A wood conveyor is any type of machinery, or system of machinery, designed for moving or transporting wood. Typically, the term is used to refer to a specific type of machine that is used by residential or professional woodcutters for loading wood into trucks or bins. Most are angled metal ramps with moving bucket or partition-like compartments that haul wood upwards to a certain height so that a truck or other container can be placed below the end of the conveyor to catch the wood. Some incorporate a splitter, allowing wood to be split and loaded in one operation.
Often called firewood conveyors, these types of machines are often powered by small engines, designed to be adjustable in terms of rise, and towed behind a vehicle with a standard towing hitch. They usually incorporate hydraulic controls for raising and lowering the ramp or operating the splitter, if outfitted with one. The conveyor mechanism usually operates by a system of chains on a loop with metal dividers that form compartments as well as serving to push the wood up the wood conveyor ramp. Some models may use a rotating, heavy duty belt to move wood, as construction details vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
A commercial model wood conveyor may have a seat and control station for an operator, a more powerful engine, hydraulics and heavy-duty components, but they are essentially the same type of machine. They are designed for use by operators with a high-volume firewood business, rather than an individual cutting wood for his own use or small-volume woodcutters loading firewood by the pickup load. These machines are generally not used by someone running a logging business. Wood conveyors are not designed for or intended to haul long sections or very large diameter logs, but to move smaller sections of logs or split wood.
Some types of wood conveyor may be marketed as multi-use machines, as they can also be suitable for moving other materials, such as cut hay, wood chips or gravel, for example. Many wood conveyor machines, however, are purpose built, specifically for moving wood, and are not recommended for other use. Each manufacturer of these machines will have detailed information about recommended use. Some larger, more complex machines, called firewood processors, may incorporate a wood conveyor as part of their design. These machines are designed to cut and split logs, then to move and, in some cases, even stack the split wood. Some of them are capable of processing as many as two cords or more of split firewood per hour.