The Log Arch plans and the vital importance of the details in them.

A recent conversation with “Tommy”

Part One

T: Howdy again, Fellow coming tomorrow to see what we can start on an arch. Questions: you said slot bar setting dead center on frame, are you refering to side to side center, or front to back center on the channel 6″ wide?
J: Both Ways, side to side and front to back, centered….

T: How long square tube for tongue?
J: 24-3/4 ” some are 25″

T:How far forward or back does the bus seat weld on the two pipe supports?
J: On the very back edge of the 6″ wide frame to allow your weight to offset the tongue weight when arch is not loaded going back into the woods.

T:In your plans, the leg measurement of 20.5″, is that down the short edge or the long edge? I understand the short edge as where the 2″ was removed and then closed up.
J: It depends on if you measure from the top of the frame or just the leg. When measuring from the top of the frame it is 25″ on the long side and 23 on the short side.

T: I reckon yall dont pin the tongue in at all do you?
J: We usually don’t but you can if you want to. Remember the goal is to have a simple device that you can repair in the woods with the chainsaw. If a horse logger can’t fix it with a chainsaw, scrench and ax, then it is to complicated. It is important to have the tongue stay in place and have a lip that stops it from going futher into the tube when it dries out. We whittle the tongue from a round saplings with our chainsaw and leave the lip to stop it and hold it so we don’t need the pin. Hard to drill a hole when the thing breaks in the woods.

T:I figure it would stay if horses are hooked tight as they should be and the d tree is on the clevis and hook.
J: Yep the goal is to get to two straps going up from the side backers to the rings on the bottom of the hames to be loose, showing that there is very little weight actually on the neck when the team is standing still and not much when working, walking or pulling a log. This is where we need to develop a better back pad similar to the European harness, in order to absorb the tongue weight and slap from the two wheel device bouncing off all the impediments in the forest.

NOTE: we use a 46 inch wide (enter to center) double tree and breast yoke and adjust the driving lines accordingly to keep them walking straight and being laterally aligned.

T: Do yall always leave the bus seat back off, the cushion part? All I have seen you just had the seat back frame.
J: I usually leave the frame on my bus seat just of a back rest or back beater in some cases(like if the chain comes off the log and the horses start very hard. But I have put foam insulation from water pipes on them before to make the metal softer. I take the padding off the seat back so I can see through it when working or pass my lines through when backing up or driving, plus being able to reach through and adjust my chain while setting in the seat. Some fellow prefer to take it over complelely, so they can pass there lines from side to side without dealing with the bus seat frame at all. When the arch is turned over this frame is handy to help turn it back up on it’s wheels, and I use it to help get on and off and to hold onto when riding with another driver, usually a student.

T: You show a short piece of pipe angled on the back, and another short piece added on the front. One is for the cant hook, what is the other for?
J: This is a mistake and doesn’t need to be there at all. It was there for the guys up north to put their skip hammer in, but it is not a good place for it since the log with hit it and break the handle off, so delete that feature altogether.

T: Is Miano the only one that has a bracket for carrying his saw along?
J: Nope some guys have a place for carrying their saw on the side of the frame over the wheel and on the back of the school bus seat. This is just for carrying stuff to and from the woods and not for when the arch is in use skidding logs. It can be customised to suit you. I knew one fellow that put a radio on their arch…..just to hear country music while working….

T: What is the small step made from?
J: A piece of scrap angle iron or some use rebar, just something to help give a stable place to step on when getting on and off the arch.

T: Hope that is not too many questions for one shot. I am gonna try to get this fellow to make 3 of these things at the same time, he said to make one for me first and see if it works alright. I told him you said it had been tested. But we may do a prototype and see if we have it all figured right and read the instructions correctly!
Hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks, Tommy

PS Finally got the computer to print the 2 pics, but the upset arch still would not come through for me to see.
J: This is actually a very old drawing done by a college student for free. It has some errors, but the basic design is correct. I should update it buy I don’t have any college students to ask to do it again at this point. Let me know if this helps and I will take some photos soon.


Part Two

T: So the bus seat has 2 1/2 inch pipe on it, and there is 1 3/4 inch pipe on the frame, so the seat is removable, slides on and off?
J: Yep it comes off for transporting in the trailer. It is lighter to lift or roll into the trailer without all the pieces that will come off. This is often done alone so making it lighter is a good thing.

T: Where the square tube is under the channel iron frame, does it attach to another 6 x 10 piece of channel or just flat iron?
J: Either one, just don’t make it as big as the drawing because it will hit a big log and get in the way to attaching as close as possible. Flat works good, but if I am thinking of the same piece it is good to have it open on the end or a hole so you can drive a broken tongue out of the tube when you have to replace it.

T: Have you ever written up a materials list for this thing? If not I can do one when we are through. The braces up to the deck, what size angle iron is that?
The slot bar, is that just flat stock or angle iron?
J: These devices may be made with whatever material a farmer or logger may have around -
The slot bar is usually angle iron and is supposed to be set in the middle of the frame so the chain actually touches the back of the edge of the frame when lifting the log.

T: Fellow will be here about 7 tonight to go over this stuff. I think I about understand it all. But how far forward or backward does the actual seat itself weld to the pipe brackets? I know that might have to do with how fat I might be.
J: Setting the seat back on the frame helps lighten the tongue on the return trip into the woods when you set on the seat. It is an offsetting thing like a mowing machine without a tongue truck. We have just put the post on the back edge on the later models. You can’t set it to far back because it makes it more difficult to work the slot bar under the seat. Keeping the seat as low as possible but still with enough room to work under it is important for operator efficency.

I still need to do a complete article on how to use this device. Complete with photos, it is just another task that I need to do while actually trying to move enough logs to survive economically. More later. Jason

T: Thanks again.

Part Three

T: Talked with a fellow yesterday about bringing his bobcat over. We have a lot of trees by the house, and a good many along the power lines. Electric company has said they would come out and lay the lines down when I got ready. So I think I will get the bobcat here to apply a little pressure on them to make sure they go where they need to fall, not on the house. Would you say I should still cut them with the same method? The relative with the bobcat says he has to put them down all the time by himself but he cuts them starting at the back and then a downward angle toward the front in the direction he wants it to go. Course I figure that would mess up the end and it would then have to be cut again. He has a backhoe business now for 25 years.

J: Yep that is the classic hillbilly back cut method and it is dangerous plus needs to be cleaned up on the butt end.

Using the “Swede cut” or open face, hinge and latch method is much safer. With the hillbilly back cut, if the tree is leaning or being pushed in a certain direction it may break before you get it cut enough to fall without splitting at the butt. When it splits it is called a barber chair, where the hinge is to big and the tree splits up and falls with the butt going out in the air, which is dangerous. It has killed many a logger…..

With the Swede cut you can establish the hinge at the proper thickness before releasing the tree by cutting from the hinge toward the latch. Remember the four cuts, two to make the open face or lead notch(and it doesn’t have to be deep, never more than 20% of the tree, I personally like about 10%), number three cut is the plunge from the danger side, establishing the back of the hinge and we usually place or set our plastic wedge after this cut, which takes out half of the diameter of the tree, then the four cut is to establish the back of the hinge on the safe side and cut to release the tree when the last wood is cut which is the part of the tree we call the latch. This is the only way to cut a tree period. This method keeps control until the last second and you should have figured out, cleared out and thought of your escape route off at a 45% angle from the stump before starting the felling operation at all. The proper thickness for the hinge is about 1-1/2 to 2 inches. Thinner if the tree is leaning already in the direction you want to fall it, but at least that thick to push or wedge it over. Felling timber is dangerous, but exciting and fun, particularly when you know the principles of the Swede cut and apply them using the forces of the bar to inform your skills with the chainsaw.

Let me know what you think man.


Part Four

T: Morning there,

Last year I used the 4 cut like yall showed me. That last cut, that is a plunge cut also isnt it, through to the 3rd cut, and then all the way out the back? When starting the 3rd and 4th I cut through about 2 inches of the hinge on each side and then plunged, I still had several split up about 3 feet so I lost that. On that last cut I also chewed up a little bit of wedge.
I believe I removed at least 80 trees last year and it mostly went as it should. I only had about 2 or 3 that I think gave me trouble with direction, or getting hung up. Several even fell right on the drink can, if I had put one out there at least they would have hit it!!
Got to go check on Perch and see if baby is getting closer.

PS If you take any close up pics of the arch how about e-mail them this way. My welder right away wanted to try to copy some of this Forest arch since it is here to look at, but he will listen when I persist.

J: When making the plunge cuts the bar can be laid flat in the open face to help keep it level, (assuming the open face bottom cut is level) and cut out towards the back or the latch on the fourth cut. The reason the trees split is that the hinge was to thick. Pine is quite tough and doesn’t require as thick of a hinge to control the direction of the fall, as long as you are not trying to put it against the natural lean of the tree to much, say more than 45 degrees. We like to keep our hinges about 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches on softwoods. It is a very skilled use of the saw to be able to keep your hinge that small. It requires abstract comprehension to be able to know what the bar is although you can’t actually see it. It is common to touch the wedge a little when doing this as it is hard to determine exactly where the tip of the bar is. If the wedge is placed in the back but not to close to the point where the cuts will match up then cutting the wedge happens less. But the fact is that the wedges are plastic and don’t harm the chain and are somewhat cheap and disposable.

I will take some photos today, but I am not sure this computer will download them. My other computer has the software on it to download my current digital camera. We will see. I thought I had more photos on this computer and will look for them and send them if I can find them.

Hold the welder off and make him make whatever you want. Our Charlie Fisher arch can be used to pull anything around that uses a chain to attach it to the horses. We use it to drag pastures with a chain harrow or pull a spring tooth harrow just like it was a forecart. They can be modified to have a draw bar that is a bolt on item and could be nice. The key is to keep the tongue weight low when using the device. The tongue weight is more when the arch is empty. The counter balancing effect of the seat placement is important for this reason.

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