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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A (Real) Logger Speaks Up

Occasionally I get a ping from my logger friend Martin Melville, who you may remember swinging from my butternut tree last summer. Yesterday's lumbersexual video reminded me of a recent blog post of Martin's, describing the real world that the logger operates in. Thought you might enjoy what a real logger sees from his side of the world.
"Loggers are typically disempowered. We are on the bottom of the pecking order. We wind up dealing with scenarios that others- -foresters, sawmills, and land owners—create. I have often been told that “foresters don’t respect us.” Contract provisions require us to (figuratively) sign our lives away and post our first-born as bond. Sawmills often pay more for timber on the stump than they do for logs delivered to the mill. One outcome is that we are very good at finding ways to “make it work.” If there’s a “rock” (read: barrier) in the way, what are (in today’s jargon) the possible work-arounds? Another result is to invoke the prayer of St. Francis: Lord help me change the things I can, accept the things I can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference. The list of things beyond our control is long: weather, the cost of fuel, the cost of equipment, whether the guys show up for work, contract provisions, (sometimes) the timber we cut, the rate we can charge per ton or per thousand board feet. For instance:"
You can read the rest of Martin's post here at his blog, martinstrees. 


3 comments:

dustsaw said...

Yes very good, Thanks

woodisgood said...

My daughter was ecstatic when "lumber sexual" fashion hit the mainstream, "Dad, you're finally in fashion!" Far be it from me to bash the clueless from wearing my clothes...at least they are TRYING to be real, they want to be real. They have a sense that a logger really is real, and they're right. Those of us who know logging, who know the risks, who are the eternal optimists, who constantly create solutions, have a keen sense of reality that's foreign to most. Almost all loggers are paid piece work, by the ton or by board feet. Rare are the times when all things line up, and work well. Rare is the time there's a reasonable profit at the end of the day...that isn't required to fix a broken machine the next day. Loggers are engineers harnessing gravity, negotiating obstacles by changing focus, reorganizing priorities to fit changing realities. Loggers are our industries "Special Ops" because they are at the point, assessing realities, and getting the job done. If you've spent any time around a logger, you'll see him face problems head on, experience his optimism (to a fault), and his perseverance. Loggers are a rare breed in a good way. They are not at the bottom of the pile in our industry, they are our foundation on which everything else is built.
Dave Whitten, (1978 graduate Wood Harvesting WCVTI Maine, 12 years logging in Maine, Wyoming and New York), 26 years Export Sales Bingaman and Son Lumber PA

Anonymous said...

Chuck,
Interesting reading. If you have not already, I recommend reading "High Climbers and
Timber Fallers" by GF Beranck. His chronicles of cutting old-growth redwood have many of the same themes, i.e. loggers are often at the bottom of the pecking order, even though the industry could not function without them Lots of good pictures too.

Jerry Finch (30 years of teaching woood product manufacturing)