An Empire State distributor for Hahn Machinery uses the HFP 160 Pro firewood processor he sells. Hahn will soon release its new HFP150 smaller version firewood processer.
GREENE, New York — Doers do. Concepts such as retirement sound good in theory. Yet with so many possibilities, why take a pause?
So it was that Wayne Bryant, co-owner (with wife Charlene Bryant) of Windancer Farm, tried retirement, ever-so-briefly. For a man who had once owned and operated a machine shop, then sold outside wood furnaces and done a fair amount of inventing along the way, the opportunity for 24/7 leisure was one on which he decided to pass.
“I sold outside wood boilers for 17 years,” said Wayne. That was until just over two years ago. “I thought I would retire. I got bored. I wasn’t made to just sit around.”
Seeing the rising cost of home-heating oil and the increasing interest in firewood in his region, Wayne began to consider selling processors. He was determined to sell a product in which he believes, one he would use. “I did research online,” he said. He liked everything he learned about firewood processors made by Hahn Machinery, Two Harbors, Minn.
Today, Wayne is a distributor for Hahn. He also owns and operates a Hahn HFP160 Firewood Pro loader-mounted firewood processor. “It’s a one-man operation,” said Wayne, describing the processor. The processor is “put on a skid steer” with little effort. That’s important, since many of the customers Wayne serves do the same thing he does: They process firewood for their own use, relying on loaders serving multiple purposes.
Wayne heats a barn, a house and a building used for sales with wood-fueled boilers. “I cut down trees on our property, haul the Hahn in” and process, he explained. “I have a neighbor who’s a logger. He fells trees and cuts them to 12’-16’ lengths. I transport the logs from the woods using a CAT 289C rubber tracked loader with a Gregory grapple. I can move three or four 16″-17″ diameter logs at a time. I pile them and later process them into firewood with our Hahn processor.”
The mixed hardwood species fed to the Hahn HFP160 have a diameter as large as 17 inches. They include beech, hard maple, soft maple, and birch. With the processor, Wayne easily produces the 20-inch long pieces of firewood that feed a wood boiler.
The Hahn HFP160 offers “very high production,” said Wayne. He explained that he can process all the wood he needs for a year’s heating “without working very hard at it.” That is “40 to 50 face cords, or about 15-18 full cords per year.”
Ideal for firewood businesses, the Hahn160 is so fast that it is a bit of “overkill for the individual” who just wants to process for personal use. For that reason, Wayne is quite happy that he will soon be adding a Hahn HFP150 processor to his roster of product offerings.
“The HFP160 is our commercial firewood processor for people who produce a lot of firewood and sell it,” explained Gary Olsen, owner of Hahn Machinery. “The HFP150 compact firewood processor, which is coming out at the end of the month [February], does basically the same thing that the HFP160 does, but it has a smaller horsepower.”
Designed for operators doing fewer than 100 cords per year of firewood, the HFP150 has been in service in prototype form since the summer of 2011. It is built to ride on a mid-size loader, or a type of loader that is “much more common,” said Olsen. “We did our testing on a Bobcat 763, 46 horsepower machine. We also had it tested on a Bobcat T190 [and on] a comparably sized Caterpillar.”
What characterizes mid-sized loaders is an engine that operates in the 45 to 50 horsepower range. That engine can generate the power necessary to meet the hydraulic requirements of the HFP150, which is 15 gallons per minute, or only 75 percent of what the HFP160 requires.
Wayne mounts his HFP160 processor on a CAT 289C front-end loader. Making the attachment “takes almost no time,” he said.
The Windancer Farm name under which Wayne sells Hahn and certain other equipment, such as post pounders and wood splitters, was established as the name of an existing horse farm that antedates an entry into equipment sales. Wayne and Charlene have been living on the 100 acres they now own for more than three decades. Charlene does horse training, breeding and some boarding. She teaches English riding. And she has done quite a lot of showing.
Windancer Farm got its name some 15 years ago. “It’s kind of windy up here,” said Wayne. “There are a lot of hawks. [To my wife,] it looked like they were dancing in the wind.” And hence, Charlene settled on the appellation.
Wayne grew up on the acreage that is now Windancer Farm. When his parents owned the land, it was a dairy farm. Wayne bought the farmland from his parents in 1981.
Windancer Farm is located in Greene, N.Y. Greene is a town of 1,600 residents and part of Chenango County in the south-central part of the Empire State.
At home, Wayne and Charlene still rely on a time-honored Glenwood kitchen stove that burns wood. To cut the 12- to 18-inch wood pieces for that stove, Wayne uses a Wallenstein wood processor, a brand he also sells.
The Wallenstein product line, including their wood splitter and processor, is supplied through a northern U.S. distributor, Cummings & Bricker, a company held in high regard for supplying innovative products to the agricultural industry. The Cummings & Bricker distribution business includes hay and feed handling products such as bale wrappers, mowers, rakes, tedders, bale processors, and TMR mixers. In addition, they offer world renowned tillage products and a wide range of implements including loader and skid-steer attachments, wood splitters, wood chippers, log skidding winches, backhoes, rotary cutters, and a wide range of snow removal equipment. (Editor’s note: for more on Cummings & Bricker products, see ad on inside back cover of this issue).
AgriMaxx is another of the sales links that Wayne has established. Windancer Farm is an authorized diesel tank dealer for the company. Windancer handles Extreme post pounders.
As for matching a Hahn firewood processor with a loader, Wayne endeavors to accommodate any arrangement a buyer wants. Some customers have loaders already. Others do not and he helps them secure the brand of their choice. He also sells skid loader attachments. His own grapple is made by Gregory.
The confidence that Wayne has in the products he sells stems from his deep expertise with machinery. Before he began selling boilers, he owned and operated a machine shop. Always busy, he still found time to invent and design.
“I loved building machines,” said Wayne. In the late 1980s and early 1990s – before recycling became mandatory almost everywhere, Wayne recycled newsprint by shredding and baling it with a machine he invented and built. The newsprint made a “superior product” for animal bedding, he explained. Not only was it biodegradable, but it had no acid.
“The machine was actually a chipper,” said Wayne. “I tightened up the tolerances for paper.” He configured the chipper to blow the paper shreds into a consolidating component that fed a baler.
“I’ve had a variety of occupations in my lifetime,” said Wayne. “I did body work, repaired cars” before becoming a machinist for Monarch Machine Co. “I was involved with CNC [computer numeric control] machines when they came out in the 1970s. I learned programming.”
Wayne explained that he moved from the machine shop ownership to boiler sales for a change of pace. “There were not enough hours in the day” to keep up with the demand from customers requiring services of the machine shop.
When a new product appears in the Windancer Farm lineup, there’s a good reason. “I’m adding products that I like to sell,” said Wayne. “We feel that we get the best equipment for the best cost to do the job.”
The philosophy of Hahn Machinery meshes well with the one held by Wayne. The company, which introduced the first roadside processor, the Hahn Harvester, to the market in North America in the mid 1960s, focuses on making simple and rugged machines that have a long lifespan.
The HPF160 Firewood Pro from Hahn exemplifies the qualities that Hahn builds into all its products. When attached to any skid-steer loader with at least 20 gallons per minute of auxiliary hydraulic flow, it can pick up a log and move it to pile or conveyor or truck. And it can cut firewood into lengths and split the blocks into four, six or eight pieces. Moreover, the HPF160 can do all that with only one person behind the controls.
The simplicity of controls comes from a cable that is easily attached to the loader. It brings the level of control to buttons mounted on the loader’s joysticks.
A high-performance hydraulic chainsaw that depends on a high-pressure piston motor and an 18H harvester bar and .404H harvester chain is at the core of the processor. A proportional regeneration circuit increases productivity in small wood by quickening the split cycle.
The HFP150 firewood processor from Hahn Machinery will put the same capabilities featured in the HPF160 Pro within the reach of more operations. That is something that pleases both Gary at Hahn and Wayne at Windancer Farm because it will give more prospective buyers the opportunity to consider a processor from Hahn when they are comparing and contrasting choices. With fuel oil prices so high, said Wayne, wood fiber stands as a great alternative.
Wayne and Charlene, who have been married 33 years, follow several interests outside those in business. “We do some camping, when we can get away,” said Wayne. “We do some fishing, trap shooting, shooting and reloading.” And, to be sure, they also ride horses.
One thing is certain. With so many interests, Wayne is always busy, always doing.
“I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to do what I wanted to do in my life,” said Wayne. “I’m a lucky man.”