Store-bought and home-built log trailers

Suggestions on buying and building log trailers and loaders. (From WOODWEB's Sawing and Drying Forum) January 21, 2003

Does anyone have suggestions for converting a low-boy trailer into a log hauling trailer? I'm thinking of a boom/winch mounted in the front and drop-down legs for stabilizing the trailer when lifting. Most logs I'll be handling would be in the 800-1500# range.

Forum Responses
(From WOODWEB's Sawing and Drying Forum)
Nova Jack makes some and you can go to their web site and look at what they have done. Also, there is Carl Neutzel. Baileys has loader booms in their catalog that you can add to your trailer and are ready to bolt/weld on. The Wheeler Trailer is the one I lust for.

From contributor B:
Here is a setup that I use. It's a 14000 lb equipment trailer with an Auto Crane EH6006 crane with manual outriggers. I had a local weld shop fabricate a base on the trailer to bolt the crane to. The crane has only four bolts and two electric cables running to it, so it is real easy to move. I mostly use it on my truck.

That Auto Crane sounds cool. I have a tri-axel goose neck trailer and have been looking for a loader for it. I have priced knuckle boom units capable of reaching 16 feet with a lift capacity of roughly 1000 pounds at 16 feet (2000 pounds at 7 foot reach). They would require a gas driven hydraulic power pack. A nice system but at a cost of $12,000 Canadian I have had to hold off. How much do you have in your Auto Crane, what are the lift and reach limits, and what do you use to drive the hydraulics?

From contributor B:
The Auto Crane is electric over hydraulic. The hydraulic is self-contained in the crane. It runs off batteries at 24v dc.

The Auto Crane is rated at 6000lbs at 6'. It has a 6' power extension which will give the boom a 16' reach. The winch has 95' of 3/8" cable.

I use it more on my truck than the trailer. It's really easy to move it back and forth. It's not a fast mover, so if you are used to watching a knuckle-boom loader operate, you might be disappointed in the speed of an electric over hydraulic unit. It works fine for what I use it for, so I don't mind taking a little longer getting things done.

I've used it to lower woodstoves into cellars, p/u scrap iron, p/u engines, even picked up and loaded an old tractor on the trailer for a guy, and of course logs.

The crane cost almost 15K American installed on my truck. A lot of money, but I'm only buying once and hopefully it will outlast me.

Another alternative would be to buy a Hardy 1700ST Loader and mount it to your truck or trailer. This loader is definitely more practical for sawmill work than the Auto Crane. It will lift 4000 lbs at 5'. Hardy loaders were featured in the Apr/May 2002 issue of Independent Sawmill & Woodlot Magazine. I was so impressed with the article that I ordered the loader and their 3200 forwarding trailer to use around the mill.

The log I'm lifting is 20"x10' white oak. The loader picked it up like it was a twig.

From the original questioner:
That trailer sounds like what I have in mind, but more heavy duty ($$). The corners have the braces I am referring to.

I have the Low-boy trailer and just want to economically modify it to pick up a few logs from nearby neighbors.

All these fancy loaders are great if you can sink a few thousand into bringing a few logs home. As an alternative, you can do the same with a good winch. I put a MileMarker hydraulic winch in the back of my truck, and use the ramps on my trailer to lift the logs onto the rear of the trailer. Just throw a chain over the ramp ends, and drop them back over the end of the log, holding them up with the winch. Fasten the log to the chain with tongs or a choker. When you pull the ramps forward with the winch, it will lift the end of the log onto the trailer, after which you can just drag it on board. A roller across the back of the trailer helps with the last part.

From contributor B:
That's a good point. You don't need anything fancy to get logs onto your trailer or truck. A good winch and some ramps is all that is needed. You can roll them up like Wood-Mizer does on their manual mills. I did just that for a good number of years. Just be careful.

Contributor B, sounds like a nice knuckle-boom you have. I bet it makes the day go a lot faster and easier. What kind of tractor are you using for the trailer? Is it big enough to pull that weight around?

Could a backhoe boom off an old backhoe be adapted to mount on a trailer and load logs?

I would think you would be ahead to sell the backhoe and buy a logloder. You can get a small one from Baileys.

From contributor B:
The tractor is a Ford 1910 4wd. It handles a loaded trailer fine on the flat ground around my mill. I would be a little nervous using it on a slope. The grapple really shines when you have a pile of slabs and edgings to move or load on to a truck or trailer. My back is much happier since I got the Hardy loader.

I built a loader/crane mostly out of some "junk" I had around. I had to buy a few things like the winch and valve bank.