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Tough Combination for Tough Hardwoods

Schloer Logging Puts TimberPro 830, LogMax 7000 to Work in Wisconsin Hardwoods

By Diane M. Calabrese
Date Posted: 9/1/2006


BUTTERNUT, Wisconsin — Hardwoods put a timber harvesting machine to the test, especially when cutting involves a steady diet of tough wood. And Dan Schloer, one of the four owners of Schloer Logging, works only in hardwoods.

        The co-owners of Schloer Logging are Dan’s brothers, Bill and Chris, and his father, James. James and his wife, Beverly, who manages the paper work, started the company as Jim Schloer Logging (sometimes known as Jim Schloer Logging & Trucking) more than 40 years ago, and their sons later joined the business. Dan has been working full-time with the company since he was 18.

        Schloer Logging basically operates with three cut-to-length harvesters, three forwarders and three trucks. Working in three teams, the owners and employees usually have three jobs going at the same time.

        Dan operates a TimberPro 830 with a LogMax 7000 harvesting and processing head, a combination he has been using about four months. The equipment was purchased from Woodland Equipment in Iron River, Mich. The principals at Woodland Equipment, including Ron Beau­champ and George Pond, strive to work with customers to ensure they get exactly the equipment and options they require for all seasons.

        Dan first saw the TimberPro 830 and LogMax 7000 combination at the Lake States Logging Congress in Marquette, Mich. in 2005. The eight-wheeled machine and attachment got his attention because he was looking for a big carrier that could handle a heavy-duty attachment and work effectively in hardwoods.

        “The reason we liked it — it was heavy-duty,” said Dan.

        In addition, Dan felt a certain comfort level with TimberPro owner Pat Crawford. The Schloers previously had owned a Timbco, which was owned by Pat, and was very satisfied with the machine. Pat sold Timbco to Partek in 2000, but he bought back the company’s wheeled machine division two years later and established TimberPro.

        In developing the TimberPro line of wheeled logging machines, Pat aimed to design and build equipment that could be used in mixed hardwoods — just the sort Dan works in every day. Pat’s ‘laboratory’ for developing his machines was the hard, mixed oaks in the region surrounding Shawano, Wis., where TimberPro is headquartered.

        When Dan talked with TimberLine, the new machine was getting a double work out. His father had just told him the news about the temperature reaching triple digits. (The average daytime high in Butternut, Wis., home to Schloer Logging, is 78 degrees during July, the warmest month of the year.)

        Dan began running the TimberPro 830 with the LogMax 7000 head in the spring, so he has not operated it in the snow yet. He is expecting it to perform well, though, in the cold Wisconsin winters. He bought bogie tracks for the TimberPro at the time he purchased it from Woodland Equipment. During the winter, the TimberPro will see service in snow as deep as 2 feet, said Dan.

        Butternut, a town of about 400 residents, is 194 miles northeast of St. Paul, Minn. Many of the first settlers were Civil War veterans. By clearing five acres of land within five years and building on it, homesteaders earned the right to claim it as their own. Currently, Butternut is again giving away land to residential builders who will come and stay.

        Butternut has a long association with logging and the forest products industry, according to the town’s Web site (www.butternutwi.com). In 1900, mills started operating along Butternut Creek. In a single year, a shingle mill, a stave mill and a veneer mill sprang up. A sawmill followed in 1902. Butternut Veneer Co. took root in 1921 and employed 50 people. Butternut Lumber Co. formed in the same year. Northern Hardwood Veneers Inc. opened in 1905 and became the biggest employer for a time. Business slacked at all mills during the Depression era. During World War II, Northern Hardwood Veneers produced 35% of the wood for the de Havilland ‘mosquito’ bomber.

        A native of Butternut, Dan, whose grandfather also was a logger, began working with his father as a teenager. “I grew up in it,” he said. He has had plenty of experience using a chain saw for hand felling and operating skidders and other equipment. Schloer Logging has been mechanized since the mid-1990s.

        The TimberPro 830 and LogMax 7000 have proven to be a good combination, according to Dan. The carrier and the attachment work like hand in glove. “It’s one machine,” said Dan. The performance of the TimberPro and LogMax is a credit to the two manufacturers as well as Woodland Equipment.

        The TimberPro 830 is an unusual machine. When Pat formed his new company in 2002, he wanted to develop a combination wheeled machine — one that could be paired with a cutting or harvesting attachment for felling and harvesting operations and also could function as a forwarder to move wood to a landing. He achieved that type of versatility with the TimberPro 830.

        LogMax is a Swedish manufacturer of forestry equipment. The model 7000 attachment is in the middle range of the dangle heads offered by LogMax in its Millennium Series. The attachments have several features for improved durability. For example, the head has case-hardened pins, and the hydraulics are integrated (except for the rotator).

        Schloer Logging operates with six employees — three truck drivers and three forwarder operators — and the four owners. Dan and his brothers operate the harvesters, teamed with an employee who operates a forwarder. Each pair of men works at a different job.

        The company also is equipped with a John Deere (Timberjack) 1270 harvester and a Timbco carrier with a Fabtek head. The three forwarders include two John Deeres and a Ponsse.

        The Schloers have purchased both new and used equipment in the past and this time elected to buy a new TimberPro and LogMax. Dan researched the capabilities of the equipment and knew they were in line with what the company needed.

        The standard TimberPro 830 is powered by a John Deere 250 hp engine. It economizes on fuel by running at only 2,000 rpm and features a dual pump drive system and VOAC hydraulic control valves.

        The TimberPro 830 and LogMax 7000 have met Dan’s expectations for performance the first few months he has operated the equipment. “It pretty much runs the way I wanted,” he said.

        The north-central region of Wisconsin where Schloer logging works includes a watershed area that reaches an elevation of 1,700 feet in certain places. Because the core of the state is an elevated, rolling plateau, the grade toward Lake Superior in the north is quite steep. In addition, the terrain features hills and ridges. The TimberPro’s cab leveling capability comes in handy in the sloping forests, and the tires help cushion the operator against the bumps and jolts of maneuvering the machine.

        Schloer Logging is certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® of the American Forest and Paper Association. The company works year-round on a five-day work week schedule. Most jobs are within a two-hour drive of Butternut. The company has its own trucking arm with two Peterbilt tractors and one International tractor.

        The forests of northern Wisconsin typically contain pine, hemlock, cedar and balsam fir. Hardwoods, such as oak, are common in the eastern and southern parts of the state.

        There is a division of labor among the Schloers. “Chris cuts for Stora Enso,” said Dan. “Bill cuts stumpage and sells to Sappi and Stora Enso and a few other mills, and I cut for Sappi.” Stora Enso and SAPPI have strict requirements for their logging contractors. The Stora Enso Wood Supply U.S. division handles procurement for its mills in Wisconsin and Minnesota; the division is responsible for obtaining 1.3 million cords of wood annually.

        Stora Enso issued a statement in the summer to dispel global rumors that it plans to divest itself of its wood products businesses. However, the statement also indicated that such a change was a possibility. Given the commitment that Stora Enso has to wood products, a healthy environment, sustainable timber harvesting, and the economy in the upper Lake States region, such a change would be less than welcome.

        SAPPI also has a strong commitment to the environment, which is illustrated in multiple ways, including its commitment to sustainable forestry. SAPPI announced early this year an investment of $17.5 million to reduce inflow and infiltration and to demolish a dated and out-of-service pulp mill that was supplanted more than a decade ago. The goal was to eliminate sewage overflow problems and meet requirements of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District.

        The kind of jobs Schloer Logging is working on at any given time dictates which harvesting machines are deployed where. Although his brothers work in a variety of settings, work for Dan is much more predictable. “I’m always in hardwood,” he explained, usually doing selective cutting. The TimberPro 830 and LogMax 7000 can cut, handle and process hardwoods up to 28 inches in diameter.

        The Schloers do not own timberland, but they buy standing timber for Bill to cut while Chris and Dan work under contract on private and public lands. Wisconsin has made a big contribution to the forest products industry for many years, and there is wide interest among various trade organizations in conserving and improving forest resources. The Forest Industry Safety & Training Alliance (FISTA)
cooperates with the Wisconsin SFI Implementation Committee and the Wisconsin Professional Loggers Association in determining requirements for that logger certification program.

        The FISTA program requires professional training every two years. The topics include safety with chainsaws, mechanized equipment and trucks as well as business management, cross-training for loggers and foresters, invasive species, and threatened and endangered species. First aid and CPR training also is included.

        Dan has been logging almost his entire adult life. He worked a very brief stint in a sawmill — about a day and one-half. It was enough time for him to realize he already had found the occupation he liked — logging.

        The Schloers actually have a small sawmill they run occasionally to make lumber for themselves. “We saw a little bit of lumber with a circle mill,” said Dan. The lumber they make is used to build garages and other out-buildings.

                Dan enjoys working in the outdoors. Another thing he likes about logging is “not having to deal with too many people.” When he takes time away from work, Dan enjoys fishing.


 






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