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BTB 53: First Impression 718G feller buncher

Richard Dougharty is a third-generation logger from Newton, Texas. He has been working in the woods for 35 years. Fifteen years ago, he became sole proprietor of Dougharty Logging, taking the business over from his father. As of early September, Richard’s new 718G feller buncher had acquired 1,630 operating hours. BTB talked to Richard to get his take on the machine.
Richard Dougharty, owner of Dougharty Logging.

Richard Dougharty, owner of Dougharty Logging.


BTB: Can you describe your current operations?

Richard: We do mostly first thinning. We do some second thinning but our current operation is first thinning. We’ve been on this site for a little over a month now.

BTB: Is the 718G replacing an older machine or is it a new addition?

Richard: This machine is replacing an older machine, a 720G I had. Prior to the 720G, we had a 2470 Hydro-Ax. That is pretty much all I had ever run until we swapped to Tigercat.

BTB: How does the 718G compare to the 720G feller buncher? Richard: Well, it’s early yet, but it’s comparable. I like the fact that the 718G is a quicker machine, and the ride in the machine isn’t much different than the 720G. I’m definitely going to see a decrease in fuel consumption, which is always good. This machine is a lot better for the wetter ground. There is less weight on the ground, so I’m not getting stuck like I was with a bigger machine. I’m very pleased with the way the machine is operating. Everything is a positive at this point.

BTB: How have you found the manoeuvrability of this machine over the 720G?

Richard: It is more agile. It’s a little quicker of a machine. But as far as manoeuvrability in first thinning, you’re not having to manoeuvre the machine as much. Production in bigger stands of timber should go up because we’re able to get around a lot faster. We’re cutting more trees versus trying to get into a spot. So yeah, very pleased with the way it gets around, very much so.


718G feller buncher first thinning in Texas.

718G feller buncher first thinning in Texas.


BTB: Has your productivity changed at all since purchasing this machine?

Richard: My productivity hasn’t really changed much. My expenses have gone down due to reduced fuel consumption, but productivity has stayed right where I need it to be.

BTB: What features on the 718G make your job easier as an operator?

Richard: The touchscreen on the operating system. The gauges are a lot more accessible and you can see the information a lot better. Having the backup camera helps in some cases – it’s there if you need it. I also like the feature where you can fuel the machine up from the ground.

BTB: Do you use the saw interrupt feature?

Richard: The time that I did use it, was just to see how it would work in spongier ground. It does allow the machine to put more power to your drive function. It’s not a feature that I’ve used a lot, but it’s definitely a plus to be there if you need it.


Tigercat’s new saw interrupt feature temporarily cuts power to the saw when activated. This frees up extra engine power to be used elsewhere. The saw interrupt feature is intended to put additional power to the ground in steeper terrain, for instance when the operator is backing uphill to dump an accumulated load.


Cable limb riders behind the cab.

Limb risers decrease the amount of debris that gets stuck behind the cabin. According to Richard, “They’re effective.”


BTB: Do you like the electric hydraulic oil fill?

Richard: Oh, yes. Anything that cuts down on your workout is better. I kind of felt neglected because the skidders have had that feature for a little while. So, I’m glad we moved up to skidder status anyway.

BTB: The 718G has programmable joystick buttons. Have you set customized functions on your joystick

Richard: No. Having come from a Tigercat machine, pretty much everything was set up the way we’re used to. It is good to have that option because some machines are a little bit different, so it’s a great feature. But just for us, everything was already set up the way we are used to it.

BTB: Do you find the limb risers on the back of the cab effective?

Richard: Oh, yes. They’re effective. It’s amazing. That stuff would get in places where you don’t want it. They serve a good purpose.


New to the 718G is the limb risers behind the cab. The idea is for the cables to decrease the amount of debris that accumulates on the engine enclosure behind the cab.


BTB: Your machine is equipped with telematics. Do you use it?

Richard: I have used it. I’m still getting familiar with it. The main thing that I keep up with is fuel consumption. If there is an issue with a machine, it’s easy to pull it up and see what’s going on, so it’s a defi nite positive. And it will be even better once I learn how to use everything.

BTB: Which aspects of the 718G are most important to you?

Richard: Well one of the absolute favourite features of Tigercat is saw recovery. I’ve ran a lot of different cutters and Tigercat definitely has the fastest recovery time. And the interior of the cab – there are a lot of nice features in there. I’m very pleased with the cab.

BTB: What is it that you like about the cab?

Richard: I really love the larger screen size and the touchscreen. The heated and cooled seat is a nice feature as well. It’s got a good radio system that works really well. I like the window shades. When you are cutting into the sun, they’re very helpful. The shade in the top of the machine is also very helpful. It cuts a lot of heat down out of the cab in the summertime.


718G feller buncher with a full bunch of trees stored in the feeling head

More cutting and less machine travel. The 5600 bunching saw allows more trees to be stored before stopping to dump the accumulated bunch.


BTB: How is your relationship with your Tigercat dealer, Tejas Equipment?

Richard: My salesman out of Tejas is Jimmy Rawls. I’ve bought three machines from him. And he’s been great. He follows up after the sale. He doesn’t just sell them and you never hear from him again. Jay Kenesson runs the store there at Hillister. He’s been very good to me. He checks in from time to time, asking me if I have any needs, or any questions. It’s been a great working relationship.

BTB: Anything else that you want to add?

Richard: I’ve run a lot of different machinery and Tigercat equipment, to me, has probably been the best machinery I’ve ever run. I don’t see myself ever buying anything else. The Tigercats have just been too good.


 

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