|COMMENT BY BILL MOORE|
THE FOREST AROUND US
“On monsters and malfunctions”
....There are people and machines in the forest around us ? by far the most interesting are the people — but the machines, those great yellow, red and green crawling, swinging, creaking giants are the subject matter herein .
....I’ve spent my life in a logging camp. I grew up on steam, was introduced to diesel at an early age and survived into this age of hydraulics, pushbutton and automatic shut off valves. I bought boiler tubes by the dozens and helped put them in 11 x 13 Willamette steam pots — a rotten rusty job. I’ve pulled swifters across a well stowed west coast boom of logs with a hand winch. And I’ve used a gilcrist jack.
....Now with an improbable know-ledge like this as a background I have a burning question that I would like to put to anyone who might care to answer.
....How is it that it takes a one hundred ton monster that costs nearly two hundred thousand dollars to load a three ton log that’s worth fifty dollars on to a block and a half of logging truck that costs durn near a hundred thousand dollars?
....I’m speaking of the west coast of B.C. And I’m not just speaking to the manufacturers of such monsters but to loggers like myself who said we needed such masses of iron. Some-where, something went wrong. Some-one compounded someone else’s mistake and came up with what is called by the manufacturer — “the loggers dream!” Some dream. Some nightmare.
....Sure these machines will lift half of B.C. if you let them. Yes, they’ve got superpower to burn. And the sure are easier on men’s muscles. But — and the big but — when the logger wakes up to his automatic log leaping goliath and finds that after a few years the replacement shafts for just about any-thing on it cost a thousand bucks apiece, and a replacement super engine costs more than you’ve got in the bank, then, my friendly logger, you’ve got a goliath by the tail and can’t let go.
....Do I over emphasize or make it sound as it really isn’t? I’ll bet there isn’t a log-ger who will disagree with the statement that we have priced ourselves to and beyond the limit in logging power! There’s more power going to waste in log loaders, log trucks and mobile spars today than is used.
....Now, that’s the statement, loggers. Come ahead and disagree.
....And as for you distributors and manufacturers — and many of you are good friends for years — here is your statement to answer back to. Why can’t you build a cheaper, smaller, more versatile, less replacement cos-ting, protected machine instead of the monuments to the automatic iron age you are selling today?
....What is so terribly wrong with the 10-10 Lawrence donkey with a T120 engine on it at five thousand dollars? What’s all the speed needed for in the haulback drum when you’ve got green chokerman stumbling around in the
brush for ten minutes trying to untangle the jet speed chokers?
....What looks more ridiculous than a hundred thousand dollar logging truck hauling four thousand board feet of broken ended logs? Or maybe you’ve never cried when that hundred ton loader loads a piece of smallwood six inches in diameter and twenty feet long.
....Now before you fellows start eating up these pages and wanting to get your hands on me, I repeat, I’m speaking to loggers and manufacturers. All of us, I think, somewhere along the line, have gone bonkers with this automated syn-drome. And I don’t think we can keep it up. To simply say of it’s progress or that it’s what the logger has asked for is mundane. Let’s say for a few min-utes that all of us could have been wrong on how to get the tree to market.
....There is a fairly established pattern of truck logging on the west coast today, whether it be sidehill or valley, com-posed of laid-out main roads, branch roads, landings, cherry pick-ings, log loading and truck hauling.
....Ideas may differ but fundamentals hold out for this established method. We fall and buck timber and still break a lot of wood. Sometimes it can’t be helped, but too often poor supervision leads to poor falling habits. And the fallers have been handed the best of logging auto-mation — the high-speed power saw — but falling costs go up.
....We .build .roads .and .do .not . pay
................................Continued page 10
British Columbia Lumberman, March, 1971
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......................................From page 8
enough attention to this particular phase of the operation.
My boiler tube guess is that this is the phase that needs the improvement
the most. Not just how good we build them, but in what we use to build
them with. We need cheaper rock work, highly skilled road building crews,
and something more simple than the Goldberg Grader that is a beauty to
behold but shakes to pieces after a couple of years.
enough Ford’s. And we’ve over- applied sheer iron dollars in are too hasty search for the ultimate weapon.
I’ve listened to really fine fellows tell me of the wonders of their manu-facturers newest iron dinosaur only to hear at a later date that the beast is out of production because it had a malfunction of the metatarsals.
....Why do we keep accepting this attitude that it’s all in the interests of progress? Whose progress ? some stockholder in Timbuktoo who owns fifty shares of Consolidated Monster Manufacturers Co.?
....Isn’t there a simpler way to harvest a poor lonely tree? How did we get away from the lovely five thousand dollar reality of those beautiful 10-10 gas donkeys and wind up with a hundred thousand dollar hydraulically engineered sophisticate that really doesn’t outperform the latter by a ratio of twenty to one?
....Where are the roadside chippers that these logging magazines have been talking about for lo these many years? Why can’t we advance in this direction and cease this handling and rehandling of logs? Why can’t there be a deep-think symposium of intelligent loggers and manufacturers who will throw
caution and cost-talk to the wind and come up with some really new ideas in wood removal?
....If ever a problem was more evident in these times of the new enlightenment it is this. The forest industry is going to price itself right out of existence if we don’t turn to some better, cheaper methods of harvesting the trees.
....And I don’t think we need a new dinosaur of steel to make things better. We need some bold men to stand up to the established methods of today ? men with mechanical knowledge that are not hamstrung with “old” 1965 ideas. We need some new concepts, not contraptions.
....Well, I came out of the forest around us to blow my top and I guess before you fellows catch up to me I’d better get back there. If you think I sound frustrated over the inadequacies of today’s magnificent marvels of mechanical monstrosities, you are right. I hate them. They’re so big and hard when I go to kick them. How about making them of rubber? Back to the forest.
.........................Keep out of the bight,