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Author Topic: How, when and why did you take the plunge  (Read 1380 times)

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Offline bigred1951

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How, when and why did you take the plunge
« on: January 08, 2014, 07:27:33 PM »
Well as some know i would love more then anything to start logging but. I work 5 days a week from 8 to 4 as a correctional officer. I get paid on the 15th and 30th every month and bring home around 700 a check after taxes and everything. Its got retirement and benefits but im not happy there. I feel like im a prisoner myself for 8 hours a day and i sit there and look outside and wish i was out there. At the moment i dont have the money or equipment to just quit and go to logging as much as id like to. So i guess im asking when why and how did you guys decide to go at yourself. Did you quit a regular job for it or just grow up in it and thats all you know. Im really hoping within a couple years to really start gathering equipment and start slowly logging until i can quit my day job

Offline Nemologger

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2014, 08:01:21 PM »
Hello Bigred,
Im a 3rd generation logger, ever since I was a little boy I knew I was going to log when I grew up. I did try working at a sawmill for a couple years about 1979. I finally told the boss I was going to die if I didn't get back in the woods and I quit. I don't know how people can work for others at all. I know I can't. I know guys that have worked jobs they hate for 40 years, only to say now...I wish I had done this or that when I was younger.
 
like they say....do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.

Good luck to you, I hope you find true happiness
Clean and Sober

Offline Mark Wentzell

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2014, 08:16:17 PM »
I'm in a similar situation as you are, except I'm a broke student. My hope is to maybe work out west for a few years then come back home and start small, maybe cut firewood or do pre commercial thinning for a while and then invest in a skidder or forwarder and go from there. I'm also licensed to do nuisance animal control so I might do some of that as well,


Offline Birchwood Logging

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2014, 08:44:26 PM »
My father had a old circle mill when I was a boy and in 89 he bought a wood mizer mill and a ford f600 truck and started sawing for people I helped him every evening and weekend we moved from Fleming co. Ky to perry co. Ky in 1991. Where I live now he got a track of timber off his brother 387 acer bought a 450b dozer and a 500 John deere backhoe. Started logging and sawing every thing we logged mostly poplar. Dad bought some dry kiln units and started drying and processing the wood we logged and sawed we done this for a few years and desided to just start buying our lumber already dried and leaned more towards the finishing side of it flooring molding and panaling. I went on to be mechanic for catapillar worked there for a while never really liked turning wrenches I got to know some guys in the excavating business and desided I wanted to work for my self doing excavating work. I got a good deal on a cat d5g dozer bought it and a old diamond reo dump truck and went to work doing house seats roads and dozer work. My dad retired and closed his wood shop he helped me some in my business I got a cat 232 b skid loader and a backhoe attachment to do septic systems with I done excavating work for about 5 years and the economy went all to peices around here no excavating work so I had to sell my dozer and kept my skid loader I done a few small pine logging jobs with my skid loader and old f600 seen there was some thing steady to do to make a little money at started looking into some timber tracks to log and got a good little track and went and bought me another dozer a old jd 550a and went to work logging full time that's been a year ago and still at it got some better equipment and trucks now but still a small scale operation and plan on keeping it that way. It takes a lot of planning and motivation to own and run your own business and not to mention very stress full but also rewarding I love what I do 
John Deere 700H with winch, John Deere 550A with winch, Cat 232 Skid Steer,Cat 262c Skid Steer, Wood Mizer Lt 40 super HD, Ford F-700 and F-600 log trucks, Ford F-450 dump truck

Offline bigred1951

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2014, 08:58:33 PM »
all i have is 2 stihl chain saws the 74 f600 dump truck and a 90 f350 4x4. I could probably do ok in firewood with that stuff splitting it by hand. But want to work my way up to getting a dozer or skidder and a log truck

Offline CX3

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2014, 09:05:28 PM »
Good post.

I graduated from Mizzou in 06 and quickly took on a high paying engineering job. It didn't take long for me to figure out that inside work was not for me. I bought a junk skidder in 09 and went full time. Been at it full time since then. I've not logged for long, but I love it. Couldn't really see myself working for someone else no matter what I was doing.

You can always get a regular job. You won't always be able to follow your dreams. Good luck.
John 3:16
You Better Believe It!

Offline Birchwood Logging

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2014, 09:14:47 PM »
all i have is 2 stihl chain saws the 74 f600 dump truck and a 90 f350 4x4. I could probably do ok in firewood with that stuff splitting it by hand. But want to work my way up to getting a dozer or skidder and a log truck
sounds like you got a good start you could do fire wood on the side take that money and save it to put towards a pice of equipment you could also haul gravel and house coal with your dump truck
John Deere 700H with winch, John Deere 550A with winch, Cat 232 Skid Steer,Cat 262c Skid Steer, Wood Mizer Lt 40 super HD, Ford F-700 and F-600 log trucks, Ford F-450 dump truck

Offline bigred1951

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2014, 09:24:22 PM »
that was my intentions for the dump truck when i got it back in the summer i just never advertised for it or nothing. Still gotta get the rad fixed has a tiny leak but i think i can solder it myself

Offline thenorthman

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 09:33:21 PM »
I'm still part timing the logging, but I started with just a broken old tractor and a wore out chain saw, its been a step up every job since.

Chain saw+cheap tractor and some chokers= better truck to haul firewood etc= lots of firewood sold=building my yarder=lots more wood moved from harder places=enough to buy the skidder=a metric [I have typed a profane word that is automatically changed by the forum censored words program I should know better] ton of more wood moved and no longer dicking with fire wood=the dump truck and going legal...

Now I make 2-3 times what I make at my straight job in 3 days vs 2 weeks, but I have bigger headaches, insurance, parts, permits, bigger jobs bring their own problems... plus trying to appear as professional as my broke ass can.  Things are probably just as hard as they where when I had to fight every log to get them moved, but now its more making the whole picture run smooth...

Anyway, I'm still working full time, for now, I could probably live off the logging even if it was still a few days a week, only problem is currently I don't have the work in front of me to give up the security of a full time job, with benefits and what not.  Logging full time would also have to cover medical insurance, some sort of retirement, etc.  All that is a matter of time though, for now I keep stumbling into work just about the time one job is finishing up, I get another one.  To go full time I would like to have 30 or more acres in front of me with more to look at on a regular basis.

So yeah I work 4-10's at a job that bores the hell out of me, then hit it hard in the brush for three days, but most of my equipment is payed off currently or will be soon.  Absolutely no reason you couldn't start the same way, just takes longer to build it from the bottom up.  Get yourself some hammered old dozer or tractor, nurse it along long enough to pay for a proper skidder and go like Hel. 

With all my other business related bills I managed to pay off the skidder in about 10 loads of logs, that was with paying another dude to help out, part time 2-3 days a week paid it off in about 3 months once I started working it.
well that didn't work

Offline treechopper40

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 09:50:42 PM »
well im a 3rd generation logger so its in my blood I guess worked for my dad and uncles growing up in the woods then when I got out of high school I went to work for a few different logging companys around the area and stayed with the last company almost 20 years started out as a hand cutter and quit as a timbco operator I ran skidder for 13yrs and got stuck in that timco and hated it did that for over 5 yrs I kept telling the boss put me back in a skidder he would say your cutting 10 loads a day in the timbco I need you in that so after me telling him quite a few times I wanted to skid wood again he said to me one day just coming into spring break up your getting a brand new timbco when you come back after break up I said no I think your wrong about that he said what do mean looking at me all confused I said im getting a used cable skidder he said your crazy I said I may be but im gona skid wood one way or another we all got laid off for spring break the next week on a Thursday I went to the shop that day after work took the fuel tank all the parts and tools and supplies I had in my truck for the timbco and unloaded it all at the companys shop came home got on craigs list and found a little case 300 skidder and a 1 ton chevy dump truck and went to the bank borrowed 8 grand and I was in the logging/firewood business got a woodlot and now 6yrs later 2 skidders a bigger truck a log loader and my son now is part of the business with me and I wouldn't trade it for the world and would definatly never work for anyone else again long story short you don't need a hundred grand to start and mostly do what you enjoy not what you have to do for a living good luck man
1979 c5d treefarmer 1966 c5b treefarmer prentice g model loader 2 6100 dolmars a 6400 dolmar and a 7910 dolmar 2012 ford f 250 4x4 with a service body and 2 golden retreivers

Online Southside

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 09:13:40 PM »
Well, as for the why, honest answer - we purchased a new piece of land that had nice wood on it, I had no intention of working in the woods,  and I was trying to find a contractor who would harvest it the way we wanted it done, and could not find anybody, so I decided to go back into the wood business just on our own lot.

The history is I had logged off and on part time for 15 or so years, with horses while working "normal" jobs, in a field related to the OP's.  A pretty serious work related injury taught me that the employer who I literally broke my back for did not give a rats a$$ about me when I could not produce numbers, so that was a wake up call, by 2004 I had built up a company that used wood waste products and earned me a heck of a lot more for my pulp than I could ever sell it for, and was doing well until 2008 when my butt got kicked along with the rest of the country.  Dug and clawed my way back up for a few years while working for others at the same time. 

Fast forward to our new place, talked with a ton of private foresters and nobody was interested in marketing any of my wood for a percentage as we were new to the area and I did not have any contacts - even had some say I could not harvest and sell it myself, got turned down by all the larger mills in the area and finally found one that would buy logs from me, a short time later I found a local mill that would buy pulp from me that I delivered using my pickup and a cheap, converted, old car hauler trailer.  Started with a 16" saw and 1972 farm tractor that did not have a flake of paint on it when I bought it, she looked like she had burned after being in the ocean for a year it was so ugly, needed a loader and set of forks I traded hay equipment for, then bought a cheap cable skidder (looked a bit better) and a second saw with the little money I was making - it was decent at the end of the week, but not good on an hourly basis by any means. 

After a year or so, and evolving the way I did things,  I would have neighbors and others pull into the driveway as they would see me bucking, loading, hauling off logs, and ask if I would cut on their small lots as nobody would.  So a couple small jobs later and the realization that as a one man show I was making money, but not profitable to where I would get ahead, coupled with the lack of desire to have employees again, I began to look at finding a way to go mechanized.  Traded up my cable for a grapple skidder, bought a gallon of paint from Lowes, and found a processor, needed some work, (waiting for the warm weather to get the paint on it) the owner would finance with a decent down payment, and now here I am.  My debit service for the business is light, and my mechanical knowledge has grown quite a bit as a result, (not sure that is the best path but it is mine) but now I can produce a heck of a lot more that before, and end up with a lot cleaner job, so I think I am on the right path.

Two words of wisdom I received from an older friend I trust a lot are to farm / log with "fixed up junk", and that behind every successful farmer (or in this case logger) is a wife with a good job in town, both are true.

Now it has not been a picnic by any means, and when the cash flow in is running behind the cash flow out, or the next item wears out, fails with a sudden loud bang, or shoots a liquid of some kind from a place there should never be a liquid, or one it should never leave,  and I know its dang expensive,  I usually wonder if it would be worth it to give up on it and found a town job where its somebody else's problem, but honestly even at the end of a bad day I am happier than a good day when working for somebody else. 

The way I see it now there is nobody limiting me on what I can earn, it is up to me to figure it out and find a way.  There are not a lot of guys getting into logging these days and to me that is an opportunity to find my own niche and turn it into what I want.   There are choices to make and going this route has meant we have done without other things more often than I would like, but I do believe down the road we will be much better off. 

For what it is worth tonight my wife told me about a guy who worked for her for a short time and was offered a better job he took about 6 months ago, he has been with the same employer for 30 years, today he called her and said his position was eliminated just like that and he is out the door, that is one thing I won't have to say.
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Offline Mark K

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Re: How, when and why did you take the plunge
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 10:06:07 PM »
I started with an old Belarus tractor and a farmi log winch in 2000. Was turning wrenchs full time for a local New Holland. Left turning wrenchs to go back to the farm around 05. Picked up more tracts of timber to make up my pay difference on the farm. Bought my first skidder. Stayed on the farm till 09 until logging started becoming more fulltime. Decided to give it a go. My skidder burned the second year out on my own. I bought a bigger one. Made a tremendous difference in production. Now I own two skidders, have a bunch of contracts plus all the wood I could want to cut for our local mill.
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