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JDon

Looking to get into forestry.

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Cutting wood is hard, and it's not something you can learn overnight by doing the basic tickets.  Not sure which company has offered you work, but most harvesting sites you need to have big trees, windblow and first aid + F as well.  Plus you might need to be carrying specific first aid items on your person, depending whose site it is.

 

Many sites are now harvester, forwarder and saw operator so there's not a lot of scope for learning from and old hand on the job.  Harvester drivers generally want trees down, fast, neat and in the right place.  Sned well if they need it and logs off as appropriate.  You have to know which machine you're felling for and what it can do.  A big machine might process a whole tree, a wee machine might need the stem run out and a log off.  Leave a tree the machine can't cope with and you'll get whined at and have to go back once he's dragged it through the muck and made a mess of it.  Process a tree too much and you'll get whined at that you're wasting time.  

 

Anything that's easy will be done by the machine, so you're almost exclusively going to be in the really wet bits, the really steep bits, the really hairy trees or the real messes of windblow, it can also be dangerous for all these reasons.  As said above, there's times when it's too hot, too cold, things eat you, the wind is almost always blowing in the wrong direction!  

 

All that said, it's not the worst way to spend your days and the rates are certainly beginning to move in the right direction for good, experienced cutters.  Not sure about new starts, but generally I've found guys without experience are SLOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW.  Not their fault, everyone has to learn, but when there's a production element involved new guys aren't going to make good money as they can't justify it.  I don't necessarily agree that this is a good thing, but it is the way it seems to be at present.  The industry certainly needs new blood and if your long term goal is to sit in a machine then spending a few years on the saw will certainly make you a better machine operator.

 

Good luck.  Don't be put off by all the negatives, some days the sun does shine, there's just enough breeze in the right direction and you even get a good view.  In addition to the Chainsaw Operators Blog there's also the UK Hand Cutters page or the Forest Machine Operators Blog where you can get some good advice.

20211122_074442.jpg

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2 hours ago, Spruce Pirate said:

Cutting wood is hard, and it's not something you can learn overnight by doing the basic tickets.  Not sure which company has offered you work, but most harvesting sites you need to have big trees, windblow and first aid + F as well.  Plus you might need to be carrying specific first aid items on your person, depending whose site it is.

 

Many sites are now harvester, forwarder and saw operator so there's not a lot of scope for learning from and old hand on the job.  Harvester drivers generally want trees down, fast, neat and in the right place.  Sned well if they need it and logs off as appropriate.  You have to know which machine you're felling for and what it can do.  A big machine might process a whole tree, a wee machine might need the stem run out and a log off.  Leave a tree the machine can't cope with and you'll get whined at and have to go back once he's dragged it through the muck and made a mess of it.  Process a tree too much and you'll get whined at that you're wasting time.  

 

Anything that's easy will be done by the machine, so you're almost exclusively going to be in the really wet bits, the really steep bits, the really hairy trees or the real messes of windblow, it can also be dangerous for all these reasons.  As said above, there's times when it's too hot, too cold, things eat you, the wind is almost always blowing in the wrong direction!  

 

All that said, it's not the worst way to spend your days and the rates are certainly beginning to move in the right direction for good, experienced cutters.  Not sure about new starts, but generally I've found guys without experience are SLOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW.  Not their fault, everyone has to learn, but when there's a production element involved new guys aren't going to make good money as they can't justify it.  I don't necessarily agree that this is a good thing, but it is the way it seems to be at present.  The industry certainly needs new blood and if your long term goal is to sit in a machine then spending a few years on the saw will certainly make you a better machine operator.

 

Good luck.  Don't be put off by all the negatives, some days the sun does shine, there's just enough breeze in the right direction and you even get a good view.  In addition to the Chainsaw Operators Blog there's also the UK Hand Cutters page or the Forest Machine Operators Blog where you can get some good advice.

20211122_074442.jpg

 

You won't find better advice than this. 

 

Wallis knows his stuff, and he is actually glazed in sitka sap 😎

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3 minutes ago, Big J said:

 

You won't find better advice than this. 

 

Wallis knows his stuff, and he is actually glazed in sitka sap 😎

Marinated in it!!🤣

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If your a new operator you will probably be given the joyful job of brashing out the outsiders so machines can deal with them and carrying the jacks and wedges for the operator felling the larger ones.
Not thrilling work but it's all saw time and good to observe.

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Plenty of decent advise above, much of it from experienced boys who don't just have the T shirt but i'd say worn a few out, telling u not to be so daft 😀

 

Definately not a carear for everyone and if its for u probably something no quite right wi u anyway 😀

 

1 thing i will add which hasnae been said previously, and is usually an other on here's big moan about newbies both arb and forestry.

And is very easy to fix for free

 

LEARN SOME BASIC TREE TYPES/NAMES/SPECIES!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Its not rocket science, no good having all this fancy gear if u cannae tell the difference between a spruce and a pine or native and non native ( which is quite often a spec in doing forestry scrub clearance or environmental work)

 

Probably even more important for arb as dealing with planted trees in gardens etc, possibly even more so down south as u have so many more tree species down there.

 

For forestry very important u can identify in my area ( south scotland)

Sitka Spruce 

Norway Spruce

Larch

Scots Pine,  lesser extent Lodgepole pine in this area

Doug Fir, very occasional grandis

 

Then just a few basic hardwoods

Birch, Oak, Beech, Willow, Ash, Rowan, Sycamore, Chestnut etc

 

To be honest most basic tree types should be common knowledge anyway

U dont need to know latin names ( althou most planting boys will)

 

Just to add its very important u know and ID ur tree types so ur definately cutting doon the right tree but also they way u cut them will change from species to species.

I'd put cuts in a Sitka Spruce i'd never dream of doing with most other species even a Norway Spruce as all the fibres behave differently so hinges hold or not.

If u cant tell them apart ur in for trouble

Edited by drinksloe
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I'd add that one of the greatest qualities that a main contractor or forestry manager looks for in a cutter is consistency and reliability. 

 

If I were to describe my ideal chainsaw operative they would be:

 

  • Punctual and reliable. Phoning in sick first thing in the morning due to a hangover, or turning up to site half pissed and an hour late isn't acceptable.
  • Steady and consistent. Knowing that you're going to get a constant work rate from a cutter is vital. There's no sense going hell for leather out the gate if you've burned yourself out at 11:00. Equally, I can't bear slackers.
  • Well equipped and well skilled. Have the right equipment and know how to use it.
  • Not be permanently skint. It's incredibly annoying being hounded for wages at 17:30 on a Friday evening.
  • Polite. A bit of banter is OK, but excessive swearing, sexually explicit talk or talking bollocks is at best wearing and at worst wholly inappropriate.
  • Flexibility. Knowing that you can ask a cutter to stay late very occasionally to finish something off is useful.

There's more that I could add to that, but that's the bulk of it. 

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10 hours ago, Big J said:

I'd add that one of the greatest qualities that a main contractor or forestry manager looks for in a cutter is consistency and reliability. 

 

If I were to describe my ideal chainsaw operative they would be:

 

  • Punctual and reliable. Phoning in sick first thing in the morning due to a hangover, or turning up to site half pissed and an hour late isn't acceptable.
  • Steady and consistent. Knowing that you're going to get a constant work rate from a cutter is vital. There's no sense going hell for leather out the gate if you've burned yourself out at 11:00. Equally, I can't bear slackers.
  • Well equipped and well skilled. Have the right equipment and know how to use it.
  • Not be permanently skint. It's incredibly annoying being hounded for wages at 17:30 on a Friday evening.
  • Polite. A bit of banter is OK, but excessive swearing, sexually explicit talk or talking bollocks is at best wearing and at worst wholly inappropriate.
  • Flexibility. Knowing that you can ask a cutter to stay late very occasionally to finish something off is useful.

There's more that I could add to that, but that's the bulk of it.  

That exactly what other forestry contractors I know say as well. 
 

Minus the polite, nobody gives a ******** ******** ******** about that, you absolute *******!
 

In jest but yeah, pretty much that. Hard to find decent cutters for sure

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15 hours ago, Big J said:

I'd add that one of the greatest qualities that a main contractor or forestry manager looks for in a cutter is consistency and reliability. 

 

If I were to describe my ideal chainsaw operative they would be:

 

  • Punctual and reliable. Phoning in sick first thing in the morning due to a hangover, or turning up to site half pissed and an hour late isn't acceptable.
  • Steady and consistent. Knowing that you're going to get a constant work rate from a cutter is vital. There's no sense going hell for leather out the gate if you've burned yourself out at 11:00. Equally, I can't bear slackers.
  • Well equipped and well skilled. Have the right equipment and know how to use it.
  • Not be permanently skint. It's incredibly annoying being hounded for wages at 17:30 on a Friday evening.
  • Polite. A bit of banter is OK, but excessive swearing, sexually explicit talk or talking bollocks is at best wearing and at worst wholly inappropriate.
  • Flexibility. Knowing that you can ask a cutter to stay late very occasionally to finish something off is useful.

There's more that I could add to that, but that's the bulk of it. 

You know the old saying jonathan practice what you preach. 😉 ( talking bollocks ) 

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