BTB 38: WHEELS ARE COST EFFECTIVE AT THE HEAD OF TIDE

Bill Olson, owner of Olson Inc. is a second-generation logger who works with his son, Josh for a land management company, Wagner Forest Management in Bangor, Maine, cutting a mix of typical Maine hardwood and softwood.

— Samantha Paul, Tigercat marketing

With logging operations south of the Penobscot River watershed, at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains and close to the coast, Bangor is at the head of tide (between the rapids and the ocean) making its location historically ideal for lumbering. Logs were floated downstream with the Spring thaw to waterfall-powered sawmills just above Bangor. The sawn lumber was then shipped from the city’s docks to the Atlantic coast.

Frank Martin Sons Inc. retails fi rst Tigercat drive-to-tree feller buncher, a 718E, in the state of Maine. (L-R) William Olson and son, Josh Olson with Frank Martin sales specialist Kris Lepage.

Frank Martin Sons Inc. retails fi rst Tigercat drive-to-tree feller buncher, a 718E, in the state of
Maine. (L-R) William Olson and son, Josh Olson with Frank Martin sales specialist Kris Lepage.

Due to the rocky and steep topography in this region, harvesting with track machines is the obvious choice, making it very rare to see a drive-to- tree machine working in the northeastern United States. However, in May of last year Bill pondered the idea of purchasing a Tigercat 718E wheel feller buncher to replace his previous Tigercat H822C track harvester, which he owned for three years.

Bill states, “I am getting old and I wanted to downsize on my next machine purchase. I believed in the machine and the time was right so I bought it.” Instead of investing in another harvesting machine, Bill took a risk and thought to try out a wheel machine on the rocky and hilly terrain he operates in.

Thankfully, the risk is paying off. “I am getting 70-80% of the production tonnage out of the wheel machine compared to my previous track harvester, working in the same terrain, with the same contractors,” Bill asserts. “It is half the money and uses half the fuel. That is all I hoped for.” Bill was the first to call Tigercat dealer, Frank Martin Sons Inc., expressing interest in the 718E wheel machine and now the dealership is getting many more calls with interest in drive-to-tree machines for this area. Four different contractors have come to see Bill’s 718E wheel feller buncher in action, since he purchased it in May, 2013.

With 600 hours on it, Bill indicates to his visitors, “I don’t lie. Everything is good with this machine and I am saving money.” Frank Martin Sons Inc. has more wheel feller bunchers on order, and already took delivery in late October of another 718E equipped with a Tigercat 5500 saw.

Bill further explains, “Someone from Lincoln, a three hour drive away, called me today wanting to see the 718E working in the field this Friday!” Bill is happy to continue showing off his wheel machine to other potential Tigercat customers.