Snarled Drum

The logging bulldozer is invaluable to our farm. Building roads, cleaning ditches, logging, pushing log trucks out of the mud, and 1000’s of other jobs could not have been done without our Caterpillar Bulldozer. Once during the 2007 flood, it was the only piece of equipment that could take hay to the herd that was stranded on high ground a half-mile from the barn. Needless to say, we use the ‘Cat’ a lot.

The other day, while Mike was logging a few trees so we could move the fence to the correct boundary line, the metal cable used to tether the logs, got snarled up on the drum that holds the coils of cable.

The drum is a heavy, metal, roller winch that is attached to the back of the Cat and uses hydraulics to wind and unwind the 3/4 inch metal cable. The cable itself is about 80 feet long and weighs several hundred pounds. On the cable there are ‘bells’ that slide along the cable as it winds and unwinds from the drum. The bells are place holders for the smaller, shorter cables (called chokers) that attach to the individual logs.

When dragging logs on smooth ground, the drum is steady and the Cat just pulls the logs along. When going over the hillside, through dips and valleys, corners and around trees, the cable unwinds to let the Cat walk away from the logs and then is rewound to pull the logs to the Cat. It was during one of the rewinds when the choker cable slipped out of one of the bells, and the bell got rolled up in the middle of the drum.

Its much like a yo-yo when you get a twist in the string, when the yo-yo comes back up to your hand, the string is all snarled and bound up. Unraveling the mess could be quite a job. With the snarled cable on the Caterpillar, it is a momentous task.

It took several days with 3 people, pulling and pushing cable, using picks and crowbars to manipulate the tightly bound cable in order for it to release its 80 feet of length centimeters at a time. Once the cable was stretched out full length, the drum rolled the cable back on and the logging continued.

 

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