by Ken Gies of Fort Plain, NY
Here is my version of a small logging arch that is light enough for a team of minis or a Haflinger pony. Its major feature is the use of a ready made removable strap winch of the kind used on flatbed semi trailers. It also is easily converted from the pole to shafts with a few bolts.
The arch was built on a small trailer axle that I cut down to 3 feet wide and tacked back together. This was done so that I could keep the wheels parallel. I cut the middle out after construction was complete. I used heavy wall pipe from my scrounge pile for the various frame parts. It is topped off with an angle iron bar for added strength and to provide a mount for the winch and some slots for extra chains. I added deflector bars in front of the wheels after snagging on some 3 inch brush.
The winch is made by bolting the tail of the skidding chain into the strap slot in the winder tube. I welded two bolts onto the ratchet side of the winch to mount a spring that would hold the ratchet in the cogs. It is set so that the spring over-centers either in the locked in or locked out position. I could not justify the cost of “real” logging slip hooks so I used one off of a broken come along and welded a nut across the opening so it looks and works just like the real thing. The winch handle is a 12 inch long 1?2 inch pipe nipple with the cut off halves of a coupler screwed on the ends as keepers.
There is an excellent book, The Horse in the Forest, by Hans Sidback from Sweden. I stole heavily from a diagram on page 82. When the shafts are used, the tug chains are connected to the frame via clevises. There is play purposely built into the shaft mounts that allows the frame to flex and act like a single tree to accommodate the horse’s shoulder movement.
The upper frame is tilted forward to compensate for the high hitchpoint. This is to stop the tongue from lifting under a hard pull. Note the placement of the clevises for the single horse hitch. These also are set to balance the load so the shafts don’t lift. Follow- ing that logic I used a short tail chain for the double tree when the pole is attached. That was done so that I could set the double tree either over or under the cross bar based on how the tongue behaved under load. It it lifted I could put the double tree over top of the bar to add a little downward pressure. If it didn’t lift I wanted to be able to lighten the tongue with a slight pull from below. So far, I can use it underneath.
The largest log I have skidded with this rig is a 9 inch, green, black locust butt, 20 feet long. The minis (or a Haflinger) have to work at it a bit. The turning ability is seen in the last photo. It tips over when a log binds in a tight turn. That is its biggest limitation so far. As always, my ideas are made to be tweaked.