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Popular Terms for Logging Equipment and Supplies
If you are new to the logging industry, then you might not know all of the terms that professionals use when discussing the various types of machines, equipment, and strategies that they use when cutting timber. The following list of key terms will help you communicate with people who have experience working in this field.
Skeleton Car - A truck that has been specifically designed for carrying lumber. They typically have a center sill and lateral arms that loggers fill with cut timber. Some have sides, but others are built so that loggers can load timber into the trailer without restriction.
Springboards - Platforms that are inserted into a notch made in a tree. This equipment allows loggers to stand above any obstructions on the ground, such as snow or brush, so they can more easily cut down the tree. This can decrease risk of injury without decreasing the wood supply that goes to a sawmill.
Log Splitter - There are two types of log splitters. One is a wedge that is inserted into the cut end of a log. This wedge is hammered down into the wood to cut the log. Larger log splitters are heavy machines that exert great force on a log so that it gets pushed into a sharpened wedge. This splits large logs quickly without requiring nearly as much effort as manual splitters.
Clear Cutting - You may have heard the word clear cutting when someone refers to a logging company that enters an arbor and removes every tree in the forest without discretion. While companies can use this approach, many prefer to only harvest certain areas of the forest at a time. This allows trees in the arbor to regrow between harvests so that they have a supply in the future and prevents environmental damage.
There was a time when logging equipment meant having a pick, an axe and a team of horses or mules to work with. Mechanized logging equipment began to appear in the late nineteenth century, when most of it was steam powered as early equipment was dangerous and uncertain to use.
Modern logging equipment has removed many of the dangers faced by workers in the timber industry. A variety of machines are used to remove trees and process wood on site. Arborists may also use climbing gear and smaller tools for the trimming and care of trees.
Modern equipment, especially bulldozers and backhoes, allows for easy clear cutting methods. Environmental concerns about the clear cutting of old growth forest have become heightened in recent years. More careful forest management and selective cutting techniques require using smaller equipment. The job of the arborist has also become more important over the years.
Manufacturers may sell their equipment directly to timber companies or to rental companies. Dealers may sell both new and used equipment. For smaller projects, they lease equipment. Constructors often rent logging equipment to clear trees for development.
Logging supply stores also sell clothing and boots, hard hats and other safety equipment and parts for equipment. In some cases, the same company may supply both small scale and heavy machinery.
The modern logging process uses tree harvesters to fell the trees and trim off the limbs. Commercial log splitters are sometimes employed to break a tree down into small parts before hauling it. Skidders are used to remove a single tree from a forest. Special trucks and tractor trailers are then used to transport the logs. A crane called a grapple loads them onto the truck. Sawmills will then use hooded belt conveyers to move logs into the mill.