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Author Topic: yarder logging  (Read 6603 times)

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Offline n.w.log.cutr

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yarder logging
« on: January 09, 2014, 08:32:14 am »
 hey everyone this is my first post. I'm a timber Faller from North California. Iv had the idea in my head of purchasing a yarder or yoder. It is my dream to have my own one day I just can't seam to find much info on the initial start up. I have buddys that have Been doing it awhile and they seam to be pretty successful I love cuttin logs and don't think I will ever stop but I worked on several yarders in the past 6 years and everything about then just makes me smile.any of your guys have any advice on starting your item out fit? Anything helps thanks

Offline M_S_S

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 10:56:19 am »
N W Log, I been on this forum for a month or so, haven't seem much conversations about yarders. Most of the logging discussed here is back east, not sure if they use many yarders in that country. I think Northman is or has built a yarder. I am sure he will chime in here soon. He is in the PNW. I am not a logger, merely a woodrat lol. I could use a yarder now lol. I am clearing a piece of ground that is steep and *DanG rocky. Have to winch every tree at least 100 yards. Lol not making any money but getting plenty of exersize, which is good for a 68 year old man lol. ED
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Offline gologit

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2014, 06:25:47 pm »
hey everyone this is my first post. I'm a timber Faller from North California. Iv had the idea in my head of purchasing a yarder or yoder. It is my dream to have my own one day I just can't seam to find much info on the initial start up. I have buddys that have Been doing it awhile and they seam to be pretty successful I love cuttin logs and don't think I will ever stop but I worked on several yarders in the past 6 years and everything about then just makes me smile.any of your guys have any advice on starting your item out fit? Anything helps thanks

Have you actually worked on a yarder or just cut for one?  If you haven't been around yarders you might want to spend a season or two pulling rigging or chasing on the landing before you make up your mind about getting too excited about it.

If you live in northern California, unless you're bidding your own FS sales, you're going to be logging for SPI.  At their rates.  Period. Even if you're doing FS work you still have to sell the logs to somebody.  Again...SPI.  At their price. You'd better know your costs right to the penny before you start because there's not much margin.

Buying a yarder is easy...and there's a reason for that.  You can find yarders in just about every equipment yard from Chico to Eugene.  They're sitting there because somebody couldn't or didn't make money with them.

I don't want to rain on your parade but a yarder, if you've never really run a yarder show, is a big gamble. Your start up costs will be high.  You'll need a shovel for clearing the chute and to sort the deck and load trucks. Extra rigging and parts, transport costs in and out of the woods, and normal maintenance costs are steep. You'll need a crummy and tools and a welder and a fire trailer...the list goes on. Workman's Comp for a yarder crew is one of the highest there is.
 You have to have a crew who know what they're doing.  Your hook-tender and your yarder operator are the key to that. You better have a good man on the shovel, too. You have to pay good men good wages to keep them.You might get by with a green rigging crew until they learn but if you don't have experienced key people where it counts you're not going to pull enough logs to make it pay.

  You also have to have enough work to keep a good crew going.  Nobody expects stability in this business but if your crew isn't working steady enough to have a decent income and there's no difference in sight they'll leave you.

Like I said, I don't mean to discourage you but if you want to get into this business there are things you need to know before hand.  And, no I've never had my own yarder but I've spent a lot of time cutting for them and listening to the owners and crew talk about what it takes to make it. I've seen the same things over and over for almost fifty years.
Semi-retired...life is good.

Offline thenorthman

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 09:30:52 pm »
Gologit is absolutely correct, you may be able to find a used yarder for as little as 20k, but then you have to feed it, and a yarder that cheap is going to need a lot of work, metal fatigue was invented for yarders.  In reality plan on spending closer to 100k or considerably more.  And that is just for the yarder, another 50k for a shovel that needs work, or 100k for one that works kinda...  Now you can start logging, but you need 2 cutters minimum, rigging slinger, chaser, yarder engineer, shovel op, hook tender and probably a choker setter.  Thats a crew of 7 minimum more likely 8-9 including mechanic, now every one of these guys is going to want around $20 hr, plus 20 for L+I, plus 100 gallons of diesel a day, and don't forget benefits, that means right around $500+ an hour in cost alone, or $4000 a day before the first log moves down the hill.  Note this does not include stumpage, if prices are similar to here figure on 4 loads a day just to break even... maybe but don't count on it.

Granted there are cheaper options, like the koller yarders you only need a crew of 3-4 to run em, but you still need a shovel, and they aren't big enough to pull big timber at anything remotely considered productive, they are great for thinning and short ground, but you start stretching out 2-3000 feet of mainline and they start falling short.

Same goes for a yoder, which is probably your best option although your talking 200k or more for one that is ready to work, but at least then you only have the one piece of equipment.

For any of these pieces of equipment figure on a huge monthly payment 1-2k is not unheard of, and also your going to need a lake of fuel to keep everything moving.

What I would do and what I am doing, is start small, get a skidder or a more likely a grapple cat, find some short ground to work and save your pennies, work your way into those "lucrative" yarder jobs.  There is money to be made in the woods but you can't just jump in and start sending timber down the hill, they call it green gold on TV, but you need more than a ten dollar tin pan and a pick to make it go.

Oh and those fancy electronic chokers... a set of 6 was being sold awhile back for $6000. with the controller

Last but not least, the three people most important for a yarder crew in my opinion are the hook tender, the engineer, and the slinger, all three of these folks need to have a *DanG good idea as to what is going on and with the exact piece of equipment you plan on running to even  stand a chance.  Everyone else can learn on the job (well the cutters need to know whats going on... but you can contract that out).  The safety of everyone is at stake between those three dudes.
well that didn't work

Offline kderby

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2014, 11:56:49 pm »
Wow, some West Coast guys!

Nothing against the Easterners, Southerners, Middlers, Texans or Yoopers (like the Boss) :new_year:.  Just fun to see some Westies now and again.

I've never had a Yarder or worked under one.  Regardless, hello from the middle of Oregon.

Kderby

Offline mad murdock

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 01:46:11 am »
Gologit and Northman are right on the money!! I have never worked with a yarder crew, but I have spent plenty of time in the woods working with a different kind of yarder as a helicopter mechanic. To move into certain sectors of logging requires a lot of $$ or a lot of years of experience, and most times a little of both. Northman has some good advice, start small, work smart, learn along the way, and if a yarder or a yoder is in yer future, you'll figure a way to make it happen, but unless you have the $$ (prolly a good pile of it) to buy your experience, you just won't jump right into that game and swim for long.
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Offline n.w.log.cutr

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 08:22:55 am »
I greatly appreciate the responses you guys are quick to chime in. Too answer your questions yes I worked under for yarders in the last six years.I started chaseing setting chokers pulled riggin and was learning to tend hook ask in my first year. I tended hook for the next five years mostly under a big Washington 188 but worked under a diamond blm thinning up in Eugenefor about a year I have ran yarders shovels cats and everything else not a pro by all means.basically I wouldn't even think about asking a question like this if I had never worked on a yarder before sorry I should have gave more detail Jeep I'm mind guys I'm only 25 I have been cutting for 3 years now this is my first year contracting and I'm employing one cutter so I'm  an idea about the comp and it ain't cheap!! Can only imagine what a whole rigging crew would cost me ha ha any more info would be good guys.by the way me and my partner are cutting for a yarder out of Glen

Offline n.w.log.cutr

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 08:27:54 am »
Stupid phone. I mean to say were cutting for a yarder out if Glendale Oregon in that burn is anyone what else working up there just curious. I wanted to say as well I'm very young but I have a passion for logging it's the strongest drug iv ever done and it is so addicting. I have a dream and one day it will come True. All I can do in the mean time is make sure I'm 100 percent ready and knowledgeable when the time comes thanks again guys

Offline gologit

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2014, 09:18:20 am »
I greatly appreciate the responses you guys are quick to chime in. Too answer your questions yes I worked under for yarders in the last six years.I started chaseing setting chokers pulled riggin and was learning to tend hook ask in my first year. I tended hook for the next five years mostly under a big Washington 188 but worked under a diamond blm thinning up in Eugenefor about a year I have ran yarders shovels cats and everything else not a pro by all means.basically I wouldn't even think about asking a question like this if I had never worked on a yarder before sorry I should have gave more detail Jeep I'm mind guys I'm only 25 I have been cutting for 3 years now this is my first year contracting and I'm employing one cutter so I'm  an idea about the comp and it ain't cheap!! Can only imagine what a whole rigging crew would cost me ha ha any more info would be good guys.by the way me and my partner are cutting for a yarder out of Glen

It sounds like you got promoted pretty fast.  Most guys don't make hooktender until they've been in the rigging for a few years.
I don't know much about yarders but they're interesting to work around.
How did you like that 188?  I cut for one of those a few years back and it was a real puller. Were you running a carriage on it or just butt rigging? How big of a main line and did you stretch out quite a ways with it?  Did you have any problem with tail holds or did you have a piece of big yellow iron to anchor to?
How long would it usually take when you had to break down and move to a new side? 
Sorry for all the questions but I never really had a chance to find this stuff out when I was cutting. We were usually a unit ahead and  busy just trying to stay ahead of that machine.
Semi-retired...life is good.

Offline thenorthman

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2014, 12:20:23 pm »
another expense to think about, especially with older yarders, is the rigging.  Last time I checked 1" overhead rated was something like $6. a foot, and your going to need 2-5000 feet of that just for the mainline, don't forget the haulback, another 4000 feet or so, and then the guy lines some wheres around 5-600' or more, and then chokers, and a motorized carriage with a sticker price of 40k

and osha likes to make sure everything is spanking new... so every couple of few years you're going to need to replace all that line...

I wish ya luck, I truly do, loads of loggers have met their fate going whole hog.  Most of them ended in financial ruin.

You may be able to contact SPI and work a contract with them, not sure about that, back east its fairly common for the mill to carry the loan on equipment.  Here in Warshington its hard to even get the mills to answer the phone unless they recognize your number.  Although I did talk to an SPI mill out of burlington about a job north of me, buyer seemed like a nice dude.  Just remember the mills control the purse strings, and just cause you owe them money doesn't mean they owe you work, they can always reposes that equipment and sell it to some other starry eyed dreamer.
well that didn't work

Offline gologit

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 03:14:51 pm »
One more thing to think about if you're going logging with high ticket machinery...find a friendly bank and get a line of credit.  A good accountant who understands logging and who  knows taxes is also a good idea. Figure out what your operating costs are and figure it out quick.  Pay particular attention to your taxes.  A bank might string along with you for a while if things get tight but the government wants their money right on time.

And, as long as we're raining on your parade anyway...make sure somebody on the crew can wrench and weld.  Especially weld. If you have to shut down for even half a day to wait for a mechanic or a welder from town you'll never make that money back.  Some times that half a day's income might be your only profit.
 Be prepared for some all night maintenance marathons.  You might lose some sleep but you won't lose any production time.   For the first few years, maybe longer, if you're not putting in more hours than your hired help you're probably slacking off when you shouldn't be.
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Offline gologit

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 03:27:18 pm »




You may be able to contact SPI and work a contract with them, not sure about that, back east its fairly common for the mill to carry the loan on equipment.  Here in Warshington its hard to even get the mills to answer the phone unless they recognize your number.  Although I did talk to an SPI mill out of burlington about a job north of me, buyer seemed like a nice dude.  Just remember the mills control the purse strings, and just cause you owe them money doesn't mean they owe you work, they can always reposes that equipment and sell it to some other starry eyed dreamer.

I'd be kind of leery about having SPI or any other timber company being the bankroll for me.  A guy might do it to get started but, for all the reasons you listed, it's not a good idea and you could get trapped real easy into massive debt. Plus the fact that if you owed them money or their name was on the papers you'd pretty much have to log when and where they wanted for whatever they decided to pay.  There's enough of that going on already.
I don't know if they'll actually finance a guy, at least not down here.  I've heard stories but they're just stories and they don't bear repeating. 
Semi-retired...life is good.

Offline treeslayer2003

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2014, 05:22:44 pm »
+1 on that Bob. I know nothing bout y'all's side but I do know guys that belong to a mill. glad I don't belong to one.

Offline stumphugger

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2014, 10:45:06 pm »
It's hard to run just butt rigging in a thinning.  Rigging crews are spoiled now and want to work with motorized carriages.  Those things tend to break down more than the yarder.

I've worked around quite a few gypo outfits.  Some made a living and some were terrible.  The only one that didn't seem to have problems with guys not showing up was a big company that paid well and had benefits.  The small operators were left to hire the guys that the big outfits didn't want or had fired--for good reason.  You have to pay well to get good dependable help.  I don't know how many times I went out and they were "short handed" because ol' Joey went on a drinking binge all weekend, got thrown in jail, and later has to go to court.  One time I felt so sorry for the guy down in the brush, I ended up setting chokers with him for a morning.  They weren't making much in the way of production that day.

One guy, who had dependable employees, was thinking about getting out of the yarder business and only running skidders, because of the cost of the insurance. 

That's all I know.  I love the sound of the whistles, the swooshing of the lines and figuring out how to get to that far corner. 

Can you climb? 


Offline thenorthman

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2014, 10:52:20 pm »
I've often wondered why there wasn't an emergency back up rigging crew, couple few guys in any particular county, that don't need full time employment, if joey or drunk bob don't show up you could just call...

there's someone drunk

on your rigging crew

who ya gonna call

Stump Busters!

any way its not a terrible idea...
well that didn't work

Offline stumphugger

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2014, 11:25:08 pm »
I actually kind of thought about doing that--having a list of temps.  The temp agency used to be to stand with calks and gear by the Mt Adams Cafe in the wee hours of the morning.  If a crew was short handed, they'd stop and pick somebody up.  Think day laborer.  That doesn't happen anymore what with very little logging going on in the National Forest. 

Offline stumphugger

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2014, 12:03:26 am »







Offline gologit

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Offline 1270d

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2014, 08:52:47 am »
How far do you move on tires like that?  Furthest I've ever gone is across a two lane road, and it looks like those boys are on a road trip.

Offline stumphugger

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Re: yarder logging
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2014, 09:22:03 am »
They moved it about a mile.  Again, I came upon that crew on a "shorthanded" day.
They were moving it with only 2 people.  They'd get in, set the direction and throttle jump out, and let the yarder move itself while the two guys--hooktender and gypo moved tires.  Crazy, yes.

I felt sorry for them and  I hopped out and started moving tires.  It wasn't the busiest time of year on that road, but people still could drive fast and the self moving yarder wasn't the safest thing. ::)

The hooktender got in the machine and better speed was made.  So, I can say it is definitely an aerobic exercise.  Two fallers came down on their way home and kicked me off tire moving and took over. 

This was a small outfit and he had to hire a lowboy truck and driver when he wanted to move a long distance.  Since those are far away, it was cheaper for them to move using the tire relay on the paved roads.