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Logging and Sawmilling Journal November 2014

March/april 2015

On the Cover:
A Cat 522B feller buncher was the most recent equipment purchase for logging contractor Mid-Boundary Contracting, which is based in the rugged B.C. Southern Interior. Read all about how the new Cat buncher is performing for Mid-Boundary in this issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journa. (Photo of Cat 522B buncher courtesy of Mid-Boundary Contracting)

The clock is ticking on the Softwood Lumber Agreement
There is a united front on the part of Canada’s lumber producing provinces for extending the Softwood Lumber Agreement, but the U.S. government—and the U.S. lumber industry—have yet to say where they stand, even though the agreement expires this October.

Upping lumber recovery at Lakeview
Tolko Industries’ Lakeview Lumber Division in Williams Lake, B.C., has recently seen some significant upgrades that are already delivering results in lumber productivity and recovery.

Safety in B.C.’s logging industry: a work in progress
Safety has always been a priority for logging contractor Reid Hedlund, of Mid-Boundary Contracting—who is also chair of the Interior Logging Association—and though the industry has seen success at reducing the number of accidents, it continues to take ongoing effort, he notes.

Top Lumber Producers – Who’s on Top?
Logging and Sawmilling Journal’s annual listing of Canada’s Top Lumber Producers, produced in co-operation with industry consultants, International WOOD MARKETS Group.

Canada North Resources Expo
Visitors to the upcoming Canada North Resources Expo, being held in Prince George, B.C. May 29 -30, will enjoy an extensive range of displays, an excavator rodeo, sawmill and wood processing equipment demos—and perhaps even a grapple skidder show.

Upgrades bring efficiency—and green power
Alberta’s Manning Diversified Forest Products has invested $30 million in sawmill upgrades, new equipment that delivers higher production and more efficiency—and green power.

Cat—through and through
B.C.’s Kineshanko Logging recently celebrated its 40th year in logging, and all through that time their equipment has only been one colour: Cat yellow.

Careful logging in Algonquin Park
A careful approach to logging by contractors such as Jessup Bros. Forest Products is yielding jobs, good quality timber and an ample wood supply from Ontario’s well-known Algonquin Provincial Park—timber that also helps to sustain jobs at local sawmills.

Focus on Filing
The upcoming B.C. Saw Filer’s Association conference in Kamloops, B.C., features a solid line-up of speakers—and the opportunity to see the latest in saw filing equipment from equipment manufacturers.

Plywood going up - literally
B.C.’s Thompson River Veneer Products Ltd is benefiting from the general upturn in the economy, and sees demand for its plywood growing with building codes now allowing an increase in wood structure heights.

The Edge
Included in The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions and FPInnovations.

The Last Word
Tony Kryzanowski says a lack of joint ventures may be stunting the growth of the forest industry.

 

 

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B.C.’s Kineshanko LoggingCat—through and through

B.C.’s Kineshanko Logging recently celebrated its 40th year in logging, and all through that time their equipment has only been one colour: Cat yellow.

By Paul MacDonald

B.C.’s Kineshanko Logging recently celebrated an anniversary, and it was a special one considering the wringer the forest industry went through the last few years: in 2014, it celebrated its 40th year in business.

A number of logging contractors fell by the wayside during the downturn—or just simply left the business. But Kineshanko Logging, now run by the second generation of the Kineshanko family, persevered.

“Things are going better these days,” says Jeff Kineshanko, who now runs the operation with his, brother, Jon. Their father set up the business in Lumby, in B.C.’s Southern Interior, way back in 1974. The two brothers, and their mom, Joanne, took over the running of the business in 2006.

The industry went into a tailspin in the years following.

During the lean years of 2008 and 2009, they made full use of the equipment boneyard they have, and some of their older equipment, explained Jeff. Sometimes, that involved the equivalent of “MacGyvering” equipment to save on a trip to the dealer or to the shop.

“In the tough years, we figured out ways to make things work, so it did not cost a lot. But we are still like that—we run pretty lean,” says Jeff.

And Jeff credits them getting through the tough times by just plain working hard—and long—hours. “You do what you have to do.”

But the industry turnaround is now firmly in place, and contractors such as Kineshanko Logging have responded by investing in new equipment.

On the iron side, to keep their equipment up to date, Kineshanko Logging has the approach of purchasing one piece of new equipment every year, though they took a break in 2009. “It’s a set replacement program,” says Jeff, “and we’re now continuing with that business model.

“We don’t want our equipment to get to the point where it’s not worth much on trade-in because of the number of hours on it,” he added.

Jeff Kineshanko now runs the Kineshanko Logging operation with his brother, JonJeff Kineshanko now runs the Kineshanko Logging operation with his brother, Jon. Their father set up the business in Lumby, in B.C.’s Southern Interior, back in 1974. The two brothers, and their mom, Joanne, took over the running of the business in 2006.

And on the equipment side, Kineshanko Logging runs pure Cat yellow. Every piece of logging equipment the outfit has is Cat, from B.C. Cat dealer, Finning. In fact, they’ve been dealing with Cat and Finning so long that they’ve seen the retirement of a couple of their sales reps.

Their most recent purchases, early in 2014, were a new loader—a Cat 324LL equipped with a Weldco-Beales powerclam and hydraulic outrigger—and a new Series Two Cat tracked 552 buncher, a full tilting machine with a rotating wrist.

“They’ve been working out well,” says Jeff. “We were really only looking to get one new machine, but we got a really good deal on the loader, so we pulled the trigger, and bought that, too.”

They lean heavily on the 552 buncher, he says. “We rely on it for 100 per cent efficiency.”

When the other equipment needs some work, Kineshanko Logging has a shop in Lumby, and Jeff does a lot of the repairs. “If it’s a big component, we’ll pull it out and take it to Finning in Vernon,” which is just 25 kilometres down the highway.

“For example, last spring we found a chunk in the front end of the 545C so I pulled the front diff, and took it into Finning in Vernon. They did their thing, and we brought it back and put it on ourselves.”

If there’s a lot of welding involved, he’ll call on RAP Welding, of Lumby, who Jeff says they have dealt with “forever”.

“We try not to send things out if we can do it ourselves. I try to do most of it myself, some welding, building the hoses, the oil changes,” he said. It’s a work approach that was instilled in Jeff by his father. “He was very much do-it-yourself.”

The have a service trailer that is sometimes on the logging site, equipped with hose presses, welding equipment and an air compressor, for doing work in the bush. They’re looking for something a bit smaller, that can be more easily taken on the highway, and moved from site to site.

Lately, though, they’ve been fortunate in that they’ve been working fairly close to town. “It’s only been a 40 minute drive into the bush—with repairs it doesn’t take too long to come down to the shop, put something together, and get back.”

They usually aren’t working much further than an hour’s drive from Lumby.

Keeping their equipment up and running is not just important, says Jeff—it’s essential. “We have one skidder and one buncher as our prime machines, and if they go down, we have spares of each,” says Jeff.

They have a 2012 Cat 320D with a Pierce Denharco DM 4550 delimber and a 2007 Cat 320C with a Denharco DM4400 delimber, as well as an older back-up machine. “If we need to do some repairs, it’s good to be able to put something in there to keep the wood moving. But they are awesome machines, and we have lots of parts around for them.”

All in, they have 10 pieces of heavy equipment, again, all of it Cat.

They’ll bring the equipment into the shop for any work during break-up. “Everything else, we’ll try to do it in the bush.”

They do a lot of preventative maintenance, and do the SOS fluids sampling through Finning. “It helps, but it’s not bulletproof,” says Jeff. “If a bearing starts to go, you can see it in an elevated oil sample that comes back, and you can look into it. It’s good, but it’s just not 100 per cent. Sometimes something just grenades.”

B.C.’s Kineshanko LoggingKineshanko Logging has four of their own trucks, three 2012 Kenworth T800 tri-drives and a 2007 Kenworth T800 tri-drive lowbed, and up to three contract trucks.

Having all Cat equipment, they can keep the range of their spare parts at a minimum.

These days, their equipment is working in mostly green wood, but Jeff says they have done their share of bug-killed wood in the past—and still do some now. “Tolko has done a lot of clean-up work in beetle wood over the years, in the Aberdeen Plateau and down by the Big White ski resort, and we’ve helped out with that.”

They were never strictly in beetle wood with Tolko, Jeff noted, as Tolko has a good broad mixture of wood types in its wood basket.

That wood size can vary greatly. “We can get from small, six to eight inches at the butt, to getting only 12 pieces to the truckload, with certain blocks,” says Jeff. “There’s a lot in between.”

At peak, in the summer months, they will do up to nine sorts, with the wood going to some Tolko operations, but also to other mills, to best optimize the type and size of wood.

Their logging location is dictated by the season, of course. They will start the season in low elevation, and then move up to the wetter blocks as they get into the colder weather, and the ground firms up.

“The snow helps, but we try not to work in the really deep snow.” Last spring, they finished up logging an area with five feet of snow, but Jeff notes their time there was brief. “That was the last block of the season, and Tolko was looking to top up their inventories.

“You don’t want to be doing too much of that—basically, you have to move all the snow or the skidder can’t get around. Your costs go up immensely.”

After a record setting fire season last year, Jeff and other B.C. loggers are undoubtedly hoping this coming summer will be better. The fire season in 2014 resulted in a near record loss of timber, the third highest since 1950, when the B.C. government started keeping track. Some 1,424 fires consumed more than 3,590 square kilometres of forest.

Fortunately, says Jeff, they weren’t too affected by the fire shutdowns. “We had a bit of a slowdown over the summer, and fire was part of the equation for that. But Tolko was also trying to keep its inventory levels down, too.”

It can be touch and go during fire season, he says. “But we’re usually fortunate in that we might have three or four days of hot weather, and then a rain shower knocks it down.”

In terms of dividing up responsibilities for Kineshanko Logging, Jeff looks after the logging side of things, and his brother, Jon, oversees the trucking. They have four of their own trucks, three 2012 Kenworth T800 tri-drives and a 2007 Kenworth T800 tri-drive lowbed, and up to three contract trucks. “Jon does the low bedding, too, which works out well. Anytime we have to move, he can jump on the low bed—so we don’t miss much time moving.”

Tolko pretty much keeps them busy for 9 to10 months of the year.

Joanne, their mom, is still involved with the business, though less so these days. She and her sons took over the operation of the business after the very untimely death of her husband, Terry, of a heart attack in 2006. Terry was one of the icons in the logging industry in the area, and was a long time director of the Interior Logging Association. Jeff is also a director of the association.

When they took over the business, Kineshanko Logging was a falling/skidding operation but they oversaw its development into a full phase stump-to-dump operation again. Joanne, who is also a former mayor of the town of Lumby, was presented with the 2014 Woman of the Year Award by Vernon Women in Business, for her commitment to the family business and her service in municipal government and the community.

“That was,” says Jeff, “very cool.”

B.C.’s Kineshanko LoggingWhen the equipment needs some work, Kineshanko Logging has a shop in Lumby, and Jeff Kineshanko does a lot of the repairs. If it’s a big component, they’ll pull it out and take it to the Finning branch in Vernon, which is just 25 kilometres down the highway.

Jeff’s wife, Dawne, very capably takes care of the office for the company.

Tolko has talked with Kineshanko Logging about increasing the size of their cut and operations, but Jeff says they are not sure that makes sense from an economics perspective. “We don’t want to be the biggest—we just want to be the best.”

And it would mean hiring more people, and good people can be hard to come by. “The biggest key to everything in a logging operation is having the right guy in the seat. If you’ve got the best equipment going, and you don’t have the right guy operating the machine, well, it’s not going to work.

“We have good long term employees, and I think we treat them well.” If they have an opening, it’s usually filled by someone who hears of the position by word-of-mouth.

Their employees usually run the newer equipment, while Jeff and Jon will operate the older pieces.

Following their equipment purchase approach, the next item that’s likely on their shopping list will be a new machine for piling wood. “We skid the wood in and pile it with an excavator with a power clam grapple. We’re using one of our old Cat 325FB machines that never die, for that work.”

Once the new machine is bought, they’ll use the 325 elsewhere in their operations. “Those are machines that we will never get rid of,” says Jeff. “They never break down, and they’re really not worth much on trade-in. We have two 325 machines, and they are workhorses—one has 40,000 hours on it. They’re very reliable machines, and if they need some work, you don’t need a laptop to fix them—they don’t have computer systems.”

And you can pretty much bet the new machine will be a Cat.

The other equipment dealers come knocking on the shop door, and Jeff is always happy to meet and talk with them, but they have a solid relationship with Finning and Cat. “The other guys talk to us, but they know we’re a hard sell. We don’t really see any reason to go anywhere else—Finning treats us really well.

“There really is not too much negotiating,” Jeff says. “You tell Finning you’re ready for something new, and they give us good trade-in value for our equipment.”

He likes the idea of having one solid business equipment relationship—and leveraging the benefits of that approach. “With multiple brands, you have multiple parts. But we have one type of oil filter that fits all of our equipment—that’s it.

“And if we do need someone from Finning out in the bush for warranty service or anything like that, if another machine needs some attention, he’s there. You’re not paying extra travel time for another dealer person to come out.”

Overall, he says, the big yellow Cat equipment continues to work well for them—and that’s what it’s all about.

Among Kineshanko Logging’s recent equipment purchases was a Series Two Cat tracked 552 buncher, a full tilting machine with a rotating wrist.