Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Log Chains For My Log Skidder (w/pics)

Well what’d ya expect; I’m a po’ boy ya know!

Click images to enlarge.

I’m not sure that it was a good investment to sell my farm tractor to afford truck-driving school. However, I had no way to know that I’d develop heart problems and have to quit driving after less than a year-and-a-half. So, my tractor and equipment are gone. That leaves only my pick-up, my lawn tractor and a pair of weak legs to work with. I’ll make do, though.

My truck has a hitch tube, so if I want to pull a chain with it, I just insert a ball and make a loop in the chain. Those who’ve used trucks for such things know that more depends on traction than power, so a little extra weight in the back, good tread, four-wheel drive if you have it, and an easy touch on the gas pedal can achieve wonders.

As for my weak legs, they used to be strong legs, but bursitis in both hips has pretty-much confined them to moving light loads for short distances.

That leaves my lawn tractor for loads heavier than I want to bother with or, more often, distances that I can’t handle anymore. My lawn tractor is a twin cylinder, 20 horse Snapper, a far cry from the old 20 horse farm tractors that some companies used to put out. Weight and torque make a BIG difference in performance! Still, it has more power than I do, so I decided to put it to use.

The first thing I did was to measure the size of the little hole in the back rim of the tractor body which the company expects you to use for attaching toy trailers. Somehow, I just didn’t want to try pulling from a half-inch hole only a half inch from the edge of a thin piece of steel. Therefore, I got a ball that normally is used to pull the sulky on a Gravely walk-behind mower, and mounted it like a regular hitch, instead of upside-down, like on a Gravely. I used a couple fender washers under the hitch and a regular washer below two more fender washers UNDER the steel lip to help distribute pressure over a larger area. Then I rigged up a five foot length of ¼” chain with a grab-hook on one end and a 2” ring on the other. That was a few years ago, and the rig served me well.

Unfortunately, that little chain walked off and hid somewhere in the past year, so I’ve been using a much longer chain of the same link size that I once used as a binder chain, back when I actually worked in the woods. Since I’m going to start fiddling with cutting a little firewood and hope to get my chainsaw mill running this winter, I wanted to get a another short chain set up. Sadly, being a poor old codger, I was going to have to wait until next month to afford the chain I wanted.

As fate would have it, when poking around in the basement, I discovered 10’ of chain that I’d bought long ago for some long forgotten project. It was one size smaller than ¼”, but it looked like it would hold all that my humongous log skidder could pull, so I cut it in half.  I raided my change jar and found that I had enough to buy four ¼” S-hooks. Using the vice, I attached one to each end of the two 5’ chain lengths. I was planning to put a grab hook on one end of each chain, and a ring on the other. I didn’t find any grab hooks that small, though, and realizing that the S-hooks would stand the pressure and would hook INTO a link, rather than across one, I decided to save the money and just use the chains the way they were. Without putting the ring on the other end, I can shorten the chain length by making the loop around the ball larger. As you can see from the photos, the set-up works fine. © 2016


Ralph Goff said...

That is very resourceful making do with what you've got.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, Ralph; it sure beats vegetating in front of the boob tube.

Glen Filthie said...


Gorges - are you going to mechanize your splitting operation too?

Joy said...

Now, if you had painted that chain yellow...

Gorges Smythe said...

Nah, Glen, manual labor is good for both the body and soul, and a WHOLE lot cheaper. - lol

Gorges Smythe said...

Joy, you're probably right! - lol

Lady Locust said...

Good deal. Looks like it works and that's what counts. Your basement sounds a bit like Mary Poppins's bag😉 which is handy.