Oregon Logger Gets Combination of Precision, Durability and Gentle Touch in Log Max® 7000XT

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Log Max heads and Log Max Log Mate 500 computer are right at home at yarder sites.

WILLAMINA, Oregon – Alder is a hardwood with a rather soft nature. Consequently, a mill that buys logs from Hofenbredl Timber Company, which is owned by Larry Hofenbredl, wants alder to be treated gently.
Meeting specifications from the mill would require changing to rubber rollers on some processors. But with a Log Max® head, no changeover is needed. “[Our Log Max machines] have these low-profile steel rollers,” said Larry. You can run those on whatever species you have.” That’s a real timesaver.
Yet the rollers are “tough” and “durable,” too, said Larry. In the last 13 years, Larry has purchased six Log Max heads. “The first Log Max head, I bought in June of 2000,” he said. “I just wanted to try one. It was a Log Max 750.”
Today, Larry has three Log Max heads in service — one Log Max 7000 and two Log Max 7000XT models. The Log Max 7000XT that was added in October 2012 has the Log Max Log Mate® 500 computer system. Each Log Max 7000XT rides on a 324D CAT track carrier. The Log Max 7000 is on a Link-Belt track carrier.
XT in the Log Max 7000XT moniker heralds the [e]XTreme series of machines, which are designed to be as versatile as they are strong. For instance, the rollers that allow Larry’s operator to simply switch to a species needing a lighter touch are the result of active friction control built into the head. Not only does the friction control improve timber quality, but it also reduces fuel consumption.
Both Log Max 7000XT machines and their CAT carriers were procured through Peterson CAT in Salem, Ore. “I’ve worked with Peterson a lot the last three years,” said Larry. In particular, he has worked with Don Chandler.
“Their parts and service – they’re real good with that,” said Larry, reflecting on the positive interaction with Peterson CAT. That completes a good package of reliable machine and trusted dealer.
“CAT – they’re nice machines,” said Larry. “They’re fast. The Log Max 7000 XT – the [CAT carriers] handle the machine real well.”
Larry has had some opportunities to interact directly with members of the Log Max team when they have visited his job sites. He said he appreciates that Log Max solicits information from users of its equipment in order to make continuous improvements on already strong and reliable heads.
Log Max heads are a good fit for his operation, said Larry. “They do a good job delimbing,” he explained. (For companies that do a lot of thinning, Log Max now offers an optional accumulation unit.)
Moreover, Log Max representatives are engaged and responsive. “They’ve got good service,” said Larry. “They’re fast. They do a good job listening.”
The Log Mate 500 on the Log Max 7000XT provides a noticeable boost in production, said Larry. “It makes the machine faster.” It’s easier to find log lengths with the Log Mate 500. Because the Log Mate 500 “can make adjustments right in the cab,” the operator can readily change amongst the common species handled – Douglas fir, hemlock, alder, cedar – to cut to lengths designated by the buyer for the particular species.
Although Larry has not yet tapped the Log Mate 500 computer to generate production tallies, that’s an option. “It has a nice big color screen,” said Larry of the Log Mate. “The numbers are bigger – easier for me to see.”
Hofenbredl Timber generally runs seven logging operations at a time, four or five yarder sites and two shovel sites. The company has 50 employees and subcontracts for hand felling and some trucking with as many as 25 to 30 more people.
The large equipment roster at Hofenbredl Timber includes machines for yarder logging, shovel logging and mechanical logging. Yarder systems are the approach in the mountainous terrain where Larry’s crews most often work.
Larry’s crews log sites in the Coast Range and work usually between Tillamook, Ore., which is north of their home base in Willamina, Ore., and Newport, Ore., which is southwest of it – a distance of 75 miles as the crow flies. Willamina, a town of 2,000 residents, straddles two counties (Yamhill and Polk).
Yarder systems are the substitute for skidding in steep, mountainous terrain. A yarder provides support – a tower – for cables (the skyline). It also supplies power for winches that pull the cables along which carriages run as they move logs to the landing. Carriages can rein in or let out slack, allowing log pickups on route to the landing.
Four Thunderbird yarders are on the equipment roster; they are models TTY70, TMY70, TTY 6150, and TMY50. A Madill 071 yarder is also in the lineup. And Larry is proud to still own a 100-foot Skagit Tower, model 737.
The Skagit Tower has quite a renowned reputation in the Pacific Northwest. It was very popular among the first steel replacements for the original yarder centerpiece, a wooden spar (for guyline attachments). Being telescopic (collapsible), the tower could hitch a ride from one site to another on a log truck.
Most of the shovels that Larry depends on at shovel logging sites are from Link-Belt Construction. And he has 16 Link-Belt shovels. He also has a 330D Caterpillar shovel logger.
In addition to the three Log Max machines, Larry relies on a Waratah head (on a Link-Belt carrier) and four Pierce stroke delimbers (each on a Link-Belt 240 carrier). He also has two loaders – a 330 CAT and a 300 Kobelco, and eight Link-Belt log loaders.
“I like to use the Log Max under the towers,” said Larry. “You don’t have as much tail swing.” That makes it easier “to work around the towers [and] the other machines around the towers. The stroke delimber boom [protrudes] out the back.”
Hofenbredl Timber produces eight to 10 log truck loads per day on each yarder site and 12 to 15 log truck loads per day at each shovel site. In June of this year, Larry’s company will mark its 25th year. He launched his business in 1988 when he was 23. He had worked logging for his father and uncle for six years after high school before taking that step. “I started with just a CAT and a skidder,” he said.
Although Hofenbredl Timber owns a Kenworth log truck, most log hauling is done by other companies. Some log hauling, as well as equipment transport, is done for Hofenbredl Timber by Hofenbredl Logging, which is owned by Larry’s father.
The mechanical logging that Larry does depends on two feller-bunchers, a Madill 2250B and a Prentice 730A. Hand cutters use both Husqvarna and Stihl products.
With so much equipment and three different approaches to logging, Larry enjoys every dimension of his business. As for equipment, he said, “I like to run all [of the machines]. But I’d say the dangle-head is [my favorite].”
The durability of the Log Max heads in service at Hofenbredl Timber has been impressive, said Larry. “I’ve put 16,000 hours on a 7000 head,” he said. “The head itself is pretty durable.”
Fuel must either be carried or delivered to yarder (tower) sites. “We usually have fuel delivered,” said Larry. “You burn about 60 gallons a day per 10 hour day” with the Log Max 7000XT, he said. Most of the tree lengths handled by the Log Max heads are between a 20-inch and a 24-inch diameter.
Given his three decades in logging, Larry has had the opportunity to witness some significant changes. “We started out doing everything with chainsaws,” he explained. “We used to buck some of the logs in the brush.” With the introduction of delimbers, tree length logs are brought to the landing area for processing.
The challenges of getting the logs out of the woods have been matched by innovations in equipment, said Larry. The technological advancements in skyline carriages has speeded the operation in yarder sites, for example.
Hofenbredl Timber is a member of the Associated Oregon Loggers (AOL), headquartered in Salem, Ore. AOL has the largest number of members of any logging association in the United States.
Being near the Western United States center for Log Max, which is in Vancouver, Wash., is a nice plus to the relationship with the company, said Larry. “I like [that] Log Max – they’re not that far away from me if I have to get parts,” said Larry. “They’ve always been good.” Log Max is headquartered in Grangärde, Sweden.
Employee retention is excellent at Hofenbredl Timber. “Most of the guys [have been with us] 10 years or longer,” said Larry. “What keeps us going is you’ve got to have good help – to keep you in business.”
The native Oregonian is very happy with the profession he chose. “Just being outdoors” makes for a great day, explained Larry. “Going to different areas – not being stuck in one spot” is a wonderful part of the work.
With such an extensive operation, Larry does not get much free time. But when he does, he has definite interests. “I usually go hunting and fishing,” he said.