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Using Dozers And A Chain For Clearing.

Discuss dozers here

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Deas Plant
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Re: Using Dozers And A Chain For Clearing.

Post #61 by Deas Plant » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:07 pm

Hi, RyanC.
Regardless of whether you are using the anchor-pivot system with one tractor or two tractors and a chain, you need to allow sufficient slack chain to practically eliminate side load on the tractor(s).

It is a bit of a challenge to give an accurate assessment of the timber you are working with when there is nothing in the photo to give some idea of scale but I'd guess that 2 Cat D7's with about 300 - 350 feet of 1 3/4' - 2" ship's anchor chain would take care of that timber, cutting about 70 - 100 feet wide. Two Cat D8's with about 400 - 500 feet of 2 1/4" - 2 1/2" chain would probably nearly double the rate at which you could clear the land.

If you can scare up 2 x D8's and the chain to match, they would give you some leeway to cope with heavier timber by narrowing the cut. You can do the same thing with the D7's but there is less reserve power and weight. With 30,000 Ha. to clear, I think I'd be looking for bigger tractors and bigger chain, espcially if the lots to be cleared are in continuous blocks rather than separated by parcels of land to be left uncleared.

One of the little secrets to this game is that thicker growth helps to hold the chain up a bit giving more leverage against the trees. If the stumps in the slash-and-burn areas are only like the stuff in your photo, I doubt they will be much of a hindrance. A little bit rain helps the chain to slip along VERY nicely too.

If the vegetation is thick enough and the weather/climate dry enough, you might be able to get a good burn after the chain without doing any more than clear firebreaks. If you can do this, it leaves a lot lighter load on the ground to be raked. I don't know about your local timber but euclayptus usually burns pretty well after only a few days on the ground. A lot of our non-eucalyptus species burn even better within just a few days of being pulled.

If you do have sections that are not to be cleared between your clearing lots, you can always stop one tractor, climb the other one over the chain so that it is straddling the chain and walk them follow-the-leader fashion from one lot to another to minmise damage to the vegetation that is to be left. Funny thing about doing this - you can usualyl see where the outfit has been by the marks on the ground. SO, don't break any rules.

Hope this helps. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
You have a wonderful day. Best wishes. Deas Plant.

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Re: Using Dozers And A Chain For Clearing.

Post #62 by Site Admin » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:11 pm

Welcome to CMN Ryan! :wave:
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Re: Using Dozers And A Chain For Clearing.

Post #63 by RyanC » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:55 pm

Thanks guys, there will be lots of questions! Ive been told to use an excavator instead, but I think chaining will get the job done a lot quicker, and speed will be what counts. We will probably have more soil damage, but that can be fixed. Maybe use the excavator to teke rootballs out of the slash and burn stumps.
The trees are pretty fireproof when they are alive, and take a couple of weeks to dry out enough to make a really nice fire.
I looked at mulching the wood with an attachment on the front of a dozer, but this will use so much fuel the cost will sky rocket (fuel in Zambia is around US$1.60 a litre)
The rains end in March, and by september you cant even rip the soil, so we'll have a pretty short season!

I'll take lots of pics! hope it starts soon, I want to get going!

PS, We went to a dam in Nyanga, the mountains in the east of Zimbabwe, which was built in the 50s, by a dozer and because the water is so low you can see the dozer tracks as if they were made last week.


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Re: Using Dozers And A Chain For Clearing.

Post #64 by Deas Plant » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:34 pm

Hi, Ryan.
Two dozers matched to the scrub or timber you are clearing and a chain to match both dozers and vegetation is the fastest way I know of getting any sizeable area flattened ready for burning. On one chaining job that I worked on back in the late 1960's, we were using 2 x Cat D8H's, 270 hp each, with 600 feet of 2 1/2" anchor chain, pulling 400 feet wide in country that wasn't much lighter than that appearing in your photo and clearing 1,200 acres per 13 hour day. Lunch was usually a can of braised steak and onions, curried steak or similar, eaten on the run after about 15 minutes sitting on top of the transmission, it being winter in Southern Western Australia at the time.

When chaining was first introduced here in DowNunder, there was almost always a hi-ball shackled into the middle of the chain with a couple of swivels to prevent twisting. It didn't take very long at all for there to be a good few hi-balls sitting in all sorts of weird places turning dark red and melting away. It was found that using the chain on its own pulled more trees out of the ground and broke less off than using the ball. This was a HUGE plus when it came to cleaning up and getting ready to plough.

Unless the remaining stumps in the slash-n-burn areas are pretty big, you might find that the chain would get them anyway. Even if the chain won't work in these areas, I personally prefer a bigger dozer with a semi-U blade, tilt cylinder and a multishank parallelogram ripper with two shanks. A D8H or above is just great. You need a pretty big excavator to beat a rig like that for pulling stumps, especially considering that the dozer moves around a bit quicker than an excavator anyway.

Ask away, M8.
You have a wonderful day. Best wishes. Deas Plant.


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Re: Using Dozers And A Chain For Clearing.

Post #65 by FatCatGotHot » Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:16 pm

Hi Deas,

my first contact with the chaining was a mid-ninties TV report of land clearing methods in Australia. It had some good footage of D9Gs/Hs with full scrub canopies in the middle of dense jungle. And I remember it showed an Australian contractor which was sued for illegal land clearing. He had a silver hard hat with the pacman logo, it was an gift by Caterpillar for the machines he bought - at least that was what we were told by the journalists.
I was not able to find a copy of the report on the net, but here is a nice short video about chaining in Rhodesia with the highball in use. Note the single air cleaner of the D9Ds removed to the back of the tractors!
[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvfpStCs3vg[/video]

Bye,
Max


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