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It's been a long time in the waiting but yesterday I picked up my custom made skid steer pallet forks. They are very well built, 48" long forks with holes cut at the end (great for a trailer ball), and an extra wide heavy duty frame. :D I snapped a few pictures after I picked them up, I am gonna paint them myself to save some $$. They had some rust on them, the frame overall was really pretty clean, just a few spots I needed to touch up. This morning i got the wire brush out and went to town on them, they looked so good that if rust didn't exist I would have left them bare. :lol: Once I had them cleaned to my liking I set them on some saw horses and laid down a coat of primer. Now I am in the waiting interval before I can start painting. More to come later! :thumbup1gif: :good2:
 

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they look nice. They will look real nice with that final coat as well especially once you can start to use them.
 

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Normally there is a notch in the center of the bottom rail so you can take the forks off. You might want to add that before you get to far in painting them. Nice forks they look longer than 48"
 

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Normally there is a notch in the center of the bottom rail so you can take the forks off. You might want to add that before you get to far in painting them. Nice forks they look longer than 48"
X1...You want want to be able to remove the forks...
 

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Thanks guys! I was thinking about cutting a notch out of the middle but I didn't because the lock on top of each fork was removed so they slide side to side indefinitely. We'll see how that goes, I can always cut the bottom notch as well as a few in the top if they slide too bad however as they sit they seem to be a pretty tight fit. I also just came in from giving it the second coat of black paint. It looks great, but it will look better attached to my Deere. :thumbup1gif: Now it's back to waiting for paint to dry, hopefully I can get the forks on my 317 in the next day or two. :good2: More to come! :thumbup1gif:
 

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Nice paint job Jake, what are you using (brand/process)?

If you do add the notch, you can always make a bolt in "stop" to keep them from coming off accidentally.
 

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Nice paint job Jake, what are you using (brand/process)?

If you do add the notch, you can always make a bolt in "stop" to keep them from coming off accidentally.
I used Valspar high gloss implement paint. I did 2 coats, 1st was light where you could still see some primer, second just covered up the rest of the primer. The instructions stated "additional coats must be applied before 4 hours or after 36 hours". So I gave the first coat about an hour to sit in the sun, I checked to see if the paint was still tacky before laying down the second coat. I cant say I am the greatest painter in the world, but I think it came out okay, much better than some of the things I have painted in the past. Kenny I really like the idea of a bolt on stop in the middle, I may look into that in the near future. :thumbup1gif:
 

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I finally finished the forks! They looked so dull with nothing on them, so I grabbed an "American Made" decal I use for my rakes and my white marker to fix that. The decal looks great in the center, it gives the forks some color but since it is only 1 sticker it still shows their simplicity. American Made just states the quality that went in to making these forks. I also wrote today's date on the back of the forks in the lower right corner, now I can track their age through the years of use. :thumbup1gif: And finally, I checked a couple measurements, the forks max out at 54" wide and (I double checked) the forks themselves are 48" long. Now I just need to get them on my machine and put them to work. :thumbup1gif:
 

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I finally finished the forks! They looked so dull with nothing on them, so I grabbed an "American Made" decal I use for my rakes and my white marker to fix that. The decal looks great in the center, it gives the forks some color but since it is only 1 sticker it still shows their simplicity. American Made just states the quality that went in to making these forks. I also wrote today's date on the back of the forks in the lower right corner, now I can track their age through the years of use. :thumbup1gif: And finally, I checked a couple measurements, the forks max out at 54" wide and (I double checked) the forks themselves are 48" long. Now I just need to get them on my machine and put them to work. :thumbup1gif:
where did you get the sticker from?
 

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Jake, the forks look great. You're off to a mighty impressive start.

I just want to chime in on the fork notch the others have mentioned. As it sits now, you have no way to remove the forks. Most commercial forklifts are set up just like yours are, but the difference is the very bottom rail that the fork hanger fits around has a 3-4" wide notch somewhere close to the center. You slide the fork over that notch, lift the bottom out and then the top hanger off.

It's uncommon for the forks to come off accidentally. The forks themselves would have to be worn out, or the carriage/ fork frame to be damaged. I certainly wouldn't worry about them shifting over and falling off because you added a removal notch. When in use, the weight of the load usually puts enough pressure on them to keep from shifting. The stress is concentrated on the thick part of the fork upright that hits the front of the bottom bar, and the top hook. If you do find the forks sliding around when you're driving along empty, you can notch out the top rail in different places and install fork pins. They would go through the hole you see when looking down at the top hangers, and are spring loaded to stay in place.

You certainly could drill and tap a hole in the center of the bottom bar, above your removal notch if you wanted the extra security. A bolt in that hole would prevent the fork from being fully over the removal notch, so there would be no possibility of it coming off. Some particular applications of commercial lifts have these, though they're really unnecessary. If you go that route, be sure to use at least a 1/2" diameter Allen head bolt. If you use a normal hex head, the forks pushing up against it as you adjust them over time will round off the corners and make it difficult if not impossible to remove when you want to. The internal fit of Allen heads prevents that.

The extra security bolt isn't necessary, but certainly won't hurt. The only downside to it is that you can't slide both forks to one side without removing it.

One last note, I would advise against using the holes in your forks for anything but very, very light work. It sounds hard to believe, but those forks can bend or the tips can break off at the hole. Always use both forks together if you can, even if it means sliding them right up against each other. A safer approach would be to build a hitch ball plate to slide onto the forks or fit directly onto the fork carriage, and you could even put a receiver tube on it instead of a ball so you could swap hitch balls or other things into it.

Overall, you've got a really good looking set of forks that you should be very happy with! :thumbup1gif:
 

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where did you get the sticker from?
I custom ordered it through a local decal company. :thumbup1gif: I thought i was down on how many decals were left but yesterday I scored and found another stash or rake decals in a drawer. :yahoo:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Jake, the forks look great. You're off to a mighty impressive start.

I just want to chime in on the fork notch the others have mentioned. As it sits now, you have no way to remove the forks. Most commercial forklifts are set up just like yours are, but the difference is the very bottom rail that the fork hanger fits around has a 3-4" wide notch somewhere close to the center. You slide the fork over that notch, lift the bottom out and then the top hanger off.

It's uncommon for the forks to come off accidentally. The forks themselves would have to be worn out, or the carriage/ fork frame to be damaged. I certainly wouldn't worry about them shifting over and falling off because you added a removal notch. When in use, the weight of the load usually puts enough pressure on them to keep from shifting. The stress is concentrated on the thick part of the fork upright that hits the front of the bottom bar, and the top hook. If you do find the forks sliding around when you're driving along empty, you can notch out the top rail in different places and install fork pins. They would go through the hole you see when looking down at the top hangers, and are spring loaded to stay in place.

You certainly could drill and tap a hole in the center of the bottom bar, above your removal notch if you wanted the extra security. A bolt in that hole would prevent the fork from being fully over the removal notch, so there would be no possibility of it coming off. Some particular applications of commercial lifts have these, though they're really unnecessary. If you go that route, be sure to use at least a 1/2" diameter Allen head bolt. If you use a normal hex head, the forks pushing up against it as you adjust them over time will round off the corners and make it difficult if not impossible to remove when you want to. The internal fit of Allen heads prevents that.

The extra security bolt isn't necessary, but certainly won't hurt. The only downside to it is that you can't slide both forks to one side without removing it.

One last note, I would advise against using the holes in your forks for anything but very, very light work. It sounds hard to believe, but those forks can bend or the tips can break off at the hole. Always use both forks together if you can, even if it means sliding them right up against each other. A safer approach would be to build a hitch ball plate to slide onto the forks or fit directly onto the fork carriage, and you could even put a receiver tube on it instead of a ball so you could swap hitch balls or other things into it.

Overall, you've got a really good looking set of forks that you should be very happy with! :thumbup1gif:
Thanks 56Fordguy! I have been tossing the idea around of cutting that notch, I still haven't quite decided although i already see advantages to it. As far as the holes go, I would probably use them to hold a log splitter in place, that being said I am thinking about having a custom pallet fork mount log splitter made for these forks, that would help me with the larger rounds I have been splitting with my log splitter plus it would be operated from inside the cab, boy I like the idea of splitting wood without touching it. :lol: However the splitter will cost a bit, so it looks like another thing to save up for and my list just keeps on growing. :laugh: But I might as well get some of the things i want while I can cause time is running out. I also have a trailer mover I made a while back that will slide over a single fork so i can move trailers, it has a chain that I can run back to the frame so it wont slide off. I wouldn't be moving any large trailers with it, although moving the log splitter would be easier with a trailer mover than with the bolt heads sticking out of my bucket. :thumbup1gif: As far as the springs, I have those for the forks, they were removed since there are no notches, I would have to cut the center notch to remove them to re-install the springs and then make notches along the top rail. Thanks guys for all of the ideas, you got me thinking on this one, maybe something will happen today if I don't get too busy. :thumbup1gif:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well yesterday I finally got some stuff done. I got the new block heater installed in the 317, changed the oil/filter (1200.7 hrs) and changed the fuel filters. I also got to try out my new forks, after taking the grinder to the skid steer. :nunu: Had to shave about 1/4" total off the top corners so my new forks would hook up. I didn't want to do it but now with the forks away from the shop it was my only choice, oh well, it will probably take more attachments now. :lol: The forks are great! I didn't cut the lover notch out, I'll see how i like them and if I change my mind I can always cut the notch later on. Also for anyone that may remember my pallet fork trailer mover I made a couple years back, I got that out and they fit nicely on my new forks, it will be great for moving small trailers and my log splitter around. :thumbup1gif:
 

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