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TimberPro, Timberline Prove Good Combination

Tree-length logger operates in Black Hills with Timberline DL3800 and TimberPro 620-E

By Diane Calabrese
Date Posted: 2/1/2005

SUNDANCE, Wyoming — The prototype Timberline DL3800 delimber is on the road again.

        As last reported in TimberLine, a prototype of the DL3800 was working in western Colorado, where J.C. Lowman was putting it through paces.

        The same Timberline DL3800 delimber is now being given a workout in the Black Hills National Forest by Shamion Forestry Inc., which is owned by Gary Shamion.

        Several months before Gary put the Timberline DL3800 to work, he purchased a TimberPro 620-E. As a result, he now has two machines in service that are known for their compact design and construction yet the ability to work in big timber.

        With the Timberline DL3800 and the TimberPro 620-E, Shamion Forestry can fell and delimb at maximum speed in stands dominated by ponderosa pine, which have lots of limbs and considerable mass.

        Gary has a long history with delimbers from Timberline, so he was happy to trial the newest machine in the line, the DL3800. In fact, before taking the machine for a few months, he talked with J.C. and he liked what he heard. He took one more step before delivery. “I went down (to Colorado) and looked at this machine on their job,” said Gary. After giving the machine a trial, he decided to buy it.

        Timberline is an Oldenburg Group Co., headquartered in Kingsford, Mich. TimberPro LLC is headquartered in Shawano, Wis.

        Timberline and TimberPro share a bit of business philosophy. The manufacturers solicit feedback from experienced operators and design and build what they learn into the equipment.

        As it happens, when Gary had his first introduction to logging, it was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He has been in business at his Wyoming base since 1987.

        “We’re doing whole tree logging,” said Gary. Most of it is done in the Black Hills National Forest, which spans western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming.

        When Gary talked with TimberLine in early January, he had been using the DL3800 for almost 500 hours. He got the machine through DDI Equipment in Grand Junction, Colo.

        Becoming part of the beta-testing chain for the prototype Timberline DL3800 interested Gary. He knows Dave Daniels from Timberline well because Dave lives in nearby South Dakota.  Moreover, he knows Timberline well because he first used delimbers from the manufacturer in 1993.

        Twelve years ago, Gary bought an ST 3515 delimber from Timberline, which he liked. “The quality and the service,” he said, kept him committed to delimbers from Timberline.

        During one period in the late 1990s, however, Gary did not use a delimber because he had changed to cut-to-length logging. Now, however, he is back to tree length logging, and he finds the DL3800 a good fit for Shamion Forestry.

        “The trend is whole tree,” said Gary. Mills that he works for specify the requirements, he explained. Shamion Forestry works for Devils Tower Forest Products in Hulett, Wyo. and Rushmore Forest Products in Hill City, South Dakota.

        Ponderosa pine predominates where Shamion Forestry works. There is also a little spruce, but not much.

        “The DL3800 has quite a bit more speed and it is good in limby wood,” said Gary. Because ponderosa pine has a lot of big limbs, the DL3800 is a good application for him and performs well.

        The minimum size tree Shamion Forestry fells is 9 inches in diameter at breast height (dbh). Most trees are much larger. When ponderosa pine reaches 23 to 24 inches dbh, the felled trees are extremely heavy. A Husqvarna chain saw is used to remove unusually large limbs.

        “I cut, skid, process, deliver,” said Gary, summing up the range of activities of Shamion Forestry. He subcontracts for hauling and has three trucks working for him at a given time.

        Shamion Forestry consists of a four-man crew. Gary operates the TimberPro 620-E, which is eight months old. It is equipped with a Timbco felling head that uses a 33-inch bar saw; the TimberPro 620-E is unique because it is the only rubber-tired carrier that can handle this type of felling head. A Timberjack 460 grapple skidder and a CAT 518 grapple skidder move the felled trees to a landing where the DL3800 delimber is deployed.

        The TimberPro 620-E gets high marks from Gary. “It’s been a real good machine,” he said, and he singled out its “speed and quickness.” What got him interested in the TimberPro was one thing: it is a rubber-tired machine. Gary wanted to get away from track machines.

        “TimberPro is light on the ground,” said Gary. “If you’ve got scattered timber, it moves easily.” In many areas, he explained, there is quite a distance between felling sites. The TimberPro maneuvers quickly through the woods and also minimizes soil compaction.

        The six-wheeled TimberPro 620-E features a heavy-duty, steel-casted center section and wide-swing (nearly 90-degree) articulation. Although compact, the TimberPro 620-E can support heavy-duty harvesting attachments, such as a LogMax dangle head, a Risley II control-fell head, or a Quadco disc saw. The TimberPro 620-E also features a hydraulic leveling system.

        Gary uses EcoTracs on his rubber-tired machines all year. The TimberPro 620-E with EcoTracs easily negotiates terrain in two or three feet of snow, said Gary. ‘Sugar snow,’ which is dry and powder-like, is more of a challenge, he said. The TimberPro 620-E is called on to traverse rough, rocky substrates in the mountains and outcrops of the Black Hills National Forest.

        Joe Cailotto, one of Gary’s employees, operates the Timberline DL3800, and he has been pleased with the machine’s performance. Joe ran the first Timberline delimber Gary owned for nine years. When Joe first got into the DL3800, there was a learning curve, of course, because “each machine is a little different,” Gary noted.

        Joe immediately noticed the roomier cab in the DL3800 and the improved ergonomics. The enhanced visibility from the cab of the DL3800 enables the operator to easily look behind and under. Day in and day out, the configuration reduces the need for stretching and reaching, easing wear on muscles and joints. The scope of what the operator can see from the cab also improves safety; the more visible range an operator has, the better.

        Gary was not surprised by the positive feedback he has received from Joe. “A lot of it, they already knew what they were doing,” he explained, regarding the way Timberline designed the DL3800. They took features “already proven on older models” or predecessors of the big delimber and incorporated them.

        Timberline used its model ST-3510 delimber as a starting point for the DL3800, retaining the best aspects and features of that machine and adding to them. Operators had roundly praised the leveling system of the ST-3510, for example, and the same leveling system provides stability to the DL3800.

        Improvements to the DL3800 include enclosing hydraulic hoses. With the hoses enclosed, the operator does not have to be concerned about the hoses getting caught or snagged on a tree limb.

        The front knives and back knives of the DL3800 are interchangeable. They can be swapped out if the need should arise. That kind of flexibility helps reduce down time.

        The Timberline DL3800 results on the job help Shamion Forestry deliver customer satisfaction, explained Gary. “We need to make sure we’re doing a real good job,” he said. “Having a machine that’s doing a good job matters.” The Timberline DL3800 makes a difference in the way in cleanly removes limbs. There are “no holes” at the point where a limb was attached to the tree, explained Gary.

        “Mills want quality and accuracy,” said Gary, and he gets both with the Timberline DL3800. Being able to give the mills exactly what they want, while getting what he expects in a machine, suits Gary.

        Shamion Forestry uses a ‘cold deck’ approach at the landing, which enables delimbing operations to continue during a second shift. After trees are felled with the TimberPro 620-E and Timbco tilt saw, they are skidded to the landing and arranged in rows. Delimbing operations can continue into the night as long as there is a supply of felled trees at the landing.

        “One guy on the machine can come in at night,” said Gary, and operate the DL3800. The   prototype DL3800 at Shamion Forestry is equipped with halogen lights capable of producing near-daylight conditions, he said.

        The slash generated by the delimbing operations at the landing is pushed into piles, allowed to dry, and then burned.

        Shamion Forestry contracts lowboy trailers for transporting its equipment although the company mainly works in the Black Hills National Forest.

        As a citizen and a businessman, Gary has special ties to the Black Hills National Forest. In 2002, he was appointed to the Crook County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) by the U.S. Forest Service. The advisory panel recommends projects for improving maintenance, infrastructure, stewardship and more. Committee members represent a broad range of stakeholders, including labor, forestry, mining, grazing, and environmental interests.

        When Gary finds an equipment line that he likes, he stays with it. “I started out with Hahn harvesters, Timbcos, grapples and skidders,” said Gary. He made adjustments according to the type of logging he has done.

        Gary evaluates a machine by the way it performs its various functions on job sites and also by the machine’s projected durability and longevity. He believes the Timberline DL3800 has the potential to meet both his evaluative criteria. “They’re trying to make a real cost-efficient machine,” he said, “that holds up.”

        Gary also noticed the increased boom speed of the DL3800. The machine is powered by a Cummins 6BTA 240 hp engine paired with an air-to-air cooler; the result is extra power with cooling ability to keep the engine operating in an acceptable temperature range.

        The faster boom speed is achieved mainly by a new hydraulic system with greater capacity. The DL3800 has one hydraulic pump and tank, a system that produces a greater flow of hydraulic fluid. The early delimbers from Timberline, or those in the SDL series, relied on three hydraulic pumps.

        By consolidating the hydraulic system and other components, Timberline was able to reduce the weight of the DL3800 over the SDL2a model. Consequently, the DL3800 rides on smaller tracks than the SDL2a. Since it is more compact, the DL3800 has greater maneuverability; its compactness and lighter weight also help reduce ground compaction.

        Western South Dakota experiences windy weather that has eroded exposed loamy, clay soil, producing buttes and ridges. Forests act as a shield and barrier to the full force of the wind and reduce erosion, and minimizing erosion is a priority in managing the Black Hills National Forest. Ponderosa pines will regenerate as long as they have substrate in which to root.

        A native of Iron River, Mich., Gary had his first introduction to logging in the upper Great Lakes region, where his father and uncles logged. When Gary was a child, the family moved to Saratoga, Wyo.

        Gary graduated from high school in Saratoga in 1981 and went to work for his uncles, Ed Shamion and Norman Shamion, until he started his own business six years later. Today, Gary’s father, Bob, is a contract hauler, working for Shamion Forestry. Some of Gary’s cousins log in Oregon.

        As for how he got into logging, Gary said, “The old saying is you had sawdust in your blood.” He has learned the industry through the “school of hard knocks,” he added.

        Shamion Forestry adheres to Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) practices, and Gary has taken many SFI courses.

        The father of two young sons, Gary would like his boys to continue in the logging industry if they wish, but he wants them to be college educated and to earn degrees in business.

        Sundance, the home base for Shamion Forestry, is located in northeast corner of Wyoming. The town of 1,200 residents is about 15 miles from the border with South Dakota. It is just 20 miles southeast of the well-known Devils Tower National Monument.

        Gary’s wife, Toby, is the bookkeeper for Shamion Forestry. “She’s pretty much the right hand,” he said.

        When Gary and his family get time away from the business, they enjoy their surroundings. “We love to hunt and fish,” he said. “And in winter we like to snowmobile.”

        As a third generation logger, Gary finds an enormous number of things to like about his chosen occupation. “The freedom — basically being outside in the forest. Doing your own thing. Taking care of the forest.”

        Loggers have a role in conserving the environment, he suggested. Their works helps to manage and improve forest resources. And with equipment such as
the Timberline DL3800 and the Timber-Pro 620-E, they can work in such a way that minimizes disturbance of the forest floor.


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