Crane Crew Set Up

Tyler Durden

Well-Known Member
#1
I am starting a new contract, running my own crane crew. I have worked with this crew before and they are super tight knit, so I know things will run great, when I figure everything out. This will be my first time as crew leader for a crane from the ground up.

As of right now, it is just the crane, no slings, no cribbing, no out rigger pads, no the in points. I am looking into finding all of the little things that make a crane gang run smoothly. Senas are my first order, along with a good set of slings.

Is the Mark C kit really worth the extra money? I have always just ran stable braid dead eyes.
Who has a good vendor for plastic cribbimg and pads? I would like to avoid carting around a bunch of dunnage.
What are the little things you full time crane guys have found to be essential on a site? I have worked with cranes, but never running the crew like this.

One of my goals with this crane is cutting hard wood for slabs, and I have no experience with hard wood cutting for timber. This is kind of an experiment in my career and I just want things to go as smoothly as possible.

Thanks Guys


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ROYCE

Well-Known Member
#3
Yeah....this in the wring place! But I'll reply anyway. Maybe someone can more the whole thread to the proper location....anyways.

This is a big topic and each and everyone has their own idea of how a crane crew runs smoothly. My ideas are centered around my first interactions with a crane. I too once was the foreman for a crane crew and we subbed out the crane. We had very high production targets for the day. It was also ingrained in me to be as efficient as possible because we were paying for the crane by the hour. Owners like to make money...not loose it. These are just a few of my thoughts and experiences. I am excited to see what others have to say about this. I now own my own crane and have 5 employees.

1) Communication, communication, communication! Not just between the climber and crane operator....but between the whole crew. It is essential to have a solid plan prior to the start of the work. Where are the logs going after their cut? Where is the best spot for the chipper? What tree is coming down first? Are the logs getting picked up today....or another day?
2) Each and every position on the crane crew has to be firing on all cylinders. You can have an amazing crane operator and an amazing ground crew.....but if your climber is slow and inefficient it will sink the whole job. Same can be said for any of the positions on the crew. Everyone needs to be doing their part.
3) The devil is in the details. Its the very small things on the crane crew that need to be managed. Think about how many "cycles" the crane does in a single day on a tree removal. How can you shave this time down to the most efficient.
4) SET THE PIECE ON THE GROUND! Put it right behind the chipper. Ground crew cuts off interfering limbs that make it hard for the crane operator to set the piece down...and then get those slings off the piece and back onto the hook. Keep the crane moving at all times.
5) Climber should be picking pieces that can be processed easily by the ground crew. If you take a monster pieces and it takes them 45 minutes to process.....your better off doing that in two pieces so they can process it much faster...then everyone is working.
6) If you have a log truck....position it next to the chipper. Ground crew can now feed the chipper and load logs on the log truck. Now when the tree is done and the job site is cleaned up....everyone is done and leaving at the same time.
7) If you have a big job, and are going to have to dump a lot. It makes sense to do the tops of multiple trees first. Then when the chipper is being dumped.....you can grab the standing logs and process then into the log pile. This is still keeping everyone busy....without bottle knecking the chipper with lots of pine tops:)
8) I am in a very competitive market and I try to make as much as I can from my wood products. I deliver wood to the mill weekly. This takes some training to get everyone to know how to make a log out of a tree trunk. The ground crew has a loggers take and makes logs throughout the day. Once a log is make it is marked with orange paint on both ends. This way we can tell at the end of the job what is a log and what is waist wood. We do the same for firewood logs. We just don't mark them. If its hardwood is gets cut into 18 foot lengths and sold as firewood in log length. You would be surprised as to how much this can add up to at the end of the day.
- Their are also times where the climber will climb with a logging tape and cut the pieces in whatever length would be good for timber. On large pine jobs we often do this. Again...the devil is in the details. It takes time to set up this kind of job where you want the crew to keep as much valuable wood products as they can......but it is worth it. I bid a tight job at 5500 the other week. I knew we could get some money from the wood. The crew and I were very careful to make EVERYTHING into a log. We finished this job in a day and a half. When I received the mill ticket it was 3300 in white pine logs. You add those pine logs into my price and it comes to 8800 for a day and a half of work. Ill take that!!
9) Cut 2 pieces of plywood in half to use as the first base of your outrigger supports. We carry lots of dunnage around because I like to be able to set up on uneven ground. It can be a pain. I priced the DICA crane pads that stack.....roughly 2K an outrigger. I opted to stick with my wooded ones.
10) I personally like the webbing eye slings in 4 different lengths. 6, 8, 12, and 18's. I then keep about three of the Mark Chisholm slings around for balancing as needed. But we do more pines than anything and often the webbing slings are adequate. Keep a few goos shackles around as well. You never can have enough slings. I have 4 of each size and then a few extras on top of that.

Thats all I have for now. Sorry for the long book! I think crane work is the most efficient way to remove trees and if you have a well oiled crew and everyone is working together you can produce a high volume of work. The crane you pictured is excellent to build a crew around. Keep us posted!!
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
#4
Dang @ROYCE , you nailed just about every point!
I don’t own a sweet crane like john, so his point about efficiency hits home hard for us. On our low days our crane is costing 160 an hour and on high 200. We as well are in a fairly competitive market, but the crane company services almost every tree company around (no one owns their own crane) so for the most part the crane costs for a job are relatively the same. The only way we can set ourselves apart is our efficiency and how we take care of the property.
I am a huge proponent of going smaller on the pick. I used to do pines everyday with a crane, but now we rent 2-3 times a month on mostly hardwood... spreading hardwoood. We try to focus on what will be easily chipped without leaving a huge log in our way at the back of the chipper. The skid steer helps with that because it can be moved out of the way but it’s still another thing to do before the next piece gets here. We don’t own a log truck so if we can pile logs out of the way, we do... if not they go on a trailer and leave the site. We don’t sell any wood, it’s just not the way our market is set up (no mills within 60 miles).
We do the same when the chipper gets full, dump and pick wood. Sometimes that’s difficult cause the wood gets in the way but it keeps everyone moving. We will also hire a second truck and driver sometimes and he will run and dump while the job continues.
I know you said you don’t want to carry a bunch of dunnage... but carry a bunch of wood. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get going in the morning and not being able to level the crane. A perfect way to kill productivity for the entire day. Our rental cranes come with plenty of 4” thick cribbing. 5s, 4s, and 3s, a few 3” and a few 2” as spacers.
On this job the operator grabbed half the cribbing of an idle crane for the day so we could insure we weren’t “falling in”.
BA3B8D7F-36C3-410D-A994-A1E78DF60C28.jpeg
 
#5
Yeah....this in the wring place! But I'll reply anyway. Maybe someone can more the whole thread to the proper location....anyways.

This is a big topic and each and everyone has their own idea of how a crane crew runs smoothly. My ideas are centered around my first interactions with a crane. I too once was the foreman for a crane crew and we subbed out the crane. We had very high production targets for the day. It was also ingrained in me to be as efficient as possible because we were paying for the crane by the hour. Owners like to make money...not loose it. These are just a few of my thoughts and experiences. I am excited to see what others have to say about this. I now own my own crane and have 5 employees.

1) Communication, communication, communication! Not just between the climber and crane operator....but between the whole crew. It is essential to have a solid plan prior to the start of the work. Where are the logs going after their cut? Where is the best spot for the chipper? What tree is coming down first? Are the logs getting picked up today....or another day?
2) Each and every position on the crane crew has to be firing on all cylinders. You can have an amazing crane operator and an amazing ground crew.....but if your climber is slow and inefficient it will sink the whole job. Same can be said for any of the positions on the crew. Everyone needs to be doing their part.
3) The devil is in the details. Its the very small things on the crane crew that need to be managed. Think about how many "cycles" the crane does in a single day on a tree removal. How can you shave this time down to the most efficient.
4) SET THE PIECE ON THE GROUND! Put it right behind the chipper. Ground crew cuts off interfering limbs that make it hard for the crane operator to set the piece down...and then get those slings off the piece and back onto the hook. Keep the crane moving at all times.
5) Climber should be picking pieces that can be processed easily by the ground crew. If you take a monster pieces and it takes them 45 minutes to process.....your better off doing that in two pieces so they can process it much faster...then everyone is working.
6) If you have a log truck....position it next to the chipper. Ground crew can now feed the chipper and load logs on the log truck. Now when the tree is done and the job site is cleaned up....everyone is done and leaving at the same time.
7) If you have a big job, and are going to have to dump a lot. It makes sense to do the tops of multiple trees first. Then when the chipper is being dumped.....you can grab the standing logs and process then into the log pile. This is still keeping everyone busy....without bottle knecking the chipper with lots of pine tops:)
8) I am in a very competitive market and I try to make as much as I can from my wood products. I deliver wood to the mill weekly. This takes some training to get everyone to know how to make a log out of a tree trunk. The ground crew has a loggers take and makes logs throughout the day. Once a log is make it is marked with orange paint on both ends. This way we can tell at the end of the job what is a log and what is waist wood. We do the same for firewood logs. We just don't mark them. If its hardwood is gets cut into 18 foot lengths and sold as firewood in log length. You would be surprised as to how much this can add up to at the end of the day.
- Their are also times where the climber will climb with a logging tape and cut the pieces in whatever length would be good for timber. On large pine jobs we often do this. Again...the devil is in the details. It takes time to set up this kind of job where you want the crew to keep as much valuable wood products as they can......but it is worth it. I bid a tight job at 5500 the other week. I knew we could get some money from the wood. The crew and I were very careful to make EVERYTHING into a log. We finished this job in a day and a half. When I received the mill ticket it was 3300 in white pine logs. You add those pine logs into my price and it comes to 8800 for a day and a half of work. Ill take that!!
9) Cut 2 pieces of plywood in half to use as the first base of your outrigger supports. We carry lots of dunnage around because I like to be able to set up on uneven ground. It can be a pain. I priced the DICA crane pads that stack.....roughly 2K an outrigger. I opted to stick with my wooded ones.
10) I personally like the webbing eye slings in 4 different lengths. 6, 8, 12, and 18's. I then keep about three of the Mark Chisholm slings around for balancing as needed. But we do more pines than anything and often the webbing slings are adequate. Keep a few goos shackles around as well. You never can have enough slings. I have 4 of each size and then a few extras on top of that.

Thats all I have for now. Sorry for the long book! I think crane work is the most efficient way to remove trees and if you have a well oiled crew and everyone is working together you can produce a high volume of work. The crane you pictured is excellent to build a crew around. Keep us posted!!
Royce : Great stuff man .very detailed meticulous job description there I think you nailed everything . I have that problem with a few guys cutting the logs in adequate lengths. As we also take logs to the mill Any tios with that ..I have a log tape on order ..

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#6
Dang @ROYCE , you nailed just about every point!
I don’t own a sweet crane like john, so his point about efficiency hits home hard for us. On our low days our crane is costing 160 an hour and on high 200. We as well are in a fairly competitive market, but the crane company services almost every tree company around (no one owns their own crane) so for the most part the crane costs for a job are relatively the same. The only way we can set ourselves apart is our efficiency and how we take care of the property.
I am a huge proponent of going smaller on the pick. I used to do pines everyday with a crane, but now we rent 2-3 times a month on mostly hardwood... spreading hardwoood. We try to focus on what will be easily chipped without leaving a huge log in our way at the back of the chipper. The skid steer helps with that because it can be moved out of the way but it’s still another thing to do before the next piece gets here. We don’t own a log truck so if we can pile logs out of the way, we do... if not they go on a trailer and leave the site. We don’t sell any wood, it’s just not the way our market is set up (no mills within 60 miles).
We do the same when the chipper gets full, dump and pick wood. Sometimes that’s difficult cause the wood gets in the way but it keeps everyone moving. We will also hire a second truck and driver sometimes and he will run and dump while the job continues.
I know you said you don’t want to carry a bunch of dunnage... but carry a bunch of wood. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get going in the morning and not being able to level the crane. A perfect way to kill productivity for the entire day. Our rental cranes come with plenty of 4” thick cribbing. 5s, 4s, and 3s, a few 3” and a few 2” as spacers.
On this job the operator grabbed half the cribbing of an idle crane for the day so we could insure we weren’t “falling in”.
View attachment 47815
Hey Squirrel aren't you in PA area ? We take our logs to Landcaster from bucks ..not bad if a trip ..we make the load worth the drive .. anyway we have our own log truck Maybe depending on your area we would pick up.

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