Ragged View Farm  
PiggyBack FireWood Arch  

 The PiggyBack FireWood Arch

Mounts directly to a Pioneer forecart with 3 bolts

 pbfwa 1
 Front view of the typical team setup.
 Showing the manner of hooking the load; chain goes through the slip hook and is held by the grab hook. The slip hook is carrying most of the weight of the load so that the chain is easily released when it is time to drop the load. See text below for more detail.
 New style integral peavey socket.



 Set up with shaves  for a single horse.
 The PiggyBack FireWood Arch is a simple machine. The point of choker attachment to the arch is above the log. The opposite forces of the team moving the arch forward and the frictional resistance of the log cause the choker to tend to the horizontal, lifting the front of the log. Lifting the front of the log, even slightly, reduces the “plowing” that occurs when ground skidding or dragging a log behind a forecart. This lift provides three benefits of using an arch: reduced draft, reduced damage to the forest floor & skid trails, and cleaner logs. The reduced draft allows any horse or horses to do more work in a day and move larger loads. The benefits of reduced environmental damage & cleaner logs are obvious. A fourth benefit is safety for the teamster. In suitable terrain conditions, riding the cart reduces fatigue and  the chances of stumbling & falling or being caught by the moving hitch. However, it is possible to be thrown from an arch, a danger that is not present when ground skidding.
 The PiggyBack FireWood Arch is designed for the teamster who already has a forecart and needs a better way to get out several cords of wood or a few thousand feet of logs. I t is not intended as an everyday, heavy-duty, professional piece of equipment although it is used as such by some loggers. There are several logging arches available which may better meet that need. That said, the PiggyBack FireWood Arch can do its share of work.

Here the team and Arch has been backed up to the load after the initial draw so that the chokers can be shortened before taking the load to the landing.  This can often be done from the seat as shown.

Note that I have no saw on the Arch when the photo was taken.  The wood was all on the ground bucked to my satisfaction before I took the team out. If I had had a saw with me, as I often do, I would have a helmet w hearing and face protection.

The PiggyBack FireWood Arch has several features that contribute to its overall functionality:

  1. It mounts directly to a flat deck forecart and can be used with pole or shaves. When using a pole, the evener drawbar is re-mounted on top of the Arch. This is necessary to transfer the power of the horses to the point of hitch of the load at the back of the Arch in a straight line. Otherwise the wheels would tend to come out from under the load. The shaves adapter similarly provides straight line pull to the point of hitch..
  2. The low deck of a forecart means that using the PBFWA does not require climbing up & down from an arch. This is particularly advantageous when working alone & making your own hitches. Step up. Step down. The low center of gravity of the teamster is an added safety advantage in rough going, although it does not eliminate the danger of being thrown.
  3. The choker hitching system is copied directly from that used by Les Barden on his logging carts. The chain, ¼” or 5/16” typical, runs from the load over the slip hook to the grab hook. (Hooks will accomodate 3/8"chain.) Since the slip hook is holding most of the weight of the hitch, the chain can be “flipped” out of the grab hook at the landing even if there is significant tension on it. Three or four feet of slack chain is typically necessary to flip the choker out of the hook.
  4. A peavey holder is convenient when making the hitch behind the cart yet out of the way when driving.
  5. At the left end of the beam of the PBFWA a piece of pipe is welded forming a socket. By placing the point of the peavey in this socket and grabbing a chain link with the peavey hook, the choker can be levered tighter. While this is not done on most loads, it can be handy in certain situations.
  6. A grab hook at the base of the left side of the Arch provides a low center of gravity hitch point for using a long choker to draw logs that can not be backed right up to. Once the log is close to the Arch, it is re-hitched in the conventional manner. This hitch point reduces but does not eliminate the possibility of upsetting the cart when drawing at an angle or around corners. The teamster must always match the work to the conditions, including but not limited to the experience of himself & his team.
  7. Wire mesh bottomed tool trays proved a small amount of storage for chokers & tools.
  8. Equipment can be attached by ball or fork type hitch to the original forecart drawbar with the PBFWA mounted. Although mounting & removing the Arch is not difficult and many people can do it alone, this feature allows the Arch to remain in place for most uses of the cart. By removing the included seat spring, two Pioneer seat assemblies can be mounted on a Pioneer cart with the Arch in place. The Pioneer bench seat cannot.
  9. The PBFWA is simple. One of the primary design considerations was that it has no moving parts. It weighs approximately 75 pounds.

Many logging arches are a complete and entire piece of equipment designed to suspend the load directly over the axis of rotation of the wheels. This suspension point is ideal and results in minimal movement of the pole when under way.

It must be noted that because the log hitch point of the PBFWA is behind the axle, when travelling down hill, or in any instance where the load is pushing the rig, the pole will inevitably tend to rise up. This tendency can be overcome to some extant by apply braking force enough to make the team draw the load.

In spite of this limitation, the PiggyBack FireWood Arch achieves very good functionality by extending the use of an existing piece of equipment with an affordable add-on. By hitching the horses in a straight line with the point of hitch of the load, the PBFWA provides lift to the front of the load. When the horses start, the resistance of the load is met by the force of the horses acting over the wheels



 Here is a link that shows the PBFWA in action, along with some other means of log extraction at a workshop put on by DAPNet and The Farm School in 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34dH53R0eqI