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Two Log Cart Designs from Canada
Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

The log remains centered on the bunk in a turn plus the rear wheels hinge to avoid binding against log. This interaction reduces chance of upset in sharp turns.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

by Dann Harris of Hanover, ON

The problem horseloggers face is reducing skidding friction yet maintaining enough friction for holdback on steep skids. The cart had to be as simple and maneuverable as the basic two wheel log arch which dangles logs on chokers. These carts seem to have a high point of draft, high center of gravity and tongue slop that can be counter productive while only providing enough lift to reduce friction marginally. We wanted it to be light, low, with no tongue weight, no lift motor to maintain, no arch to jam up and throw the teamster in a turn, and a low center of draft.

The sled design has been around for centuries — pretty hard to improve on using the front bunks of a sleigh to elevate the butt ends but how does one load it? Just putting a longer handle on my cant hook didn’t seem practical. The sled needed clearance for stumps and rocks and to avoid “bulldozing” in certain snow conditions. The cart and sled we built use similar loading, skidding, and unloading principles and can be used to move tree length logs from the stump or log length after they have been ground skid and bunched at the trail.

A log is lifted with a hand pumped hydraulic jack; log tongs attached to the boom raise and pull the log up and over the roller bunk.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

Here George is using hand operated jack to raise and pull log over bank. Tongs are used for lifting only — log is chokered to skid it.

The jack is released and a chain chokers the log through a ring on the frame that keeps the log centered in turns, and on sidehills, and attaches to a quick release at a point close to the line of draft. Both units can accommodate more than one log; both have adjustable mast and boom to match the force of the lift with the size of the log. Neither unit is intended for skidding with logs hanging from boom.

At the landing or yarding area the chokers are released, the horses walk forward and the logs roll off the bunk.

The cart can be narrowed to 60″ overall or widened for multiple logs by moving spacers; the cart can roll into a pickup for transport.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

Jack, our Percheron gelding, is on the Haw side; Sandy, our Belgian gelding is on the Gee side. The seat provides a leaning and brace stance more than a sitting position.

The walking beams add fore and aft stability over the 2-wheel carts, plus the “walking” action smooths the ride as well as the draft on the horses collars. A third walking beam mounts across the front of the cart – this allows the complete weight of cart and log to be carried on the wheels, not on the horses’ necks since the tongue is vertically hinged. The walking beams are hinged to prevent logs from binding in turns but have locks to lock after logs are dropped at landing so cart can be backed as easily as a 2-wheel cart.

The cart has a Scandinavian sling-style seat which gives more stability to the teamster than the conventional implement seat because the teamsters’ legs are fully extended and locked. The frame has 15″ of clearance and the tongue is removable with one pin to switch to an offset tongue for three abreast.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

The walking beams are hinged but are locked rigid for backing.

The sled operates similar to the cart. It has 12″ of clearance and unbolts for transport. To keep tongue weight to a minimum, cable is used to strengthen it for turning under load.

This is the present state of development of the two units, although we want to develop the cart further. One hub is machined to accept a sprocket to drive a hydraulic pump. Plan is to mount a hydraulic accumulator, cylinder and hydraulic log grapple. With this the choker chains would be eliminated, the cart would be heavier, more expensive but eliminate the breaks the horses get while the teamster hoists the logs up with the present low-tech hand pump although the teamster could lower, then raise a log going over uneven ground to make the cart even more stable.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

A walking beam across the front of the cart carry the weight of cart and logs to ground through struts at either end (not onto horses’ necks through tongue). Overall width is adjustable 60″-66″ with two bolts and spacers on ends of bunk axle.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

The mast and boom are three-way adjustable, as well as hoist and tong chain to accommodate variable size logs and situations. The box behind platform carry choker chains.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

The wagon style tongue can be replaced with an offset one for three horses. The doubletrees are attached to the cart along the line of draft – the tongue is attached low to avoid upset during extreme backing.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

Sled version.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

Logs are chokered through frame ring and then to quick release on tongue – two on top, two on bottom to equalize the draft.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

Jack and Sandy, plus George have moved four hard maple logs, cut log length averaging 14″ on butt ends. Logs are first ground skid to trail in woodlot and bunched, then the horses are hitched to sled to move the bunches to yarding area.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

The sled has 2″ to 3″ of “walk” in the runners. Logs can be hoisted over bunk ends after the first log is loaded for stability.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

Removable stakes on bunk ends are not necessary because chokers self align and center logs on roller bunk by passing through ring on frame. The hand pumped hoist is an 8 ton jack common in auto shops. A seat has since been added to the boom. Cables strengthen tongue without adding weight.

Two Log Cart Designs from Canada

Note to editor – Lynn, this picture was taken by my wife Mary Jean, enclosed unbeknownst to her. I know it’s not centered and it’s too dark and all that jazz but the facial expressions do parallel the human condition. Lass, on the left is our first Suffolk Punch mare, 4 years old, and Moses is our first Suffolk stallion, 3 years old. She has since foaled, giving us the start of a Suffolk herd.

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