Well, have I been having a lot of fun over the last few weeks here at the ol’ Bronze Oak Leaf Shop. I dusted off the welder, invited up a friend, and turned out a well-made and extremely useful tool. You see, we just like to build stuff here at the Compound, and sometimes it doesn’t have to be of wood; though it almost always has to have something to do with wood. It’s my thing.
I saw this tool in the background of a YouTube video I was watching, and immediately thought “why haven’t I thought of this?” It is so simple that I really have no excuse. I bought this trailer specifically for hauling logs and lumber, and have always struggled getting it loaded. I can do anything here at the BOL I put my mind to- no matter how time-consuming, labor-intensive, or just plain lunkheaded my method is. This tool changes all of that.
Matt Cremona is the guy I first saw use this, but Tom is the guy that kindly sent me pics and explanations on the construction. Thanks to both of them, construction was extremely simple. Take some measurements, buy some steel, build.
I started with the mounts. My trailer is different than Tom’s and Matt’s, so it was actually simpler. All 3/8″ plate, and I bent the mounts myself.
With that done, I went and got the steel. I used 2 x 2 x 1/4″ square tubing for the frame, and 1/8″ plate for the gussets.
As I’ve said before, I’m pretty well tooled-up for a small shop, and along with some useful scrap lying around, I also have a nice little saw that made cutting all the angles easier. All the angles were 22.5 degrees, making the arch parts 45 degrees to each other. I got the basic measurements from Tom, then just tweaked lengths to make it work with my trailer. Mine is 6′ high, giving me the option of stacking logs on top of one another.
Now comes the fun part.
This is Dustin, a reformed Boilermaker that is now an engineer I work with. He doesn’t yet have a shop to play in since his life-altering conversion from partly human to mostly human, so when I told him about this project, he practically tripped over himself gettin up here to feel like a man again; cutting, fitting, welding, drinking, cussing. You know, all the normal stuff men do.
Well, I was happy to have him. I can weld, and I’m not afraid to tackle a project like this, but I can’t weld like he can. We went right to work when he showed up on a Sunday morning, and I was duly impressed. Again, I was happy to have him.
He’s the reason this structure looks professional. He did let me weld some, and then I promptly handed the stinger back to him.
Back to the construction.
We welded it all up, then attached the mounts with 1/2″ bolts. I did sweat a little over the specifics of mounting this, but I’m pretty confident that it’s not going anywhere. The 3/8″ plate is plenty heavy for the mounts, and the square tubing is pretty heavy, too. I used 3/4″ bolts for the pivot pins; plenty strong.
I added the trailer jacks on both sides to take the weight of the logs when loading. They are a necessity, especially for this trailer. I never liked how it flexed when loading a car, and this is a great solution I’ll be using for more than loading logs.
I meant to have Dustin weld on this jack mount before he left, but we both forgot. This is my second attempt at welding on a tube. I won’t show the first one. You have to know what you’re doing to weld a vertical circle, and I got lucky on this one.
Now for the cool part. I have a toolbox on the front of the trailer, and I love it. It holds all my junk; straps, wheel chocks, chain, shackles, etc. I almost took it off to mount the winch on the tongue, which seemed like the strongest solution. I’m glad I didn’t.
I wound up mounting the winch inside the toolbox, which protects from weather the winch, the battery, the solenoid, and the wiring. All you can see on the trailer is the fairlead roller and the hook. Very cool. It maximizes my room on the trailer and, as I said, keeps all that crap out of the weather.
Hopefully the operation is obvious, but just in case it isn’t, a brief explanation: back up to the log, lower the arch, hook to the log, and lift. The arch both lifts and pulls the log onto the trailer. Genius. You can’t pull the log the whole way up, so you just get it on the trailer and then winch it the rest of the way. I have a 5000lb. winch, which is smaller than other ones I’ve seen with this method, but I think it will be plenty strong. You also can always gear it with an extra pulley; doubling or even quadrupling it’s pulling power, but I don’t think it will be necessary.
We tried it once on a smallish log after it was finished, but I don’t yet have anything to really load-test it. Hopefully I’ll find something soon; I need to get some stuff cut for next year. You have to think ahead when you cut your own.
This build was a blast. I owe Dustin big time. I told my brother I don’t need it right this minute, but when I do, I’ll have it.
If you have any questions on building your own, let me know. I’m more than happy to pay it forward.