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Pallet Forks build #1747 11/24/2020 09:05 AM
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Kmrs75 Offline OP
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I am looking at building a set of pallet forks for my JD 2305. I am looking for suggestions or recommendations.

My plan is to build the back frame out of 2" square tube. I have the John Deere hooks and pin for the quick connect so that isn't going to be a problem.

The top of the frame I plan to weld on 4" long sleeve X 1 1/4" ID on each end and one in the center. I will have 1" solid round bar running through the sleeve. The bar will also be pinned on both sides for easy removal.

The forks is where I an really not sure. I was thinking of using 4"x2" C channel. The tip will be cut back at an angle for easy sliding into the pallet and cap welded so it will not be open. I plan on welding gussets on the side where the horizontal and vertical parts of the forks meet, I'm planning the gussets to be L shaped and about 8" up and 8" along the side. Both sides of the fork will have gussets. The top will also have some a sleeve welded on to it so it can slide on the solid bar.

If the forks don't sit level I will add some support on the bottom, I plan to to make them use the 2" square tubing for the bottom support. I could install a piece that should go over the 2" so they don't lean forward when tipped forward.

My thoughts, I can remove the forks and use that back for other attachments if I ever want to. I will be using this to pick up rail road ties, 5th wheel hitch, other odds and ends around the house. I cant pick up anything too heavy my loader isn't capable of super heavy loads.


JD 2305
Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1748 11/24/2020 10:29 AM
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sonny Offline
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I have seen channel iron used for forks. 4" should stand a lot They will hold quite a bit before bending. Depending on your loader ---- I would "box" the open end with 1/4" flat stock for reinforcement as an extra measure of strength.
I know you want the empty weight down as much as possible, also the length of the channels will dictate load-before-bend factor.
sounds like you have everything figured out for the frame.
On your top pin, The center sleeve will hold if/when you use close setting on the forks.--- mine has a couple in the center and I can get forks in to the distance in the pic.
These are from a Bobcat brand loader that I cut down and modified to fit one of my New Holland skidloaders quick tach which is WAY different than Bobcat.
They slide on 1 1/2" bar at top and rest in 3" channel at bottom and yes they do swing when dumping. --- When digging sweet potatoes and horseradish with them I slide them in close as they will go then chain them back with little 1/4" chain ----- works for me!

Attached Files
2017 Sweet Potato Digger Copy.jpg (59.59 KB, 65 downloads)

"A machine you build yourself is a vote for a different way of life. There are things you have to earn with your hands."
Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1751 11/25/2020 08:03 AM
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bunkclimber Offline
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I would strongly suggest that you make a carraige to hang REAL forklift forks onto. As you start to use the fork attachment you will use it more and more and strong forks will be an asset to what you do. I started with c-channel forks we made to fit a 480 Case skiploader and they bent the first week we had them finished. I've made forks for others when requested-"all we are doing is handling christmas trees-two or three at a time"- well then an employee at the farm bent them trying to pick up a pallet of sprayer parts.I built them heavy and gusseted them as well. The welds didnt break the metal bent-4"channel turned up on edge,it rolled over and twisted. Forklift forks can be had cheaply-usually about $150/pair for used 4000lb Class 2's-the smaller ones,they are hardened and tempered. Check the Craigslist in your area. I made a fork attachment for my 4x4 mini loader, it hangs two forklift forks on it..easy to build..picks 1700lbs no problem. I used two sections of 2x4x3/16" wall tubing and then laminated 1/2"bar to it for the top clip of the forks to hang onto, same for the bottom..It's an easy build..might cost you a bit for the steel but do it right the first time and it won't fail on you..I have two forklifts here that get used often,but get stuck easy..then I use my miniloader when it's muddy...let me get a pic or two today of the fork attachment and you can see how I built it

Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1754 11/25/2020 10:46 AM
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GatorS Offline
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I strongly agree with Bunk on this. Dont try to build you own forks. Buy real forklift forks and build a frame to hold them. I built a set a few years ago. I got forks from the junk yard, they were class 1, I got a class 2 carriage from work for free. I bought a 3/8 skid steer adapter plate from ebay, cut the class 2 frame down to fit the class 1 forks, welded it all together. It will easily hold more than my loader will luft, and also more than my 4 series John deere. Welded channel won't be nearly as strong. Do it right once, or you will never be able to truck the forks. I will get some pics of the ones I made.

My forks are only 42" long but have done everything I need them to, I have loaded pallets, picked up trees, they are by far the most handy attachment you can have. If I had to choose between forks and any thing else that I have I would keep the forks. (not that the buckets, and other stoff isn't needed also).

I see forks selling for 75 to 150 for a pair all the time around here.


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Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1755 11/25/2020 10:55 AM
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JIM Online Content
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This is my mini fork lift. it's tested good up to 1000 lb. The forks need to be better cause as Bunkclimber said they will bend. these tend to flex with a full load. this pic also shows my hitch ball attachment.. I use it more than the forks. I drilled a hole through the ball-mount bracket and the top rail so I can pin it to keep it from lifting off if I'm hooked to some thing with negative tong weight. (not shown in the pic)

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]
[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

My counterweight is hung the same way.
[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

This is another useful attachment. I've added a gusset for more support since this pic.
[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]


I know a lot about a lot of things BUT I still have a lot to learn.
Life is what you make of it. So, why not make a working machine to make it easier.
Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1756 11/25/2020 11:06 AM
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bunkclimber Offline
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here's some pics of the chassis I made for my miniloader..Class2 forks slide easy on 1/2"thick plate..It's not cut on the angle the fork mount clip has, but it's a tight fit that works. Drill the 1/2"plate on the front and plug weld it to the bar stock or tubing you use,you want the forks to slide without hitting the welds. 1/2"plate clip rail welded to 1" x 2" solid bar stock to add resistance to bending..There's a strap that goes from the top rail to the bottom rail to keep them spaced..I'd suggest about 1/8" space between the fork slide rails so they don't bind up when moving them across the carraige to adjust them..mine were binding so bad I had to use a sledge hammer to move the forks, then I took an angle grinder to the top rail to open up the tolerances a bit so now you can slide them by hand. I don't lube them, just go dry and that kinda helps keep them in place. I made a clip-on bucket of sorts to move snow with,the tab with a hole in it is what holds the bucket on, it just clips on the top rail but the pins hold it onto the fork chassis..A couple pics for you to consider.
[Linked Image from kuhnbros.com]

[Linked Image from kuhnbros.com]

Looks like the closest place to you for forklifts is in Bismarck,ND at F+M Forklift..they might have some old forks out back..ask the service manager..A good point about used forks is to look at the 'heel' of the fork,its the spot on the bottom at the upright part,the forks always get dragged on that area and wear it down,a lot of forks are scrapped because they get thin in that area..take a look first. Local here in MD forks are $80/ea for Class 2's,42"L 4000lb.
Take care be safe as you probably know ND is covid hot right now

Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1757 11/25/2020 12:04 PM
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JIM Online Content
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Wish I could find some in my area..... I'm always looking


I know a lot about a lot of things BUT I still have a lot to learn.
Life is what you make of it. So, why not make a working machine to make it easier.
Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1759 11/25/2020 03:15 PM
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bunkclimber Offline
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Jim, I can't say I've ever dug taters with a set of forks like Sonny..he's such the innovator..anyway every forklift place I've ever been to has a pile of forks in back out in the yard..kinda like a tire shop with the tire pile out back..now that scrap iron is down they will probably sell you a set for $75 or so..A set of little Class 1's (12" H carriage) was what I wanted but the Class 2's are so much more available...take a look at scrap yards too sometimes they set them off to the side..they are heavy melt, not shreddable so they go in a different pile..FWIW

Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1765 11/27/2020 11:53 PM
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GatorS Offline
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Here's my homemade forks. I took a class 2 carriage and modified it to fit class 1 forks. Got the carriage from work. That involved shortening the height of the frame by about 4", and then grinding out the frame hooks slightly to make it fit the rails. With the forks on, I have about 1/16" clearance on the bottom. I don't have a way to keep the forks from sliding but it usually isn't a issue. They are also usually not hard to move unless I get them caked up with mud.

The top of the first pic shows where the side shift rail was, I hooked this over a ebay skid steer frame and fully welded it up. I have max loaded it out with my loader and my 4 series tractor. Like I said above they are almost always on one of my loaders.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]


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Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1767 11/28/2020 05:39 AM
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bunkclimber Offline
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I didnt grind my forks to fit, they are a bit tight and they don't slide too easy across the frame but it works good for me..I did grind the carriage to loosen them up a bit last year,they are just about right.
Nice work you did on your fork mount.

Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1771 11/28/2020 08:35 PM
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GatorS Offline
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Mine wouldn't fit before I did. I started to mill the lip of the frame, but decided grinding the fork was easier, didn't have to remove much metal.


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Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1774 11/29/2020 08:22 PM
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sonny Offline
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Gator,---your forks and plate look like my neighbors new bobcat 650 setup! Mine have a big bar on top and sleeves welded to top of each fork keeping them from un-hooking and falling off, neighbor is always picking his up and re-hooking them---too heavy for me to do that so I do like the way mine are made since they cant fall off.
Forks here get more use than any of the buckets and are the most useful attachment made for loaders! lol!


"A machine you build yourself is a vote for a different way of life. There are things you have to earn with your hands."
Re: Pallet Forks build [Re: Kmrs75] #1776 11/29/2020 11:33 PM
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GatorS Offline
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Last weekend I was working on a burn pile the ground is slightly slanted, the forks would slowly work their way over to the center. I did have one fall off when it got to the gap. Them buggers are heavy, probably 120 lbs each not to bad to to put back on, you can hook the top with the tractor, tilt back then slide the bottom in, I was contemplating that I need to make something to keep them from sliding,


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