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Thread: How do you operate a skidder?

  1. #1
    COPPA Bellboy's Avatar
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    How do you operate a skidder?

    Okay, so I've seen a skidder cab, I've been in one, I've read OSHA tips and safety protocol, but what do the numerous joysticks and levers in the cab really do?

    How do you operate one? What exactly do you do to make the machine move forwards, and then reverse? How do you winch out the cable(hope that thats the right term)? How do you choke a log? How does a choker work?

    I'm open to both grapple and cable skidder operation, so let it flow. I'm really interested to find out 'coz its one of my favourite machines.

    Thanks in advance guys!
    If at first you don't succeed, lubricate or make bigger! If you don't have a 'plan B', plan 'A' is bound to fail

  2. #2
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    From what I have seen a strong back and good kidneys are important to successful operation lol. Seriously though I have never run one and we are close to buying a Cat 515 to work our land so I would like some answers to these questions too.
    Const. Management B.S.

  3. #3
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    Bell Im not familiar with the newer skidders except Wagner when I worked for Hydraulic Analysis in 2000 we built tandem pumps for their machines I saw one up close and it had a joy stick for the forward and revere and steering. It was all hydro static. I have operated a few older cats all 518 since then Ive used a 518 cat skidder/ Feller buncher converted into a landfill compactor. Its got a 2 speed shifter like a wheel loader on the shuttle shift. you twist the knob and its goes 1 23 and then forward and reverse. Ours has the controlls reversed to run a shear head. depending on the arch configuration you have a single arch grapple and then a double arch that has an articulated boom for greater lift and reaching for logs. the controll are mostly on the right hand side of the operator. then if you have a winch on you rig or its a straight cable rig you have a control for you winch thats either hydralic or pto driven. I ve oerated a few old orange Tree farmer skidders they are very small but were very popular and a re getting snatched up all the time by smaller folks here, they used GM 3 cylinders engines and Amytruck parts often fit them. They had a shuttle shifter on some and a 4 speed behind that. They had one lever that steered them and one o nthe right hand to run the blade. A choker is a nifty device. I like to keep them handy around our landfill for log moving and equipment retrieval. I also have them around my shop. They consist of a cable about 5/8th heare with a swaged metal cap on the of the cable. A casted or forged metal peice slides down the cable and when you pull it down to a log you can push the swaged end under the log and pull it around the side then slde the forged piece down to the log and insert the swaged end and give it a yank it chokes down onto the log then you winch it up.

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    JD 748G-III... dual function grapple:

    Here you go, Bellboy... you won't have to fool with chokers...

    I ran one of these for a couple of weeks... about two years ago.
    A friend was logging on some timber right next to ours...
    Didn't run it full time... just helped out... couldn't resist the opportunity... ran it for free and it was worth it... awesome machine...
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    OCR
    Last edited by OCR; 02-06-2009 at 02:05 AM.

  5. #5
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    now were talking thats a skidder
    Const. Management B.S.

  6. #6
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    If you have a grapple skidder like the on pictured than it has a lot of joystick mainly to control the arch, boom, grapple(open close), grapple rotate, then you have one for the blade, very simple machine just it can be brutle on the body
    If it aint broke, then break it.

  7. #7
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    There nothing like draggin a wad of choker cables through brush, top, and mud and briars though lol. When the logging crew came to our landfill we had a pile of stumps I had pushed out of the powerline right of way. the The right of way crosses a pond levy thats on the proerty and theys a wetland behind it. The skidder operator was told several times not to disturb the piles because several of them were 24 inch white oaks. They were on our parks parking area and well out of there way. Every time we saw him we had to tell hime to stopp pushing on them. When we cam back from lunch he had pushed them over into the wet land. It was fun watching him have to drag the cable and choker out to get the the stumps back.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Big Iron's Avatar
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    skidders are not a complicated machine to run, that being said, keeping them on their feet is the tough part. when we looked for a good operator we looked for the following 5 simple requirements.

    1 hardhat size #2
    2 boot size #14 (or larger)
    3 at least 2 (preferably more) DUII citations
    4 at least 2 (preferably more) reckless driving citations
    5 at least 1 eluding citation

    this guy will get you logs and not complain about getting bounced around the inside of a steel box like a ping pong ball for 8 hours.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Iron Horse's Avatar
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    Once you have made the log dump where the logs will be skidded too for loading onto the trucks . It's time to go and retrieve the logs the faller has on the ground . Make sure you know where he is , you need to be sure he is not going to fall a tree on you and you need to be sure he is not lying hurt somewhere you will run over him . Keep a look out for trees that are hung up . Safety first , always in the bush .

    Find your log , back up as close to the butt as you can . Drop the blade and apply the park brake , make sure the machine can't move (many guys have been squashed between the log and the skidder) . Put the winch control into "free spool" pull out the rope slowly , pulling out quickly will see the drum unwind to much and the rope will be hard to spool up straight again as it will try and run over itself . Hold the choker and feed the rope under the log , bring the knob up and into the choker . Lay the choker on top of the log and get back in the skidder . If the rope is still neat on the winch drum , wind the winch in with the control lever to snug the rope and lift the butt into the bash plate on the skidder . If the log will come easy , put the machine in gear and drive off . If it is steep country you may need to drive forward with the winch "free spooling" which leaves the log behind . Once you have gone as far as you can/need , you can start winching the log whilst the brakes are applied . If the skidder is being pulled back down the slope , you may need to lift the front of the machine with the blade and bury the rear tyres into the soil to make it secure , you can also back the skidder up to a tree to make it secure . Winch the log all the way to the skidder , keeping an eye on the rope . Once the rope fills one run on the drum you need to slew the back end so that the rope feeds evenly on the next layer . Never let a rope run over itself as it will crush the rope and shorten its life . Lift the butt into the bash plate so that the butt is off the ground . This makes it easier to snig , stops a furrow being made in the soil and stops the rope from being dragged on the ground .

    Once at the log dump it can be dropped and unhooked . It is up to how the outfit runs weather the log is debarked with the skidder of with an excavator . The skidder driver usually helps with measuring the logs at the end of the day .

    Use a little foresight when dropping logs on the dump . If the trucks are going to be leaving the dump to the right , put the log butts forward on the left of the dump . So that the logs can be picked up with the loader/excavator , swung around and loaded on the truck butt forwards . This saves a lot of time , not having to spin logs around .
    Last edited by Iron Horse; 02-08-2009 at 08:59 PM. Reason: More info .
    Just my 2.02 cents including GST .

  10. #10
    Senior Member Iron Horse's Avatar
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    This is my old Clark 668C , it had a 504 V8 Cummins under the hood and sounded like a big block Top Fueler coming through the scrub , put the hairs on the back of your neck on end .

    Id just brought it in so i could give it a quick coat of paint over the weekend . This machine holds a record of snigging a 13 cubic metre log , a D7 would be proud of that .
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    Just my 2.02 cents including GST .

  11. #11
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    How do you operate a skidder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Horse View Post
    This is my old Clark 668C , it had a 504 V8 Cummins under the hood and sounded like a big block Top Fueler coming through the scrub , put the hairs on the back of your neck on end .
    Iron Horse... think me and you could stuff a 504 into a Clark 667?...

    I've got both... the 504 is almost new, it resides in an old versatile 145 FWD
    tractor that we no longer use.

    The 667 has a Detroit... bring that lathe, and come on over... ... LOL


    OCR...

    PS: Nice job on your 668... looks great!!
    Last edited by OCR; 02-08-2009 at 10:37 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Iron Horse's Avatar
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    You havn't forgotten about the lathe .....

    Id say it would bolt straight in , they both would have a No. 2 or 3 SAE housing . You may need to adapt the Torque convertor . That would be a perfect use for that engine .

    I only drink Fosters light ice , make sure you have some in the fridge .
    Just my 2.02 cents including GST .

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Horse View Post
    You havn't forgotten about the lathe .....
    I've tried to... but I just can't...


    OCR...

  14. #14
    COPPA Bellboy's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info guys, but what I really want to know is how you first of all operate, as in drive the machine, I mean its no use knowing all the ways of choking logs, or hauling them, or loading them if you don't know how the make the machine do all that.
    If at first you don't succeed, lubricate or make bigger! If you don't have a 'plan B', plan 'A' is bound to fail

  15. #15
    Senior Member PSDF350's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellboy View Post
    Thanks for all the info guys, but what I really want to know is how you first of all operate, as in drive the machine, I mean its no use knowing all the ways of choking logs, or hauling them, or loading them if you don't know how the make the machine do all that.
    Whats to know? Put it in gear (they all have differant gear setups but are really all the same) release parking brake step on the gas and go. Some have sterring wheels some just a stick, it don't matter they both turn. Then drive it like you stole it.

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