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Author Topic: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.  (Read 2163 times)

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Offline ckprivette

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One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« on: August 24, 2014, 04:40:19 PM »
I've been logging alone in my spare time, off on on for a few years. I love the work, but I've never been a master of efficiency. I just do the best I can with the equipment I have and hope for the best. However, the older I get the more I believe in working smarter instead of harder. I'm looking for tips to improve my efficiency, and I imagine there are plenty of great ideas out there for easier small-scale logging that I've never learned or thought of, so I appeal to the wisdom of you all. I'll describe my "operation" for you. If you can help, please do.

I cut mostly poplar because it pays the most around here in western NC. My saw is a Husky 346. I fell the trees mostly in the direction they want to go, but if I need to encourage them to fall a certain way, I climb an extension ladder, wrap a strap around the tree, and pull it with any combination of 2 logging chains and a 50' logging cable. I hook this "chain" to a scrape blade behind my MF240 tractor. I also have wedges that I can pound into the saw cut.
Once the trees are down, I cut them up into lengths of 8-16 feet, being careful to minimize the number of knots in each log- as suggested by my local mill. Then I drag the logs to the loading area with the above mentioned chains and tractor.

I load the logs with the front-end loader of a Ford 3000 tractor. I load the logs onto a flatbed trailer that I pull to the mill with a pickup. i secure the logs with chains and binders. I usually haul between 7-10 logs at a time, depending on the size. (around 8000 pounds.) I can usually drop the logs where I want them on the trailer, but I have a cant hook if I need it. Round trip to the mill and back is about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Issues/delays I run into:

1. the time it takes to rig up my tree-pulling system for trees leaning the wrong way.
2. hitting the ground with my saw as I cut through the bottom of a log. 
3. trouble getting the logging chain under the logs on the ground so I can drag them.
4. time in clearing brush and cutting up firewood from tops of trees. 
5. my loading tractor spins a bit when the ground is the least bit wet. I have weight on the back, but some of these logs are heavy and pull up enough on the tractor's rear end to rob traction.


Thanks for checking this out, y'all. If you see anything I can improve on, I love to hear it.


Board feet of thanks!
Happy cuttin',

chris

The Lord is my shepherd, and oh my, do I ever need a shepherd!

Offline luvmexfood

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2014, 05:12:38 PM »
Chris,

I do pretty much similiar to you but I don't have a tractor with a loader. I put a log taller than the bed of the trailer crossways directly behind it. Then I use a boom pole to pick up one end, wrap a small chain around it and use a winch mounted on the tongue of the trailer to pull onto the trailer. Your way would be faster.

Getting a chain under the log can be difficult. I sometimes have a cable choker to use till I ruin one with logs sometimes rolling. You can carry a small garden spade but it's one more thing to carry.

I did put a piece of rope on my drawbar pin so I can set on the tractor and pull the pin without having to get off the tractor. Climbing off and on is a real pain.

As far as hitting the ground bucking if you have any clearance under the log but a couple of limbs under it. Helps with getting a chain under it to. Sometimes if it can't be gotten off the ground a little I will cut about 2/3rds and after I start to skid try to roll it (or push with a blade) a little so that the uncut side gets on top. I have also used the boom pole with a set of tongs to lift slightly on the log and stick something under it.

Hope any of this helps.
Give me a new saw chain and I can find you a rock in a heartbeat.

Offline Ohio_Bill

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2014, 05:25:46 PM »
First of all let me say your 346 is my favorite saw . I use mine all the time and tend to use it when a bigger saw would be more appropriate . Sounds like a class in directional falling would be a great help to you . If there is a Game of Logging origination near I would consider  taking there classes . They teach open face notch which has many positive attributes . Im sure there are examples on Youtube  if a search for Game of logging is done .
Bill
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Offline CCC4

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2014, 05:55:51 PM »
Well posted! You seem like you actually would like to improve your logging. I am gonna try and answer just as you did your questions, 1-5. First of all, about all you listed are things that with time and experience you will over-come and start shaving time and wasted energy.

1) Unless you are doing residential...ditch the rigging. If you have a lead set and you have a straggler that you can't turn or fall opposite but not crossing your lay...just leave it. Get all your cut timber out then go back and fall your straggler. Rigging while production cutting is a waste of time if you don't have high value targets to miss.

2) When bucking, try using a wedge, it can help keep the log suspended and keep you from pinching. Also, you can make a very thin pie wedge while bucking and then you have a better idea of where the ground is. Again....this will come with time.

3) Cut a 2 or 3 inch sappling or piece of a limb, lay the limb down and fall you tree across it. Maybe try standard chokers or if you are skidding singles...log tongs maybe??? I never liked log tongs...but they have been around over 100 years so someone must have had good luck, IDK.

4) Pullyour tops out and save a day a week to process your firewodd and melt your tops...don't try and do it along with your actual logging....it just won't work in a timely fashion.

5) Chains or fluid maybe???

Good luck, be careful what classes you take, experience is where it is at.


Offline Ohio_Bill

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2014, 08:50:33 PM »


Hope this works . From Progressive Farmer
Bill
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Offline ozarkgem

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2014, 09:07:00 PM »
I don't try and make the tree fall where it doesn't want to go. I put a limb or cut a small tree for it to fall on and keep it off the ground. Most of the time you can get a choker under it.  As stated use a wedge when bucking. With a little practice you can cut through and not hit the ground. You will get the feel of the tip of the saw. I carry a set of tongs with me and use them sometimes when it thick briers or water and don't want to get into it. I have about the same operation you have. A skidsteer is a real time saver but also a good outlay of cash.
Mighty Mite Band Mill, Case Backhoe, 763 Bobcat, Ford 3400 w/FEL , 1962 Ford 4000, Int dump truck, Clark forklift, lots of trailers. Stihl 046 Magnum, 029 Stihl. complete machine shop to keep everything going.

Offline cutterboy

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2014, 09:16:13 PM »
Hi Chris. Like you, I am a one man show.
Hitting the ground with the saw cutting through the bottom of the log is something we all have done many times, and there always seems to be a rock there. :D First thing I do after the tree is down is to cut the top off so to release tension on the trunk. Then I mark the trunk where I want to cut it. Then look for the easiest cut...the end of the trunk might be up in the air, or the trunk might be laying over a hollow where you can get your saw under it if you need to. Once that is done, start your other cuts. Cut into the trunk till the cut starts to close and pull your saw out. Then with your cant hook roll the trunk over till the bottom is up and finish the cut from that side.

If you can't get a chain under a log lay the chain on the ground with the end next to the log with 3 or 4 feet of the chain stretched out away from it. Then, with your cant hook, roll the log on top of the chain. Now the chain is under the log.
These are just a couple of ideas that I use. Good Luck,   Cutter

Offline thecfarm

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2014, 09:20:19 PM »
A 3pt winch would help speed things up. But they are on the pricey side,but they last for years and years.
I also put limbs under the tree too. I put a few smaller trees down first,where the butt will fall, than cut the tree.
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Offline thenorthman

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2014, 10:15:49 PM »
Issues/delays I run into:
1. the time it takes to rig up my tree-pulling system for trees leaning the wrong way.
2. hitting the ground with my saw as I cut through the bottom of a log. 
3. trouble getting the logging chain under the logs on the ground so I can drag them.
4. time in clearing brush and cutting up firewood from tops of trees. 
5. my loading tractor spins a bit when the ground is the least bit wet. I have weight on the back, but some of these logs are heavy and pull up enough on the tractor's rear end to rob traction.
1: Get a jack 20 ton or better, quicker and safer then a ladder, build a plate for the ram side, cut a notch in yer stump have at it, just remember to back it up with a wedge (youtube it). Like ccc4 said, unless its next to a high value target, ya don't really need a line in it.

2: learn to slow down a bit when you get close to the bottom, and then start using the tip a bit and dust it
until the chips change color or leave a tiny little sliver and break it clean while skidding.

3: Seen some folks use a hook type thing, cram it under the log, hook the chain drag the chain through, or get some cable chokers... and stop worrying about it.

4:meh, yard the firewood to a pile deal with it some other day, the logs are where the money is at, the Hel with firewood... or pay some eager but less then flush family member/friend to deal with the fire wood, or he/she could then turn around and sell it them selfs, either way, my opinion fire wood is a big time kill and is to be avoided...

5: chains, calcium/beet juice or break down and get a skidding winch, which will improve your time all by itself, or go whole hog and find an old skidder.  the third option is to hang a snatch block in a stout tree and use it to get some lift on the logs, can be useful if you have some soft spots or steep ish ground to work around, works better if you have 150-200' of cable though.

You could also get enough logs to warrant calling a log truck, probably saving yourself a day or more to get some more logging done. Not to mention wear and tear on your truck.

Like some others have said, learn to directionaly fall timber, its safer, faster and generally leaves better logs. There are some benefits for the GOL classes, however they tend to have set in stone rules about falling... and nothing is set in stone...

anyway best of luck to ya.
well that didn't work

Offline ckprivette

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2014, 08:32:00 AM »
thank you for all the advice, y'all! The hardest piece for me to follow is leaving the brush and firewood for another day, as I try not to leave a mess where I've been working. But, you're right, it is a time killer, so I must suppress this OCD in me. I'd LOOOOOVE to have a 3 pt winch, but alas, I should probably feed the family and pay for electricity first. Maybe. I don't know. I guess. Well.....

Back to the woods, now. It is labor day, after all.

chris 
The Lord is my shepherd, and oh my, do I ever need a shepherd!

Offline John Mc

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2014, 01:50:59 PM »
One of the bigger timesavers you might want to look in to is learning directional felling. Being able to drop a tree in some direction other than that in which it "wants" to fall can save you a lot of time and hassle -- especially if you can do it without the rigging you are doing now. You can overcome a lot of lean in the "wrong" direction by using appropriate cutting techniques, and a wedge (or sometimes a couple of wedges, or wedges plus cookies cut for shims).

I don't see a Game of Logging training organization in your area. If you are ever in an area that has some of these courses, you might want to look into it.  There is another person who travels around - I think including areas in your neck of the woods - who teaches similar techniques. I just can remember the name of his organization right now.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline luvmexfood

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2014, 07:37:14 PM »
One other suggestion from what I experienced yesterday. I have been logging with an older Stihl 029 with an 18 inch bar. It has been giving me problems off and on and sometimes I would lose a couple days cutting getting it going.

Purchased an Echo 590 last week with a 20inch bar. Good saw but the moral of my story if I had this saw a year ago I would probably of had 1/4 or more timber on the ground. Instead of slowly cutting, hacking etc. if your cutting logs of any size get enough saw to do the job. Cut a bigger hard maple today with a very heavy lean. Plunge cut the middle etc. If it had been the old Stihl it would have been a barber chair for sure. With the echo I was able to cut through fast enough to prevent.
Give me a new saw chain and I can find you a rock in a heartbeat.

Offline kjp

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2014, 08:54:11 PM »
I to am a one, sometimes two man show. While falling a tree where it wants to fall saves time up front it can really bite you later in the day when trying skid them out. I try lay all the trees away from the direction of my skid.  Though I cant say I ever cable and pull trees in the woods I do a lot of tree work and can say that spurs are faster and far safer than a ladder. If a winch isn't in the budget its completely understandable but I will say I can not imagine logging without one.
I have found that tops are not worth my time but most jobs I get, the owner usually wants them out of the woods. If your tractor will swing it pull the tree out top and all. I try and keep a top pile close to and before my log pile. Limb it in the woods, top it by the pile, finish your skid then push the top in the pile on the way back through. Then if you find it worth while to cut them they are close to your landing, although now in a tangled up mess. Not sure if you cut one tree at a time and pull them but I try to put at least what I can pull out in a day on the ground before I start skidding them. This way there is less wasted motion and less equipment idle time. Others pretty much summed up about keeping the chain out of the dirt, but one note is the chain you are running. You probably have .325? I converted my 2253 to 3/8 and while you certainly cant pound the ground with it all day it does take a little more abuse.
choker chains with rods on the ends to push under the tree saves a lot of time. They usually come straight, put a bend in them and it will help a lot also.
I hope this helps. everyone and every situation Is certainly different but this all seems to work the best for me.

Offline luvmexfood

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2014, 09:19:22 PM »
Every situation is different but as much as I can I try and cut the trees so most limbs land in a pile. Not a "lay" as in production cutting but I am logging to also make additional pasture if I can.

Yes, it slows things but you have to look at the big picture. It's one way I can justify getting the logs for free. Since I am skidding with a tractor sometimes I need to remove the just cut log so as not to cover it up. I can either skid immediately or move over some and cut another and then skid, go back and then cut more.

One problem I have been having lately is the steers that are on pasture see me going in and here they come. Just have to move some and cut a tree and then wait till they come in for the leaves and then go back. One thing about it. If you are going to have to move some brush if they come in to that tree and you can wait your job is twice as easy. They have plenty of grass but they enjoy the leaves sometimes. Have seen them strip a tree in just a short while but somedays they won't have nothing to do with them.

What works in one situation for one person may not work for another.
Give me a new saw chain and I can find you a rock in a heartbeat.

Offline chester_tree _farmah

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2014, 01:55:32 PM »
Every situation is different but as much as I can I try and cut the trees so most limbs land in a pile. Not a "lay" as in production cutting but I am logging to also make additional pasture if I can.

Yes, it slows things but you have to look at the big picture. It's one way I can justify getting the logs for free. Since I am skidding with a tractor sometimes I need to remove the just cut log so as not to cover it up. I can either skid immediately or move over some and cut another and then skid, go back and then cut more.

One problem I have been having lately is the steers that are on pasture see me going in and here they come. Just have to move some and cut a tree and then wait till they come in for the leaves and then go back. One thing about it. If you are going to have to move some brush if they come in to that tree and you can wait your job is twice as easy. They have plenty of grass but they enjoy the leaves sometimes. Have seen them strip a tree in just a short while but somedays they won't have nothing to do with them.

What works in one situation for one person may not work for another.


That is interesting. So u haven't noticed a dislike by tree type? They break down the limbs at all?
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Offline Joat

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2014, 03:54:23 PM »
ladder and ?

might take a lesson from the big ship guys   ... bow and arrow tied to a light cord , shoot up over a tall branch ,, remove arrow , tie the heavier unit to the end and pull back up ... cinch unit around the back of  the trunk and tie off to another tree base ... apply tension as needed ....

I've used RC helicopters and a fishing rod to string Christmas tree lights this way ... ( way quicker than using ladders )


a piece of 3/8" threaded rod , bent into a banana shape ( with a small hook/loop on the lend) to be pushed under the downed trunk  ( and to pull the chain under along with it later )

before felling more trees after the first , cut up some long pieces of the firewood ( from the first ) and lay them across where you're dropping the next   ( should raise the trunks off the ground enough to stop a lot of the ground to chain contact )


 
just starting my second childhood.

Offline Ed_K

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2014, 04:55:50 PM »
 CTF whatever you do, DON'T let them eat any cherry leaves. It'll kill them in short order.
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Offline luvmexfood

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2014, 06:26:28 PM »
They seem to prefer oak. They will break down some smaller twigs but get a lot of the foliage out of your way so you can see the trunk better and if you have to move some branches of course with no leaves it is less weight.

I have seen them come in and stand shoulder to shoulder around a tree just like at a feed lot trough.

Like Ed_K said don't let them eat wild cherry leaves that are wilted. They can stand and pick them off a tree green and it's ok. Once they wilt and the cattle eat them they soon wilt.
Give me a new saw chain and I can find you a rock in a heartbeat.

Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2014, 07:06:30 PM »
CTF whatever you do, DON'T let them eat any cherry leaves. It'll kill them in short order.
Alot of people are forced to learn that one the hard way. A neighbor was thinking he was doing good feeding some fresh brush to this guys elk,someone my parent's know, killed a bunch of them on the spot. Sign said "do not feed", the bill was around 75k I heard.

Offline luvmexfood

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Re: One-man crew looking to be more efficient.
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2014, 09:59:21 PM »
Just remembered after cutting some today. Sometimes trees are justined to fall so that the brush creates a funnel right in front of one of my deerstands. Actually I havent deer hunted in a few years but with the price of beef in the store this year may see my return. Don't know if you ever had it canned but that is the way to go.  fudd-smiley
Give me a new saw chain and I can find you a rock in a heartbeat.


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