Huge Log, No Forklift, No Problem

Duration: 9:48

Good news: I have a sawmill. Bad news: I don’t have a forklift. The platform for the sawmill is about 36 inches above the ground. If I were using the sawmill all the time, I might invest in a forklift or a front end loader, but since I only use the Logosol mill every once in a while, I can’t justify the investment. Instead, I’ll do the work with a cant hook and a pickaroon.

PSA: Logs Are Heavy!

Be very careful moving logs. They’re incredibly heavy. Log to lumber conversion should be done while the log is still green (wet), so you’re moving a lot of water when you move the log. For instance, a 16” diameter red oak log weighs 88 pounds per lineal foot. That adds up fast. I’d advise looking up a green log weight chart if you want to see the weights of various species in green log form.

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’

There’s no way to lift a heavy log without equipment, but two Rs work well: rolling and ramps. Use your cant hook to grab the log and roll it. Since logs are rarely perfectly round, they roll okay but not great, so the cant hook gives you the leverage you need.

When You Gotta Turn

The pickaroon is one of the most useful tools I’ve found for log handling. When you need to get the log turned in another direction hook your pickaroon into the end grain and give a pull. It’ll spin easier if you roll it up onto a two-by-four first. Easy peasy.

Once you’ve got the log rolled up onto the mill, you can cut it into lumber. After your green wood is cut, it needs to be dried. Air drying lumber is a low-tech way to accomplish this.

Reply to Timothy
  • (will not be published)

19 Responses to “Huge Log, No Forklift, No Problem”
  1. Mick Christensen
    Mick Christensen

    Or you could anchor a strong rope to the back of the log rack, loop it around the log from bottom to top. Mount a snatch block to the back of the rack (up high), lead the rope to a come-along attached to the beginning of the ramp and just ratchet the log up the ramp.

    Reply
  2. Paui
    Paui

    I hope that you were wearing shoes with steel toes. That could easily/suddenly be necessary.
    Maybe a 4×4 or 4×6 would make a better pivot block!
    I enjoy your videos.

    Reply
  3. Darrel
    Darrel

    Your Cant Hook is a newer design and the old ones pointed end made turning the log easier, it will wedge under it. The name, cant, relates to terms used in a sawmill for sections cut on three or four sides, or so I’ve been told. If you have a three point on your yard tractor, you could probably use a pig pole some chain and a set of skid hooks to move it. As you demonstrated once you have part of it in the air it moves easier. The hammer for putting the skid hooks in and removing them is a Jabboo, don’t ask me how you spell that. It’s about an eight pound sledge with a point on one side and a short handle. I was told the name probably relates to the command you give the horses when you turn them, Jay, to turn Right and then the boom of said hammer as it disengages the skid hooks. That is why the skid hooks have a second hook, the Jabboo’s point goes in and wedges to disengage the hook from the log. When one Jays the horses the logs are moving down hill all on their own, so getting the skid hooks out is rather important.

    Reply
  4. Timothy
    Timothy

    So disappointed…..I was waiting for the ‘Rinse and Repeat’ comment as the log went up the ramp…..but then the music kicked instead 😉

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Timothy,

      Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.

      Sincerely,
      Sarah
      Video Membership

      Reply
  5. Darrel
    Darrel

    For some reason I decided to look up Cant Hook, on Wikipedia and they say it has the blunt end and possibly small spikes,like yours; but it’s a peavey hook that has the spike on the end. All I know in my lifetime the Cant Hook had a pivotal hook and a spike end that was driven into the end to spred the handle inside the band or cone the hook is on. My Dad drove Skid teams when he was young and my Grandfather was working lumber camps skidding logs when the 20th century began and they both called them Cant Hooks not Peavey Hooks. Worse yet I had not heard anyone call them Peavy Hooksbefore. Then the ones in my garage also were not made by the Peavey Company, they were made by Blacksmiths who apparently didn’t know the right name. Sorry about my misstatement.

    Reply
  6. Larry W Cline
    Larry W Cline

    I hope those sneakers have steel toes (or that you do!)
    One safety suggestion: add a board to your ramp between the two outriggers, to prevent either of them from sliding laterally. If one were to get canted a bit too much, it might twist and fall over sideways, and would certainly break under the weight of such a large log. If that were to happen, you’d be right at “ground zero.”

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Larry,

      Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.

      Sincerely,
      Sarah
      Wood Workers Guild of America Video Membership

      Reply
  7. SCOTT
    SCOTT

    Reasonably safe way to go about it. Seems like the diciest part was the beginning of the ramp, if the cant hook slipped before you had your first pins in place. I’m wondering a) if a flat at the beginning of the ramp, where the log wouldn’t roll but you could start your pins, would help, and b) if having 3-4 pins would be better, so 2 could always be in place. Actually I think you could cut a stagger or sawtooth pattern of some kind into the ramps, so the log would be stable at several points on the way up. thanks for the video!

    Reply
  8. Joe
    Joe

    Standing on the downhill side of that log on the ramp invites disaster! You may consider fastening two steel cables to the rear of your sawmill and running them down the ramp, over the log and back to the rear of the sawmill. Using a come-a-long or winch to wind the cable from behind the mill will roll the log onto the mill with you in a safe position all the time. I have used this technique to load large logs on my trailer to transport them to the mill and it works great. If the log is tapered, you may have to wind the cable on the smaller end a bit more than the stump end to keep the log level on the ramp, but managing it is easy and much safer that standing downhill behind all that potential energy stored in the log while on the ramp.

    Reply
  9. Jay
    Jay

    Great job! I’ll order mine already cut (4/4 or 8/4) from the hardwoods store. Hard maple is no fun to cut, edge, plane or even stain.

    Reply
  10. RONALD
    RONALD

    A good thing to wear are safety toe shoes, or you might be making a walking cane with the log!!!

    Reply
  11. BARRIE
    BARRIE

    Ingenious method—but with all that heavy timber rolling around, I’d like to have seen a pair of steel-toe-capped boots.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Barrie,

      Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.

      Sincerely,
      Sarah
      Wood Workers Guild of America Video Membership

      Reply
    • Howard Hardy
      Howard Hardy

      Personally I am not a fan of steel toe boots. They are great for what they were designed for which is things falling on you foot from above or a blow from a hammer. A heavy weight may cause them to amputate your toes. When working on wildland fires steel toes were a big no no as the steel could get hot enough to to burn your toes. As a sawyer on wildland incidents we wore composite toes. Much less chance of an amputation and they dont get much hotter than the leather on the boot. it is also pretty amazing how much weigh you can hold just by bracing against it. The trick is to not ever let it get started rolling back down. I do agree with safety measures, however sometimes you just gotta get the job done and be comfortable with what you are doing.

      Reply
  12. Howard Hardy
    Howard Hardy

    Good info. Yesterday I went to pick up some free firewood advertised on facebook. The pic showed a couple logs but nothing to size them in the photo. Turns out the big one is about 34″ diameter and the small one is 28″. Had to put the 24″ bar on the saw and then needed a cant hook. They are not easy to come by today with raw material delays due to covid. But I found one and its ordered. The logs are Black locust which is way heavy and a hardness similar to Hickory. Both are about 15 ft long. Ill probably cut them to about 2′ lengths but need the cant hook to turn them over to finish the cut. The best parts will air dry for a year or so and then to the bandsaw and lathe. The rest will be firewood. I have used cant hooks with my brother and his tree business and also on wildland fires. I had no idea they would be so hard to come by. I like the simple 2×6 block and will be making one. Even a 2′ block weighs several hundred pounds. Since I’m getting older I need to work smarter and not harder.

    Reply
  13. WALTER
    WALTER

    I cringed when I saw a man below a load that size on a ramp.
    Not that necessity hasn’t put me in a lot of compromising situations, but for a routine operation that looks way too risky.
    I agree with some of the others that cabling and rolling has a lot more control and less exposure. I would also double or triple the 2×6’s for the ramp, glued and screwed together. A ramp collapse could be crippling.
    By adding a solid anchor point for the base and three pulleys, some cable, and cheap bumper winch from Harbour Freight, one man could flip a switch and roll that log with ease and no danger to himself.
    Add a choker for that log and some bracing and that cute little winch could drag that log right up to the ramp.
    Mind over muscle boys……don’t strain that carcass, it is the only one you have.

    I like the ideas of cabling and rolling, much safer.

    Reply