ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


Looking back, and problem solving along the way.

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Sandhill Crane, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. Sandhill Crane

    Sandhill Crane AS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,467
    Likes Received:
    3,231
    Location:
    Saugatuck, Michigan
    Cash flow is a toughie. I've taken out small, fairly short term loans for the forklift and the PackFix. I've heard it said both ways, business fail because they borrow too much money. And, business fail because they don't borrow enough money. Some people are more at ease with risk than others.
    Up to a point, it has not been about making money, as I've enjoyed the work and the process. I've always commuted to job sites 30-200 miles. Working at home in the wood lot is great. The investment in equipment makes it easier and more productive. As far as equipment, I do have much more than most home owners, but as compared to other AS contributors that make a living, or partial living, from firewood my equipment is pretty bare bones. A splitter; conveyor; forklift; and bundler. Some of these guys have processors, skid steers, log trucks, full shops; and employees, family or partners, or some form of those. Some farm and use equipment or land not entirely supported by firewood. Everyone is different. I would never think of hiring someone, even a neighbor kid, because of liability. I've considered renting a processor, but I could not make the numbers work out without working for free.
    Also, my age is becoming a factor, especially when I think about a loan for a processor. The 85k dream machine is nice, in that there is no re-splits, but I'm not taking a home equity loan for firewood, and a ten year equipment loan seems ridiculous at my age. This years physical impairments attest to that. A 30-50k machine would be a substantial payment, re-quire re-splitting, and make cash flow tight to feed it. In the end, I think what I'm doing is good for a year or two, or possibly an Eastonmade box wedge with pull back arm, which would be a 85k dream machine without the bells and whistles, and leave wobble room for other things. As far as the PackFix, it should have more resale value than a pile of bulk bags.
    IMG_5782.jpg
     
    panolo likes this.
  2. Sandhill Crane

    Sandhill Crane AS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,467
    Likes Received:
    3,231
    Location:
    Saugatuck, Michigan
    I have never used a processor. I helped a couple guys for four or five hours running a Dyna 16. They were ill prepared. Poorly trimmed and extra long logs, no cant hook or peeve. Their dads drove a couple trucks with dump trailers, which did make that part go pretty smooth. It still went fairly well, shearing the wedge hold down pin twice, and jamming the machine. The second time they used a hardened bolt. No sure if the original was a sacrificial shear pin or not.
    They were running a four-way, and the splits were large for boiler wood.

    I'm also judging from the split piles I saw at the Paul Bunyan show this year.
    I could be wrong about resplitting but I don't think so.

    I would say 80% of my orders are from women. If a woman can not pick up a split with one hand it is too big. Most of my customers burn in fireplaces, and less so in wood stoves. I have three customers that heat with wood, one of which just switched to pellets. They do ask for larger splits for overnighters.

    I have two customers that re-splits after I deliver.
    One is a summer art school with an outdoor ceramic kiln. They typically re-split to 1"x2". The reason is to increase the burn temperature significantly, and they will burn from two to three days non stop, working in shifts and loading the fire chamber hourly or even more often.
    The other customer has a european stove that requires smaller wood to get multiple pieces in it. Apparently it burns a small hot fire as well.

    In addition, smaller splits season more quickly.
     
    panolo likes this.
  3. cantoo

    cantoo Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Messages:
    4,419
    Likes Received:
    10,705
    Location:
    North of Goderich, Ontario, Canada
    Sandhill, my Wallenstein came with a 6 way head and for me using 14" ash logs I think they are too small. There are smaller less expensive processors that would work good with the size logs you are getting. My age is also the reason I've been building equipment to make firewooding easier. Today my wife said I have to realize that some day soon we need to switch to oil. I'm too stubborn to burn oil.
     
  4. bayard

    bayard Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,044
    Likes Received:
    509
    Location:
    ct
    wow, you are burning some calories.
     
  5. ChoppyChoppy

    ChoppyChoppy Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    9,818
    Likes Received:
    9,322
    Location:
    AK
    It all depends how to setup the machine and what you feed it. If you put in 24" diameter log and a 4 way knife, it'll make big pieces. If you put a 16 way knife, it'd make small pieces.
    I have a 6 way for mine. If I'm running logs that just barely fit in the machine I might have to resplit a few with each block of wood, but with small logs there's no issue.

    I just ordered in some T1 steel to make an 8 way for doing bundle wood. I keep those splits on the smaller end, maybe 4" max, so that ends up being a decent amount of replitting.

    If you want to make popsicle sticks, a processor isn't going to do that. Pouche makes one for that purpose. I'm sure it's underbuilt and overpriced like the rest of their stuff though. Certainly not logger proof!

    The dyna machines I've seen are homeowner sized. Expect to spend at least in the 50-60k area for a decent sized processor and conveyor that will hold up to commercial use. I looked hard at the Brute Force. Have talked to Clayton (owner) quite a bit and saw once in person. Well setup in design and the hydraulics are done well too.
    Their bigger machine will handle 30" logs and runs about 75k.

    My Blockbuster had HORRIBLE hydraulics when I bought it. I redid a bunch of stuff and reduced the cycle time almost in half as well as reduced fuel usage and hydraulic oil temps.
    None of what I did was overly expensive and certainly wouldn't be much more when building the machine.
    Just stuff like putting the correct sized hoses vs nearly everything is -8 or -6... I guess they buy just 2 sizes of hose and make it work, dunno!
     
    Sandhill Crane likes this.

Share This Page