How I loaded huge walnut log

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Blog entry by Built2Last posted 03-20-2011 11:56 PM 5014 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Since I built my sawmill a year or so ago, I’ve had one major problem. Getting logs here to mill.
I tried using my log arch but, with a 24” diameter log on it, there is no fun at all in pulling it on the highway with a big log, “just a swingin” behind you, held by a couple of straps, on a trailer with no springs. I’ve tried pulling them on the trailer and then pulling them off, but that way tearing up my trailer. My trailer is a 20 footer, about 18 years old, and I didn’t want to completely trash it. I tried hiring someone to load them on a roll back and that can get expensive.
A couple of months ago, I was contacted about three walnut trees. One was really big, a medium, and a smaller one. The guy said I could have them. All I had to do was cut them down and haul off whatever part I wanted and he would clean up the smaller limbs.
After thinking about it for a while, I decided to build a loader. Only problem, I didn’t have anything to spend of it so it had to be from stuff I already had laying around. I also didn’t want to tie up my trailer all the time with a loader in it so it had to be so I could take it on and off the trailer.
I had an old 3 wheel forklift that hadn’t ran it 10 years so I used the channel from the mast of it and other old rusty steel I had been saving. I had aquired a few pulleys over the years and last year I won a small 4 wheeler winch on ebay for about $60 bucks. It is a 3000 pound winch, only 1.2 horsepower, with 3/16” cable on it. Not what you would think of loading huge logs with. I also had a battery I bought last year at the junk yard for $20 bucks.
The pictures are of the loader after I got it built. They are of two different loads. It is on skids so I can take it out by unbolting one bolt and tying it to a tree or something and pulling it off. A small hand winch will pull in back in the trailer.
So far I have loaded 3 loads of 18 to 20 foot pine logs that a guy had on craigs list that he wanted someone to haul off (they were already cut to lenght, limbs cut off and stacked along side his driveway and they were free), two loads of persimmon and cedar logs and three loads of walnut (still have one or two more loads of walnut to get). One of the walnut logs, from the biggest of the three trees, I was given is 9 foot long, 35 inches diameter at the butt end and at the crotch it measures 4 foot 9 inches across and about 30 inches thick. According to the log scale, I figure it is somewhere around 300 to 400 board feet of lumber in it, maybe a little more. The sap had already started going up last week when I cut it. I don’t know how much it weighs, but it a lot. The little 4 wheeler winch, along with three extra pulleys, loaded it right up, only stopping when I took the pictures. It was so heavy that while I was taking the pictures, it actually bowed the ramp sitting there. If anyone knows anything about what a green walnut log like this weighs, please let me know. I figure it weighs more than most small cars. Not bad for a cheap little winch. I looked and they are only $117.00 new. Oh yeah, I also bullt a ramp on the inside of the loader, attached a couple of short pieces of chain to the sides so that it not only loads the logs, it unloads them also.
I am tired of welding and ready to get back to working with wood instead of steel.

Hope you enjoy!!!!!

9 comments so far

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3742 days

#1 posted 03-21-2011 12:18 AM

Excellent thinking. I like it when you can get something great out of things you already have.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3714 days

#2 posted 03-21-2011 12:42 AM

Great idea! I’ve got the winch, I guess I need to check out the local junk yard for some steel.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View chodgson's profile


33 posts in 3161 days

#3 posted 03-21-2011 08:50 PM

I don’t know anything about green logs but according to:
The density of green black walnut is 57 lb/cu. ft.

Hard to account for the crotch but a perfect cylinder of 118” long by 35” diameter would be:
3.14 x (35/2)^2×118 = 113472 cu in. = 66 cu. ft = 3743 lbs.

Add the crotch to that and you could be over two tons. Nice job on the loader!

I hear those Walnut logs can be worth big bucks !!!

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

808 posts in 4310 days

#4 posted 03-21-2011 09:28 PM

looks like a well designed safe system. very cool.

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3418 days

#5 posted 03-21-2011 10:38 PM

Clever thinking. I’ve been thinking of something like this for a long time. My back can’t take it anymore! Need to find or build a low bed trailer first….

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4264 days

#6 posted 03-23-2011 05:33 AM

Man, what a load! You really made out well on the trees. Your hoist trailer was ingenious. I saw one similar to it made by an Australian company. They were asking 12K for one at the time. Great idea, I bet that trailer was straining under the load.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3584 days

#7 posted 03-23-2011 06:57 AM

I hope you didn’t need to pull that very far. 5 lug hub and spindles are only rated for a gross weight of 6200 pounds. That looks way over to me.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3651 days

#8 posted 03-23-2011 07:33 AM

Uh … where IS that road, and … can I swing by with my motorcycle !!!

Very cool post and pics, by the way :-)

-- -- Neil

View Built2Last's profile


234 posts in 3955 days

#9 posted 03-23-2011 02:37 PM

Thanks for the info chodgson!!!!!!!!! I was thinking it weighed around 4,000 or so. I know it is one heavy piece of wood. If I manage to saw it right, and wanted to sell it, I could probably get as much out of that one log as it cost to build my sawmill.
lilredweldingrod——- That old trailer has been hauling loads of up to 10,000 and sometimes more for around 18 years now. It has hauled outdoor furniture all over the southeast and usually hauled allthe wet treated lumber, 4 to 5 packs at a time, that was used to build the furniture. I sure it has at least a couple 100,000 miles on it. It’s been a good one.

Thanks for the great comment folks!!!!!!!!! Gotta go get another load of pine and then one more of persimmon and I hope that winds up the log hauling for a couple weeks anyway. Oh yeah, managed to get 22 free 14’ to 18 foot cypress logs yesterday that average about 12 or so inches at the small end. Also, a few aromatic cedar. See some more outdoor furniture coming out of these!!! Have a great day!!!

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