February, 2001

 

 

 

 

 

 More Logs, Inc. - as comfortable with Hollywood 

A log explodes off the lines. It hits the log deck, rolls down the mountain and over a jeep. The log slams into a general. Suddenly someone yells "cut" and spectators cheer. Sound like more like Hollywood than harvesting? Well, you're right. Outside Mexico City a film crew from Orion Studios is shooting a flick called "Remo Williams - The Adventure Begins". But on this set, instead of Mel Gibson, you'll find two local Oregon loggers, Fred Ward and Joel Gray. 

The LinkBelt yarder with a LinkBelt loader/delimber in the background.

The movie setting called for a realistic logging sequence with credible modern logging equipment. Enter Dick Renoud, owner of More Logs, Inc. from the Sweet Home Lebanon area, able to orchestrate a hydrocrane, a CAT, a grader, a water truck, even a real live hooktender. Standing on the platform with the director and various camera guys, Renoud can explain how the 071 Madil yarder works and what it means to have a skyline spread of 2000 feet. 

There's a reason the director and producer wanted Renoud and his machinery - Renoud speaks from real logging experience. In 1975 Renoud helped make a howto movie on multispan logging. That production is used worldwide as a teaching tool in the forest industry. And it was Renoud and More Logs Inc. that introduced long line systems for the southern interior region of British Columbia at Demo '92.

The LinkBelt LS4300 used as a yarder.

He had to prove that long line systems had a real advantage over the well established shovel logging. Testimonials ran high for his modern, well maintained, productive equipment and for a crew that g e n u i n e l y respected h i g h standards for personal safety and sensitivity toward community watershed areas. In the mid '80s, Renoud was the spokesperson, champion and consultant for Skyway Logging - an alternative to expensive helicopter, balloon or high lead operations in road less areas. 

The Skyway Logging's support system eliminated the cost and time of building damaging roads. Often one set-up of Skyway Logging's intermediate support system was more economical and could outperform several conventional skylines. The secret? The use of tree jacks to support the skyline cable over extended distances, as well as up and down ridges. Support, or multi-span, logging had been used in Europe for decades. 

The LinkBelt 3400 loader with Pierce Delimber at work near Drain, Oregon.

Modern Skyline Logging has taken the European gravity system and added haul back, enabling the carriage to be pulled up and over rough terrain. It was not too difficult to rig the system. It took roughly an hour to preset the tree jack, and the skyline could be strung on it in less than half that time. With improved pulling capacity, more loads could be brought in in less time. A big bonus was that the system satisfied Forest Service restrictions on logging in road less areas. Dick Renoud and his wife Rintha are both graduates of Sweet Home High School in Oregon. 

They've lived and worked in the Burns/Hines area of Eastern Oregon and spent some time in Seneca, a former company town complete with company owned tavern, store, housing . . . with business often conducted using company tokens. Once politically active, Rintha has chosen to pursue a quieter life. She knows and understands the politics of Oregon and the workings of More Logs, Inc. She's still active in the business, but a bit disenchanted with politicians and lobbyists who are often "out of touch with reality ." 

The Pierce DeLimbinator delimbs, measures and cuts a log

She has witnessed firsthand the many changing pressures and regulations in the forest service industries. Dick is the quintessential machinery man. He knows when Skagit built the G73, that allowed an 800plus foot reach. He remembers when Interstate Tractor reconditioned Skagit and CATS and GT3's into Falcon yarders by adding drum sets. He speaks knowingly of the TMY50 yarder, that "included everything everyone wanted" and that eventually evolved into the TMY70. "I'm a skyline logger," laughs Renoud, "and I want to know the machinery ."   

One piece of machinery Renoud speaks highly of is his log loader. "I like LinkBelt, serviced by Triad out of Portland and Eugene. Mike Hildebrand and his folks are good people. It boils down to what a dealer can offer in service, service and service ." Rintha adds, "It's essential to a contractor to know that the dealer is solid as a rock and will stand hard behind his product. That keeps the value from deteriorating. 

The Acme Carriage Model 15.

A used LinkBelt is still very valuable, due to that combination of high quality product and a strong dealer behind it ." The Renoud's son John is currently running a side just outside of Drain, to the south and west of Cottage Grove, Ore. The 1.5 million foot cut is on a 47acre plot that borders the historic old Drain Cemetery to the north of town. Curiously enough, the slope was once grassland for sheep and goats, so this is the first cut of timber. 

It's a basic clear cut, with the exception of standard wildlife trees. The stems  .  are a mix of Douglas fir, hemlock, cedar, and some hardwoods - madrone, tan oak, alder and maple. The sawlogs are transported to the Seneca Sawmill in Eugene, the chip material to Western Wood in Goshen, and the occasional load of cedar to P & M Cedar in Roseburg. This operation basically works around two machines. 

Richard (Dick) Renoud stands beside some cornhusk dolls he acquired while on a location "shoot" in Mexico. 

The tower logging element uses a LinkBelt 4300 log loader which Dick Renoud has converted into a yarder. Operated by Rick Walton, the yarder has electronic choker belts, eliminating the need for a chaser and cutting down on employee liability. The skyline rigged in the center (an idea borrowed from the Swedes) keeps the carriage out of the dirt. This intermediate support system, which Dick perfected, is now an industry standard. 

The shield on the carriage is open on one side so it can come up over the jack, which is suspended in a single tree (the "singletree jack"). There are no guy lines in this system; it can be parked anywhere. The carriage, made by Acme Manufacturing, Inc., in Springfield, is a 100 percent hydraulic driven. The Renouds use the Model 15, which weighs in at 1260 pounds. John emphasizes how important quick service is. He was an hour out of Springfield when he suddenly needed a carriage. 

Hook tender Travis Harris (red and black shirt) and choker setter Eric Offut lower the jack for the carriage Hook

Immediately, Richard VanDamme of Acme Carriage had a prototype of the one he needed and got it to him within two hours. John used it, liked it, and bought it. "Rich gives out his home phone number and people, call him in the middle of the night," says John. "He was a logger, and he understands downtime. He doesn't mind the late night calls ." Because the carriage is so efficient, it requires above average workers. John Renoud is proud of hardworking choker setter Eric Offut and hook tender Travis Harris, who often work in rain or bone chilling fog. 

It's a tight group - one choker setter, one hook tender, the yarder operator, and one guy on the delimber/loader. It's the new look in streamlined logging. Efficiency is what prompted the Renouds to invest in the Johnson electronic choker belts. John admits that they don't come cheap, but they are quick and eliminate the need for a chaser, so they pay for themselves within several months. Every belt has a different radio frequency. The yarder operator works from a board, where he can program 49 different chokers at once. The Renouds consider these Canadian built belts a vital complement to the Acme carriage system. 

Yarder operator Rick Walton (left), owner John Renoud and Acme Mfg. Inc. owner Richard VanDamme inspect a camera.

John Renoud operates one of the two LinkBelt 3400 QTLDL stroker delimber/loaders with the Pierce De Limbinator. Via a computer, he sorts by species, grade, length and diameter. The delimber is a special built delimber, with a TL undercarriage (high and wide) and 12inch riser in the cab so the operator sits higher, sees better, and can load easier. Although the operator always has to be aware of the swift moving boom, John has high praise for it: "It's a tough mother, and it gets the job done. 

I've had nothing but great luck with LinkBelts. We've got five of these machines now, and every one has performed above and beyond what we expected ." The Drain cut will be done in a couple of weeks. Then the group of four will move on, ready for new territory and new scenery. They look forward to it. Rintha Renoud sums it up succinctly: "You have to understand the logging business. It's addictive. It gets in the blood ." With son John carrying on the 29year tradition, it's pretty certain that as long as there are more logs, More Logs, Inc. will be there, ready, with the cutting edge technology for the logger's cutting edge. 

Kurt received a Master's in English at Stanford, and taught English and French for 33 years before he became a freelance writer. He has written for a variety of Northwest magazines, including Northwest Travel, Sports Afield, and Western Horseman. 

This page was last updated on Tuesday, July 08, 2003