25th November 2019
BTB visited Bryant Logging in Estacada, Oregon to learn more about their family business and recent LH822D purchase.
– Samantha Paul
Brothers Luke and Zane Bryant work alongside their father Mike, owner of Bryant Logging, based out of Beavercreek, Oregon. The family business currently owns nine pieces of equipment and employs seven.
Mike Bryant started logging in the late 1960s on his parents’ own woodlot. In his junior year of high school, Mike purchased his first piece of logging equipment. Only a few days after finishing high school, a neighbour came over to the house and asked Mike to log his land for him. “For the next three or four years, I logged for him,” says Mike.
“He’d have me log until he’d reach a certain amount of money and then I would go do some other work.” Mike did some excavation work here and there then switched back to logging full time when Port Blakely Tree Farms purchased land near him. “I started thinning for Port Blakely pretty much year-round, full-time for about nine years,” says Mike.
Mike’s two boys, Zane and Luke started helping their Dad out as soon as they could. “We were pretty young,” says Zane. “They couldn’t start the chainsaws, let’s put it that way,” says Mike. “I’d skid the logs and Zane and Luke would be at the landing together. They’d limb and buck the logs while I brought in another turn.”
The company owns four shovel loggers, three processors and two skidders, with the most recent purchase being the Tigercat LH822D harvester. Luke is currently using it to thin a 300 acre (120 ha) tract for the US Forest Service.
“We had a small non-leveling machine but we knew we needed something bigger,” explains Zane. “We looked at what other contractors were using in the area and then we went up for a factory tour at Tigercat. That sealed the deal.”
“Seeing how everything is engineered and produced up there gives you a new appreciation for the equipment,” adds Luke.
THEY WORK THEIR TAILS OFF AND THEY’RE INVESTED IN IT.
– Mike Bryant
Bryant Logging purchased the LH822D from recently retired sales specialist, Larry Nord of Triad Machinery. Luke has put 400 hours on the machine and is very happy to now have a leveling machine with no counterweight.
“It is way easier to get around with this machine,” says Luke. “I use the auto-leveling feature while driving around. I am driving over a lot of stumps on these hills so I can slow it down and it actually reacts fairly quickly. When I tip really hard over a stump, it’ll start automatically bringing it up for me.”
Luke also enjoys how compact the machine is. “This is fifteen-foot spacing, but the lot I finished down the road was tighter. There is just less to think about with this machine. There are already so many things you have to watch out for out here, not having to worry about your boom or your counterweight makes a big difference.”
Bryant Logging plans to purchase a 610E skidder next. “We get down to twelve-foot spacing out here. The 620 is a bit bulky for what we need, so we are thinking a 610 to get in those tight spaces,” says Zane.
Another reason the Bryants wanted Tigercat equipment is because of the dealer, Triad Machinery. “We have had great experience with Triad,” says Mike. “We like the service department and dealing with those guys. I like being able to call up the service department and actually talk to a mechanic. I can ask him a quick question. Two minutes later the problem is solved, instead of scheduling a whole trip over it.”
THE FRESH AIR KEEPS ME YOUNG.
– Zane Bryant, of Bryant Logging
Luke and Zane love working out in the woods. “The fresh air keeps me young,” Zane claims. Luke left logging when he was twenty years old to become a plumber. He got his journeyman plumber’s license and worked as a plumber for ten years. Nevertheless, the woods drew him back.
“I got tired of traffic and dealing with people,” says Luke. “It’s a lot easier dealing with family. You can hold each other accountable and count on each other out here.”
Mike adds proudly, “The business wouldn’t be worth much without these two boys here. They’re conscientious. They work their tails off and they’re invested in it. That, along with the exceptional employees we have, is what makes it all work.”
Bryant Logging has no plans to grow the operation. “We really don’t want to get a lot bigger. It’s easier to control the quality at this size,” says Zane. We’re pretty efficient the way we are set up now. And we can move quite a bit of wood.” When Luke isn’t operating the processor, he enjoys building drones. Zane enjoys snowboarding and is kept busy with his three kids. Mike plans to retire soon and take some time to travel with his wife. He will be content to pass the company on to the next generation of Bryants and has full confidence in his boys.