C & C Logging, LLC handles the blowdown safely and profitably
By Jeff Mullins
His first priority was to safely regain access to resume on-going harvesting operations. Yet, he knew that post-storm harvesting of millions of board feet of tangled trees presented dangers, challenges, and unique opportunities.
Consistent with a reputation for employing the most effective harvesting techniques through diversification and innovation, C & C immediately purchased a Link Belt 370LX shovel and equipped it with a Waratah FL85 (Hultdins SuperFell SF85) felling head.
Frank says, “Because we constantly evaluate new equipment and technology, we knew this machine was exactly what we needed to handle the blowdown mess safely and efficiently. The machine is proving to be an exceptional asset. Now other contractors have also started using the FL85.”
40 Years of Experience
The company began in 1967 in Vernonia, Ore. Frank, a timber faller, struck out on his own after a foreman told him, “You work too hard to work for someone else. You ought to work for yourself.”
With this encouraging nudge, he and his wife, Lee, struck out on their own, purchased an Allis Chalmers HD6 with a log arch, and hired an employee to run it.
When Frank’s “cat-skinner” tore the finals out of his only machine a second time, Frank almost went under but learned a valuable lesson employees must be as good as the machines they run. After repairing the HD6 again, he ran it himself and hired out the felling. Today, C & C carefully screens and provides extensive training for all its employees.
Lee keeps the books, daughter LeeAnne runs the office, Frank Jr. oversees day-to-day operations, and Frank Sr. continues to be involved at all levels of the operation as needed. These four are owners of the corporation.
Adding Machines for the Job
“This practice allows bringing, to each job, the most efficient equipment possible, enabling us to be highly productive, competitive, and profitable,” says Frank Sr. “We are able to get more jobs, keep our crews working, and do a better job for our customers.”
In stands where most of the stems are upright and terrain allows, feller bunchers can be used. However, bunchers are limited in head rotation, reach, and lifting ability. In tangled stands they are slow. Productivity gained by using a hot saw is reduced because wood ends up being bucked into shorter sections when the hotsaw grapples the wood to move and stack it.
Shorter pieces require more turns to get the fiber to the landing. Whenever possible, C & C prefers to yard full-length stems to the landing because it is more productive.
The answer for C & C was the Waratah FL85 felling head that offers all the functions of a shovel grapple and a dangle felling head in one package. Rated for severing up to 33.5-inch stems and lifting 3,410 pounds, the continuous rotation head is well-suited to felling large and small standing stems, as well as plucking fallen trees from the tangles of storm aftermaths. Coupled with the Link Belt 370LX, the grapple is capable of lifting heavy loads nearly 50 feet in any direction. Frank Sr. says it is the “cat’s meow” for this type of operation.
Safe and Effective
Although time is almost always an issue when harvesting timber, removing downed wood is a race with the clock. The challenge is to get the timber to the mill before it deteriorates. The urgency to harvest more than 390 MMBF of downed timber, in a window of 14-16 months, means that C & C’s ability to quickly process this wood safely and efficiently is even more significant.
When possible, C & C operates two sides at each location. This allows shifting of equipment between sides to compensate for breakdowns, slowdowns, or other anomalies. Such was the case at an 80-acre Weyerhaeuser blowdown unit near Napa, Ore. A contracted Madill feller buncher with a 360-degree rotation hot saw felled stems in one drainage area containing few toppled trees.
Across the ridge, within earshot, the FL85 cut an 80-100 foot wide swath through another patch with a large percentage of blowdown. Meanwhile, a Kobelco 300 shovel and 527H swing grapple Caterpillar advanced turns to a landing within reach of a Waratah HTH 624C, mounted on a Kobelco SK350, while a Komatsu PC200LL sorted logs and loaded trucks.
A short distance away, at another landing, two more shovels and a dangle head processor merchandized logs. Any machine could easily shuttle to the other location if needed for whatever reason.
A full-service maintenance shop, complete with an inventoried and well-organized stock of replacement parts, keeps their own machines on the job, and they also offer repair services for other local operators.
For C & C, efficiently harvesting timber downed by last winter’s storm was just another challenge that they were ready for. After years of experience, they were poised to do what was needed safely and efficiently.