May June, 2003





Teaming Up For Nearly 20 Years

D&S Logging Helps Cascade Timber Consulting Manage 140,000 Acres

By Tim Buckley

Above: Larsen Arndt in 2002 with his father Don standing beside a JD648E grapple skidder. Don Arndt, age 25, and his oldest son, Larsen, age 2, stand with a 9 foot diameter fir.

Although Don Arndt, owner of D&S Logging, worries that young people aren’t being attracted to the industry, at home things are quite different. On the other end of the phone Don’s oldest son, Larsen, is calling from the current D&S Logging side, east of Albany, Ore. in the Cascade foothills. Larsen, age 20, works part-time for his father while finishing college at Oregon State, and plans to join the company full-time after graduating. At Don’s elbow his youngest son Donny, seven, says “I wanna run the delimber,” when asked if he wants to work for his dad when he gets older. If Don had followed his parents’ career path, he’d be a school teacher today. Instead, he followed Sam Tyler, a veteran timber man and shovel operator about the same age as his father. “I became very interested in Bonnie, his youngest daughter,” laughs Don, when asked how he and Sam first met. The year he married Bonnie, 1980, he also became business partners with Sam.

Rocky Start
“Don was awfully young and green when they started, but very energetic,” recalls Milt Moran, director of sales and logging operations for Cascade Timber Consulting, Inc., the firm that has contracted with D&S year-round since the mid-1980s. “I was amazed, though, how very fast he learned,” adds Moran, himself a 30-year veteran of timber management and sales. “We had a real humble beginning,” says Don. “Our first purchase — from a Sheriff’s sale — was an old Osgood cable-operated log loader.” The hours were grueling, and he and Sam worked hard to harvest and load 3 to 4 million board feet of salvage, old-growth timber in a year. “We did everything. I remember lying on my back in the middle of the road one winter, changing an engine with rain water running down my neck and wondering to myself, ‘What am I doin’ out here?’”

In the background is the Cat 322C with a Pierce 3348 stroke-delimber. In the foreground is a Madill 2800B log loader. JD690E-LC Loader

Beginning of a Profitable Partnership
A contractor who worked on roads for Cascade Timber Consulting sold “an old crawler” to D&S, and it was through that connection that Don and Sam became contractors, too. Cascade Timber Consulting manages more than 140,000 acres of private forestland located between I-5 and the crest of the Cascades. Moran says that his company employs 45 people, managing the lands held in trust for a family limited partnership that dates back over a century. “We have contracts with 11 companies – most of them are locals – and we try to keep them all busy,” says Moran.

By the late 80s, Don and Sam were running two sides and had invested heavily in equipment that immensely increased productivity. “The first new machine we bought was a Timberjack 2520 feller-buncher,” Don says. “Actually, we got it and a new grapple skidder (John Deere 648D) together as a package.” They had been using a trio of FMC skidders, which Don liked for steeper, wetter terrain. Not long after, D&S also purchased a couple of stroke de-limbers mounted on John Deere 690s. Don’s partner Sam retired in 1997 at age 70, and it was then Don decided to reduce the size of his operation to one side.

Then in 2001 Sam passed away, the same year Don’s father died. “That was a tough year for me,” Don admits. “I miss him,” says Moran. “He was a great kidder and a real gentleman.” Referring to the fact that Sam had lost the sight in one eye in an accident, Moran says with a laugh: “He had amazing skills. Even with one eye, Sam had incredible perception of depth and distance. I’ve seen a lot of operators get into more trouble with two eyes.”

Perfecting Productivity
Being a small business, Sam and Don did everything. “We kept real accurate records about the equipment hours and the productivity for each job,” says Don. “Using that information, we worked hard to improve our bid accuracy and better estimate what we could do.” “Don has always been willing to experiment a little bit, and I think it’s paid off for him,” says Dave Webster, a product support rep at Pape Machinery. “A lot of companies will tell you that they have a specific method of logging, regardless of the different factors,” Don explains. “I prefer a more flexible, site-specific approach. Often, job settings have a mix of equipment and a different use of that equipment. “One of the pieces of specialty equipment I have is a Timberjack 933 skidder with a clambunk. We can skid 25 loads a day at 1,000 to 1,200 feet, productively. It’s a great asset to have for the times I really need it.”

Likewise, for those special applications, he uses a Cat D5H track skidder with 26-inch pads, and 44-inch wide, high flotation tires that can be mounted on his Deere 648E skidder.

Equipment That Fits the Job
While Don contracts out most of the log hauling and mechanical cutting, D&S does the rest. He generally keeps equipment under warranty and upgrades after about 5,000 hours. At present, the company’s most versatile equipment base includes:

Log loaders:
• Cat 322B
• John Deere 200 with a pinion brush rake and Jewell grapple
• Madill 2800B, which he calls his “workhorse.” It’s good on slopes and has an incredible 105,000 ft. lbs. of swing torque.”

• Cat D5H track skidder • JD 648E grapple skidder
• JD 748G grapple skidder, which Don calls “fabulous,” “It’s possible to skid 30 loads a day with it. It has more weight, bigger wheel base, more horse power and a bigger grapple, than the 648,” Don says.

Stroke de-limber:
• Cat 322C with a Pierce 3348 stroke de-limber. “I think Pierce is the best in the world, and we’ve got the added benefit of having them close by, in Tualatin,” he says.

Bringing in the young
D&S employs a crew of five, including his son and relative newcomer Dale Zoon, and together they log about 20 million board feet a year. “I don’t micromanage and I don’t need to with the trust I have of my crew,” Don says. “Several of them have been with me for over 10 years, including Randy Brown, Mike Wilcox and Frank Stutzman.” 

A couple times a year Don brings his sons Marshall and Donny to the job site, as do his other operators. Their exposure to the joys and realities of the timber industry helps to encourage more youngsters to consider the timber industry as a career. “The controversy over timber has given too many people the idea that the industry isn’t what it used to be and that you can’t bank on a career in logging,” he says. “I think that we in the industry need to do what we can to get the word out — in our families, in our community and in schools — that there is a future in the woods, and it’s a good way of life.”

Madill 2800B Log Loader. “The Cadillac”

He says that Cascade Timber Consulting is a model in this regard. With Cascade being one of the largest private employers in Sweet Home and it tends to treat the community with much the same respect as they do their employees and contractors. “They’ve got great integrity,” Don says, “I’m really happy to work for these people. “They consistently emphasize safety and quality over production. They donate time, equipment, volunteer labor and money to help local projects. As far as I’m concerned, they’re an asset not only for the timber industry, but for the community as well. With Cascade’s good example, it makes it easier for us contractors to do likewise.”

While Don laments that younger folks are not being attracted to timber jobs in sufficient numbers, it’s a sure bet that the Arndt and Tyler names will continue to percolate in the industry. Larsen and Donny Arndt may be the next generation of owners at D&S. And as for the Tyler name? Bonnie’s older sister Bev is the bookkeeper for D&S. Her older brother, Wes Tyler, moved to Alaska after college to work for a large timber operation belonging to his uncles. And though the business eventually sold, Wes is still the general manager of the company, Whitestone Logging.


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This page was last updated on Tuesday, September 28, 2004