Has anybody used a Log Wizard?
Our trail building group has been thinking about buying one of these,but not sure if they are any good. We want it for flat topping logs for log rides and making other TTF's. Is it worth the money? Or should we just use the chain saw and use the money for other trail tools?
Absolutely worth the money!
These things do exactly what they claim. I've topped logs by hand, with a plain chainsaw, and with a log wizard. There's no comparison.
I'm not sure how wide of a riding surface your wanting to end up with on your logs, but cutting deep into the log to get a wide tread will of course take alot more cutting. In situations where you're cutting more than 5"-6" deep, the log wizard may not be quite as fast as a plain chainsaw. Regardless, the log wizard would be a great finishing tool in a situation like this.
Most of our logrides have a tread width from 6"-12". On a 2' diameter tree or larger, it usually only requires shaving down a couple of inches to reach the desired tread width.
As far as using the tool:
I've found that actually removing the bark from a tree is best done by hand, as it will usually come of in large chunks. (I'd suggest removing all bark from the tree, it will quickly rot otherwise)
I'll usually make one pass walking backwards down the bare log, pulling the log wizard along in a straight path in front of me down the center of the tree. This leaves a 3/8" deep groove about 4"wide. (it takes a little getting used to at first, but once you can the blades seated in the tree, they cut very smoothly).
The second pass, I'll stand to one side of the tree and work the saw in a back and forth motion at a 45 degree angle to my first cut.
The third pass, I'll swap sides of the tree and make the same 45 degree cut.
These three passes can usually be done at a pace comparible to a very slow walk.
Hudson Forest equipment http://www.hud-son.com/hand_tools_access.htm sales two version of the log wizard: the original "Log Wizard" and the "Log Debarker". Haven't compared the two side by side, but from what I can gather they are identical. The Log Wizard is blue and is made in the United States. The red "Log Debarker" is made overseas.
Hud-son has the Wizard and the Debarker listed at $200 and $159, respectively. However, they have an ebay store where they are selling the Debarker for starting bids between $100 and $110, with buy it now prices of $149.
I purchased one of these from ebay about 6 months ago with no other bidders. So if you're patient, you should get one at the starting bid price
I'm running our log debarker on a 16" bar. My saw originally had an 18" bar, so I purchased an additional 16" bar for mounting the log debarker. I'm able to keep the same chain length, and switch between the 16" bar w/ debarker and my original 18" bar.
Here's a youtube video of installation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJfkW...eature=related
The debarker comes with a few washers, but I had to add a couple more to get the debarker's sprocket and the bar to line up correctly. I have notice that the chain tends to want to come out of the bar's guides on the bottomside of the bar. Finding a chain tension that works and using the tallest bar possible will help correct this. It's just a result of the chain being tensioned between the saw sprocket and the debarker sprocket vs the saw sprocket and the bar tip.
It shouldn't cause any trouble coming out of the bar guide occasionally, but keep and eye on the saw casing around the saw sprocket for signs of rubbing.
We bought one. I don't like it very much, it doesn't have an aggressive enough bite. It's good for narrow log rides but not wide ones where you need to take alot of material off. It's good for beveling sharp edges and stuff but I think a ripping chain or the old method of cross cutting then adzing the chunks off is a better way.
Someone else can chime in who may have had better luck with it...we're using it on oak, locust and poplar, which are relatively hard woods and the blade seems to get dull quickly and you really don't have too much leverage to press the tool into the work since it's at the end of the bar.
Here's a pic of our latest log ride (it's at the end of the vid):
We have one that we use mostly for making bridges: we debark natural hardwood timbers to use for bridge stringers then shave down a flat edge to nail the planks to...
Also have made a few skinnies using it, but if you need to take a lot of material off, it will take a little while, but probably no longer than using a ripping chain.
One of the benefits of the log wizard is you can have a large log in place or on the ground and stand over it to work on it rather than have to stand the log up or kneel beside it like you would if you are using a chainsaw.
We flat-topped a couple logs by making a series of cross-cuts spaced about 3" or 4" apart with a chainsaw, then using a pulaski like an adze to knock out the wedges. Works great, super fast, and easy to notch the surface for traction.
You can see some of the wedges lying around on the ground -
Found a couple more pics showing the process -