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skidder advice

Discussion in 'Forestry Equipment' started by ipalogger, May 1, 2012.

  1. ipalogger

    ipalogger Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    catskills
    Hello All,

    I'm not a professional logger but have owned and maintained a variety if large construction equipment for about 15 years. I've decided to purchase a skidder but quickly realized that I could really use advice on what to hey for my needs so that I can avoid getting something under/over sized, under powered or just a poor model in general. so for those reading any suggestions on my requirements below are greatly appreciated

    I only plan on dragging about 150 trees per year but will be dragging alone. Typically everyone I hook up to the trees I need to drag them about 3/4 of a miles to my clearing. (been using a bulldozer and choker cables till now)
    The terrain is mountainous with trails that are just large enough for a 650G dozer.

    Need a skidder with a grapple and my budget is between 15 and 25k. Not afraid of a little work but don't want any nightmares either. I had a deere tech tell me that the old 440c was a good machine but I haven't seen them with grapples.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. SPMiller

    SPMiller Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    346
    Occupation:
    Operator
    Location:
    Langley, BC
    You move 150 single trees a year? You may want to clarify what sort and size of trees.
     
  3. lumberjack

    lumberjack Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    870
    Location:
    Columbus, MS
    Why not continue using the dozer? 150 trees a year doesn't seem to justify a $25k layout. In 10 years you would have spent $17 dollars per tree to move them 3/4 mile. That seems mighty expensive to me if the dozer can do it.
     
  4. Vigilant

    Vigilant Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
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    953
    Occupation:
    Attitude Adjuster at the Graybar Hotel
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    Also, for 150 trees per year, are you sure you need a grapple? I would be thinking cable, and saving the maintenance aggravation of an older grapple skidder. Especially since it would be sitting a good bit of the time.
     
  5. ipalogger

    ipalogger Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    catskills
    The trees are typically 18" and only used as firewood. I agree three bulldozer is more cost effective however at this point its an issue of time vs energy also I plan to use the skidder as an aide in. the winter ice since bulldozers are essentially 30klb ice skates.
     
  6. Scott S

    Scott S Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Get yourself a 540d.
     
  7. BDFT

    BDFT Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    265
    Location:
    Northwest BC
    Why don't you hire somebody to skid 300 trees for you and then you can rest for two years. Most of the skidders you are asking about can skid 150 trees a day and go home early.
     
  8. Justin

    Justin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    116
    Occupation:
    owner operator
    Location:
    eastern oregon
    I have a question about your firewood, Do you deck it and then cut it or do you have a processor? The little bit of wood I cut and sell a year, I use my skidder a lot more, than just skidding to a deck. If you get a grapple you can grab your decked up trees and cut them as the grapple holds them up, and all of your wood is in a pile next to your splitter, and keeps your saw out of the dirt. The skidder I would look for would be an Cat 518, 95U series, they are hard to find but they are god ones, and should be in your price range.
     
  9. cetane

    cetane Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Albany NY
    There is no question that a Timberjack is the best skidder your money can buy. Johndeer = old farm tractors. Cat = overpriced name. The 380 or 450 would be the best for what you are looking for. Parts are super cheap and plentiful. No proprietary, oem only, overpriced parts. Look up Minpar.com and they can get you all the parts at 1/3 the cost from johndirt. If you are really looking for the best model that was made look at a 360 single or 460 single arch. The winch would be a plus, but if you have a dozer with winch you just drag the hard to get ones close to the skid road with that. The machines have no elctronic crap to go wrong. The axles can be serviced and fixed in the woods if need be. Try to change an axle on a johndeer or cat in the woods when you have to remove the whole axle from the machine to get to the gears. The 60 series have a tilting cab so you can get to everything real easy if you need to get around in the belly. I dont think you need a dual arch if you have other machines. You can find them for $15000 in real good ready to work shape.

    ETA; I have had the johndeer and cat dealers demo there machines on my jobs. The result was my guys wouldn't run the cat or deer the next day. There reason was they were tired of having to get out in the mud and hook the cable from the 460 TJ to get the deer and cat unstuck.
     
  10. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    3,572
    Location:
    indiana
    I agree cetane,Timberjack all the way. No grapple on it but an Old 225 Timberjack would work fine for ipalogger's needs if only dragging 150 trees a year.The winch & choker's will work better in the mountaious terrain than the grapple.
     
  11. Redwood Climber

    Redwood Climber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Messages:
    208
    Location:
    Blue Lake
    Rubber Tired Skidder.........

    I would agree that a skidder would be a nice addition to your firewood operation. 3/4 of a mile with a Cat is a long skid......I've done that, it is slow slow slow......you should easily triple production, and have alot more fun doing it. With the budget you have and the ability to maintain it as you indicate you have, I would go ahead and get a machine with grapples and a winch. I have a 666 Clark skidder that is equipped with both, and it is a real dandy. I usually log by myself, so I'll grab 2 or 3 logs (those out of reach with the grapples) with the winch then grab a couple with the grapples. There's not much more fun can be had then logging with a skidder. Yes it can beat you to death if you run them that way, run it to produce logs AND take care of it and it will last much longer, be much funner...My skiddrer is not new, it was built in 1973. It runs every day I ask it to, it does everything it was designed to do and more. It is tough, it is dependable, it is not something every logger wants, it is outdated, it does not have air conditioning, it does not have alot of the comforts of the new machines, it was built to work, and work it does. For 15-25k you can get a small to mid sized skidder in pretty decent shape. It is tough to know the history of the machines, skidders are fun to abuse for some operators. They can beat them to death if they try. When you start looking, take an experienced operator or mechanic with you, they will be able to spot much of the good from the bad. Most of the major manufacturers produced good machines, much of the discussion will be same as ford vs. chevy. I've run many of them, owned several brands and liked all of them.


    Good luck to you Sir, keep us posted, let us know what you decided, have fun and be safe.