CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisconsin — Maneuverability is a must-have feature of every machine that works in difficult spaces. Doing right-of-way clearing for power lines is one of those spaces.
In 2010, Jon Goettl, one of the owners of Goettl Logging, LLC, purchased his first Log Max 7000XT fixed head. Since then, he has added seven more Log Max 7000XT fixed heads to his operation.
What makes the Log Max 7000XT such a good fit for Goettl Logging? “We like the fixed head to keep the trees in the right-of-way when clearing for power lines and the pipeline,” said Jon. “It lets us put the tree where we need it.” That is far from power lines.
The last thing a feller operator wants when working around power lines is to inadvertently have a tree or a machine make contact with the lines or supports. Working right-of-ways requires well-trained and skilled operators who are equipped with machines that respond to their skill. And the Log Max 7000XT does respond.
“All of our heads are mounted on TimberPro carriers,” said Jon. The Log Max 7000XT purchased in 2010 is mounted on a TimberPro 725 track machine. It is the machine that Jon still operates – in addition to his responsibility for running the daily operations of the business.
The Log Max 7000XT became a repeat purchase for Goettl Logging for two reasons, said Jon. “They’re very dependable and the support staff are very knowledgeable.”
Over the years, Jon has had the opportunity to get to know some members of the Log Max team well. For instance, Josh Fallon, product support sales representative for Log Max, is a frequent visitor to Goettl Logging’s work sites.
“[Josh] helped with the setup and installation of the Log Max 7000XT on our TimberPro 735C,” said Jon. “Josh spent two days with us at that time and visits our jobsites regularly.”
An experienced machine operator before he joined Log Max, Josh ran a cut-to-length harvester for nine years, primarily in hardwoods. And he had the opportunity to operate many different types of harvesting equipment. From his first interaction with a Log Max head, Josh was taken by its speed and power, he said.
Log Max AB, a company based in Grangärde, Sweden, manufactures a line of single-grip, harvesting and processing heads. The U.S. supplier of Log Max products from Sweden is located in Vancouver, Wash.
The Log Max 7000XT cuts wood up to 31.5 inches in diameter. It belongs to the XTreme series of Log Max heads. The heavy-duty heads were developed to be paired with a track carrier and tackle tough jobs.
Pioneer Equipment Company in Rhinelander, Wis. is the Badger State dealer for TimberPro. Jon got to know the Pioneer team there even before in purchased his first TimberPro carrier.
“Our first purchase [from Pioneer] was a TimberPro forwarder 830B in 2008. In 2008, unfortunately, we had a fire and needed to purchase a new forwarder, and TimberPro met our needs at the time.”
The forwarders that are currently in service at Goettl Logging include a TimberPro 830B, TimberPro 820E, John Deere 1210E and Rottne F15.
Transport is a different matter. “We hire all trucking that is needed,” said Jon.
Chippewa Falls, the home base for Goettl Logging, is 97 miles east of Minneapolis, Min. and 10 miles north of Eau Claire, Wis. Located in Chippewa County, the Wisconsin city has a population approaching 14,000.
Jon’s company cuts on all types of land – private, state, federal – within a 100-mile radius of Chippewa Falls. It cuts both hardwood and softwood species.
Approximately 15% of the lengths felled are grade logs, while 50% are pulp and biofuel account for about 35%, explained Jon. “We have expanded into biomass fuels to help the landowners have cleaner woods for equal re-growth.”
It’s all part of getting the best results. “We always strive to do our best for each and every landowner,” said Jon. “Hard work and long hours have played a large role in our success of the business.”
Having equipment that meshes well with the often tight fits and exacting requirements where Jon’s teams work is also important. “Log Max has been a large part of our business and without them and their support, we may not have had the success we have,” said Jon.
A logger with 23 years of experience, Jon has been logging since he was 18 years old. He understands the importance of equipment that’s a precise match for the terrain and the type of cutting.
The region where Goettl Logging cuts often is tough to traverse. The substrate is more than just a mix of undergrowth and sometime snow or mud. It is punctuated by drumlins, round- and oval-shaped hills formed from glacial drift.
Jons company cuts in an area that is something of a dividing line between pine, hemlock, cedar and balsam mixes in the north and deciduous trees that predominate in the southern and eastern parts of Wisconsin. The ability of the Log Max 7000XT heads to deftly handle both softwood and hardwood species gives a boost to the operation.
Even where overhead powerlines are not an issue, the fixed head is a boon to crews. Many of the stands where Goettl Logging cuts are filled with gnarled and heavily branched wood. The fixed head allows the harvester to strip such limbs so that they are clean.
The TimberPro track machines with their compact profile and limited tail fit well, too, in the stands where Jon’s teams work. Aiming to provide loggers with the best carrier match possible, TimberPro offers machines such as the TimberPro 735C carrier in both leveling and non-leveling configurations.
The TimberPro 735C carrier is designed to work long hours in heat and cold. For example, it has a high temperature wrap on the exhaust and heat shields on manifolds. To simplify routine maintenance, the machine offers easy access to filters, as well as to components such as the starter and alternator.
Getting the optimal fit between needs of landowners and the markets for fiber has motivated Goettl Logging to make adjustments over the years. One is the aforementioned move to biofuel.
The idea is to be sufficiently nimble to take advantage of the markets that are robust when other markets are rather flat. “Our primary focus has always been on logging, however with the markets being soft, we have added a grinder and chipper to be more diversified,” said Jon.
Goettl Logging employs between eight and ten, depending on the time of year. “We operate three to four crews at any given time,” said Jon.
The versatility provided to Jon’s teams by the Log Max 7000XT fixed heads complements their maneuverability. The frame of the Log Max 7000XT has a top saw, minimized saw box and fixed protection plate. Log Max designed the Log Max 7000XT specifically for difficult jobsites, such as pipeline and right-of-way.
The Log Max 7000XT is not the largest head in the XT series. The single-grip Log Max harvesting and processing heads are available in a range of sizes, including the 10000XT and 12000XT models.
Much of the public land on which Goettl Logging cuts is being maintained for wildlife by thinning and selective cutting. Even on private land, the goal of landowners is sustainability of wood fiber resources and diversity of habitat.
“I like to see the end result of logging for a landowner,” said Jon. “That’s not only a tract that is aesthetically pleasing, but also a tract that will quickly respond with regrowth for wildlife habitat”.
Jon couples his affinity for the outdoors with a deep knowledge of equipment. He studied fluid power technology. He has an avid interest in hydraulic systems, efficiency and movement.
Prior to purchasing his first Log Max 7000XT fixed head and TimberPro pairing seven years ago, Jon was a prototype tester for the head. That meant that he gave feedback to Log Max, which in turn was used to perfect the head. There no better test of equipment and no better guide to improvement of equipment than firsthand accounts of how a machine performs in an actual job setting.
The Goettl family has strong roots in business, as well as abundant experience in logging and mechanical expertise. Jons grandfather stating a trucking company in the 1960s, a company that his father, Gerald Goettl, took over in 1978. When the trucking company was sold, Jon started Goettl Logging with his father and his brother, Bryan Goettl, as partners.
When Jon gets free time, he has some very definite interests. “We enjoy camping at the lake in the summer and hunting in the fall,” he said.