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Discussion Starter #1
The last time I moved tree branches with my tractor, the forks sorta helped by carrying some of them. But I knew that being able to clamp them down would be a big improvement. But the cost of a true grapple just didn't make sense for the occasional use that they would get. So I took a chance that the 'Thumb' offered by Greens-Machine.com would give me what I wanted. The project of removing a couple of trees on our property gave me the excuse that I needed to move beyond just thinking about it.
The Greens-Machine website really focuses on mounting their thumb onto buckets. And I'm sure that it works well for improving the usefulness of buckets. But I felt that using their thumb with forks would offer more capacity and easier manipulation of the load, as well as better visibility.
My forks are different than most, since they were fabricated by a local welding shop. So my installation was extremely simple. I just drilled 4 holes in the upper box section frame of the forks and bolted the base of the thumb to it. I already had 2 x 1/4" hoses set up for angling the loader-mounted snow plow, so I used those hoses which run from the rear hydraulic outlets to the front. (The photos show the hoses in a very temporary routing setup). Although Greens-Machines' kit includes a couple of orifices, I found that I didn't need to use them; the open and close speed are about right.
I've only used the thumb once, and it worked great.
Here are some photos.
 

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That's a great idea.Much cheaper then a grapple bucket.:good2:
 

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Neb contacted me when he saw my posting and thoughts about the various grapples. For me, the biggest issue is the 1 series lift limits can't be consumed by a 400 pound plus grapple. Plus I don't want to have a bunch of money tied up in an implement I use a couple of times a year. If I was on a larger tractor, frankly the issue would be much simpler ( or so I seem to think) because the weight of the grapple itself wouldn't be quite a critical as it is on the 1 series..

Neb and I have been talking in PM's and email about Grapples, Diverter valves, etc. He directed me to the website where he got the thumb but he hadn't actually mentioned he had put his new thumb on the pallet forks. I saw a photo of a thumb on a set of forks and said "Ah Hah...." and then he shared with me that is how he set his pallet forks up. Great minds do think alike.........

Personally, I REALLY like this idea and solution. My grapple is going to be an occasional use item as are my pallet forks and frankly, I can see them working together to achieve my desired uses ideally. Plus, it's a very cost effective solution. Even better is NEB has actually built the set up and it works exactly like I want it to.

I don't need a rock bucket and my main uses of the grapple are going to be cleaning up downed limbs, debris, etc. I am excited about this approach. I am just waiting for my new stuff to arrive as I can't measure or really do anything quite yet........

So a big THANK YOU to NEB for contacting me about this idea and sharing the website with me. Also, Kenny has been following my "discussion" on the Grapple and Diverter questions and issues and Kenny has been very helpful with his insight and prompt responses.

What a truly great group of people we have on GTT........:bigthumb:
 

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Very Cool!

I have one of the Green's Machine Thumbs on my bucket and love it. I've been thinking about setting up a bracket to mount on my Artillian frame with the forks too. Trouble is - I fabricate better in my mind than I'm actually capable of doing! :flag_of_truce:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Very Cool!

I have one of the Green's Machine Thumbs on my bucket and love it. I've been thinking about setting up a bracket to mount on my Artillian frame with the forks too. Trouble is - I fabricate better in my mind than I'm actually capable of doing! :flag_of_truce:
I'm not sure what your Artillian frame looks like but here is an installation on a Titan frame:
http://www.greentractortalk.com/forums/implements-attachments/79914-project-adding-thumb-pallet-forks-diverter-val.html

Ken
 

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Very Cool!

I have one of the Green's Machine Thumbs on my bucket and love it. I've been thinking about setting up a bracket to mount on my Artillian frame with the forks too. Trouble is - I fabricate better in my mind than I'm actually capable of doing! :flag_of_truce:
Do you have a picture of that on here? The thumb on your bucket
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Bucket Thumb

Do you have a picture of that on here? The thumb on your bucket
While we're on that thought, I wondered about using the thumb on a bucket, but with something like the clamp-on forks. It seems like you could pick up a lot more that way. Even bucket teeth would provide some additional capacity over a bare edge.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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I had a local welder fabricate it for me. I purchased the steel, gave him the measurements and then he welded it up for me. It's pretty simple - a couple of pieces of flat steel on the ends and some 2x4 (I think) steel tubing going across the top. I wanted to get it off the top of the bucket so it wouldn't interfere with the hooks I already had, plus I didn't want stress on the top of the bucket.

Also, I'm not smart enough to figure out angles and measurements, so I pre-drilled the holes in the flat stock, mounted the Thumb to the bracket and then clamped it in place once I figure out where I wanted it. Once clamped, I marked the hole locations in the bucket and drilled and mounted it. It works pretty good!

Lastly, as much as I like the Thumb, I'm not sure I really saved that much money over just buying a regular grapple. Between the cost of the thumb, the cost of the steel (bought at a scrapyard by the pound) and the cost to have it welded, for a couple hundred bucks more I could have bought a regular grapple. But, with that being said - I do like it from the stand point that I can buy another Green's Thumb mounting bracket and have something fabbed up that will let me use the same setup on my Artillian fork frame. That's the eventual plan - after the 13,549 other projects in line in front of it! LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
A small modification

The grapple/thumb has been working very well for me. I did find though, that when I picked up large objects like the one pictured, I needed something to bridge the gap between the forks. With that in mind, I bolted an angle iron to the forks to bridge the gap. As I mentioned previously, the forks were locally fabricated by a weld shop, and the width isn't adjustable. I found that the angle iron not only bridged the gap, but it provided a more secure hold on the load. I'm loving the thumb/grapple. It sure adds another dimension to the tractor's capabilities.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Fork Change

The set of forks shown in my previous post here have worked fairly well for me for the last couple of years. When I've used them as strictly forks, though, they just haven't worked quite as well as they could have. But with the thumb/grapple installed on them, they work fantastic for handling trees, brush, etc. So I decided that 'real' forks were needed for certain pallets, etc. I looked at the options available, and decided that the Titan forks fit my needs and were much lower priced than the alternatives. So today they new forks got test fitted. I just need to get the shipping labels off. And now the thumb/grapple can stay on the 'old' forks and will be ready to use.
 

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