Pallet forks for tractors and other tractor bucket attachments are great complements to your wood-splitting tools. From dragging logs, bucking, moving and storing split wood, your farm tractor will be an indispensable asset as you prepare for the winter ahead.
Once you’ve felled a tree and de-limbed it, you’re left with this rather long stick to contend with. Dragging a log by the trailer hitch of a tractor usually results in you catching rocks with the butt of the log, which is counter-productive.
Using weld on tractor bucket hooks, preferably a slip hook welded in the center of your bucket, you can drag a log easily. If you have a chain with slip hooks, your chain will naturally choke the log, but if you only have grab hooks on your chain, wrap it around the log twice before hooking on. Once the log is chained to your bucket, you can lift the end while you’re pulling to avoid catching stumps or rocks.
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Before you start splitting wood, you need to buck your logs into lengths. Bucking wood is simply the act of taking bare tree trunks and sawing them up into lengths your stove can handle. There are a few tools we can use to make this an easy affair.
Cutting up trunks while they sit on the ground can be problematic, especially if you strike the ground with your chainsaw blade. Do this often enough, and you’re sure to be a pro at changing and sharpening chains.
To avoid killing your chainsaw chains, you can use some conventional manual wood-splitting tools called timber jacks. Similar to a “cant hook” or “Peavey” in design, timber jacks offer a way to grip and then elevate a log, letting you cut from above without the risk of hitting the ground, or pinching your saw.
Leaning down to buck a log will strain your back in a hurry, which is why people who cut a lot of firewood use sawbucks. Sawbucks are similar to a carpenter’s saw horse, except these saw horses have a “v” design to center logs. A properly built sawbuck will eliminate bending over while bucking logs, which is far more comfortable and far safer than leaning over to cut logs from the ground.
Pallet Forks for Tractors
For many reasons, even the best small farm tractor can benefit from having a set of pallet forks. In the context of working with firewood, pallet forks on your bucket make for a handy, motorized sawbuck.
Once you’ve dragged your logs out of the woods, pick them up with your pallet forks and start bucking them into lengths shorter than your wood stove is deep. If you like to maintain consistency in your firewood length, consider making a mark on the bar of your chainsaw to act as a measuring mark.
Pallet forks for tractors are great for bucking logs, but be careful with them. If you’re not careful, you may hit your bucket or forks with your chainsaw, which will result in dull chains or worse, dangerous kickbacks. Additionally, be careful to buck logs equally from both sides. Otherwise, you will lighten the log too much on one side, and it will tip over.
One major benefit of using pallet forks for tractors as your sawbuck is that you can adjust the height of your bucket at will. If the logs sit a little too high or low for you, then simply move your bucket up or down.
Even if you have a nice wood shed to store your split wood in, you will still likely need to move split wood from point A to point B. Many people in my area have taken to using IBC (intermediate bulk container) totes to move firewood.
IBC totes can be found used on sales websites locally, and they’re usually the 275-gallon size. These totes are effectively plastic tanks on pallets with a steel cage around them. When modifying them for use as firewood containers, take the top cage off and pull the tank out. Now you have a convenient cage on a pallet which you can toss split wood into.
I’m quite fond of using pallets for moving and storing firewood, mostly because they’re free. Almost any company that receives palleted goods will have free pallets to be rid of; just ask! Remember not to overload your pallets, since your tractor may not be able to move a pallet that’s too heavy. Since pallets are free, consider stacking less on each pallet and then stacking loaded pallets on top of loaded pallets.
What About You?
Do you use your pallet forks for managing your firewood? If not, will you give it a try? Let us know in the comments below!