Grrr - bent one of my grapple plates
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    johncanfield's Avatar
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    Angry Grrr - bent one of my grapple plates

    I was moving more of the five oak trees that were cut down a few days ago this morning and needed to change from the grapple to the bucket. Then I noticed one of the plates was bent - both 'prongs' (for want of a better term.) I am not going to blame WR Long, the design and workmanship are great and the grapple works great. I think I was operating the grapple while pushing brush, etc. together and that probably exceeded the design limit of the plate. The cylinders are fairly powerful but since this is my first grapple I have nothing to compare it to.

    No big deal I thought, I can weld, cut, machine - steel and aluminum. At first I thought this was a great opportunity to buy a PortoPower (I'm a tool collector) but as I looked at the bent plate I couldn't figure out how to use the PortoPower in either pulling or pushing configuration. Then I thought about a shop press, I've had my eye on one of them for years but never had much of a need for one (which has never stopped me buying a speciality tool .) But again I couldn't figure out how to use a press since both 'prongs' are bent.

    Then I thought about heating the area with an acetylene torch and using a sledge hammer to whack them back but then I will lose the temper of the steel.

    Any ideas out there other than replacing the plate? This is a head's up to add some gussets to them so I'll figure out how to beef them up more.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails BentPlateFull.jpg   BentPlateClose.jpg  
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    2010 Model 4720 with cab and H180 loader, MX8, MX6, Frontier BB1172 box blade, forks, bale spear, rear blade, WR Long grapple and tooth bar, Fit Rite Hydraulics top and tilt. 2019 Bobcat E42 excavator with cab & several attachments. 2019 Deere Z945M EFI ZTrak 60" 7 Iron Pro deck. 1998 Komatsu D39P-1 dozer (size of a Cat D5, sold)

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    Plug Ugly's Avatar
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    I think you could straighten it in a press, one side at a time. Put the bent fork in parallel with the top plate of the press and put your arbor plates under it, with a gap under the center of the bend and flatten it out. Weld a piece of flat steel side to side between the "teeth" to reduce the span they are unsupported, you should be good to go. That design seems to have quite long teeth compared to some I've seen. Some are plated almost all the way to the tips.

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    Superglidesport's Avatar
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    If you take that upper clamp off and bring it to someone with a 25 ton hydraulic press they'll be able to put that back in shape in no time.
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    Plug Ugly's Avatar
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    You might be able to pull them back just using a ratcheting chain binder, too. You'd have to make sure you didn't affect your top pivot point, but they both could be pulled towards the original position using the lower part of the grapple as an anchor. I'd still plate the teeth with more steel.
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    martincom's Avatar
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    Ditto on straightening it in the press. I can't believe you don't have one. I bought my first while I was still high school, back in the days of 8-track tapes and when dinosaurs roamed the earth---according to my daughters. I couldn't imagine being without one.
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    JD4044M's Avatar
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    Another way is to cut the gusset out first then straiten the sides and weld in a new gusset. You may have wear harden the steel and hard to get it flat again once bent and welded together. The flat sides would be easy to make flat once more in a press, heat or both. You won't pound that out with out a lot of work and how thick is this steel will depends on how it is done.
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    johncanfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martincom View Post
    Ditto on straightening it in the press. I can't believe you don't have one. I bought my first while I was still high school, back in the days of 8-track tapes and when dinosaurs roamed the earth---according to my daughters. I couldn't imagine being without one.
    I know, I should have bought a press a long ago , I've looked at them off and on for years. The only thing holding me back was running out of room in my 30' by 50' shop but I think I can put it somewhere. Since the consensus is a press would work, I'll start shopping.

    Thanks guys!
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    Porta Power

    I straightened out my grapple which was bent much worse as the entire deal was bent, not just the claw. I used a combination of Porta Power and some really heavy duty clamps and heavy steel, plus a little judicious use of an 8 lb sledge to encourage it where necessary. I agree that a press is the better alternative but I used what I had. It took time but no money. . .

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    Don't feel bad. I bent one of the teeth on the rake part of my grapple. It's still bent as it's just cosmetic. Reminds me not to be stupid, whenever I see it.

    Yours has a pretty good bend, I am impressed you were able to do that. It must have been some log.


    Before you buy your press make sure you can fit in the throat of the press. That piece is going to be a little awkward to get it in there so you can straighten it out.
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    johncanfield's Avatar
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    These were all live oaks, the wood is incredibly dense and heavy. I bought a carbide chain for my chain saw to cut up some dried live oak - it's like trying to cut a railroad tie or a brick.

    I'm shop press shopping, I hate to buy junk even for a tool I might use once a year.
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    2010 Model 4720 with cab and H180 loader, MX8, MX6, Frontier BB1172 box blade, forks, bale spear, rear blade, WR Long grapple and tooth bar, Fit Rite Hydraulics top and tilt. 2019 Bobcat E42 excavator with cab & several attachments. 2019 Deere Z945M EFI ZTrak 60" 7 Iron Pro deck. 1998 Komatsu D39P-1 dozer (size of a Cat D5, sold)

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