Propane Tank Log Hauler

Photos and descriptions of a small-log hauler built by adapting a propane-tank trailer. December 15, 2005

In the past there has been discussion of using a propane tank mover to haul logs, and here is mine below. I have a large trailer and a Case skidsteer, but it is a big hassle to go fetch one log. I have passed on a few for myself, and told customers if they can't bring it to me the fetching will cost more than the sawing.

I finally found a tilt trailer that was used to move propane tanks. I just welded a lifting frame on the back to get the end up. The winch cable goes over the top and rides on a wide bearing (a piece of steel bar with a pipe nipple over it) to get the log onto a roller at the back of the trailer (a solid steel shaft with another piece of pipe over it).

The little test run log is just a 19" x 9' hackberry I had laying around and it worked like a charm. The little 12v winch I am using is a 2000lb winch I had for a pontoon boat that was hard to trailer. I just wanted to check my design, and I may end up getting a better winch.

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Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From the original questioner:
Once the log is on the trailer, just take the cable off and re-hook for a straight pull.

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From the original questioner:
With the log pulled up, I just wrap the strap winch (that came with the trailer, they pulled the tanks up with it, too much work for me, I moved it to the side for a tie down) around it and the center frame and it's road ready. I got the trailer for free, and spent $60 on the steel. I will need a bigger winch though. For one or 2 little ones I think it will be just the ticket. It is only 36" wide, but it is long. A 14' - 16' log should fit alright.

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From contributor D:
This is great. I really need something like this too. I see you have an arch over the back of the trailer, and I understand that after the arch is positioned over the log, that you can winch the end of the log up. What I don't understand is that now that the end of the log is up, how do you back the trailer up further to get the log onto it?

From the original questioner:
I had planned on building one that you back over the log and pick it up, but couldn't find the right running gear. This one you just back up to the log, put the truck in park and drag it on with the 12v winch. The pictures are deceiving as they don't show the truck it is hooked to. You can see the front of my other truck. The power cable wasn't long enough to reach the battery on the tow vehicle, so I pulled up next to it and used that battery for the test.

From contributor C:
Once you have the log end lifted, chock the front of the wheels on the trailer and give the log a tug with your truck. No need to buy another winch.

From contributor J:
If you built a roller at the rear of the trailer that you could raise and lower you might be able to push/pull it the rest of the way onto the trailer without even having to disconnect the trailer from the truck. At worst you might need a block and tackle.

From the original questioner:
Here is a closer shot from the back. You can see the roller on top to throw the cable over when lifting, and the wide roller on the bottom for the log to move on. I don't really want to unhook the truck (I will spend money on a bigger winch to save the work). The only hard part for the winch is lifting the 6"-8" to get it started on the trailer. If you hook it back a ways the end swings right on (or with it in the air you can back up a few inches). I am only going after small ones with this trailer.

If I need a bigger log moved, my buddy with a backhoe gets them. Or if I have several I will take my skidsteer and trailer. It is the exact width of my bandmill which is 36". It is built for one purpose - getting 1 or 2 small logs that aren't worth loading up the skidsteer for. I have a guy coming down soon who has an ash log he wants sawed, but there is no way to pick it up (and I wasn't loading all my stuff and going 25 miles after it for $30 worth of sawing). I can go get one for myself or let a customer use it to bring one to me.

Click here for full size image

From contributor K:
When I have gone out to get a single log with no more equipment than you are showing here, what I do is cut a large branch into a wedge shape, and with a cant hook roll the log up a little to one side of the center of balance point. Then when I back the trailer under it, it is almost half way in.

While your trailer has some good points, I would be a little cautious about going very fast especially through curves, and or braking. It looks like it would be pretty easy to lose your load with that thing, and a loose log making its own way through traffic could be dangerous.

From the original questioner:
They won't fall off. They are strapped down (and if you look close there are stake side pockets on the trailer). We don't go fast around here anyway and there isn't much traffic either.