VIENNA, Illinois — When it came to replacing his cut-to-length harvester, Wayne Bozarth listened to the voice of experience: an employee who had solid experience operating a Log Max harvester attachment and had high praise for the equipment.
Wayne’s company has been running the new Log Max 7000XT fixed head harvester for more than a month now, and if the initial operation is any indication of what he can expect going forward, he’s more than happy with the outcome.
His company, W. Bozarth Logging Inc., consists of him and six employees, including two truck drivers. Besides his two trucks, he also contracts with other truckers to haul his wood. The company averages about 70-75 loads of wood per week.
The company has an office and shop in Vienna, a city of less than 2,000 people located in the southern portion of Illinois, not far from where the Ohio River empties into the Mississippi River and where the tip of the state borders both Missouri and Kentucky. It is 32 miles northwest of Paducah, Kentucky. Vienna also is located roughly mid-way between two vast tracts of the Shawnee National Forest.
Wayne, 56, who was born and raised in the region, has been in business for 29 years. He worked for a couple of other loggers for about four or five years before starting his business when he was in his early to mid-20s. Hillis Bullock and Max Deur were the partners he worked for.
“They really taught me a lot about it,” recalled Wayne. He got experience felling timber by hand with a chainsaw as well as operating a wheel loader and a skidder. Wayne decided to start his own business when Max retired.
Wayne transitioned into cut-to-length logging about three years ago. The reason was very simple and clear. He harvests a lot of pine timber on the Shawnee National Forest, bidding on timber sales, and the U.S. Forest Service requires the use of cut-to-length logging equipment. “That’s what really got me into it,” he said. Wayne also buys timber on private land, harvesting the wood he purchases on both government and private and merchandising his wood to various mills in the region.
The Log Max is mounted on a Barko 260 track harvester; Wayne bought both units new from CrossTrac Equipment, a dealership headquartered in northern Wisconsin with a second location on Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The company represents TimberPro, Barko, Rottne, and the CMI line of forestry mulchers and stump grinders as well as Log Max, Quadco, and manufacturers of other attachments. Wayne is considering replacing his Komatsu forwarder with a new TimberPro model from CrossTrac and has had discussions with sales manager Bruce ‘Sparky’ Enstrom.
Wayne’s company had been using the new Barko and Log Max about a month at the time he was interviewed for this article. It is the first Log Max he has owned. “And I really like it so far,” he said.
Wayne selected the Log Max 7000XT, a fixed head configuration and one of the largest and most powerful in the Log Max line of cut-to-length harvester attachments. The fixed head gives the operator the ability to perform control felling and bunching.
The previous machine and harvester attachment he owned could not handle large timber, noted Wayne. “This handles a 30-inch tree easily,” he said. In fact, the Log Max 7000XT has a maximum cutting capacity of 31.5 inches.
Wayne was introduced to the idea of getting a Log Max from one of his employees, Chris Oliver, who is Max’s grandson. Chris worked for a while in the South, where he had experience operating a harvester with a Log Max attachment. “He talked and talked about them,” said Wayne.
Wayne considered a different cut-to-length harvester attachment because he was dogged by a series of problems with his previous head. His company does a lot of select cuts on private lands, and the hydraulic hoses for the attachment regularly got snagged on residual trees and harvested timber and would tear and break. In addition, it was difficult to obtain parts.
In the process he did briefly consider another manufacturer, and he went to see them working to learn what they were capable of and what they were not capable of. He balked for the same reason. “A lot of hoses hanging down,” he said. “If you were clear-cutting, you might be alright, but we do a lot of select cut.”
So far, the Log Max has experienced no problems with snagging or tearing hoses. Hydraulic hoses on the Log Max are well guarded and hardly even visible.
Chris operates the Barko and Log Max combination and raves about the harvester attachment, according to Wayne. “He loves it,” he said. “We were just sitting today, talking about it. We figured it up. Last week, he averaged about 12 loads a day. That’s in an eight-hour day.”
Wayne was asked by someone at Phoenix Paper, which buys pulpwood, why he invested in cut-to-length machines. “It only takes two men,” he noted.
In fact, the first week with the Log Max, the cut-to-length crew and the company’s second crew together produced 97 loads of wood for the paper mill.
“Everything that we’ve done and run it, it’s really surprised us,” said Wayne. “What it’s done…The way it performs, it’s unreal.”
The hose guarding is one feature that distinguishes the Log Max, noted Wayne. “Everything is hidden on it.” In order for a hose to snag or be torn, it would have to be on the outside, he pointed out.
The Log Max has enabled the crew to increase uptime and, accordingly, increase production. The previous harvester only averaged about 20 loads per week because it experienced so much trouble with hoses and the downtime those problems caused.
When Wayne was interviewed in mid-October for this article, the cut-to-length crew was working in a river bottom with a lot of big maple and cottonwood. “The cottonwood is about 28 inches on the stump and 60 feet tall,” said Wayne. Nevertheless, the Log Max “handles it real good,” he added.
“We’ve cut pine with it. We’ve cut hickory with it. We’ve cut about everything you can imagine.”
“We’re dying to put it in a clear-cut,” he added.
Log Max harvesting heads are designed for installation on various types of carriers. Low weight is essential for the CTL-method using wheeled harvesters, and Log Max is in the top of the range when comparing pulling force to weight ratio. Four movable delimbing knives with patented positioning minimize friction losses, which increases active pulling force.
The fixed mount configuration of the Log Max 7000XT features the rugged, powerful design and durability of the 7000XT series and also gives the operator the versatility of control felling and bunching. The hydraulically operated rotation unit with positioning and free floating function is attached directly to the frame.
The frame of Log Max 7000XT fixed head features a top saw, a minimized saw box and a fixed protection plate. The hydraulically driven saw chain is powered by either a 60 cc or 30 cc motor. The chain oil tank can hold 9.5 gallons.
The Log Max control system, Log Mate 510, features diameter and length measuring, value bucking, multi-stemming reporting and powerful production reporting, and full system diagnosis.
Log Max harvesters can be installed on almost any carrier and operated by the carrier’s control system. Log Max interfaces are easy to install and do not require any rewiring of the carrier’s electronics; the Log Max interfaces translate the signals from the carrier’s control system to work with the attachment. Log Max harvester heads are compatible with Komatsu/Valmet, John Deere/Timberjack, Eco Log, Rottne, and other brands.
Log Max is a Swedish company that has been designing and manufacturing forestry equipment since 1980. The company’s main product is its line of single grip cut-to-length harvester attachments that grip a tree, fell it, delimb it and cut it to desired lengths. A variety of machines can be used as carriers, ranging from large agricultural tractors to excavators and loaders and purpose-built forestry machines.
The Barko 260B track harvester is powered by a Cummins 225 hp Tier 4 Final engine with Selective Catalytic Reduction after treatment. It is equipped with an IQAN control system for smooth, responsive hydraulic functioning and optimal combination of strength and efficiency. It features exceptional drawbar pull and intuitive maintenance features for superior reliability.
The company also has a tree-length harvesting crew that is equipped with a John Deere 843K wheel feller buncher, a John Deere 648L grapple skidder, and a Barko 595 knuckleboom loader with a delimber and bucking saw. Wayne also does business with Erb Equipment, which represents John Deere in the Midwest, and Stribling Equipment, which also represents John Deere in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Wayne’s youngest son, Dakota, 20, operates the skidder and oversees the tree-length crew. Wayne usually operates the feller buncher one or two days per week, which gives them enough wood to stay busy for a week or two. The crew produces about 45-50 loads of wood per week. “That’s in good timber,” said Wayne.
On his other days he is overseeing both crews, keeping up with orders for parts, and preparing bids for jobs.
The region of southern Illinois is rolling hills although some areas can be pretty steep, noted Wayne. The most common species of pine is loblolly pine. Hardwoods are abundant, too. “That’s mainly what we cut,” said Wayne. Common hardwoods are oak, hickory, sycamore, and gum.
Hardwood slash is set aside on jobs. A lot of hardwood has limbs 6-8 inches in diameter that can be processed for pulp, which adds to production. Harvesting pine on the national forest, the crew lays the slash down on the trails so the machines can travel over it.
Mill prices are “doing real good now,” said Wayne, “because we mainly work on long logs,” 16-18 feet and all the way up to 40 feet. The biggest challenge is the fact that there are not enough mills in the region, he said. “You can fill up four or five mills in no time if you don’t watch it.” His markets include one mill that processes pine logs into wood shavings. Phoenix Paper, which operates a mill in Wickliffe, Kentucky, recently announced it will make a $200 million expansion at the facility, formerly owned by Verso.
He is the only logging contractor in southern Illinois with cut-to-length equipment, said Wayne. There about 30 contractors, and he knows them all.
There are a handful of logging contractors in Paducah. One of them has called Wayne and asked him how the Log Max is performing and is interested in visiting him on a job to see it run.
Wayne is certified under the Kentucky Master Logger program, which is administered by the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry. Each of his crews has a tailgate meeting every morning to remind them of safety procedures.
The crews work 8-10 hours a day, five days, and occasionally on Saturday. Wayne finds himself working about 75-80 hours per week. His wife, Jackie, manages the office and does the company’s bookkeeping and payroll.
In his spare time, he enjoys fishing. “But that doesn’t happen very often,” he added. He also likes to ride his Harley-Davidson Street Glide motorcycle.