Arthroscopic Logging

Arthroscopic Logging Field Day - May 5th


Precision Felling Limits Damage to the Forest

A double Red Oak tree that had been killed by Oak Wilt was carefuly felled into small spaces between other trees. Directional felling methods are an important part of Arthroscopic Logging. I use the "game of logging" bore-cutting method taught by Soren Erickson. As a forest owner, precision felling is critical to my future timber values. As a sawmill operator, I see that this method protects the valuable butt log from splitting as the tree falls. Most loggers never know how much damage they have done to the log as they never see it processed. This is also the safest method of felling that I know for the woods worker. The main reason is that the tree doesn't begin to fall until I've completed my cut and I can immediately move away from the stump.

We have many tools to get the logs to the trail, where they are picked up with our prehauler. My favorite is the Fetching Arch. Below, I have pushed the arch out to the butt of the log. A lever action is used to lift the log off the ground with the blue logging tong (mostly hidden behind the green arch). The tractor winch pulls the whole assemblage to the trail, with little damage to the soil or regeneration. Only the tail end of the log touches the ground and the arch rides right up and over the low cut stump.


This heavy duty tool is worth every penny! Read: Another article on the Fetching Arch

The arch pulls the logs to the trail and I accumulate a pile of logs. Then the old Iron Mule prehauler stops by and loads the logs for the trip down to the sawmill.


A load of birch and aspen is picked up on the East Ridge Trail.

Ground skidding a log takes a lot of power, scrapes up the soil surface, and gets the logs covered with dirt.

Raising one end of the log on an Arch, reduces the power needed to move the log by 65%, and keeps the log clean.

Carrying logs on four tires uses the least amount of power and avoids skidding up the road system. The modern equivalent of this old machine is a tractor pulled trailer with its own log loader and winch. Several companies now sell these trailers.

Loggers and foresters just laugh when I say that we harvest one tree per acre each year with my small equipment. Yep, a commercial logger won't do that. They can't afford to take the time to work carefully with Arthroscopic precision. It takes Value-Multiplied Manufacturing and Direct Sales to Customers to make Arthroscopic Logging work for the forest owner.


The Arch used with the ATV for skidding.

If I just have one tree to move, the ATV skidding arch works well for me. Again, lifting most of the weight of the log off the ground onto wheels reduces the power needed to move the wood. Extra weight is needed on my Honda 300 4X4 ATV to utilize the power. I must admit - this is fun, too! Dozens of makes of logging arches are available today.