Arlington couple creates innovative logging tool

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ARLINGTON >> Jonathan Roberts wanted an easier way to harvest firewood.

Roberts, a chemical engineer by profession and long-time southern Vermont resident, had cut logs for his wood stove for some 30 years, and had begun to feel it in his back.

What if there was a way, he thought, to shorten the amount of time and effort it took to transport stove-length logs from the forest to the wood stove?

Enter the LogOx, a logging tool that he designed himself. The patented three-in-one tool is manufactured in the United States and is now available in several Northeast stores, as well as online, for $119.

"This takes a process that has six steps and reduces it to two, which makes it much more efficient," Roberts said Sunday while showing off the LogOx in the woods behind his Arlington home.

The LogOx replaces three long-standing tools which many woodsman or weekend warriors may be familiar with – the pulp hook, a hand tool for picking up logs; a timberjack tool for holding and cutting logs with a chain saw; and a cant hook, used for handling and turning logs.

The LogOx allows a user to, with a quick bend of the knees, pick up a log and easily manipulate it with a turn of their wrist. Depending on your own strength, you could lift it one-handed, he said.

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An add-on "timberjack" attachment lifts logs off the ground. A cantlever attachment, to be released soon, gives the user more leverage to roll larger logs.

Roberts said that, along with increasing efficiency and reducing the time it takes to yard out logs, the tool makes the whole process safer. It's easier to carry and hold logs in rugged terrain, he said. It also prevents someone from bending over and other movements that can cause back injuries.

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"Everyone in the logging business that I've introduced it too can see the benefit," he said.

He works with his wife, Lynne, who handles the sales and marketing of the company. He says the company will ultimately be his retirement project.

Both Roberts and his wife say the whole process — from patenting the invention to selecting a contract manufacturer and finally working with local businesses to carry the tool — has been very positive.

"We designed this with good heart and positive intentions, and people were so willing to work with us," Lynne Roberts said. "There was nothing but good energy around this project."

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The tool is made of cold-rolled steel, Roberts said, and manufactured by Swisher Acquisition of Warrensburg, Missouri. The handle is made by Wells Wood Turning and Finishing, Inc. in Buckfield, Maryland. The LogOx logo — an ox with horns that resemble the tool's hook — is branded onto the wood.

"Having it being made in the U.S. is important to us," Roberts said.

It's already gotten good response from the locals, according to Dave Stacco, manager of Whitman's Feed Store in North Bennington.

The LogOx is currently available at Chem-Clean in Arlington and Brown Enterprises in Manchester. The Roberts hope to offer it in more stores soon.

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Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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