24 inch rounds flying high into the air playing plinko.

redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
135
West Virginia
Here is the scenario. The property where I cut has recently been logged. This is a very rugged area. Not many large trees left to cut.

I have found a spot the loggers missed. Way up on a hillside. Enough large trees to keep me and my maul busy for a few years at least. I park my wood truck, which is an old 4wheel drive s10, cracked frame, bald tires, doors hanging on by a thread.. hope you get the idea, I park it at a clearing near my new found honey hole.

I fell the trees, cut the logs into rounds about 16 inches long. These rounds average about 24 inches in diameter. I cut enough of these rounds to fill up my truck, sometimes enough for a couple loads as I don't have to worry about leaving the area for a few days as nobody can see my large stack of rounds.... think firewood thieves.

I bring my wife and son along when its time to load as I do need helpers.. This is why.

Where I park my truck is a clearing, surrounded by a ravine that is near vertical. The "landing" area is about 40ft x 60ft where I park the truck. The only way I can think of to get the rounds to the truck is by rolling them down the hill. Where I cut the rounds is pretty far up. Imagine where my truck sits. Then a very steep incline with small saplings and large rocks that are 150 feet up. Beyond that is an old logging road that is kinda flat. Above the logging road is another incline that is very steep that goes for another 150ft or so. Where my rounds are located is beyond the second incline another 150ft up. Yes,,, these rounds have to travel at least 500ft to get to the truck and if measured I woudn't doubt it being double that, trust me it is pretty far. I usually get winded and have to rest before I make it to the cutting location with my saw, gas, and bar oil, scrench, a drink, etc.. Most of my rounds don't stop where the truck is parked. Needless to say there are 20 or so rounds down in the ravine.

On the way down these rounds pick up a lot of speed and energy. Some bounce 20ft in the air. Some knock over 6in trees like nothing. Some I swear moved a 1 ton rock a couple feet. Yes I'm exaggerating about the rock but these suckers are packing a punch!

My wife and son used to try their best to stop the rounds that retain enough energy to bypass the truck and go over the ravine but after watching some bounce and fly by, we realized this was too dangerous for them or anyone else.. A lot of rounds get stopped halfway down and I have to coax them on to the landing at the end of the day, which I prefer as I don't lose them and they have almost no chance of killing someone. I know this is very, very dangerous situation when the rounds are flying down the mountain playing plinko with trees and rocks. The old logging road makes for a pretty nice ramp as when they land just right they will fly through the air as they bounce off the old road on their way down.. Luckily things have worked out but I would love to have a safer method. I thought about using a sled, but don't know how I would get the sled back up the mountain to reload. I thought about a cable and pulley system but think that wouldn't be cost effective as I imagine 750ft of cable or rope wouldn't be cheap. I thought of using a barrier to stop the rounds at the bottom, but a lot of the rounds would just bounce over it or go right through it.

My wife and son help pick up what don't roll into the ravine. They also sit in a safe spot far away and are amazed at the shear velocity and power these things pick up.

I have rolled rounds like this before but never this far up. Plus my dog loves to chase things like rolling rocks, and he loves to try to catch these monsters. It would be instant death for him. He stays home unless he escapes.

How would you safely get these rounds down? Only access to the rounds is on foot up the mountain.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,906
Philadelphia
Park in the ravine.

You said there’s a road above where you’re cutting. My solution would be to park above, fell the trees, and winch them into a trailer. No messing with rounds, at all.

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EODMSgt

Member
Dec 11, 2018
142
White Mountain Region, NH
Lot of effort to have a good portion of your rounds lost in the ravine. If you have to rely on gravity to move the timber down the slope, what about cutting larger sections? Instead of rolling small 16" rounds, try two or three times that size. They may get hung up more on their way down the slope but you can work them loose on your way down. Probably won't lose as many pieces over the ravine. Once they're at the road, then buck them into 16" rounds to load in the truck.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,428
Marshall NC
Find a different firewood supply.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,906
Philadelphia
Find a different firewood supply.
Why? I think it’d be a heck of a lot of fun, cutting at the OPs location, with the right equipment.

Going on my principal that every project should justify the purchase of at least one new tool, I’d consider this an excuse to buy a trailer and electric winch. Add in a pair of log tongs, and this becomes easy work.
 
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Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
694
Rochester NY
have your wife and son set up a barrier with the rounds that you already rolled down, maybe a few or more deep, to try and stop the incoming rounds. I know it wouldn't be a perfect method but, that's my first thought. Think of it as extreme firewood bowling.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,643
central pa
Why? I think it’d be a heck of a lot of fun, cutting at the OPs location, with the right equipment.

Going on my principal that every project should justify the purchase of at least one new tool, I’d consider this an excuse to buy a trailer and electric winch. Add in a pair of log tongs, and this becomes easy work.
Sorry it is not easy work. Hell cutting and loading 24 inch stuff is a pain when I can park next to it I sure as hell wouldn't do that to get them.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,906
Philadelphia
Sorry it is not easy work. Hell cutting and loading 24 inch stuff is a pain when I can park next to it I sure as hell wouldn't do that to get them.
You should have been here when I loaded 15 feet of 32” diameter oak on my trailer a few weeks ago, bholler. I estimated the weight at over 5000 lb., based on 62 lb/cu.ft. I guess I’d be exaggerating to call that one “easy work”, but it was really no issue getting it loaded, with the winch and tongs.

Securing a single stick that big in the center of a closed-side trailer for the ride home was a bigger challenge, but thankfully the ride home was short, and my rigging held.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,229
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
In my area the loggers don't "miss" a section. Those sections that they leave are done on purpose for a reason. Sometimes it's for natural regeneration, sometimes there's a creek, sometimes an eagle's nest, but loggers are not stupid. There may have been a legal or permitting reason that those trees were left and if you cut them out the landowner can be in deep poo.

I would skid out the whole log and then cut it at the landing.
 

redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
135
West Virginia
The stand of trees were left there because the DNR shut them down before they could get everything. It was something about what was ending up in the streams and I think they were logging some parts that were not part of the property intended to be logged.

I might just post a video barniclebob. I'm sure it would be an interesting view. My percentage lost is well over 10 percent. I had one round that I cut fresh off the log. It fell to the ground, rolled across the flat, rolled and bounced to the bottom and straight over the ravine. Instant disappointment and cussing ensued.

Woody- That is what I'm basically doing now, its firewood bowling.

I tried transporting logs to the truck and cutting them up there, but they get so full of mud and debris that I have to sharpen my chain way too often.

There is not a road anywhere above the cutting area. The old logging road is between my truck and the trees. It acts as a ramp for many of my rounds. It was made "naturally" many years ago buy draft horses pulling logs. Its not so much a road built by a bulldozer. Being 100 years old it is grown up with trees and blocked by mudslides or "slips" as we call them here and is very much inaccessible with an atv or vehicle. No winching them up although I thought about winching up a sled to reload with rounds then using truck to ease the sled down the mountain.

I have thought about changing my location but this is too good of a sweet spot to pass up. Its closer to the house, full of "just the right size for me" trees, and as of now, I don't mind the 20 percent that ends up in the ravine. After some start to build up near the truck at the bottom, that percentage starts to go down as the rounds crash into each other. Some of the rounds get fouled up on a stump or rock on the way down and they act as a barrier. Its nice to see a pile get built up and all of a sudden, one wild round will break them all loose and I end up with 20 rounds flopping right to the truck.

Something else I have noticed that is wild to watch. Half of my rounds will roll faster end over end then if they roll on their side like a wheel. The ones that roll on their side will jump higher and vere off to the side more on their way down while the ones that roll end over end go down the hill straighter and faster. Funny thing about bowing here is that I have created a "lane" so to speak. The path straight down the hill with the least amount of trees and brush. Very much like bowing with my truck as one huge pin to aim at. I'm just waiting for a round to crash through the windshield or door glass. Good thing this is a beater, I'll just cover it with plastic, or leave it out. Let the rain in hell, long as she runs and hauls.. :)
 

MissMac

Feeling the Heat
Dec 4, 2017
423
NW Ontario
could you drop a few trees into a cluster down by where you want the rounds to stop, and use this as a 'round dam'? You said you have a preferred lane that they're rolling down - just a thought? Drop a few branchy conifers and let your rounds get tangled up in that mess down by your truck. Then just pluck them all out when you're done cutting for the day?
 

redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
135
West Virginia
There isn't much there. I would have to create a pile at least 12ft high to snag the fliers.....plus digging out big rounds from the middle of a brushpile isn't fun....so far im still rolling and losing 20 percent....but the ones that make it near the truck are easy to load.....i need a conveyor lol....
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,643
central pa
There isn't much there. I would have to create a pile at least 12ft high to snag the fliers.....plus digging out big rounds from the middle of a brushpile isn't fun....so far im still rolling and losing 20 percent....but the ones that make it near the truck are easy to load.....i need a conveyor lol....
It is a such a shame to waste your work and the natural resource I would find another way.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,129
NE Ohio
Just spit balling here, but I would think you could buy 1000' (or whatever's needed) of cheap 1/4" poly rope for not too much money...then screw some lag bolts into the center of each end of the round to act as an axle, tie a length of rope (20'-30'?) onto each lag bolt so that the rope makes a large loop. Attach the 1000' rope to the center of the loop...then you can just let the rounds roll down the hill in a controlled manner...it might be a bit of a workout on the arms, but shouldn't be too bad. You could find a tree to tie a snatch block (pulley) onto to make it even easier on you. Or substitute the poly rope for a bungee rope...that would make it interesting! ;lol
When the round arrives at the landing have your wife/kid take the lag bolts out, throw them into a bag attached to the rope, then you retrieve the rope with the hardware bag, rinse, repeat. You might need to make a spreader bar rig of sorts to keep the rope loop from rubbing/getting tangled on the sides/end of the rounds.
Fyi they make chainsaw powered winch systems if that would help make life easier or this whole operation any faster...might be pricey though, I dunno…
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,269
Eastern Ontario
Just spit balling here, but I would think you could buy 1000' (or whatever's needed) of cheap 1/4" poly rope for not too much money...then screw some lag bolts into the center of each end of the round to act as an axle, tie a length of rope (20'-30'?) onto each lag bolt so that the rope makes a large loop. Attach the 1000' rope to the center of the loop...then you can just let the rounds roll down the hill in a controlled manner...it might be a bit of a workout on the arms, but shouldn't be too bad. You could find a tree to tie a snatch block (pulley) onto to make it even easier on you. Or substitute the poly rope for a bungee rope...that would make it interesting! ;lol
When the round arrives at the landing have your wife/kid take the lag bolts out, throw them into a bag attached to the rope, then you retrieve the rope with the hardware bag, rinse, repeat. You might need to make a spreader bar rig of sorts to keep the rope loop from rubbing/getting tangled on the sides/end of the rounds.
Sounds like a lot of extra work for the benefit
 
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Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,428
Marshall NC
Lag bolt into the wood, long rope, pieces rolling down the hill, 20 percent lost...


Find another source of firewood.
 
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redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
135
West Virginia
The above idea with the rope actually kept me up at night.. This was what I was thinking before I made this thread and thought there must be a better way. We must think alike!!...

Getting firewood for me is always a hassle. Nothing is as easy as felling in the road and cleaning up the mess.. its always drag, roll, pack, etc.

This rolling is actually somewhat of the easier gathering that I have done... My though was that if I could find a better way for this specific situation, I could harvest enough wood in a couple months to do me all winter plus... cheers all!
 

neverbilly

Member
Dec 27, 2015
113
Louisiana, USA
OP, you are a good writer, I found myself laughing at some of your descriptions of this bowling you are doing. I keep waiting for a pic of your windshield with a giant hole in it. A video would be uber cool for sure.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,269
Eastern Ontario
I'm not sure I would cut where I lose 20 %
of what I cut . That being said Have you ever thought
of stringing a couple of Volley ball nets to catch the wayward chunks?
 

neverbilly

Member
Dec 27, 2015
113
Louisiana, USA
I'm not sure I would cut where I lose 20 %
of what I cut . That being said Have you ever thought
of stringing a couple of Volley ball nets to catch the wayward chunks?
He could do that but he would have to secure the net ends to trees or something unmovable. And from the description of how fast those things are moving, they'd get caught and then rebound to the next county.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,269
Eastern Ontario
true enough but there must be some way
20 % loss is just unacceptable in my little mind
 
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Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,425
Midwest
As you said - big game of plinko - which means the logs are coming out 'every which way' at the bottom. Any chance you could cut a channel through the intermediate 'plinko pins' (trees/brush/saplings) to create a 'chute' for directing the logs? ...ideally it would end up at some sort of 'backstop' where logs crash for easy pickin's but don't go into the ravine, such as an existing log, one last group of trees, etc?
 

redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
135
West Virginia
The rounds have made a good path where the majority tend to go which is straight down the hill.... more than ten percent take a leap. I start off with 20 percent loss rate until some get hung up on the land which stops more and more as they build up. Nearing the end of the day I hardly lose any at all.. its not a constant 20 percent. I am still cutting there, just not as often anymore. I have other locations where I use the same method of rolling down the rounds but its not near as a distance so they never build of speed.

It sure is a sight to behold. A round as heavy as a small car leaping in the air twenty feet. Slamming into boulders and literally knocking down some smaller trees or saplings. The sounds of the ones I lose finally coming to a stop in the ravine full of boulders below. Wham! I would almost swear I can feel the earth shake.
 
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