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Thread: Getting heavy logs into pickup truck.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    65

    Getting heavy logs into pickup truck.

    Any recommendations on loading up the pictured logs into a pickup truck. I could get the help of my two brothers, we're a pretty scrawny crew though.

    Need to get the logs to a buddy with a small bandsaw mill.

    TreeTrunks_2.jpg

    Best,
    John

  2. #2
    I try not to haul logs in my pickup--too much risk of bed and tailgate damage. However, if one has to use his pickup, here are two tips gleaned from bitter experience: If you can, remove the tailgate before beginning loading; tailgates are vulnerable to bending under load. Another thing I've learned the hard way is to put some sort of a sling under each log so that a mil operator might be able to hoist the logs out rather than sliding them along the sheet metal. RE your question on how to load: I've never found a good way to load logs without machinery. Best to you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    NE Iowa
    Posts
    750
    I've loaded quite a few logs into pickup beds with nothing more than a ramp made from 2 by lumber, and a come-along winch. Those aren't very big logs, so would go easily that way. The tricky part is figuring out where to anchor the come-along in the bed so that it has something adequate to pull against. I generally had a ring bolt in the front of the bed, screwed through to the truck chassis for pulling jobs like that, but I own and use pickups for hauling. If you are cosmetically fussy about your ride, you might have a harder time finding a suitable anchor place without doing cosmetic damage you'd object to. Also, don't skimp on the ramp length. Longer requires more, heavier lumber, but makes the skidding way easier.

    Only other caution: trim the logs smooth. You're truck is going to look used after you winch a log into it, but the job will be a lot harder and the damage unnecessarily greater if you don't have the lumps sawn off the log before you start.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    10,350
    Winch them onto a trailer, you probably don't have a truck that's setup for this if you're asking how to do it.

    You can also roll them up a ramp onto a trailer............Regards, Rod.

  5. #5
    I would use my collapsible engine hoist. Haul it to the logs with a fat wheeled hand truck, set it up parallel to the log, and use straps around the log to attach to the hoist. Lift the log, then drive the truck under it. Probably trickier in practice then my description, but it should work.

  6. #6
    I would exhaust every possible source of a trailer, and I would put a lot of effort into finding a trailer, before I tried getting them into the bed of a truck. You have the back-breaking labor of getting them in there, then securing them so they don't push you into the engine block when you lock up the brakes, and, getting them out, as well as destroying your bed. My truck is a beater, and I still wouldn't put full logs back there. Now, to the trailer...what I've done is secure the trailer in front of the logs, make a ramp onto the trailer, then get the truck in front of the trailer and drag the logs onto the trailer deck with chains/tow strap. I've also done this successfully over the side of a trailer with removable sides. At the saw site, chain the ends of the logs to anything handy, and drag the trailer out from under the logs. When it comes to getting logs to a saw mill deck, work smarter not harder is the key. If space is too tight to drag the logs with truck, you can, with some, but not a lot, effort roll them over the side of the trailer with a long peavy and 2 by 4 ramps. I used to collect 8 foot oak logs for firewood and get them to my property for cutting and splitting so I've been around the block a few times with getting 500 lb logs on and off the trailer by myself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    56,264
    I agree with the trailer suggestion. The weight handling capacity of a pick-em-up truck bed isn't all that substantial unless you have a one ton and logs are uber-heavy due to how much moisture is in them plus whatever the mass/density is of the particular species. There's also less lifting with a trailer and you can theoretically winch them on with skidding tongs and a come-along of adequate capacity if necessary.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Mid-Michigan
    Posts
    121
    Yes, trailer, for the easier loading height and for weight capacity reasons. And for not messing up your truck bed. Rent a come-along with it.

  9. #9
    Yet another vote for the trailer option.

    I've hauled several large logs with a trailer hundreds of miles behind my midsize truck and it has been very smooth.

    I've done as others have suggested -- winched logs onto the trailer; tied the logs to something sturdy and then pulled the trailer out from beneath them.

    You can rent the heavy-duty UHaul two-axle trailer for something like $30/day. It is more than worth it for me when I need to get my logs to the mill. The added bonus is it loading (and unloading) the milled lumber is similarly easier from the trailer than the bed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    820
    Done it both ways and the trailer is much easier and safer. The ramps are great either way. Using a come along or winch means someone will need to be at the entry edge of the bed to rock the log to release the catches with the bark. Never tried an engine hoist but sounds good. And be sure to check with the mill operator on minimum length. Mine is 4'.

    I joke that my last time I loaded a batch of walnut logs onto a low trailer, the first and biggest (16"+ dia.) took 6 hours for me to get situated on the trailer because I was working by myself. If I knew the lessons learned from that misadventure before starting, it would have taken only 5 h 45 m to load!

    Good luck!
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    9,508
    Another option is a roll-back wrecker truck. Y'know -- the kind of truck with a bed that rolls back and tilts down to the ground. It is usually used to move cars -- generally broken ones. They're designed to move whole cars, so your logs won't overload one. They have a winch to drag the logs, and tie-downs to hold the logs in transit. They are quite common, so they don't cost a great deal.

  12. #12
    Just my opinion, but those logs don't look worth milling let alone the effort to transport them.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    5,429
    I was getting ready to post, and saw Kevin's, which I agree with. Some sawyers wouldn't even bother sawing them if they were sitting close to the mill. A yard tree with lots of knots from low limbs. Nope.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    NE Iowa
    Posts
    750
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    Just my opinion, but those logs don't look worth milling let alone the effort to transport them.
    Lots of people want to make things from their own wood, and your own wood is often - let's say, eccentric - in it's quality. I sawed up an old red pine for a friend into 8/4 stock a couple of years ago. Awful stuff - all knots, sap inclusions, and insect damage. Completely worthless from a "what would you pay at the lumber yard" point of view.

    But stickered and dried for a couple of years, I used it to build benches for him recently. The results were absolutely gorgeous, if you have a place for knotty pine in your decor. Most importantly - they are in his house, from his wood.
    Last edited by Steve Demuth; 01-21-2021 at 3:17 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,516
    I've loaded many logs like that (onto trailers) by parbuckling, some huge (I have big trailers). You'd probably have to trim of the ragged branches.
    I used to use a flatbed 3-ton truck but the trailer is easier and can carry more. I'd hate to try hauling big logs in a pickup truck. If the logs are not too heavy you might be able to use a two-legged triangle, ropes or chains, and people power to lift one end onto the end of the truck, then repeat to lift and slide the back end. A heavy log would likely bend up the tailgate.

    Don't forget you have to get the logs off the truck/trailer when you get to where you're going, but the sawmill guy might have equipment.

    Parbuckling: I put two steel I-beams down as ramps and roll the log up to the bottom with a cant hook. Wrap a chain or cable around the log enough times, going over the log at the top. Then get on the other side of the trailer and pull the cable with vehicle or 4-wheeler or come-along. I only used this method when needed - it was a lot easier to take the tractor on the trailer, load the logs and haul them off, then go back for the tractor, a huge pain unless the distance is short.
    Now I have an excavator which makes the loading/unloading a lot easier:

    trackhoe_20190916_190256.jpg

    Or hire a willing farmer with a big tractor or nearby construction guy with an excavator (or skid steer or loader) to lift them onto a trailer. They might be willing to deliver them to your sawmill guy on one of their trailers.
    Or a tow truck or little barn mover with a roll-back truck or trailer might be able to pick them up and deliver.

    Moving logs is such a pain that when someone wants me to saw them I usually won't do it unless they bring the logs somehow. If I go after logs I someone is giving me, I use a heavy duty dump trailer.

    Hey three guys named Strong must not be too scrawny.

    JKJ

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