Excavator Thumb

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An excavator thumb is an ideal tool for anyone who regularly moves oddly shaped objects with their vehicle. The name might seem quite strange at first, but it’s derived from a primate’s prehensile thumb, which allows it to pick things up.

What is an Excavator Thumb?

Excavator thumbs are not unlike grappling hooks in many ways. Both of them should help the excavator do more than dig, scoop, and transport materials.

However, unlike a grappling hook, thumbs don’t just help you contain things inside the bucket. Instead, it operates as an independent part which allows you to pinch large objects between the bucket and thumb.

The function of an Excavator Thumb

Excavator thumbs are surprisingly versatile for a relatively simple attachment. You can use it to pick up various items and work in digging or demolition functions.

Conveniently, most thumbs can fold back to fit against the rear aspect of the vehicle’s arm. Accordingly, you can use it when needed, without having it interfere with general actions.

Problems you might expect from Excavator Thumbs

As you might expect, Excavators take a lot of strain thanks to the constant pressure of lifting heavy things. Accordingly, you should expect to have to do regular maintenance.

The most common problems should be things like stiff connections, which are easily solved by greasing the affected parts. More severe problems may include the thumb not moving forwards and backward as it should. It’s also possible that some of the tines may snap off, or the attachment may not respond to the hydraulics.

Whenever you face any of these problems, check to see if you can repair or replace the affected part. For example, when it doesn’t respond to the hydraulics, you may be able to replace a part of the hydraulic system.

If the tool doesn’t move as it should, you might be able to repair the joint or the vehicle attachment. Unfortunately, in the case of the tines breaking, you should replace the entire thumb. If the thumb no longer works or is severely damaged, do likewise.

How do I choose an Excavator Thumb?

Finding the right excavator thumb for your vehicle isn’t as difficult as you might think.

The main aspect that you need to consider is whether or not your excavator bucket has teeth. Some thumbs work on either type of bucket. However, these attachments are usually designed either for toothed or smooth buckets.

The next critical aspect is the purpose for which you plan on using the excavator. Some thumb attachments are perfectly suited for use in demolition activities. Other devices work better when used in moving operations.

The final critical element is the size of the objects you wish to move. If you’re moving large, irregular shaped objects, then you won’t need as many tines (or teeth) on your thumb. 

However, if you’re moving smaller or smooth objects, you may require the grip that more tines would give you. The ultimate question is what you desire from the attachment.