We’ve tried dragging them with a garden tractor, a three wheeler, a compact tractor, a 4 wheeler, and even our diesel pickup. Each of these tools have their own limitations. Some of them can barely move small branches around. It’s a good thing you dropped by BooneyLiving today because I’m going to show you how we FINALLY solved our log moving problem.
One of the biggest pitfalls when trying to move logs is that the leading edge always digs into the ground and plows through your yard making a huge mess. Sometimes this drag is so bad that you can’t even move them at all. Even if you’re able to get the leading edge off the ground, the trailing edge will still leave huge skid marks on your property.
The Solution to Moving Logs the EASY WAY!
Friction is your worst enemy when trying to move logs around your property. The bottom line is that if any portion of the log is dragging along the ground when you’re moving it, it’s going to make your life more difficult.
If you want to move trees the easy way, you need to get the entire log off the ground. Sounds simple right? Well, even if you have a huge tractor with a very powerful front end loader, this is easier said than done!
A Log Arch Can Save the Day on a Homestead
Over the years when my husband struggled with moving logs around, he always said that someday he would build a log arch so he didn’t have to fight with the long heavy logs he was trying to drag around.
Recently, a good friend of ours had the need to move several very large logs to his portable sawmill so this seemed like the perfect opportunity for my husband to finally build a “big boy’s” log arch. By the way, those are his words, not mine. He and his buddy Chuck put their heads together and came up with a design that is working really well for us.
What he meant by his snide comment was that you can buy little log arches that you can move relatively small logs around by hand. You can even buy slightly larger log arches that you can tow behind an ATV or tractor. Those are super handy but my husband wanted to go bigger so he made one that can haul a heavy 22 foot log and do it with ease!
How a Log Arch Works
The basic design of a logging arch is one that allows you to position the “arch” over the log. Then, with either leverage or with the help of some type of winch, the log is lifted off the ground and secured to keep it from swinging as you tow it. When the entire log is off the ground, it can be towed around your property without digging a big ditch in your lawn.
Here’s a short video showing the very first test of my husband’s log arch. He has since made several improvements and I have to tell you that this thing works AMAZINGLY WELL!
Lessons Learned After Using Our Log Arch to Haul Some Really Heavy Logs
Here is a list of things that we learned along with some of the improvements that have been made since this video was taken.
- Metal, even thick metal WILL FLEX. Since making the video included in this article, my husband has added more steel to the top boom pole where the carriage slides to minimize the flexing. He has also added more to the down tube and tongue. Adding more steel helped reduce the flex and made our arch much stronger. This made a huge improvement in terms of how it tows.
- When we’re just moving a log around our yard with a 4 wheeler, we’ve found that lifting the log from slightly behind its balance point seems to work the best. That way there’s not too much tongue weight on the 4 wheeler. A little tongue weight seems to work well. Without any tongue weight, the weight of the log can lift the back end of our 4 wheeler off the ground which creates a dangerous situation.
- When moving a log with a pickup truck, having enough tongue weight is CRITICAL! Without it, you will get the ‘ol “tail wagging the dog” affect and lose control of your vehicle. It took a little experimenting to find the right amount of tongue weight for our pickup.
- The more securely the log is bound to the log arch, the better it will haul. We’ve only use heavy-duty, high-quality chain and even then we use chain binders to lock the log to the arch good and tight.
Advantages of Using a Log Arch
We like our log arch so much that it’s hard to believe that it took us so long to build one. Below, I’ve listed some of the advantages of moving trees this way.
- Once the log is lifted, there’s no friction between the ground and the log so it’s much easier to move them.
- You don’t tear up your property like you do when you try to drag log around.
- If you’re moving logs to a portable saw mill, the bark won’t be full of dirt like it would be if you dragged it.
- It becomes possible to move logs that are much larger and heavier than you could by simply dragging them.
Important Safety Disclaimer
Our log arch is super handy but it also comes with some safety risks. The one my husband made didn’t come with any safety manual because it’s homemade. With that in mind, when he uses it, he takes safety VERY SERIOUSLY! He uses more chains than he thinks he’ll need, and takes things nice and slow to avoid making mistakes that could cause someone to get hurt.
If you decide to make or use a log arch, always keep safety at the forefront of your mind! You, and you alone, assume any and all risks and liability associated with making or using a log arch, even if you make it just like the one my husband made.
I don’t make any claims that our log mover is the best design or even the safest design so once again, if you make one or use one and you or someone else gets injured, that’s on you. You are 100% liable.
This article is intended as informational only. We had a need to move logs, we made something that works for us, and we like it. We’re by no means telling you to do anything that we do.
The bottom line is be careful, don’t get hurt, and don’t hurt anyone else.