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Clam Dunk

Logging contractor Brian Fuller has been pleasantly surprised by the performance of a Rotobec powerclam/cut-off saw combo in blowdown timber.

By Jim Stirling

Surprises are what most logging contractors don't want. They tend to spell m-o-n-e-y. Logging contractor Brian Fuller's recent experience bucks that scenario, however. He's been pleasantly surprised with the performance and versatility of a Rotobec powerclam with cut-off saw installed on the business end of his Case 9030 excavator. "We wanted it for blowdown, but it's doing so much more," says Fuller, who runs Brian Fuller Contracting from a base in Williams Lake, British Columbia. Salvaging wood from extensive areas of blowdown is a serious problem in the province's Cariboo region. It can be a dangerous and time consuming process. "The big thing for us is the safety issue," explains Fuller. Acquiring the Rotobec PC075B powerclam has meant a hand faller is no longer required on a full time basis. The continuous 360 degree rotation provides the machine with an improved level of flexibility in dealing with the every-which-way tangle of blowdown patches. Fuller had installed a Hultdins Super Saw with an 84 centimetre Oregon bar for the cut-off duties.

But an additional plus has been the ability of the carrier and attachment combination to fall timber. It adds a new dimension to the bucket and thumb previously used. "We've laid down 66 centimetre fir with it," continues Fuller. "The operator has to let go after the cut and then you can move it where you want." During the first couple of months with the powerclam, Fuller deployed it in blowdown areas ahead of the skidders to make that process more efficient. It has also handled right-of-way harvesting chores and blocks under the Ministry of Forests small-scale log salvage program. "We can get three to five loads a day from the powerclam and the machine can load, pile and ditch," says Fuller. It requires only a quick change to remove the Rotobec powerclam from the Case boom for a bucket attachment or other machine assignment, he adds. Fuller's contracting business has been active for about eight years. He supplies fibre to licencees in the area through the small business forest enterprise program, small-scale salvage program and direct sales. He also provides fir for a value-added post and beam home building business. He runs a grapple and line skidder, loader and logging truck in addition to the Case excavator with the powerclam and cut off saw attachment. New equipment frequently translates into a productivity loss until operators become acclimatized. Again, the powerclam bucks the trend. "Our operator immediately liked it better than the bucket and thumb," says Fuller. The operator says the machine is fast at performing its multiple duties and the equipment combination and hydraulics produce more than enough power to perform the tasks. Williams Lake is centred between a diversity of terrain and timber types. To the west is the dry Chilcotin where Douglas fir intermixes with the predominant stands of small-diameter lodgepole pine. To the east, the ground is steeper and wetter, supporting productive spruce/balsam forests. Beetle killed and damaged timber is an epidemic problem in parts of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Fuller took possession of the powerclam and cut-off saw early in the wet spring. He was able to put it to work developing and falling in a select harvesting application working from trails spaced 20 metres apart. Similarly, he was also able to access a sensitive area in wet snow to build trails with the powerclam. "It worked real slick," he says. Fuller's summation of the powerclam with cut-off saw's performance to date is succinct: "I'm really happy with it." The Rotobec powerclam was sold through and is serviced by the Inland Kenworth Parker Pacific branch in Williams Lake.

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A Hultdins Super Saw with an 84-centimetre Oregon bar was installed on the Rotobec powerclam to do cut-off work, but combined with the Case 9030 carrier, it is also able to fall timber. "We've laid down 66- centimetre fir with it," says contractor Brian Fuller.

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This page last modified on Tuesday, February 17, 2004