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Firewood Trailer - Dump or Utility?

jcarlberg

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Trying to get a modest firewood business going with my three sons. Have invested in a couple of saws (390 XP; MS 261; MS 201), some equipment to handle wood (pickaroon, cant hook), an ATV to transport it out of the woods near our house, and a Fiskars maul that might be the best tool I have ever owned in my life.

Have pre-sold a few cords for May delivery; have to transport some of it a good long distance to some friend's campsites. My goal for the first year is to try to sell about 25 cords; some will be in bulk and some will be in bags. My hauling/pulling truck is a 2009 F-150 FX4 which has a pretty decent towing capacity (11,200 lbs) and can fit about half a cord in the box.

Because we have this ATV and might want to take it somewhere to ride on a trail at some point, and because I might be delivering a couple of cords of wood at a time, I have been thinking about buying a trailer. I had sort of decided on a galvanized dumper, and was trying to choose between 7x14 and 6x12 and looking at the tradeoff between cost, weight and capacity. I'd priced out several options.

But now I am wondering whether the extra cash for a dumper is money well spent. They definitely hold their value well, around here anyway - there are actually used trailers that people appear to be getting close to the same money as for a new trailer. That aside, a utility trailer is a LOT less money. Yeah, they obviously take more time to unload, but the cost savings are pretty considerable.

The third option, of course, is to just rent a trailer as needed. It would probably only cost me (at most) a couple of grand a year to rent. It feels like throwing good money after bad, but on the other hand if we find that we can't get rid of the wood we harvest, better not to have spent any more money than needed trying to get this business going.

What do you think?
 

jblnut

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Also agree dump hands down. To help you decide you can take some wood you have on a pile and move it a few feet away to replicate loading it on a trailer. Now move it back.

You mentioned used trailers holding their value really well so if you don’t like it or the business doesn’t work out you can sell it and get a utility trailer to haul the 4wheeler.

Although it’s rated to tow 11,000lbs I personally wouldn’t want to tow that much weight with a half ton. There are lots of charts online showing what versions species of wood weigh wet and dry. I’d look at what you’ll be hauling and what the trailer weighs and go from there. 2 cord to deliver at once would be a 6x12 trailer stacked in roughly 3-1/2’ high or a 7x14 piled loose about the same height.

I’m sure you could find a load that weighs 10-11k and hook onto it with your half ton and tow it around to see what sort of pucker factor exists before buying too large of a trailer.

Heck my Freightliner gets tossed around a bit hauling this trailer grossing around 25k and the truck and “counterweight” weigh 17,500lbs.
IMG_1066.jpeg
 
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jcarlberg

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Also agree dump hands down. To help you decide you can take some wood you have on a pile and move it a few away to replicate loading it on a trailer. Now move it back.

You mentioned used trailers holding their value really so if you don’t like it or the business doesn’t work out you can sell it and get a utility trailer to haul the 4wheeler.

Although it’s rated to tow 11,000lbs I personally wouldn’t want to tow that much weight with a half ton. There are lots of charts online showing what versions species of wood weigh wet and dry. I’d look at what you’ll be hauling and what the trailer weighs and go from there. 2 cord to deliver at once would be a 6x12 trailer stacked in roughly 3-1/2’ high or a 7x14 piled loose about the same height.

I’m sure you could find a load that weighs 10-11k and hook onto it with your half ton and two it around to see what sort of pucker factor exists before buying too large of a trailer.

Heck my Freightliner gets tossed around a bit hauling this trailer grossing around 25k and the truck and “counterweight” weigh 17,500lbs.
View attachment 416806
Thank you; that is excellent advice! The frontrunner is an N&N Inno Series galvanized dump that weighs about 2800# then I would have max 2 cords of something like oak or ash weighing (dry) say 6000# to get me somewhere around 9000#. I don't actually think I would be hauling 6000# with it very often, either - likely more like a single cord and so towing more like 6000#.
 

jblnut

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Thank you; that is excellent advice! The frontrunner is an N&N Inno Series galvanized dump that weighs about 2800# then I would have max 2 cords of something like oak or ash weighing (dry) say 6000# to get me somewhere around 9000#. I don't actually think I would be hauling 6000# with it very often, either - likely more like a single cord and so towing more like 6000#.
If you’re a responsible person and can tell when you’re reaching the limits of your equipment hauling the rated weight and travel at a reasonable and safe speed you’ll be fine.

I run around 45mph loaded and 55mph empty and it seems quite nice. It’ll pull it faster loaded but it gets uncomfortable feeling over 45mph.

Not real proud of all the typos in the first reply 😂
 

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Thank you; that is excellent advice! The frontrunner is an N&N Inno Series galvanized dump that weighs about 2800# then I would have max 2 cords of something like oak or ash weighing (dry) say 6000# to get me somewhere around 9000#. I don't actually think I would be hauling 6000# with it very often, either - likely more like a single cord and so towing more like 6000#.
What brake type does the dump trailer you're considering have?
 

davidwyby

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I’d shoot for one cord tossed. Stacking is time consuming.

I pull a military M105 trailer with my 2500. It’s kinda heavy but a half ton would probably do it.
 

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I built a splitter for a gut 15 yrs ago. A farmer trying to get help his son get his tree business going. He had the split wood drying in fair size piles.
With I think a 14' trailer and 2x12 @ 2 high he could dump the wood in with the skid loader. His son was killed in a car accident so he had a lot of wood to deal with.
The reason for my post is -- He stacked the wood in 1 a cord stack and then tossed it into the Loader bucket and dumped it in the trailer. After a few loads he then knew that level with the 2x12 sides was 2 cord. After that he put the bucket close to the wood pile and hand tossed the wood in the bucket and the loose bark and crap stayed on the ground, When the load was level with the sides he hauled it to a guy that bundled it and said there is 2 cord and hand stacking is extra - pay me.
The Wood guy (Gregg) had/has a good market with a lot of customers and wholesalers.
The farmer already had skidsteers, a dump trailer, Dodge Diesel dualies , timber. Splitter Processor Seasoned wood just no son.
The farmer is pushing 80. He doesn't need the hassle so the processor has been setting for years.
Some ideas you can apply and modify as labor saving steps in your business. After all the wood business is labor intensive so less labor should mean more profit. GOOD LUCK.
P.S. My opinion favors the dump. Your customers will/should dictate/influence your decision. Maybe a Fordoor cab with a flatbed for multiple small orders in awkward to deliver areas.
 
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davidwyby

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Our trailers used to have surge brakes

Handy cuz they worked with whatever truck

Smoked the brakes coming down the mountain every time. Went electric…they are finicky
 

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Thank you; that is excellent advice! The frontrunner is an N&N Inno Series galvanized dump that weighs about 2800# then I would have max 2 cords of something like oak or ash weighing (dry) say 6000# to get me somewhere around 9000#. I don't actually think I would be hauling 6000# with it very often, either - likely more like a single cord and so towing more like 6000#.
Chris "In The Woodyard" on YT has both the 6X12 and the 7X14, with side boards on the baby dumper as he calls it he can get 2 face cords in it hand tossed. he does pretty good reviews on both and pulls them with a full-size Toyota pickup.
 

Hinerman

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Trying to get a modest firewood business going with my three sons. Have invested in a couple of saws (390 XP; MS 261; MS 201), some equipment to handle wood (pickaroon, cant hook), an ATV to transport it out of the woods near our house, and a Fiskars maul that might be the best tool I have ever owned in my life.

Have pre-sold a few cords for May delivery; have to transport some of it a good long distance to some friend's campsites. My goal for the first year is to try to sell about 25 cords; some will be in bulk and some will be in bags. My hauling/pulling truck is a 2009 F-150 FX4 which has a pretty decent towing capacity (11,200 lbs) and can fit about half a cord in the box.

Because we have this ATV and might want to take it somewhere to ride on a trail at some point, and because I might be delivering a couple of cords of wood at a time, I have been thinking about buying a trailer. I had sort of decided on a galvanized dumper, and was trying to choose between 7x14 and 6x12 and looking at the tradeoff between cost, weight and capacity. I'd priced out several options.

But now I am wondering whether the extra cash for a dumper is money well spent. They definitely hold their value well, around here anyway - there are actually used trailers that people appear to be getting close to the same money as for a new trailer. That aside, a utility trailer is a LOT less money. Yeah, they obviously take more time to unload, but the cost savings are pretty considerable.

The third option, of course, is to just rent a trailer as needed. It would probably only cost me (at most) a couple of grand a year to rent. It feels like throwing good money after bad, but on the other hand if we find that we can't get rid of the wood we harvest, better not to have spent any more money than needed trying to get this business going.

What do you think?
I do not own a dump, just a utility trailer. My thoughts on not getting a dump: The sides are too high; I would need additional truck, trailer, and tractor/skidsteer to load a dump. I cannot load a 200-500 pound round by hand. If you have the equipment to load a dump, then that is definitely the way to go. If you are going to sell enough firewood to justify the cost of additional equipment, go for it. I don't think your truck is heavy enough for loaded dump trailers.
 

jcarlberg

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I do not own a dump, just a utility trailer. My thoughts on not getting a dump: The sides are too high; I would need additional truck, trailer, and tractor/skidsteer to load a dump. I cannot load a 200-500 pound round by hand. If you have the equipment to load a dump, then that is definitely the way to go. If you are going to sell enough firewood to justify the cost of additional equipment, go for it. I don't think your truck is heavy enough for loaded dump trailers.
Thanks for the advice! I’ll only be transporting seasoned firewood. Imma rent a dump for my first 2.25 cord delivery in a few weeks - see how it goes!
 
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