TECHNICAL RELEASE 12-R-15
Delimbing: gate May 2012 www.forestresources.org/members/serpub/12-R-15.html
INTRODUCTION: Danny Sandusky, owner of Sandusky Trucking in Collinwood, Tennessee, improves his logging operation’s productivity by using small patches of standing pine timber as natural delimbing gates on plantation clearcuts.
GENERAL FEATURES: Many pine plantation loggers use metal delimbing gates at a pre-deck staging area to reduce the amount of topwood and slash that accumulate at the log deck. However, the skidder operator must often relocate the delimbing gate or make longer pulls as the stand is cut. This requirement reduces skidder productivity. The use of a delimbing gate also requires the skidder to clear the tops and debris from behind the gate on a regular basis.
OPERATION: Sandusky has found that simply leaving a few rows, each with a number of pine, standing in place in a strategic location, actually works very well as a delimbing gate.
The feller-buncher operator, as he works through a tract, leaves a small patch of uncut timber in a planned area between the loader and the area where he is cutting. When the skidder drags bunched trees to the landing, the patch of uncut timber is “on the way.” The operator backs the trees in through the standing uncut trees and breaks off some of the limbs and tops before pulling them rest of the way to the log deck. The first time he backs the trees into it, some of the pieces break off and form cross bars and cross pieces; after a few drags of trees have been backed through the standing trees, the effectiveness of the delimbing improves considerably. At the landing, the knuckleboom loader is equipped with a pull-through delimber to complete the processing of the trees.
APPLICATION: Sandusky indicates that he gains up to a load per day of added production on a 12-15 load-per-day operation when he uses patches of timber for a natural delimbing gate. The skidder operator no longer has to move the gate and haul the debris away from the delimbing gate and from the landing. This improvement helps the skidders minimize driving distances and maximizes time spent pulling wood to the loading area. The feller-buncher operator leaves several small, uncut patches as he works through the timber. When the skidder operator is done with one of the delimbing areas and it is clear that a new location is better, then the feller-buncher cuts the delimbing gate trees when it is convenient.
SPECIFICATIONS AND COST: The logging business does not need to pay for the cost of a metal delimbing gate, and the operation does not need to incur any time or expense to move the delimbing gate from tract to tract, since new, natural delimbing gates are created on each job.