N.H. Father-and-Son Business Produces Logs, Biomass, Mulch

The workhorses for New Hampshire-based Fadden Chipping and Logging are two TimberPro track feller bunchers. Machine above is the newest addition, a TimberPro 745D.
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CONWAY, New Hampshire – When it came time for Fadden Chipping and Logging to replace a track feller buncher, it was almost a foregone conclusion the company would buy a TimberPro. After all, they had two TimberPro machines and have a longer history than that with the manufacturer.

Tom Fadden Jr. with the company’s TimberPro 745D. As the signage indicates, it is the 1,000th track machine manufactured by TimberPro.

Fadden Chipping and Logging is headed by Tom Fadden Sr., 67 and his son, Tom Jr. 40, who goes by Tommy and who talked to TimberLine for this article. The company has 10 employees, including the Faddens. Tommy’s mother, Vicki, keeps the books for the business in an office in his parents’ home, and the company also has a shop nearby.

Conway is located about in the middle of New Hampshire, top to bottom, on the eastern side, bordering Maine, and the Faddens work in both states.

The workhorses for the company are two TimberPro track feller bunchers; each is equipped with a Quadco saw head. In fact, the newest machine, a 745D that was delivered in February, is the 1,000th track machine manufactured by TimberPro. The other harvester is a TimberPro 735C. The 745D replaced a 2018 735 model, which in turn had replaced an even earlier TimberPro model.

: Both TimberPro track feller bunchers are equipped with Quadco saw heads. The company also has an assortment of John Deere skidders, two Hood 2400 slashers, and a pair of Morbark chippers.

An assortment of six John Deere grapple skidders gets the wood to the landing: an 848H, a 748H, a 748LII, and three 648H models. Processing is done by a pair of trailer-mounted Hood 2400 slashers with pull-through delimbers.

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The company also is equipped with a pair of trailer mounted Morbark chippers, a 23-inch model and a 30-inch machine, three excavators (Komatsu, Kobelco, and Hitachi), three dozers (two International and one Komatsu), a Vermeer HD6000 stump grinder, and five tractor-trailers and a dump truck.

The company belongs to Tom Sr., who started the business in 1980. At 67, he still works every day and usually runs a feller buncher or one of the Hood slashers. Tommy plans to acquire it when his father retires.

Tommy has worked with his father since graduating from high school. First he drove trucks and then began operating equipment, building roads for land development work.

The Faddens buy standing timber and timberland and also contract to harvest timber. Although they work throughout New Hampshire, 90 percent of their jobs are in the surrounding Conway region. The terrain varies a lot, from flat ground to steep, rocky terrain. The forest resources are abundant. “Everything’s growing here,” said Tommy. The dominant species are red oak and pine, mostly white pine.

Jobs range from as little as 5 acres to 300 acres, although the average site is about 50 acres. The company bids on timber sales in the nearby White Mountain National Forest, where it does thins and final cuts.

The company sometimes operates two jobs at the same time, and other times everyone is on the same job site, depending on the size of the job and other factors.

“We try to do 30 to 50 loads per week,” said Tommy, logs and chips. The company also produces mulch.

When it came time to replace the 2018 TimberPro, the Faddens considered one other manufacturer. “That was about it,” said Tommy.

The lack of consideration of other brands reflects their satisfaction over the years with TimberPro. “We’ve had good luck with the TimberPros, for sure,” said Tommy. The Faddens have been drawn to TimberPro machines because of their durability. “They don’t give us any trouble,” said Tommy. The machine they sold in order to purchase the new one had 13,000 hours of service, he noted.

The Faddens also had used Timbco machines, the predecessor company of TimberPro. “They’re pretty similar,” noted Tommy. “We kind of knew how to work on them.” The Faddens began using Timbco equipment in 2002 and bought their first new TimberPro feller buncher in 2014. Going to a Quadco head with a 22-inch saw “helped a lot,” said Tommy.

The TimberPro D-series features a new, larger cab that has improved visibility both in front and on the boom side. It is equipped with high output LED lighting for visibility at night in both the work area as well as directly under the cab to illuminate the tracks. The cab also has a  digital climate control system to keep the temperature steady and comfortable.

It is powered by a Cummins L9 350 hp Performance series Stage V engine that contains an EGR-free architecture and compact Single-Module™ after-treatment system. With the reduced size of the emissions components, it complies with all the requirements of Tier 4 Final species but provides increased horsepower and torque. The D-series keeps an almost zero tail swing design.

The new Cummins L9 engine boasts increased fuel economy and longer maintenance intervals over previous power plants, contributing to reduced cost of operation and lower overall total cost of ownership.

The 745D model has a tractive effort of more than 80,000 pounds. The feller buncher configuration has a lift capacity of more than 17,000 pounds while the harvester lift capacity is 18,000 pounds.

The machine’s leveling system can level 28 degrees at the front, 7 degrees at the rear, and 24 degrees at the side.

In addition to track harvesters and bunchers, TimberPro manufactures six-wheel harvesters, forwarders, and its own line of felling heads.

Established in 2002 and founded by the Crawford family in Shawano, Wisconsin, TimberPro was acquired in 2019 by Komatsu, which develops and supplies technologies, equipment and services for the construction, mining, forklift, industrial and forestry markets.

TimberPro recently completed an $8 million expansion project that added nearly 49,000 square feet to its factory. The expansion will allow the company to double production capacity, enabling it to meet growing market demand for its equipment and attachments.

To celebrate the project’s completion, TimberPro hosted a public open house for employees, their families and members of the Shawano community. The Crawfords have been involved in the forestry business in Wisconsin for more than 75 years, and in recognition of their contributions, the new expansion was dedicated to the Crawford family.

Landing scene on a job for Fadden Chipping and Logging showing one of the Hood slashers and a Morbark chipper. The company’s 10 employees work in the east-central New Hampshire region and adjacent Maine.

The factory expansion “represents a significant step forward for TimberPro,” said Doug Morris, vice president of the forest machine business division for Komatsu. The additional space will enable the company to “enhance our research and development capabilities and significantly increase our production,” he added.

            (For more information about TimberPro equipment, visit www.timberpro.com.)

Tommy, who operates the TimberPro, particularly likes the leveling system for working on steep terrain. “I love that 745,” he said. It has a larger footprint than the 735. “It’s quite a bit more stable.” In addition, the gull-wing doors provide good access to perform service and maintenance, he noted.

Fuel economy is “about the same” as the 735, said Tommy. “I burn about 75 to 100 gallons per day, depending on how steep it is.”

The Faddens have bought their TimberPro machines from Anderson Equipment, which has two dealerships within about an hour’s drive north or south – in Lancaster and in Gorham, Maine.

At the time Tommy talked with TimberLine, all company employees were working on the same job, a site of 290 acres the Faddens own and thinned about 10 years ago. The terrain was not very steep but was “rough and rocky,” said Tommy. The forest contained about 10 percent white pine plus red oak, hemlock, among other species. It was producing mostly red oak saw logs and low-grade logs for mats, firewood, and pulp.

Markets are relatively stable although prices have declined some. Outlets for pulp have been shut off since spring, but mills are beginning to buy again. White pine saw logs are supplied to Hancock Lumber in nearby Silver Lake and Lovell Lumber in Lovell, Maine. Hardwood saw logs are supplied to Timber East, which operates a concentration yard in nearby Tamworth. Pulp is supplied to the Sappi paper mill in Somerset, Maine, and ND Paper in Rumford, Maine. The primary market for mat logs is Oxford Timber in Oxford, Maine.

Logging slash and residual material is chipped – “as much as we can,” said Tommy. It is sold as biomass to fuel the Burgess BioPower plant in Berlin.

The company’s three drivers haul all the wood for the business. The shortest hauls are 10-30 miles and the longest, 75-100.

Some of the biggest challenges facing the company at present are high prices for fuel, equipment, and parts, said Tommy.

Tommy and his father work together to scout jobs and prepare bids. They are members of the New Hampshire Timber Owners Association.

Tommy stays pretty busy with work, but in his free time he likes to be with his family of three children. “I like to hang out with them,” he said. His hobbies are spending time outdoors with his family, skiing, snowmobiling and four-wheeling.