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Thread: Cut a fork in half the long way?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Madison, WI

    Default Cut a fork in half the long way?

    I've got a little tractor that has a front-end loader (FEL) on it. I'm thinking that it would be nice to have forks that I can use in place of the bucket. The bucket is heavy. It's 48" wide and made from 1/4" steel. It's much heavier than it needs to be, and the lift capacity is not very great on this tractor anyway. If I could get a hold of a set of lightweight forks I'd be able to lift more, and dang it, it'd be cute!

    I think that I can get a "small" fork at a local salvage place for a somewhat reasonable price. These "small" forks are still way bigger than my loader capacity. I'm thinking that I could cut the fork in half the long way and it'd be about right. How difficult would it be to cut a forklift fork in half? I've got one of those Harbor Freight portable bandsaws. Do you think that would cut it? Otherwise, I've got angle grinders. My arc welder wouldn't likely be much help on a job like this, nor any of the other tools I've got. . . .

    Any ideas?

    thanks, guys.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Phoenix, AZ


    Torch, followed by mucho grinding. Or a BIG plasma unit.
    Gold is for the mistress - silver for the maid
    Copper for the craftsman cunning in his trade.
    "Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall
    But iron - cold iron is the master of them all.
    Rudyard Kipling

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003


    Jim,you might be better off looking for the type of fork used for moving rolls of carpet.They are round,so might be easier to shorten,and then grind the top off.Just a thought.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Vancouver's Island


    Talk to somebody that repairs hydraulic cylinders. They replace the rods all the time for even the slightest bend or worn out chrome. The old ones are scrap. I have seen ten feet of 2.5" rod in the scrap bin and it looks perfect. I ask the guy what's wrong with it and he says the last foot has a few thou of bend in it. They are usually a medium carbon steel such as 1040 and are nice material that is still weldable and machinable but strong. Farmers around here use them for bale spears.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    N W La.


    Its common practice to cut holes near the tips of forks to be able to use chains for lifting. I've done it several times and a cutting torch did a nice job of it.

    Why dont you just let me have that little tractor and then you wouldnt have to worry about it......okay....please?
    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Oregon Coast


    Jim check out the forks that Northern Tool sell for small outfits like yours might give you some ideas.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Big Prairie Mi.


    With the right blade I don't think it would too much trouble to split one, time consuming, but doable.

    May want to rig up a guide to keep the cut straight, then grind to soften the edges and get rid of any potential stress risers on the cut edge.

    I haven't split them, but I have cut them down to short little stubs, and they weren't an more difficult to cut than any other thick steel I've cut.

    Be easy if you had even a little 4x6 HV, build an inclined table with a couple guides for it then gravity feed the fork in.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003


    I'm not sure, but I've always thought forks on forklifts were some sort of "spring" steel. I know that they will deflect quite a lot before taking on a permanent bend.

    I built a small articulated tractor and needed some forks for occassional use, I made a pair using 3x2x1/4" retangular tubing. Toward the front end I mitered the tubing to make it "thinner" for getting under a load. These homemade forks will lift anything the tractor is capable of lifting even with a pretty substantial counterweight. The front lifting arm geometry puts the load way out front, so nosing over happens before running into lifting capacity trouble.

    you might take a look at making some forks


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Almost Dallas


    Tell us about that tractor: Make, Model, Age, HP, etc.

  10. #10

    Default forks

    I had forks made for a skidsteer. bottom was a square tube/with holes drilled thru I placed torsion bars into the holes then placed a U behind [slightly short] and welded the U legs to the tube to lock the bars yet still be fairly easy to remove.

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