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Pull-Through Stripper Delimber Leads to Big Gains at Paul Morse Logging
Paul Morse Logging added a Stripper pull-through delimber and increased production.
By Diane M. Calabrese
Date Posted: 5/1/2011
NEWPORT CENTER, Vermont — Numbers often speak louder than words. So it was when Paul Morse, owner of Paul Morse Logging, told us about the bottom line results he has achieved since putting into service a pull-through delimber from Stripper Manufacturing Company.
“Production is a lot higher,” said Paul of the turnaround with the Stripper pull-through delimber. “It takes 30 seconds to delimb a tree where it used to take five minutes.”
A succinct man, Paul explained that when he considers the performance of the Stripper Delimber, one descriptive phrase comes to mind. “It’s outstanding,” he said.
Paul purchased the Stripper Delimber approximately one year ago. It was extreme heat that prompted him to first consider the purchase.
“I was doing a land job,” said Paul. “I had to drag all the brush out. It was in the summer. It was hot – too hot to haul it all out” and not feel the wearing effect of the oppressive heat.
The hot summer weather in Vermont, where Paul’s company is based in Newport Center, jump-started the search for a delimber. “I got online and I looked just about everywhere,” he said. In a happy coincidence, Paul found just what he wanted quite close to his home base.
Stripper Mfg. is headquartered in South Paris, Maine. Sam Sessions, owner of the company, answered Paul’s questions. And soon after Paul settled on the Stripper Delimber, Paul and his wife, Amy-Jo, drove to neighboring Maine to pick up a new machine.
Doing bookkeeping and “everything I don’t do,” said Paul, Amy-Jo is an integral part of Paul Morse Logging. But Paul’s company is very much a one-person operation. He has no employees.
Paul launched his company in 1998. Before that he had split his time between driving a truck and logging for another business. He wanted to drive a truck full-time and asked the owner of that business about a switch. Told he could log full-time and give up the truck driving, Paul made a decision to go independent.
“I made up my mind,” said Paul. He explained that if he were going to log full-time, he was determined to do it under his own business umbrella.
The Stripper pull-through delimber has become a genuine asset to his company, said Paul. “It works very well. It works right next to my big loader.”
Some six months before Paul purchased the Stripper pull-through delimber, he bought a refurbished Prentice 210C loader with a CTR slasher. By choosing the Stripper, he is able to coordinate from one central position. The pull-through delimber hooks easily to the Prentice loader via a pintle.
The flexibility to meet a variety of jobs is fundamental to the approach of Paul’s company. We asked Paul the short answer to the question about what his company does. “Everything,” he said.
“I will do whatever the landowner asks,” explained Paul. “Every landowner wants something different.”
The majority of the jobs that Paul completes are for a large forestry firm, but he also does some private jobs that he arranges. To pull felled trees to the landing, Paul sometimes relies on a subcontractor, who is independent and owns all his own equipment.
Generally, Paul works within a 100-mile radius of Newport Center, which is part of Orleans County. The county borders Canada and is located in the central northernmost tier of the Green Mountain State.
“I build a lot of my own roads,” said Paul. Accordingly, he has several pieces of equipment to get that task done, including a Samsung excavator and a John Deere 540B skidder. He also owns a Mack Superliner dump truck and a Mack Superliner log truck. A Stihl chain saw is used for cutting.
Much of the wood that Paul Morse Logging handles is softwood – balsam, spruce, hemlock, cedar, pine. “The pull-through stripper delimber works best on softwood,” said Paul. But it also performs well on the smaller hardwoods that are felled, he explained.
“It’s an outstanding piece of machinery,” said Paul of the Stripper pull-through delimber. “It’s pretty much bullet proof. Just put a little grease on it [and maintenance is complete]. If you keep your blades sharpened” the delimbing virtually takes care of itself.
The Stripper pull-through delimber performs exceptionally well on frozen wood, said Paul. His company works throughout the winter, so that capability enhances the value of the machine.
At 1600 pounds, the Stripper pull-through delimber is easy to move from site to site. It accepts trees as large as 15-inch diameter.
A distinguishing feature of the Stripper delimber is the absence of hydraulics. It is designed around the concept of doing the most with the simplest approach possible.
No one would consider using a chain saw to prune a rose bush. A hand-held pruner provides all the force and control necessary. So it is with the Stripper pull-through delimber, and its ability to remove limbs from trees: It has all the power necessary for the tasks it undertakes.
Sam Sessions provides a video of the operation of a Stripper pull-through delimber at his firm’s website (www.stripperdelimber.com). There, the viewer will see the way a grapple puts the butt end of a tree onto the tripping device and into cradles equipped with bolt-in knives. The knives are bolt-in and slide easily. It is the weight of the top pivoting arm that holds the knives firmly against the trunk of the tree. The delimbing takes place when the tree is pulled through the stripping head in one direction and then pushed back through the opposite direction.
The simplicity of the Stripper pull-through delimber is just what Paul wanted for his operation. He did not want a hydraulic machine because he did not require such power to delimb the sorts of species that he most often cuts.
A native of Vermont, Paul grew up knowing that he had an affinity for machines, the outdoors and logging. With the inception of his company, he was able to combine all his interests.
“I did logging on and off,” said Paul. “Once out of high school, I drove a lot of trucks, did a little logging.” Then came the crucial day some 13 years ago, when he decided it was the right time to become an independent logger.
“I’ve been around logging just about all my life,” said Paul. “I just liked the equipment. I liked being outdoors. It’s better than being boxed up inside. I just like a lot of hands-on work.”
Paul is certified by the Vermont LEAP program. LEAP, an acronym for Logger Education to Advance Professionalism, is the only logger education organization in the state, according to the LEAP website (www.vtleap.com).
LEAP aims to ensure that all timber harvested within Vermont is done in a safe, efficient and environmentally conscious manner. Loggers who earn the certification have demonstrated not only knowledge of safe and sustainable forestry practices, but they also have taken a course in first aid and CPR.
The Stripper pull-through delimber has safety built into its design, explained Paul. And that is a nice bonus. “It’s a good machine,” he said.
Purchasers of Stripper pull-through delimbers have many options for placement. They can use it on a trailer, slasher or a skid machine. And they can link the two pieces of equipment with bolts via an adaptor plate available from Stripper Mfg.
For loggers that want to move into some hydraulics, there is a hydraulic topping saw that can be added. The topping saw has a 404 chain, proportional lubrication and automatic tensioning.
Some loggers prefer a Stripper pull-through delimber on steel runners, but others choose to have the delimber mounted on a chassis with wheels. A logger can select the optimal configuration for his operation. He can also have it both ways. Stripper Mfg. can provide the option of both wheels and runners, which can be swapped in just minutes.
In a state that is 78 percent forested, there is plenty of clearing, felling and selective-cutting to be done. Only three states have a greater percentage of forested land than Vermont.
Logging is deeply engrained in the history of the Green Mountain State, which itself owns 300,000 acres of forested land. It’s not just a matter of building roads to get to job sites, explained Paul. The pickup of roads after trees are felled is just as significant and important a contribution to each venture. When he contracts to log, he contracts to get the job done with the least impact on the land from inception to completion.
Moreover, when spring melt makes the substrate so mushy and easily damaged, loggers must take a break. That’s a good time to fine-tune equipment, revise business plans or take a bit of time for recreation. But Paul prefers to put industriousness ahead of play in almost every instance.
Free time is not a notion that appeals to Paul. He explained that he enjoys working more. “I don’t like vacations,” he said. “When I can’t work in the woods – mud season, I look for other work, truck driving.”
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