inclined toward taking up challenges, but my comment are based on just such comparisons (although not personally using John’s design) over many years.
While admittedly overstated, my points were not meant to dismiss other models, rather to point out that efficiency in draft animal use can be subtle, and that if logging were merely about hooking to logs and dragging them, then a cart like John’s is extremely well designed for that. However, as I pointed out, there are many aspects to logging with horses that have efficiencies of their own, and the Barden design comes as close as any cart I have seen, or used, to compounding those into one device.
Efficiency is a strange duck, as some of us may consider one area to be more important than another. For example, you are comfortable walking, but it doesn’t make it as safe as riding on a cart that you can step on and off of quickly and easily. In your operation that is not as critical, but the Barden design provides an effective solution for those who do see it as important.
Also, efficiencies with draft animals are not huge, so on one hand some may be excused, on the other hand working to combine as many as possible will have increased import. Likewise, when one efficiency is held out in higher regard than others, it tends to require more emphasis than those others in order to maximize it. The example of hitch height is an example in which that becomes paramount, many times at the expense of others, and the focus of the logging becomes hooking and dragging (again overstated and simplified).
I know your work as well, if not better, than just about anyone, and it is clear that the Plowden design fits your work well. You are extremely competent in many of the aspects of logging with horses, and there is no doubt that the arch you use plays a huge role in how you take on the work you do.
I am not suggesting that you, or anyone else, need to change devices. I am merely broadening the discussion, and bolstering the components that have gone into the development of the Barden design.
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