Matt Cremona is known as much for the beautiful furniture he makes as he is for the way he sources his lumber. Cremona has found that the trees people have removed from their yards are often perfect for milling into slabs.
“I always found it sad when I saw a tree being removed in the city,” says Cremona. “These trees are a waste product for those removing them, so they want them gone and out of the way. Milling the logs on site isn’t always possible, so having some way to transport them is needed.” To solve this problem, Cremona bought a used trailer and started modifying it. The biggest change: he decided to add a log lifting arch to help him load logs onto the trailer, as the logs can weigh over a thousand pounds each.
“The advantage of a pivoting arch over a stationary arch is that it lifts and pulls in one motion. It’s easier to clear the tail of the trailer that way. This is also a lot easier and faster than dragging a log up a ramp,” says Cremona.
The project was ambitious, to say the least; Cremona had no metalworking experience at the time. He found a used stick welder for $100, and the trailer was his first project. He quickly gained an education in weld penetration, distortion, weld prep, and how to cut and drill steel.
The project was not without its frustrations. “Probably the most frustrating part was my original idea to use the existing ramp mounts,” he says. “They ended up breaking. That ended up being a good thing, because the new mounts that I built for it are way stronger.”
Even though the trailer is functional and he has used it several times, Cremona says he still isn’t finished with the project. “I still have some improvements to make. Those are mostly user experience things, like hooks welded to the arch for chaining logs, shackle mounts, et cetera.” As far as regrets are concerned, “If I did it again I would probably make it a bit taller.”