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Conundrum: My latest (winter, armchair by the fire) idea...(ramblings)

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

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Loading wood, safely, from a pallet into a dump trailer, without dumping.
Here's the idea so far. To build a platform to set the pallet on above the trailer.
Unwrap the netting, and the splits fall in the front of the trailer, and I'll stack over the axles.

That's the basic idea. Building a platform with easy access and handrails, out of readily available material.
I'm thinking pallet racking set up 12' wide, or span over the trailer X 14' X 8' 6" deck height, 12' end frames.
With extension forks I can lift the 1k pallet at 26" from forklift mast.
Set up three bays, 4' wide end frames with 1' spreaders, to allow the 48" x 48" pallets access in the middle bay from the side (cut this end frame even with deck height), with 3' taller end frames for hand rail. Extra beams for handrail and stiffeners above the deck.
The middle bay will have a 12" open donut in the deck on three sides of pallet, and 12" by forklift mast for splits to drop thru.
This will allow me to walk around the pallet, to unwrap the netting.
There are eight wraps of netting per pallet. I think the deck can be the wire mesh shelving. There are supports available to place under the mesh if need be. That lets junk fall thru, including snow. Or it can be solid decking.
One pair of rails will support 5k, but I really do not need to even set the pallet on them.

Cutting the netting makes a huge mess when the pile suddenly has no support, and spills outward on the netting.
Untangling about 45-50' of netting is difficult, pulling, tugging, jerking, shaking, cutting multiple times, and still fliers of netting remain attached to the customers firewood. In my previous attempt to double stack I knocked over several dozen already sagging pallets. Another time when loading a customers dump trailer I suspended the load over the trailer. Standing one foot on the trailer, one on the forklift tire, sent me tumbling when he cut the netting and the drop shook the trailer. We then got in the trailer to remove the netting and only retrieved a portion of it. It all made a rather black and blue impression of how not to do things. We did unload several pallets this way, but is was not optimal cutting the netting, and the five foot tall bundle was not in a position it could not easily be unwrapped, even with two people.

I do have two aluminum scaffold planks that span the trailer perfectly. However, getting from one to the other would need bridging, which would have to be removed after each pallet to allow stacking. (x 400).

Why is all this even a consideration? Moving more and more wood, becomes harder and harder. Like being knee deep in a Lake Michigan and trying to run as the water gets deeper and deeper. I have 100 cord plus to load, over 400 pallets, and still keep up with processing. And previously I said I will be stacking. That was not my initial plan. I stacked four pallets in the trailer, loading with the conveyor. Four pallets, or one cord, stacked out to 16% overrun. Times one hundred cord is 16 cord overrun, at $300/cord. I'll at least have to stack twenty loads or so, and do an average.

Moving the conveyor from processing to loading for a delivery and back again takes a while, again, x 100 cord (400 pallets). I need something that works for two cord as well as one pallet for campfires. Using the conveyor also involves the same process of unwrapping the netting, and adds hand tossing wood into the conveyor, and more clean up. Dropping the wood from above the trailer eliminates moving the conveyor, handling splits one time, and cleanup goes in the trailer instead of the ground. Loose bark mostly from seasoning., plus a mouse nest and maybe a occasional snake in the spring. The mouse nest I can pick out while unwrapping.

It should work, with maybe some adjustments, and a set of stairs. Possibly a higher deck and offset chute on the forklift side, to compensate for not getting the pallet centered on the deck

There is one hump. Getting to the splits in the trailer to stack, after one row is stacked. I've tried stacking in the nose and it's improperly balanced for towing. This is a high sided trailer, however, the top 20" fold down in 8' sections. Folding one front section down would make it somewhat easier to access. I could have a swing door fabricated in the front side corner, but that might compromise the side pressure integrity. There is a hydraulic pump box on the tongue and tarp screen above which rules out a door there.

What's your input and comments, from crazy to brilliant.
Any alternative ideas? IMG_3628.jpg IMG_4622.jpg
I have resolved the double stacking issue by using two pallets on the top row, the bottom on flipped and rotated,, but above shows quite well how entangled the netting can become. IMG_3657.jpg IMG_4355.jpg IMG_4344.jpg IMG_4375.jpg IMG_4376.jpg
 
cantoo

cantoo

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There is no way I would ever consider stacking splits inside a trailer. It is just not a good use of your time and energy. Figure out the size of your trailer loaded level with the racks and do the loose thrown calculation for 16" splits and done. I also would never stack wood that I was planning to sell. Of course I'm spoiled because I have the time, space and a windy location for this to work. I also don't need to sell wood so I can be picky. If I were you I would just buy another conveyor to load wood. I would consider making something that I could set the pallets on that would allow me to cut the mesh and most of the splits would fall onto the conveyor with some having to be hand thrown on. I would use a corn gravity wagon ( I have one already for this purpose some day) because it has sloping sides on it. I would use a utility knife attached to a long stick to cut the mesh while standing on a safe surface.
This is the way I sell wood. ----> I don't care how much my trailer holds, I'm selling a dump trailer load of wood for $x. You can call it whatever you want but I'm selling that load of wood. Call it 3 ricks, 3 faces, 3 jags, whatever I don't care it's that load of wood sitting in front of you. You wanna stack it and tell how much it is then have at it I don't care. We hand load onto a conveyor to keep the wood clean.
I have 5 conveyors to use. They are out there for sale reasonable. This is my gravity wagon, this is the running gear I used to build another log wagon a few weeks ago. You can see the angled bottom that would dump splits onto the conveyor, would have to make sure the throat was cut out to prevent jambbing. . Hand loading at night using a Black Creek conveyor. One of my splitters and a grain conveyor ready for splitting.
 

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FlyingDutchman

FlyingDutchman

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I second the conveyor idea.

My idea, a rotating platform powered by a hydraulic motor. Set the pallet down. Clamp down or at least have a lip edge that allows clearance for the forks but holds the pallet from coming off the platform. Find the edge of the netting. Rotate platform to get a bit of netting off. Attach netting to another rotating spindle to pull off the netting and wrap around the spindle. Advance the netting spindle and the pallet spindle to pull off the netting.

Now the entire floor of this mechanism would be the grate you were talking about, sloped to a loading conveyor (possibly not needed, but helpful for debris) for the main conveyor that goes to the trailer. Once the initial cascade of wood is cleaned up by the sloped grate and the loading conveyor, the netting spindle is spun to tug the netting out and the pallet is spun to remove most of the rest of the wood. All that's manual that's left is to remove any snags of wood in the netting and push off any pieces that centrifugal force doesn't throw off. Remove the pallet and place another pallet.

For vineyard netting, we use duct tape to start nets on our spindle type netting machine. Once a couple wraps around the spindle are achieved its difficult to pull it of the spindle. We use a 1200lb electric winch motor and a toothed belt drive for it on a 16ft horizontal spindle, but it's really slow at first, and then almost too fast for the tractor to keep up once it gets a lot of netting on it.

The only enemies of the duct tape method are cold and wet. I'm sure you could just slit the spindle out of some bar stock and knot the netting together and get multiple pallets worth of netting wrapped around the spindle before you just pushed it up and off of the spindle.
 
Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

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A second dedicated conveyor would certainly help.
The focus is a processor with it's own conveyor, which would free up the existing one for loading deliveries.
I suppose buying a conveyor and then selling it would work, but I don't have the coin for that.
I ordered two more truck loads of logs to keep the process rolling, and wood on hand to process/ season.

I am questioning dropping wood the equivalent of seven feet from a platform deck, plus the five foot height of the bundles into the trailer.
Once there is a layer of splits it would not be a problem, just the initial layering. Also anything I spend on pallet racks might be hard to resell and get anything back out of.
It may simply come down to economics and a lot of hand work this year to get through.

I made a bin out of scaffolding in the past, and it clogged, or log jamb, with every loading. As I was stacking racks by hand I could easily dislodge it using a hook-a-roon. A gravity wagon probably would not work funneling from three directions.
One sloped direction might work, and some HDPE.

I had thought I was done stacking.
The third photo is three rows deep, 30 racks @ 3/4 cord ea.
The second photo shows a a cave from pulling splits out, and a jamb above. IMG_0551.jpg IMG_1138.jpg IMG_1300.jpg
 
Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

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FlyingDutchman:

Any old phtos of the vineyard machine?
It is the reverse of winding the netting on.
A unit like that mounted on the back of the forks, then pick a pallet up and suspend over trailer.
Done deal. I like it.
Rather then the pallet turning perhaps a wand and take up spool.
 
nathan4104

nathan4104

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There are rotating forklift attachments to ‘flip’ the pallet/bin. I’d think that would work for you, cut the netting or maybe it would tear as it was rotated and dump into your trailer. But I guess you’d loose the last ‘cleaning’.
You’ve stacked enough of those mesh bags now to know the volume of one close enough if you’re selling ‘by the cord’ or like cantoo says, sell it by the load instead, knowing about what it is.
I sell it fresh cut, not seasoned. Processed as it’s ordered. (Our pine is all harvested dead standing so it’s ‘dry’) too many people want it 14”, or 18”, or split big or small, so it’s easier this way for me. Less handling the better.

Something like this?
 
sevensandeights

sevensandeights

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Seems like you could figure out a way to better estimate how much a loosely thrown cord (or two cords or whatever you commonly deliver) looks like in your trailer. Your loosely stacked nets on pallets should have a reasonably consistent amount of wood in them. Figure out how many of those make a cord and dump it in the trailer. It would be more efficient to make 1/2 or 2/3 pallets of netted wood if that's what you need to create one cord when combining with other full pallets of netted wood.

I'm with the others, I would never stack inside a dump trailer.
Let your customers know that you expect the final properly stacked amount to equal a cord. If it's short you can always make up the difference. If that happens consistently then you know you need to add a little bit more to each trailer load.

Granted, none of the above solves the problem of how to get your wood off the pallets and into the trailer though. Does your tailil gate open like a barn door? If so, you could load from the rear and just cut the netting while standing in the trailer. Bring in the next pallet and push the whole load of loose wood from the previous pallet towards the front and repeat.
 
Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

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I could try leveling the tailgate and hold a pallet above it from the side. Then unwrap and stack. The gate would not carry much weight unsupported with a cylinder on just one side. The forklift is 8', the ramp about 7', so that's a no go, and the gate in the raised position, the forklift mast would hit. The gate does not hinge/swing sideways. Not actually 'The Ultimate' trailer is it? And I'm not ready to give up my piggyback. 6,500 lbs. lift and turns on a dime, plus side shift.

If I made boxes or racks that held 1/3 cord, and kept a few of those prepped, rotating forks would work very well. To rotate a pallet of netted firewood, you might as well burn the whole pile at once as try to untangle it. This thought might stick.

My hesitation with the raised platform is dropping splits 12', seven feet from the deck to the bare trailer and a five foot tall bundle. After the floor is covered, no problem.

You guys are probably thinking bags. Well TMainus has a good system with bags, and a fork rotator. I like it a lot. For comparison it depends on how the bags hold up, but being able to dump them is big.
 
sevensandeights

sevensandeights

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Palax swing - someone on this forum has one. It was for sale at a very reasonable price.

If you put jack stands under the rear frame could you just drive up the ramp with the forklift? Would have to be careful and not go past the center of the trailer (stop on top of the axles) to avoid too much tongue weight.
 
Big_Eddy

Big_Eddy

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Install one section of pallet racking with a single shelf a bit higher than the trailer. Place pallet on rack center. Back trailer under rack bridge. Cut netting ( I like the knife on a stick idea) and let gravity do its thing. Some angled plywood could be used to fashion a hopper to ensure the splits don’t go wide. Sliding wood would be slower and hit softer too. Repeat 3x Or, install pallet rack to the side of trailer but higher and have the splits all slide down a chute. Then you would not need to move the trailer for the next pallet. Think high rise construction garbage chute.

Me? I would seriously look at a narrower forklift or tractor with forks and stack 4 pallets one behind the other in the trailer. Cut mesh. Drive away, dump, then dig what’s left of the pallets out of the pile. Or leave them as kindling. If you want to get creative, make some kind of hold down to keep the pallets in the trailer while the splits dump.

Or, drive on, tie pallet to tractor, cut mesh, dump forks, back off with pallet only.

Personally, If I touch a split twice, that’s once too many. Stacking in the trailer to dump later? Never!!!


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cantoo

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Sandhill, these are some ideas for better ways to cut your netting. Just screw them to a suitable stick as long as you want. Safer standing back. The flooring knife one looks like it would work great.
 

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Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

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Yes, the first photo in post #1. The pallet is 48" x 48". The lift is a rub over 8' wide.
Cutting isn't really an issue, if cut slow so the bounce doesn't put me on my head again. It's more how much the netting grabs and tangles. I can have five splits dangling off a tiny bit, like a fish stringer. It is multifilament strands. They hook on every stick and piece of bark they touch. Unwrapping pulls it out and away, and wind the netting like a yarn ball.

Thanks for the input and ideas. My first thought is T. Mainus has a good setup with bags and rotating forks. If he is getting four plus years use, using plastic pallets under them, then he is cheaper per cord than me for the first 3k cord, and I'll never do half that.
 
Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

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I have discovered there are front tipping fork attachments as well as rotating ones.
If I had the money I'd buy a 40 hp tractor tomorrow, and go with that.
I've concluded the easiest solution is to get a ball mount attachment for the forks to move the conveyor with the forklift.
That alone will be so much easier, as forward/backward operating will be reverse from using the quad.. Pulling with the forklift out backing up, and replacing it going forward, which has been the fussier one. Backing the quad was difficult, to twist around to see and steer with handlebars. There is also a thumb button to hold for four wheel drive reverse, which was necessary for part of it.
Using the forks also eliminates having to jacking up the tongue of the conveyor each time. Eliminates needing a front hitch on the quad.. It does away with the quad entirely.
It is the least expensive as well, using pretty much what I already have. A bit more time consuming, moving the conveyor, and hand feeding it, but at this point, I'll try it and go from there. If I level out the area where the conveyor sits for processing and get some gravel fill, spotting it would be easier too.. I'm close to a large oak and there's a hump around the base that tilts it sideways pretty good before getting it into position. There is a sweet spot for the splits to drop in the drum when processing. The low end of the conveyor is centered between the log decks, so the wheels need to be close for the far end to drop the splits best. I need to get some deliveries out to really know what's going to work.
We heard from the health department, and appointments for vaccines are six to eight weeks out. I'm not doing deliveries until the second shot. Time to get a cdl.
 
nathan4104

nathan4104

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Sand hill, it takes me about 20 minutes to throw a cord on the conveyor to load the trailer. Waaaaay easier than throwing up into the trailer. I’m about to make up a plywood ‘box’ or ‘funnel’ that will sit on the end of the conveyor with sloped sides up about 12-16”, same off the bottom end. I find when tossing pieces, some bounce off, some slide off if the next cleat is too long coming around. This simple wood sideboard box should help with that type of annoyance! Easy to make, modify and move out of the way.
 
Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

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This year approach is a temporary measure, until I get a processor here. Then I will set the conveyor up for dedicated loading for deliveries.
I'm shifting focus back to moving the shipping container once I sell enough wood to reposition it, to better utilize my limited staging area.
 
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