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  1. #1
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    Default Best Bucket or Bucket/Grapple Combo for Picking Up Firewood Splits

    Hi all,

    I'm looking hard at a B3030, and the dealer is recommending a "Paladin Grapple" for my needs.

    My immediate needs are to pick up bucked, firewood rounds--18-30" in diameter, by 18" in length--and load them into my pickup or a rented trailer and, ideally, both. Some "giants" would be 36" in diameter, but I will have a hoe with a hydraulic thumb, so I'm not too concerned that the largest rounds may defeat the grapple. (Where I will be dumping the splits will only be a foot or two wider than 48", and my goal is "zero spillover" on the sides, if possible, when I dump the splits, so I figure the 48" is the widest I dare go. Thoughts on whether 48" is TOO wide?).

    My BIGGEST, and LONG-TERM need, will be picking up firewood splits. Like 18" long by 6-8" wide.

    I understand one cannot "shove" a conventional, dirt bucket into a pile of splits and come close to filling it. That is why the dealer suggested a grapple. A 48" grapple, to be more precise, and I agree that that's the biggest width I'd want, for what I have in mind.

    But he never gave me the part number of the bucket, just the price ($1,895.00--and he couldn't recall if that included any labor.) And he never gave me a Model Number. So I found this one: Compact Tractor Grapples, Scrap Grapples, Grapples

    I understand why the bucket sides are "scalloped-out"--to more securely hold a tree, for transit or bucking, or bunches of brush, for transit.

    But I'm concerned that, even IF this is the grapple best-able to PICK UP the splits, I'm afraid many of them could fall out of those scalloped sides. Is that likely? Or will the pressure of the grapple, on the whole bundle of splits, pretty much keep them in the grapple, as I travel from my wood processing area to the house (200', on largely-flat ground)?

    Then he told me that he was considering the Bradco grapple, which is a company he said is "owned by Paladin," and sure enough, Bradco comes up on the Paladin site.

    When I pressed him for the MODEL NUMBER of the grapple, he gave me this: # 108605.

    I can't get that number to come up with anything in Paladin's site, even when I search under Bradco.

    My main question is:

    What is THE BEST SOLUTION, in terms of bucket-with-added-grapple, or a dedicated grapple, for picking up split firewood?


    Due to health considerations, I want to handle the firewood, manually, as little as possible. I have a rather creative idea (I think) for getting buckets of splits inside the house, which I will gladly share with you all, when I have the time. But he's soon to be pressuring me to buy, and I can't do that until I know what bucket or grapple I need.

    The tractor already has the proper valve for an FEL installed on it.

    I am also interested in an aftermarket, SSQA-ready dirt-bucket, as he says the grapple bucket will come SSQA-ready, and I don't want to get involved in cutting/fabbing a female plate on, if I can simply "pin on" an ATI SSQA male plate, and pick up:

    1. A grapple

    2. Or a dirt-bucket with ADDED grapple

    3. And a set of forks

    4. OR a separate, dedicated dirt bucket that is SSQA-ready, standard width (54"?) that will accept W.R. Long's Flat Toothbar. This rules out a kubota bucket, as they are not SSQA-ready (for the B-series), from the factory, and require cutting and fabbing, to install the female SSQA plate. (The dealer suggested Paladin/Bradco for this as well, BUT AGAIN, HAD NO PART NUMBERS FOR ME.)

    In fact, I wouldn't mind adding that toothbar to a grapple bucket, as well, to better enable me to "comb out" near-surface roots, from locust trees, as well as "roto-till" or "power-rake" encroaching roots out of the garden, after I first loosen them up with the hoe. (I'm trying to avoid buying a roto-tiller here, in case that wasn't obvious--LOL). I know it will take longer to "roto-till" a garden with a 16" hoe bucket with hydraulic thumb, and I'm looking forward to the seat time. I just thought I'd need to "comb out" the broken-up roots that slip past the hoe's thumb and bucket-teeth.

    I thought a front grapple, with added toothbar, would make an excellent "garden comb" or "power-rake."
    Thoughts?


    Side Question #1--Why Install Rear Remotes At ALL?:
    Why do I need ANY remotes to operate the grapple? Which can't I get a "diverter valve," that will take the power from the hoe, and shunt it up front, to the grapple? (I can't operate the hoe and grapple at the same time anyway, you know?)

    He's already telling me I need a set of REAR remotes to operate the grapple. I will have a hoe mounted, 90% of the time, I believe. So why not FRONT remotes, instead of REAR remotes, to run a FRONT grapple?



    Side Question #2: Why Have a Second "Joy Stick," near the 4-way, Loader Joystick, Instead of a Third-function Switch
    ?
    Is the answer that I need to "feather" the grapple, and a third-function switch is, by definition, operating an electric solenoid-controlled "diverter valve," so that I will have ZERO ability to "feather" the grapple? IOW, it would either be open or closed, and I would have no way to apply PARTIAL PRESSURE, when the grapple is closing down?[B]


    Thank you all, in advance.

    My Hoe
    Last edited by My Hoe; 07-21-2012 at 12:32 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Bucket or Bucket/Grapple Combo for Picking Up Firewood Splits

    My first thought would be a real grapple over a bucket with an added grapple. I don't know about you but I try to get as little dirt on my wood as possible. The bucket will scoop it while the grapple will let it fall through. With a rear remote you'll have to run hydraulic lines to the rear, not the worse thing and maybe cheaper plus you'll have the option of having a rear remote if you ever need it (or are they needed for the BH). But I would spend the money for a front remote.
    Kubota L4240,Case 580K backhoe, Case 450 Dozer

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Best Bucket or Bucket/Grapple Combo for Picking Up Firewood Splits

    Oooppss!

    crazyal,

    You are RIGHT--the rear remotes are needed to run the HYDRUALIC THUMB I convinced "The Finance Dept.," here at home, that I cannot live without. So I guess that's why I don't want FRONT remotes, for the grapple--I'm already buying REAR remotes.

    In answer to your question, the rear remotes will not be needed for the hoe itself, just the thumb. I'm going to power the hoe with the tractor's hydraulics, not a PTO pump.

    Is there a fairly-neat, standardized way to run a front grapple off of rear remotes?

    Thanks for clearing my head on (at least part of) this!

    And thank you for pointing out the dirt-shedding advantages of a true grapple, over bucket-with-added-grapple. I, like you, prefer my firewood to be as "dirt-free" as possible. We're moving to new house, and the wood floor looks like a bowling alley. So the less dirt, the better! Thank you for "clearing my head" on that score, as well!

    So I welcome other members' feedback as well, of course, particularly about whether the "grapple" I linked to would hold onto the wood, despite it's scalloped sides?

    And I would like feedback from crazyal, and others, re: the linked grapple and DIRT--it looks like it has a SOLID BOTTOM, which would seem to HOLD the dirt that crazyal and I are concerned about, no?

    Best,

    My Hoe

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Best Bucket or Bucket/Grapple Combo for Picking Up Firewood Splits

    Go talk to Jery before you make a decision. Tell him I sent you. CLICK HERE
    Regards,

    Artisan

    Kubota 2012 BX25 (23H.P. / 17.7pto)
    14' Dump / Carson 12K Tow Trailer w/ movable Winch,
    Canopy, Tunes, Stabilizer Soft Pads, 10"-12"BH Buckets, FEL Grapple, Fasse Valved & Switched,
    Fire Extinguisher, ChainSaw Mount, Protective Surround / Enclosure in the works.

    Stayin' Alive (This click could save a life...)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Best Bucket or Bucket/Grapple Combo for Picking Up Firewood Splits

    Artisan,

    Thank you for the good advice, and I will talk to "Jery," as you suggest, and I will definitely tell him you sent me.

    In the meantime, I have some additional questions if anyone cares to share their opinions:


    1. What Grapple is the Dealer Referring to?


    The dealer told me the price of the grapple would be $1,895., but never told me the model number, or whether this price included the labor to get hydraulic power to the grapple.

    Later, I got this part number out of the dealer, for the grapple, but I could not get a "hit" with it, either on Paladin's site, or on Bradco's: Part Number 108598.

    But I did find this 48 Grapple, with a part number one digit lower:
    48" Bradco Grapple, Part No. 108597
    LINK: Bradco Compact Tractor Brush Grapple



    (Question #2., below, is a partial-repeat of a question in my first post on this topic, above, hoping to get more opinions on this):

    2. My main question is:
    What is THE BEST SOLUTION, in terms of bucket-with-added-grapple, or a dedicated grapple, for picking up split firewood?


    Due to health considerations, I want to handle the firewood, manually, as little as possible. I have a rather creative idea (I think) for getting buckets of splits inside the house, which I will gladly share with you all, when I have the time. But he's soon to be pressuring me to buy, and I can't do that until I know what bucket or grapple I need.



    3. Why Can't I Have a Left-hand Controlled Grapple?

    The dealer is suggesting that the way to power the grapple is by adding rear remotes, which I will need for the thumb on the backhoe anyway. Does this make sense? He said there would be a second, smaller "joy stick" near the loader control handle, on the right hand side of the cab.

    I asked if there wasn't a way to mount the grapple control on the LEFT side of the cab, so that I could operate the FEL boom and curl circuits with one hand, and the grapple control with the other? I'm about 40-60% ambidextrous, and it seems like an unnecessary overload to do all that with the right hand, and have nothing to do with the left (as I won't be doing much steering as I nose into a pile of splits, at a crawl, you know?).

    Wait--I think I figured out the answer to my question
    : with the FEL's joystick married to the right hand side of the tractor, I'm assuming that, even though the B3030 has doors on both sides, the planned route of ingress/egress is out the left-hand cab-door; assuming that this is the reason they don't want to set up a grapple-joystick on the left side--does that make sense?

    I'm not that big, physically (5'10" and 165lbs.) so I wonder if I could still have a grapple control on the LEFT hand side, somehow, or would it impede access significantly even for someone my size?



    4. Basically, WILL the 48 Bradco Grapple pick up firewood splits?

    a) What kind of "fill ratio" can I expect, when chomping down on a pile of splits: 50%? 75%? More? Less?



    5. What Kind of Grapple Would Anyone Recommend That Would Better Meet My Needs, If Any?



    Thank you all, in advance.

    Sincerely,

    My Hoe

  6. #6
    Veteran Member dstig1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Bucket or Bucket/Grapple Combo for Picking Up Firewood Splits

    In my experience, pretty much nothing is good for picking up firewood spilts other than loading by hand. I have a grapple, and it works OK ONLY if you have a big pile. Once you get down to the ground level, you pick up tons of dirt, no matter what you try (and my grapple is open tines on the bottom so you would think the dirt would fall out but it does not). Now if you have a hard surface to work on, and something back up your pile so you don't just push stuff around, that would be different, but that is not too common. If you really want to try it, you would want a grapple with a full-width upper jaw. Mine is only partial width and that limits how much it can pick up, but it is just not a process that works well overall. You never get a truly full bite of splits as they are too big and chunky to settle in and stay put.

    There are a couple kinds of solenoid systems. A diverter is what I have, but is not how you describe it. I have a button on my joystick that I push when I want to operate the grapple. Then I use the FEL joystick in the curl/dump modes to open/close the grapple while holding the button. It diverts the curl/dump circuit to the grapple circuit, and goes back to c/d when released. There is another type that has 2 buttons that open and close the grapple by pushing the appropriate button, without moving the joystick lever. That one uses solenoids also and would not be good for feathering action.

    My 2 cents
    -Dave

    "Being a pessimist is great. You can't lose. Either you end up being right...or you are pleasantly surprised."

    L5240HST, QA, 824 Loader, 48" Forks, 48" Grapple, rear blade, box blade, landscape rake, Ancient Farmi Skidding winch
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    2005 F250 5.4V8(3V) 3.73/4wd tow vehicle

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Best Bucket or Bucket/Grapple Combo for Picking Up Firewood Splits

    Don't want to rain on your parade My Hoe, but I think you should think this out a lot more before parting
    with over $2K on something that might work marginally at best. I checked out the link and looked at the weight of the grapple. At 300lbs and if memory serves me correctly and I haven't went out and checked my B3030 manual, but am quite sure the lift/carrying capacity is only 600lbs. If you do manage to get the equivelent of a wheel barrow worth of wood in the bucket, it's going to cost you lots of fuel to shuttle it back and forth from the woodpile to the house. If you're unable to physically do it you might want to hire a high school age strong kid that could load and unload a trailer you haul and supervise. It will give you plenty of quality seat time, it will be satisfying to teach and give a younger person a chance to learn a skill and a few bucks to make the lesson worth while. Don't know how much wood you'd be burning but if you divide that $2k investment by 10 years a couple hundred bucks will pay for a whole bunch of wood moving and there certainly are young people willing to work ( contrary to Lamestream media ) along with plenty of adults certainly needing to earn money too. A friend of mine just paid $125.00 to have a 10 cord ( 4x4x8) of logs cut up into firewood length and it took the man less than 3 hours to get it done.
    If you need to get it in the basement for instance, a person throwing it onto a slide set up in a window will
    cause a lot less damage and avoid log jams too. Never forget that burning wood creates heat many times over always.
    Tired

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Best Bucket or Bucket/Grapple Combo for Picking Up Firewood Splits

    Personally, I would invest in a set of debris forks for the bucket...
    You can get them on e-bay for a lot less money...
    Make sure that the forks are less than 18" in spacing and you should be able to scoop up the firewood and roll into the bucket...
    I bought a really nice of regular forks off of e-bay delivered to the door for $170...
    They are heavy duty and have a 4000# capacity...

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