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Building a small wood wagon for the garden tractor

Post in 'The Gear' started by OhioBurner©, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Skip ahead to the start of the actual build: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/91564/P45/#1130008

    Original post:
    I've been wagon-less since I destroyed my 12.5 poly dump cart last year. Thats left me with a lot of time to shop, and in that time I really havent found the ideal solution so I started thinking about building my own. I'm going to try to come up with a price for building it myself in the next week to see if it will be worth while compared to pre-made jobs. Designing it myself does allow certain things though, that might be hard to find pre-made.

    -a real axle (using 1500# spindles and axle found here: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200365117_200365117 )
    -uses same tire as tractor (should fit on the above axle, either 23x8.5x12, or up to 26x12x12)
    -ball hitch
    -places as much weight as possible on the tractors drive axle
    -back door either pivots down for ramp or completely removable
    -dont need it to dump, but perhaps a tongue jack would tilt it enough for rounds to roll out and keep hitch off the ground when not in use

    I've got two sizes in mind, one is a minimum size, which is 28"W x 24"T x 48"L (18.6cu') or something that is barely large enough to hold the tractor itself on, I dont have the measurements for that handy but something like a foot wider and 2' longer. I already have a 6x10 so I dont need this to haul my garden tractor, and I wasnt planning on designing it with springs for highway use either.

    Oh and its an older cub cadet that will be pulling it -10/12hp, 2wd - which is why I want as much weight on the tractors drive axle as possible. Also why I want to keep it to a reasonable size, this is rough terrain with some big hills. I hauled many cords with the 12.5 cart but it was a struggle. But mainly because the thing was so evenly balanced that the slightest uphill angle and the cart would try to dump and pull up on the hitch (which is also how it destroyed itself). I figure by keeping the weight in front of the axle I should be able to go 50% more weight, but thats just a guess. Traction is the main limiting factor, the tractor can haul the weight just fine.

    Here is a rough sketch of my design (approximately to scale):
    [​IMG]
    I also drew extra storage along the sides, which I may or may not include. Thought it would be handy to have a dedicated smaller area for the tools, gas, oil, etc. The original drawing was wider,which is why there appears to be 2 right hand sides on the top drawing. I am more likely going with the narrower, but still undecided.

    I was going to build this using angle iron based on the design of my 6x10 just shrunk down, with pt plywood for the bottom and sides.

    My main question is what single angle iron to get? I dont have experience in fabricating anything this weight bearing so I'm not sure, was thinking along the lines of 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 1/8?

    Another question I have is how to attach the axle without using leaves? I really dont want to directly weld it. Weld on some kind of flange that then bolts onto the trailer frame?.

    Nothing is set in stone, open to any advice, thanks!

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  2. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Probably not the reply you want to read, but I'm thinking that putting too much weight on the tongue is not a good idea.

    - tongue must be very strong.
    - hitch on tractor and the metal plate it's attached to must also be very strong (I doubt it is)
    - front of tractor must be heavy to avoid rear wheels driving the front up (wheelie).
    - Unhitching a moderately loaded cart when needed/emergency can be difficult.

    A more balanced cart design with wheel weights on your tractor may get you what you want. At some point, the weight ON the drive axle is moot when the total weight being towed is close to that of the entire tractor--a very easy thing to do with freshly cut firewood.

    This is the best lawn/garden tractor cart I've ever used: http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-FG566000-Heavy-Duty-Structural-Capacity/dp/B000NPCN70

    Tailgate pulls up and completely out, and the entire cart dumps. It's been put through extensive use and abuse without a crack or even a chip. It's lighter than any steel or wood cart of comparable size, yet it's no wimpy poly cart. They make a 15 cu.ft. model, too. Apart from those nice 4-wheeled ATV carts, it's my favorite.
  3. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Put some decent tires on the tractor and it will go through just about anything. I don't even run tire chains on mine for snowblower after I put ATV tires on it.
  4. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    Have you contemplated repurposing a boat/jet ski trailer.
    I got lucky one day and happened to find a single jet ski trailer for local pickup on the bay for $50.
    You can cut the toungue down and build sides like you've noted above.
    May be post a wanted ad on C-list for an old frame, someone may have something like that laying around with dryrotted tires.
  5. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    I agree w/the too much weight on the tongue thought. I have 1 trailer like that and you can't pick up the tongue by hand when it is loaded. I have another that there is too much weight on the back of the trailer and it picks up the back of my atv when the trailer is full of wood. I would design it so when its loaded its slightly "tongue heavy"
  6. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I would suggest scouring CL for an old trailer frame then customizing it. Usually you can get them for <$100 or free.
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    As said - you will want a better balance for the axle. At some point in time you WILL have the trailer loaded and you will want to pick up the tongue. Ain't gonna happen.

    That said - I would like to show a pic of the one I built. The reason for that is the work height. Note that the deck height is higher than most. It works excellent as it limits the amount of bending into the trailer. ALSO - with the removable tail gate it will dump backwards if you choose. Very handy for getting all the wood litter out of the bottom of the trailer (or dirt or stone, etc.)

    My frame is built solely of wood (oak 4x4 and 2x4 - plywood deck and sides). The axle and tongue are the only metal parts. If you are buying steel for a build, I would recommend square tubing (like 1.5 x 1.5 stuff) over the angle, but if it must be angle a heavy quage (3/16") 1.5 x 1.5" or even better 2 x 2 angle will work. (as you may notice, I ain't afraid to load the beasty up, it is often loaded with a loader tractor, so it needs to be able to take a beating.)

    Note on the side I marked between the back two posts - 21". That is the max length of split I want (stove will take 22" if you beat it in place.)

    Attached Files:

  8. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I think OhioBurner has that Cub ballasted just about to the max already. My question is how much weight will she take before the front end gets light? A photo of the rear of the tractor would be interesting too, concerns have been voiced about how much tongue weight the hitch plate can take. IIRC his machine is very stout. OhioBurner, I can't help but think you could use just a wee bit more tractor! ;-)
  9. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Tires, weights, hitch, I pretty much already have those all covered. But it depends which I am to use, I have 3 old cubs right now. Two have the IH 3-point & sleeve adapters, the other has a rear gearbox for a tiller. I'm also thinking about turning one into a dedicated logger, so wouldnt need the raise-able hitch and could make a permanent mount. I could also add a front weight bracket for a bit more ballast up front. As for tires the one I have been using for wood has some oversized aggressive atv's on it, filled with about 6 gallons of rv antifreeze each and weights (I forget how much). For a dedicated logging cub I might get some 26x12x12 Carlisle Tru Power, but havent decided for sure.

    Yeah I really wanted to get a boat trailer. I have one that would be perfect, with the right size wheel hubs. But I need it for a boat, and its in brand new shape, worth a lot more than to cut up for parts. I had scoured craigslist for months, no body around here seems to want to get rid of the cheap. Whenever I offered $100 for what appeared to be pure junk, I never even got a response. And most of them had shot tires, probably hubs that were rusted to death (and not the bolt pattern I wanted). I havent checked in a while so maybe I will again.

    I dont know about the weight being balanced though. That is the BIGGEST problem I have had. Do you all pull up hills? I am sure driving around the flats balanced would be fine, but even a slight incline would lift the hitch UP on my 12.5 craftsman dump cart. As far as moving the cart around by hand while loaded? I dont know if I have ever done that. But wouldnt a tongue jack suffice? Nate that looks too balanced for my tastes, too skinny of tires, and too small. Even 15cu ft is smaller than I want, and the price is probably more than for me to build one I am guessing.

    MasterMech yeah I would like a wee bit more tractor! Just dont have a wee bit more money! I'd also need a bit bigger trailer than my 3500# 6x10 to get it to the woods. Maybe someday. But I'm already into the cubs with 3 of them, know how to maintain em, have backup parts, and they have surprised me what they can pull off so far.

    Here are some pics FWIW:
    [​IMG]
    That lower hitch mount is a custom fabricated mount with the normal three bolt mount to the rear plus ears that wrap around the sides and mount on each side to an axle bolt too, here is a better pic (and where I got em at: http://www.xtrememotorworks.com/images/Xtreme Hitches.JPG )

    And

    [​IMG]
    Without any ballast weight on that tractor except the antifreeze in the stock sized tires I can pull my 6x10 around my yard just fine (not in the woods) with a tossed in load mostly seasoned cherry. However when that same trailer was stacked with green rounds, it was enough to start the front end bouncing. I'm not sure how much tongue weight that was. That trailer weighs 1400# empty. I dont think even loaded an 18cf trailer would way that much would it?

    Brakes are another thing I plan on working on, and I'd like to fabricate some turning brakes if I get really crafty.

    Thanks for the advice fellas, any more is appreciated.
  10. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    Tractor Supply has everything u need to build a custom trailer. I've thought about it myself.
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    To off balance mine on a hill, you would need to be climbing an incline that the old cub ain't gonna do with a loaded trailer. When fully loaded, the tongue weight is probably about 60+ pounds. I don't know if turning radius is of any concern, but that might also be a consideration.
  12. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I know what you mean about the balance of most carts. My Cub Cadet cart is balanced rear heavy so that it will dump, as most are, and it is easy to unload the rear wheels with it. I am keeping an eye open for that cheapo used boat trailer to modify too.
    For your dedicated logger you should build a hitch like this one that a PO built for my 149.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It is pretty well built and uses existing holes in the frame. I am sure it could carry much more weight than the tractor ever should. I removed it so I could install the three point, but I will keep it around just in case.
  13. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    The better hitch is a 3 point with a ball on it. Just back up to the trailer and raise the ball. Its a very nice feature.
  14. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    gzecc yeah I know what you mean I do that with my 6x10, which is especially nice since the tounge jack is screwed up on it right now and its got enough tongue weight empty to strain my arms or back lifting it. however on the logger, it wont be used for anything else most the time, and the wood cart will be light enough to move by hand I dont have to tie up a few hundred in the lifting hitch.

    Flatbed, yeah I had something similar in mind.

    Jags, I dont know man, I bet I could off balance that but its just a guess. It looks pretty flat there have you had it on hills? Its not just the incline either, its going up that incline and then hitting a bump. Thats what got my dumpcart, which went so rear-heavy that it twisted the wimpy frame and pulled the latch right through, dumping an entire load of rounds (and shaterring the back of it when it hit the ground with the weight of the wood on it). I did want to make my axle somewhat easily movable, so I can fine tune it. A couple hundred pounds of weight on the tractor hitch is nothing, and should help traction. At least thats how I figure. How is your axle attached? About the hieght, I am undecided between higher for working out of, or lower, for being easier to roll heavy rounds up into. Putting the axle right on the frame would be easier than making some kind of stand-off, so I tend to favor that approach.

    Trying to find a pic that shows some of the hills I get wood in...
    Best I can come up with: http://i903.photobucket.com/albums/ac235/kc2ebm/cub_cadet/IMG_0134.jpg?t=1330194749
    Thats just the yard around the house, it gets steeper and of course the woods is much more rugged.

    Also, not ALL wood has to be drug up steep hills, some is on the level, but probably about 50% comes up a big hill.
  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    My trailer and axle, plus tires is wider than your cub. If you tip that trailer, your tractor is in grave danger if not already on its side. The axle I used has carrier bearings. It was simply a matter of screwing it to the oak 4 x 4 that goes from side to side.

    Please understand that I have no vested interest in you "duplicating" my trailer. Just throwing some ideas around that I have found useful in my quest for the perfect yard cart. This is a close as I can come up with for MY uses. It was built the same length as my loader is wide, and the width will go through the double doors on my old wash house so I simply back it in to unload and stack. Wide tires for spongy turf and taller (and wider) than most for easy working height and the ability to pull the back gate off and hand dump it.
  16. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Jags, dont worry I dont plan on blindly copying any ones design assuming it will be perfect for me. If it hasnt been implied yet then I still havent seen any I think are remotely perfect for my usage, and why I want to do it custom ;-) . And its not putting the tractor on its side I am worrying about when I'm talking about off balance... I did have my cart flip over sideways once but I hadnt even mentioned that yet (I dont think I did anyhow). Its just about traction going uphill - in a small 2wd tractor traction is the limiting thing, especially uphill. A few hundred extra pounds on the drive axle should be welcome I think? With the design I sketched out above, I figured a little more than a third should be on the hitch and a bit under 2/3rd on the trailer axle. But since its custom, I can put the axle pretty much anywhere, I just dont know the best way to mount it (ideally being non-permanent). Maybe make a perch for it, like a piece of bar across the top with two triangles down the side on each side, and a bolt hole on each end, like this:

    http://i903.photobucket.com/albums/ac235/kc2ebm/cub_cadet/IMG_0620.jpg

    That way to move it I need to just drill two bolt holes in the frame where I want it mounted. What do you think?
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that is exactly the approach I would take. Makes for some easy moving.
  18. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Jags, and thanks Mastermech for earlier suggestion frame size. I'm going to stick with angle since I have a trailer made from angle as a guide and it provides an easy assembly with a big lip to place in the floor, etc. I was digging through my supplies in the garage and it just so happens I must have bought a piece of 1.5x1.5 3/16 years ago from some project and only taken a little because I have 17' of it. It seems plenty strong for a garden tractor wood cart, infact if feel I could go a little thinner, but without an 1/8 piece handy to feel, I'll stick to the 3/16. But I think that will work well because I am debating on enlarging the design again. Especially if its so overbuilt, might as well get it the size to take use of it. If its too much weight for the steeps or muddy/snowy out I dont have to fill it. So I am thinking of one big rectangle, 54"L x 40"W x 24"H which is 30cuft. If I were able to fill it, would knock down half of my trips to the woods which is very time consuming at 5-10min each way (probably about 1 & 1/4 cord or so I bring back from the farm).

    40" wide also allows me to cut my rounds with a method I have been toying with. Both my stoves will take about 13" N/S and I like how they load that way. But its pain with all the extra cutting in the woods, something that usually takes me sun up to sun down by myself anyhow (and I only get to go to the farm once, maybe twice a month). So time is quite valuable. My idea is cutting to 3x 13", 39" and then I just built a triple H-frame sawbuck at home I can resaw them as I unload em to 13" - I have plenty of time at home to do this. I also like using my timber tongs in the woods to get the rounds to the trailer, for pieces up to 12", having them 39" makes better use of my strength too instead of carrying around 2 little 13" pieces (or 18" if I cut em standard) I can carry two 39" pieces. Saving time again. Bigger rounds I'll still cut standard or 13". If the 13"x3 length doesnt work out then the 40" width is still pretty good for two rounds wide at standard width of 18".

    I've added up about 63' of angle I'd need, I'll buy 3x 20 footers ($36 ea) plus what I already have, a 20' of 2x2 square tubing for the axle and main beam ($66), 2x 1500# spindle/hubs for $94, use tires/wheels I already have, a 2" ball coupler for $18 , $15 worth of hardware foe the door, hopefully I have enough pt plywood already, nuts n bolts, and maybe steal a tongue jack from one of my boats temporarily, so grand total for materials $300 not including paint yet. Doesnt sound too bad to me, although not as cheap if I had my own scrap axle and built all out of scrap wood, but for buying it all new with metal and 3,000# axle and 30cuft I dont think you could buy one for that much. So I think this project is officially a go.

    I was thinking about making a removable tray that drops into the front of the trailer (uses the top half of the space) to hold my gear, saw, fuel, etc. I was thinking though, are there any handy 'mounts' I could put on the outside wall of the trailer to mount some of the long handled things like and axe and cant hook? Would be nice to have a permanent solution for those long things. Something rubber coated would be nice, but I can probably rig something up.
  19. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I think that some kind of decking, maybe 5/4x6 PT wuld be better for the floor than plywood. It would survive the weather better and you could leave some space between the board to drain water and sawdust. It would probably cost more too though.
  20. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Yeah that was my original plan. Switched to the ply since it would be lighter and with the floor bracing I think would suffice and I have some already, although by my measurements I am going to need more than I have anyhow and have to buy another sheet. I dont plan on leaving it out in the elements, but that does seem to happen from time to time.

    Well I just added up all the weights and this thing is definitely going to be heavier than I thought. Adding everything up I am at 241# estimated. Probably a little more if I go with 5/4 decking.
  21. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    If you are going 40" wide, how wide is the axle going to be?
  22. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    there are some rural kings in central ohio

    79 bucks gets you this It holds about as much as 2 big wheel barrel loads. Its 10 cubic foot bed.

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  23. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Once again those dump carts are not going to work. I've already proven that. Great for hauling something like mulch around the yard though.

    Jags, I plan on on building the body first and then cutting the axle to whatever length I need, after mocking it up with the hub and wheel on one side. Without knowing the dimensions of those hubs I can't really estimate a size yet.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Got ya. It will widen the stance, but for stability you might want to consider having the wheel outboard of the box, instead of underneath (like mine). I don't know if you have any width restrictions.
  25. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    The axle itself will bolt to the bottom of the cart so yeah the wheels will be outboard. I couldnt think of a good way to make the axle stand off the frame to get the tires underneath, would require more parts and welding, and probably need to be more permanent. I do want to experiment with axle position, and with some of the side slopes the wide stance would help.
    It will be wide, especially with wide tires which was one of my design points and one reason for custom, so I could use standard cub tires that I already have, plus a single spare would work for tractor and trailer. Actually between one of my cubs and the cart it will pretty much take up my entire 6x10. But, I plan on leaving the cart at the farm eventually (I call it a farm but its the one farm the family has that isnt farmed, just a house, woods, swamp, and couple of fields) its like our summer getaway place, and were I hunt and cut. Eventually when I get done working on one of my cubs I'll leave it there too, so my 6x10 can be fully utilized for wood. In the meantime one solution I had was to not stack it quite to the rails, and drive the tractor and cart up on top of the wood. But the length from the front tire of the cub to the back tire of the trailer might be more than 10'. Might have to unhitch and turn the trailer around backwards with the tongue sticking out the back, or sideways. I'd like to leave the two hooked together, but no biggie. I need a bigger road trailer too lol.

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