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Please help me size cable for pulling logs with small loader

jwalk2c

jwalk2c

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Hello,
Please suggest logging cable size or rating to pull medium to large size walnut trees with stump attached from creek.
These trees are being taken over by a creek.
This creek was at the time when we purchased this land was a relatively large creek, with banks approx.10 ft wide, and now after 33 years of erosion and floods become a 25 ft wide stream.
Some of the trees are lying in the creek, some collapse with root ball intact and slide into creek. It’s a sad sight. The area is a 100-year flood plain and the ground is soft.
Ideally a large excavator is needed to come in reshape creek bank and remove all the trees from the water.
Not all the trees are Walnut, most I cannot identify, which are short, large diam. white wood, crooked, and heavy, just junk wood. They usually grow in clumps of two.
And there are some large gum trees also in clump of two.
I have a John Deere 455G Loader, 80-hp. steel track loader, weighs approx. 19K.
I am breaking 4" webbing tow straps rated at 30K break limit but are low quality and may be overrated. Breaks tree saver also 4’.

I will use a choker cable at tree end.
I will form a loop on both ends of cables.

I will use a similarly rated Crosby clevis to attach choker and cable...
Options are for one 100 ft. cable or two 50 ft. cables,

I have made similar ½ wire rope setups for assistance in tree felling with 2-ton Lug-all come along.
I realize the weakest link is the breaking point.
I do have some chainsaw and tree felling experience; I have been cutting firewood for my own use since my teen years and I am now in my 60’s. Cut down many trees but no expert by any stretch.
To give you an Ideal of the situation I attached some pictures of a recent dam I cleared that was formed when a large clump of that unidentified species trees I mentioned earlier. It had collapsed into the creek. I let that clump sit in creek as many heavy rains and flooding formed a dam. The root balls sunk into the soft sand floor of the creek. Very difficult to pull out with me at the controls. If I was a skilled operator is would have been easy. A video would have been entertaining. I would pull the tree upright with tow strap, only to watch it fall back into the creek.
As I side note, I am easy on equipment, I am not one who will get a running go an snap a cable. If I see the tracks start to spin I am not going to just give it full throttle and hope for the best.
Thank you
 
slowp

slowp

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Warshington
Why remove them? Out here we are putting trees back into streams. Like you said, they create small pools behind them and that's good for fish and other critters. Trees in creeks slow down the water a bit and that can slow down erosion. There is a ton of reading material about this.

Fisheries people and hydrologists prefer trees with rootwads attached for stream restoration. I read an article about a logger that I had worked with who has had work with The Nature Conservancy running a skyline operation to put trees back into the creeks on the property. He's a good logger so they must be paying him well for that. We've had helicopters flying logs with rootwads attached and placing them in creeks. You've got them there naturally.

You might also want to check to make sure you aren't breaking any laws. Our state is pretty strict about disturbing ground along streams and that's not a bad thing in my opinion. Equipment on soft, wet ground makes a mess of things.

Forget about how the stream "looks" and think about how it functions.
 
catbuster

catbuster

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If I remember right, those size machines have a drawbar pull right around 25,000 lb. Nylon chokers have no place on a logging site. They fray über easily and once they do the capacity is lost. A good quality 5/8 in theory is able, but that’s assuming straight pull and all the strands are in good shape (no rust or breaks.) 3/4 gives you some breathing room, or better 7/8 is what I’d be looking at, especially if you’re rigging off the bucket where you can pull on it and lift. Why do you want such a long rigging line that’s not going on a winch drum? 100’ of 7/8 or even 3/4 line and you’ll either need to be John Henry or want to use the cat to move the cable around. Dragging 100 lb of cable that’s getting hung up in brush for 100’ is not going to be fun. That machine should be able to get in close enough where there’s no need to be that far away, and it’s just more cable to fray and hang on something.

I’ll always have a soft spot for those small front engined crawler loaders. I started with one. Yours looks a lot nicer than my clapped out 1978 Cat 941 I started with though.

All that said-I’ll have to second what Patty said about riparian areas. A stream does more than just move water... Barring it being constructed solely for that purpose, and even a lot of the new constructed ones through LEED/yada engineering certification yada have some serious stuff going on to make them function more like a natural stream than just a way to move water. I know NC has some pretty lax law on working in streams in comparison to Washington, but seriously check with DWR or the applicable agency to see if what you’re doing is legal.
 
slowp

slowp

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Here is the article. This guy had a good crew when they logged on our forest, although they did hang their intermediate support backwards I pointed this out, they dismissed my advice and shortly after trying to yard over it, I was offered a hooktender job. :)

 
northmanlogging

northmanlogging

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5/8 bog standard cable, avoid anything with too course of wire pattern, or too fine, one will kink and break the other with will fray and break... Now having said that, I've done some pretty dumb stuff with 1/4 aircraft cable and made it work, 3/8-1/2" cable works good as long as your careful not to pull real hard, same with 9/16, but 5/8 will put up with a lot of stupid before it breaks

use chains or proper cable chokers, available through Bailey's online and cheap. (actually I'm pretty sure you can get 5/8's cable through them as well)

never ever use synthetic or fiber ropes or slings for pulling logs, they will get cut and fail quickly. All fine for use as a tree saver on leave trees you wan't to survive, but anything that comes in contact with the ground needs to be steel and abrasion resistant, like chain or wire rope/cable

While your at it, look up rolling logs with a choker, and various other skidding tricks, once the log starts to move, its a lot easier to keep it moving, even just a 1/4 roll is enough to get a little momentum and break the vacuum created under the log, especially in wet conditions
 
catbuster

catbuster

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Oh, and maybe add some rock traps or something for erosion control. Posting that type of work on the internet with no erosion controls is a good way to get fined.
 
jwalk2c

jwalk2c

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If I remember right, those size machines have a drawbar pull right around 25,000 lb. Nylon chokers have no place on a logging site. They fray über easily and once they do the capacity is lost. A good quality 5/8 in theory is able, but that’s assuming straight pull and all the strands are in good shape (no rust or breaks.) 3/4 gives you some breathing room, or better 7/8 is what I’d be looking at, especially if you’re rigging off the bucket where you can pull on it and lift. Why do you want such a long rigging line that’s not going on a winch drum? 100’ of 7/8 or even 3/4 line and you’ll either need to be John Henry or want to use the cat to move the cable around. Dragging 100 lb of cable that’s getting hung up in brush for 100’ is not going to be fun. That machine should be able to get in close enough where there’s no need to be that far away, and it’s just more cable to fray and hang on something.

I’ll always have a soft spot for those small front engined crawler loaders. I started with one. Yours looks a lot nicer than my clapped out 1978 Cat 941 I started with though.

All that said-I’ll have to second what Patty said about riparian areas. A stream does more than just move water... Barring it being constructed solely for that purpose, and even a lot of the new constructed ones through LEED/yada engineering certification yada have some serious stuff going on to make them function more like a natural stream than just a way to move water. I know NC has some pretty lax law on working in streams in comparison to Washington, but seriously check with DWR or the applicable agency to see if what you’re doing is legal.
 
slowp

slowp

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Messages
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Warshington
WHEN LOGGING PROMOTES CONSERVATION
I liked that article. The water here just moves to fast in flash floods which occur more and more frequently for any wood to stay in the water. Granted the large trees will stay in but they are the cause of the banks to blow out. I would love to see a natural slow moving creek with small ponds and wildlife. but nothing will stand up to the rushing flow of water that is coming from up stream in heavy rain . I own approx. 800 feet of the creek. It divides our property in half. I can't control whats going on upstream. My downstream next door neighbor owns approx. 800 feet and has cleared the fallen trees out of 400 feet. That cleared out portion is not getting wider like mine and many the other creeks in this area seem to be. During flash floods the water slips past. Maybe I do need to rethink my goal . If I can stop the banks from washing out and allow some ponds to form that would be a good thing. I can strategically leave wood in that lies low in the water. I had never thought about creating small ponds. The problem is when the wood is lying across the bank, it can cause the dam to grow tall, and in a flash floods massive bank wash out occurs.
I wish I had photos, but I don't. On the Cispus River, in SW Washington, the river runs high and fast during floods. It was eroding the bank during floods and threatening a road. Logs were not placed across the whole river. Instead, they made some log structures which were anchored into the river bank and those have worked to kind of slow the water down along the river bank. They've stayed put through some big floods--the river is a mountain river and untamed so prone to wander around and take out bridges and stuff. Perhaps there is a write up on that somewhere. I'll take a look.
 
catbuster

catbuster

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Removing obstacles in a water flow only allows water to move faster, which will increase the scouring effect. Having something in the way causes the head (energy) in the channel to drop and decreases your bank erosion.

If what you’re looking for is to shoot that water downstream as fast as possible while preventing bank erosion, then you have to line the channel. That will take away the “natural” look but achieve that goal. Just prepare to pay up. Channel lining (cyclopean rip rap) is a halfway decent solution, as would be a gabion basket wall.

Otherwise, leave the logs there unless there is a significant blockage holding up the *majority* of the flow. They’ll actually help your problem.
 
slowp

slowp

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If you are interested, google Engineered Log Jams and articles and pictures will pop up. I do know the Cispus structures have really worked to stop the bank erosion and that river has had some flooding since those were put in.
 
jwalk2c

jwalk2c

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"they made some log structures which were anchored into the river bank"
That may help, The only possible reason I can thing of that it may not is the ground is so soft in this bottom area. I think the creek bank is so tall from deposits of sand and silt left when the water recedes from past flooding. You have to go uphill to get to the edge of the creek bank . That is one reason I cut a trough to the creek was to let some of the water drain from nearby runoff. The tall creek bank was holding back runoff from hillside..
 
jwalk2c

jwalk2c

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"leave the logs there unless there is a significant blockage holding up the *majority* of the flow."
That's exactly the problem I am trying to solve and describe. Each large tree that falls in causes a "significant blockage" and does indeed hold up the majority of the flow. The blockage grows until the surrounding soft banks are undermined and the water will find a way to move the blockage or cut through the bank bringing another tree down in the process. The banks do have some clay content, and the downstream neighbor I spoke of, void of tress, has a winding natural shaped creek, with out erosion. Mine is relatively straight in comparison. I do appreciate yours and everyone's comments. It has given me a lot to think about.
 
jwalk2c

jwalk2c

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5/8 bog standard cable, avoid anything with too course of wire pattern, or too fine, one will kink and break the other with will fray and break... Now having said that, I've done some pretty dumb stuff with 1/4 aircraft cable and made it work, 3/8-1/2" cable works good as long as your careful not to pull real hard, same with 9/16, but 5/8 will put up with a lot of stupid before it breaks

use chains or proper cable chokers, available through Bailey's online and cheap. (actually I'm pretty sure you can get 5/8's cable through them as well)

never ever use synthetic or fiber ropes or slings for pulling logs, they will get cut and fail quickly. All fine for use as a tree saver on leave trees you wan't to survive, but anything that comes in contact with the ground needs to be steel and abrasion resistant, like chain or wire rope/cable

While your at it, look up rolling logs with a choker, and various other skidding tricks, once the log starts to move, its a lot easier to keep it moving, even just a 1/4 roll is enough to get a little momentum and break the vacuum created under the log, especially in wet conditions
Thank you for the advice. Yea I have used some pretty small cable myself in felling trees.
Your correct. Webbing has no abrasion resistance. I wrapped on end around a bucket tooth trying to lift one log, that 4 in. strap snapped instantly.
Just took you guys here to confirm this before I actually realized it.

Based on your advice I found a web site that list lots of wire rope.
Here are just a few sizes that may fit my needs.

5/8" 6x26 Swaged Wire Rope - 49000 lbs. Breaking Strength

5/8 6x26 Super Swaged Galvanized Wire Rope 54000 lbs. Breaking Strength

3/4" 6x26 Swaged Wire Rope - 70000 lbs. Breaking Strength


This site has so many types of cable it is difficult to decide.
But for logging the most popular is 6x26 Swaged Wire Rope

https://www.westechrigging.com/wire-rope.html

catbuster said I am dealing with a machine that has a drawbar pull of 25K than 5/8 may be enough.
None the less 3/4 is not that much more money for the small qty I need.
If you get a chance what are your thoughts on this?
Thank you
 
northmanlogging

northmanlogging

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Thank you for the advice. Yea I have used some pretty small cable myself in felling trees.
Your correct. Webbing has no abrasion resistance. I wrapped on end around a bucket tooth trying to lift one log, that 4 in. strap snapped instantly.
Just took you guys here to confirm this before I actually realized it.

Based on your advice I found a web site that list lots of wire rope.
Here are just a few sizes that may fit my needs.

5/8" 6x26 Swaged Wire Rope - 49000 lbs. Breaking Strength

5/8 6x26 Super Swaged Galvanized Wire Rope 54000 lbs. Breaking Strength

3/4" 6x26 Swaged Wire Rope - 70000 lbs. Breaking Strength


This site has so many types of cable it is difficult to decide.
But for logging the most popular is 6x26 Swaged Wire Rope

https://www.westechrigging.com/wire-rope.html

catbuster said I am dealing with a machine that has a drawbar pull of 25K than 5/8 may be enough.
None the less 3/4 is not that much more money for the small qty I need.
If you get a chance what are your thoughts on this?
Thank you
stick with bright wire rope, the galvanized stuff generally is weaker then bright steel, the swaged stuff you described starts of at like 11/16 and they squish it down to be a nearly perfect 5/8 cylinder, its also a boat load stiffer and harder to work with for us punters, its great for massive winch drums and running rigging, not so much for dragging by hand through the brush...

I personally run 3/4 on my skidder, and I have broke it, but only when it gets worn and needs replaced anyway,
 
Ted Jenkins

Ted Jenkins

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I bought 600 feet of aircraft grade 7/16'' cable 35 years ago and still use it. I can with five snatch blocks pull a healthy large Walnut tree right out of the ground with out making any cuts or digging. I have not tried to make any pulls with the ground dry and hard. My work has for most part just during the winter or early spring. I have pulled out Pine trees too, but big old Walnut are noticeably more of a challenge. I suggest over engineer your cable requirements and know it is an investment that will last a long time. Thanks
 

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jwalk2c

jwalk2c

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I bought 600 feet of aircraft grade 7/16'' cable 35 years ago and still use it. I can with five snatch blocks pull a healthy large Walnut tree right out of the ground with out making any cuts or digging. I have not tried to make any pulls with the ground dry and hard. My work has for most part just during the winter or early spring. I have pulled out Pine trees too, but big old Walnut are noticeably more of a challenge. I suggest over engineer your cable requirements and know it is an investment that will last a long time. Thanks
Thank you all for taking your time to reply.
I found in my John Deere Technical Manual's 24K draw bar rating for a 450G dozer and will be slightly higher due to my loader having triple gouser tracks.
I am going to stay way above that in all the pulling hardware I use.
I ordered a 3/4 diam. Cat Choker, found a 1 1/2 - 17 Ton Crosby clevis on Ebay , and for cable I will look at 5/8 or 3/4.
I did call Westech Rigging which has a nice assortment of rigging , who recommend initially 1/2 wire rope based on the drawbar rating of 24K .
I already have an assortment of 1/2 cables I have made up I use to fell trees with a 2 ton Lug All .
I am not trusting 1/2 wire rope, even though it is has a break strength rated for the draw bar pull of my loader.
Westech suggested 6-26 swedged wire rope .
I'll order that if I do not find any used tow cables or logging cables .
An army surplus seller on Ebay list new factory crimped 1/2 cables w/44K breaking strength 50ft cables .
That leads me to another question.
If a cable snaps due to over load, and is the only link that breaks carrying no hardware, in other words the cable breaks in the middle of a cable, where does the energy go?
Is it like a Tow strap and drops? Or does it fly back in both directions? I can see the danger if the choker breaks while a clevis is attached to a cable, the potential for the clevis to go flying towards attaching point.
But the weak link I am proposing , is to use the 1/2 miltary cable as an extension cable. The energy released would be in the cable itself.
Thank you
John (not John Henry LOL)
 
northmanlogging

northmanlogging

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swedged is too expensive for what your up too.

cable can rebound, but its energy is largely in the load and anchor point, as it stretches only a fraction of what fiber rope will. that said both are dangerous.

tow straps can and will do as much or more damage, because they are a giant rubber band.

a lot of folks will disagree with me on this, because they heard it from someone that heard it from someone etc, but look.up the coefficient stretch ratings of similar rated lines, then look up max breaking strength, the difference is huge, couple that with I break cable often, and rope often, broken ropes are far more frightening
 
catbuster

catbuster

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I’ve seen cables break in spectacular fashion. They’ll generally rebound in the same plane as the direction of pull. The same can be said for ropes, chains and straps. The best practice is staying out of the way.and not occupying space between the load and the equipment.
 
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