Maine Contractor Adds CBI Track Grinder
CBI 6800T-12, Stump Shear and Grapple Rake Extend Capability of L.E. Taylor & Sons
By Diane M. Calabrese
Date Posted: 4/1/2007
PORTER, Maine — Being prepared and bold steps have a way of going together, especially in business. So L.E. Taylor & Sons, which is owned by Laurence E. Taylor and his sons, Gary, Scott, Dennis and Walter, has long looked at the timber marketplace and made strategic decisions that anticipate and keep pace with change.
A logging and land clearing company established in 1982, L.E. Taylor & Sons added a CBI 6800T-12 grinder, a Pallari KH-160 stump shear and a Rotobec grapple rake to its equipment roster in 2006. The idea, explained Gary, vice president of the company, was to purchase equipment that would extend the capabilities of the firm in and around Portland, Maine, where it has been doing more land clearing.
From its base in Porter, Maine, L.E. Taylor also runs two logging and chipping crews in more rural areas of the Pine Tree State and in neighboring New Hampshire. Logging crews travel as far as 70 miles from Porter, a town of 1,400 residents in southwest Maine and close to the border with the Granite State. (Portland is about 45 miles southeast of Porter; its year-round and summer residents are spurring brisk development in the area.)
“Word-of-mouth” led L.E. Taylor & Sons to Continental Biomass Industries Inc. in Newton, N.H. for CBI equipment, said Gary. “We had never done any work with them before,” he said. However, the good reports he heard from others about CBI along with the strong results he realized with his first purchase, a CBI 6800T-12 grinder, quickly made Gary a repeat customer.
Gary had seen the CBI Magnum Force series 6800T-12 in action before buying. “We watched the 6800T-12 work” and liked the results, he said.
“Once we got the grinder, we started talking to Aaron Benway with CBI” about other needs, explained Gary. By summer, the Pallari shear and the Rotobec grapple rake, both supplied by CBI, also were in service. The Pallari is mounted on a Hitachi 200 excavator, and the Rotobec grapple is mounted on a Volvo EC240 BLC excavator. Gary bought one excavator through a dealer and the other at auction.
The Rotobec name was already a familiar and well-tested one at L E. Taylor. “We run Rotobec log buckets on our log trailers,” said Gary.
The two logging crews do mainly select cuts, using all Cat equipment. They rely on two Cat TK-711 feller-bunchers, which are both track machines, and two Cat TK-560 loaders with pull-through delimbers — one with a circular saw and one with a bar saw.
“We’re mostly in a lot of pine and oak,” said Gary, who usually runs the Rotobec grapple rake on job sites around Portland. The two species also predominate in the area around Portland although other regions of Maine are known for spruce and fir.
Working with consulting foresters is part of the day-to-day business at L.E. Taylor & Sons. Everyone negotiates to achieve the best outcome for the landowner and the land. Each logging crew also is equipped with a chipper — a Morbark 30-inch and a Precision 23-inch are in service. Trees that do not yield saw logs or pulpwood are chipped to produce biomass fuel.
Chips are sold to Pinetree Power Inc., Sappi Ltd. and Public Services of New Hampshire (PSNH) for feed stock for their power co-generation operations. Sappi and PSNH also get boiler fuel grindings from the land-clearing crew that uses the CBI 6800T-12. The New Hampshire utility company supplies some 450,000 customers with electricity.
L.E. Taylor & Sons does its own trucking, using a fleet of four tractor-trailers — three Kenworth and one WesternStar — along with two independent trucking companies, R.G. Gammon & Son Trucking and M.H. Seavey Trucking, that haul biomass fuel.
L.E. Taylor & Sons may enter the mulch arena in the future, but right now the business is going well without adding another dimension. Gary would like to sustain the current mix of operations. Still, it’s good to know, he said, that the CBI 6800T-12 also can be used to produce mulch.
“We’ve been very pleased with it,” said Gary of the CBI 6800T-12. The company runs the machine an average of three hours per day.
The CBI model 6800T-12, which weighs 78,000 pounds, is easy to transport and is self-propelled. It is both easy to get to job sites on a standard lowboy and simple to maneuver once it arrives on site. The 1000 hp CAT 3412E engine in the CBI 6800T-12 is matched to the grinder so that high rotor torque is achieved for sustained high production levels even in difficult materials. A clamshell design makes it quick and easy to access the hog apparatus for maintenance and changing screens.
The Rotobec grapple rake is a versatile performer, too. Both jaws have a hydraulic cylinder, and the head rotates. The jaws are powerful and nimble; they can move piles of logging slash and load logs to the infeed of the CBI 6800T-12 grinder. The Rotobec grapple rake also is effective at shaking material, such as stumps, to remove rocks and dirt.
The Pallari KH-160 stump shear is designed to shear stumps into pieces so they can naturally shed dirt and rocks. Sometimes called a stump harvester, the Pallari also easily grubs and extracts stumps from the ground.
In the early 1980s, Gary and his brothers and father felled trees by hand with chain saws, and their main type of heavy equipment was a skidder. The transition to mechanized equipment over the years has been significant.
“We’re family-business oriented,” said Gary. “I have nephews — two of them — that are now working with us, too.” Others in the family will be joining the company, and Gary wants to be sure the business will persist for successive generations.
Keeping L.E. Taylor & Sons, which currently employs 16 people, thriving is a high priority. Getting equipment from a reliable dealer is a must. The relationship with CBI has been a good one, said Gary. “From what I’ve seen, they’re pretty much first class in terms of checking with us.”
It is important to Gary that equipment dealers are dependable and deliver what they promise. All the dealers that L.E. Taylor & Sons does business with are, he said. The company can rely on them for service and technical support.
Aaron, regional sales manager for CBI, has worked closely with L.E. Taylor & Sons. Helping family-owned businesses to meet their needs is something CBI appreciates doing.
Aaron said he sees something of the “old Yankee spirit” in L.E. Taylor & Sons. It’s a can-do attitude that actually transcends New England and defines all small businesses that succeed thanks to their strong work ethic and unwavering commitment to a goal.
“I really personally enjoy the relationship that has been developed with the whole Taylor family,” said Aaron.
Serving customers is also a top concern at L.E. Taylor & Sons. “We’re trying to improve the wood lots” for landowners, said Gary. “We check the markets for them. We work with consulting foresters. We pretty much handle all their wood. Ninety-five percent of the time they are private landowners.”
L.E. Taylor & Sons has a full-time maintenance mechanic. The shop is outfitted to handle a wind range of tough jobs, including welding. Downtime during spring thaw, which can extend to two months, is used to service all equipment.
Gary’s father, Laurence, had a construction business before he decided to start logging. Laurence made the switch because of a downturn in construction opportunities.
Gary has always worked on the logging side of wood products, and he is happy with the professional path he took. “You’re pretty much your own boss with your own business,” he said.
Away from work, Gary likes to spend free time hunting and fishing.