By Kristi Granberg
When Wes Trivelpiece takes on a job, he likes to put a personal touch to the work. He credits getting repeat customers to his practice of treating the land like it’s his own. While he does what they want, he also gives advice on what to do. “I’m still working for them, but I’ll tell them how I would do it. You got to ask them, ‘Are you going to burn? Are you just going to replant?’ I tell them how I would do it, and they generally agree.”
Wes mainly does shovel logging these days and has been working mostly for private land owners for the last ten years. “I try to leave the yarder [a Christy Heavy Duty Yarder] folded up at home because it takes a crew to run it, and crews have become undependable. I had it down to where it was me and one other guy running this yarder. I would bring logs in till the chute got full, and I’d jump in my shovel, clean it out. He was down there hooking, and he’d do the hook tending and get the skyline out. We’d log for half a day. Then he’d come on up, and we’d process what we did.” He recently brought out the yarder.
Tried and True Christy
Wes has trained a lot of people to do a lot of things. He even thought about starting a logging school. “I have patience, I guess. I’d rather have somebody that doesn’t know anything than trying to de-tune somebody that has worked on a big yarder and hooks everything they can and pulls hard. This is a small yarder. It takes a little finesse to get the stuff in efficiently. I had a 21-year-old single mother running my yarder once. She was the only one that answered the ad. I said, ‘Come on out. If you’re trainable, it’ll work.’ She did good.”
That Christy heavy duty yarder is custom built with a high-speed reverse. “The cab has been turned,” Wes points out, “so you can look right out the corridor that you’re logging.” Cummins-powered with a Funk transmission, it also boasts a 50-foot tower. “I have six speeds forward and three reverse, and you put it in third reverse and throttle, and it’s like free-fall on that carriage. You can backlash your drum if you go too fast.” Wes also has a 650 John Deere dozer to pull the yarder around with because it’s trailer-mounted.
Price Plays a Role
Price has a lot to do with the equipment Wes uses, which you can see, based on the variety of brands he owns. He’s got a 210 Kobelco with a jammer logger attachment on it, which he says has gotten him a lot of work where it’s not feasible to set up a yarder.
“It’s a single drum of cable and holds 950 feet of cable. In the heeling rack, it has a high-speed slat kicker that’s in sync with the drum, so you spit the chokers out over the hill. You can get them twirling and launch them and, accurately, I can throw it about 165 feet. Any more than that, and you don’t know where it’s going to land, but I can usually land the chokers on the log I want them to hook at that range. I think it’s got 25,000 pounds of line pull, so it’ll bring in some wood.”
When Wes made that purchase, Kobelco machines were priced better than anything else. “I could get that Kobelco with the $50,000 attachment on it. For the same price, I could get a used piece of equipment with 2,000 hours on it.” Wes comments that among the benefits of the Kobelco was the warm-up feature, which helps when the temperature was below 40 degrees. “It had some pretty nice features on it. And they’re a good machine. I knew people that had them and were happy with them.”
Keeping up with Technology
With his wife, Michelle, Wes started working alongside his parents, Patsy and Wendell, who started Trivelpiece Logging in the early 70s. Michelle has worked hard at modernizing things in the office, and they now have an accountant, which is a big step forward, compared to the early days. “They [mom and dad] were anti-technology. She would hand-write out the payroll stubs and the W-2s. I bet she’s the only one that can run the DOS system on a computer,” Wes jokes.
Regarding his prized equipment, Wes recalls, “I think we were one of the first ones to use the Christy yarder with the Eagle carriage. They had a Christy carriage that comes with the yarder, and we were one of the first ones to put the Eagle on there.” When the owner of Christy heard about it, he arranged to come out and see it work, then he started selling more machines with the Eagle carriage package on it.
“This is our second yarder we’ve bought from him. We had this one custom made to where it’s more user friendly than they came out of the factory.” The cab points so the operator can look straight ahead, rather than getting a sore neck from looking sideways. Because of that, “It’s a little wide going down the road, 10 feet wide instead of eight.”
The main thing was the high-speed transmission, which was very expensive to put in. Wes got that idea from Diamond yarders. “It’s what they used in theirs. You can run it so much smoother, and that makes everything safer.” The Christy manufacturer was so impressed watching Wes run the equipment, he hired him to train a logger in Georgia. “They were going to log flat across the swamp, with a hoe back and intermediate supports, with the same setup we got right here. So he goes, ‘Could you go over and show these guys how to run it?’ I had to teach those people how to notch a stump, even.” Wes travelled to California to set up another one, and his talents were wanted in Idaho as well. He decided against it and went back to working for himself in the woods of Oregon.
After Wes hurt his back recently, son David (a manager for A-1 Logging’s Larry Heesacker) came out when the yarder was being set up. He told Wes he was “just watching,” but proceeded to take charge, giving orders and running the drum. Wes told him, “Okay. If you want to spend the day up here, that’s great.” David’s response was that it felt good to get back in there.
Wes is going strong and figures he still has some time left in the woods. “I’m probably going to be like my dad and stay out here till I shouldn’t be out here anymore. And if things keep going good, we might look at upgrading our equipment, instead of just rebuilding it.”
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