Saturday, August 06, 2005

ATV - Quite the Tool for a Small Operation

Three weeks ago I procured a 1997 Suzuki King Quad ATV. It has 2-wheel, 4-wheel, or 4-wheel differential-lock wheel settings; three gear range settings - high, low and super low; and 5 forward shift speeds and one reverse. So one could say that it has 18 speeds (6 speeds for each range setting). This 300 cc engine equipped ATV is apparently considered one of the best for low speed and high torque work.

The ATV came with a forward winch, a ball hitch and a chain grab hook also fastened to the hitch. About chains, several years ago I happened to have purchased an ols style logging chain at a farm auction, never really thinking that I could use it for anything more elegant that pulling other vehicles out of a rut with my 4X4 ’91 Dodge Power Ram 150. The chain has a grab hook at one end and a slip hook at the other.

A grab hook is shaped with a slot allowing the hook to grab a link in a chain whereas the slip hook allows the chain to slip through like a lasso.

I was quite impressed with what this little machine can do. I was comfortably able to skid very sizeable – up to 30 cm (12 in.) diameter at the butt end and 5 metre (16 ft.) long – logs.

So the logging chain has been used extensively for the last weeks of my summer holidays. Skidding logs can be a very dangerous mind you, if the chain is not properly hitched to the tractor. For example is a report of a fatality caused by the chain being fastened too high on the tractor hitch and used on steep terrain. In the case of the ATV thankfully the hitch is exactly at the level of the rear axle. When the load is too heavy such as when a skidded log gets stuck behind a stump, in super low and differential lock, the four tires will merely dig four holes. Also the terrain on this woodlot is quite level having been a farm.

To move rocks of up to 500 pounds, I built a 1-M. (3 ft.) by 1.5 M. (4 ft.) stoneboat or sledge, out of 2 inch diameter logs, that I can tow behind the ATV.

Larger rocks simply don’t let the sledge move but these can be rolled by wrapping a chain around the bottom of the rock using the grab hook and then pull the chain over the rock to roll it several metres (yards) at a time with the ATV. This will not work for flat shaped rocks of that size.

1 comment:

Woodlot_Manager said...

Since publishing this post, I have found more modern style logging chains for sale on the web. They tend to have a specially designed slip hook at one end and at the other end is a pin that resembles som a 30 cm (1 ft.) darning needle. A colleague at work who is also active in the bush tells me that the pin is pushed under the log and grasped on the other side, to pull the chain under. Indeed pulling the chain through was one of the problems I had with the old logging chain.