Crane Crew Start 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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colb

Well-Known Member
#3
One of my goals with this crane is cutting hard wood for slabs, and I have no experience with hard wood cutting for timber.
With your equipment, your disposition, and the commensurate scale of the operation, I would do a market study of current supply/demand. In my market, there is a guy pounding out cheap slabs, often undercutting the other sawyers, so my market is not production, but rather the removal/design/build experience with a single client. The production guy even mills fibrous and bendy live oak, and low quality laurel oak - it's crazy.

If you get negative feedback from your market, relegate this to hobbyist status and minimize the use of your crane and lot towards this end. You don't want milling to suck the money and fun out of the operation, like an underbid hazard removal.

If positive feedback, then figure out what your cheapest source of energy will be for running a kiln. DIY a massive band saw mill (Google Matt Cremona) and a *large* Nyle kiln of appropriate energy source. Because you have a crane, a solar kiln would be quickly outpaced, and you'll probably f*ck up the temp control anyways, spoiling or delaying the curing of the slabs. Because you have a crane, chainsaw mills (csm) will slow you down. A csm will also cost about the same as a diy bandsaw mill by the time you trick out your csm with 2 ms880s, a double-ended bar, new chains, new csm rails for two powerheads, etc. You can saw all those logs effortlessly when the bandsaw mill is up and running.

Cut the tree, transport log to the yard, apply anchor seal II to cut ends, and store the logs outside, elevated 20" or higher above the ground to avoid moisture/decay effects, until you can slab and dry it. Put a tarp or metal roofing over the top, propped up high with room for airflow between the tarp and logs. Crane a log onto the mill, do all cuts, sticker the slabs, crane from mill to kiln. Kiln should have open front, or possibly with crane-removable roof to eliminate any need for a loader. Repeat with lots of logs. Start dehumidification cycle. Unload in a couple weeks. Sell.

The big $ outlays are the mill fabrication, building, and Nyle hardware. The building can be minimized to any dimension (think coffin-style). The mill fabrication cost is arguably not very different from the csm, especially if you factor out the man-hours and factor in the translatable skill of welding to repairing your wood hauler. The Nyle hardware is straight up costly, but the return in precision drying will result in better slabs out of the gate and pleased buyers whose wood does not warp as much and is not as checked as it would be with other methods. Additionally, the Nyle system saves you a *lot* of time.

The big time outlay is drying time, so the Nyle hardware leapfrogs the big time bottleneck and allows you to sell slabs shortly after completion of the kiln. You have to get the Nyle system and the bandsaw mill running at the same time to keep from bogging down. One or the other will not do, for production.

I know this sounds ambitious, but you're the one who went and turfed up the crane. ;)
 

pctree

Well-Known Member
#4
Man do I have some input for you...

Senas (formerly known as Ropetek Comms ,thanks Sherrill) are a first.

IMO buy chains not slings (just personal preference) look at Grabiq IQ, you just need 2 15' 5/16 chains with locking clasp
IMG_0719.jpg
 

pctree

Well-Known Member
#5
for your crane build ramps like these, worth weight in gold for setting up on uneven ground.

Weld on racks for carrying matts and cribbing, we use 3x4 mats and 6x6 cribbing, imo forget plastic you have wood!
 

Attachments

Z'sTrees

Well-Known Member
#9
Those ramps look awesome. Did you build them? We run into setting up on steep driveways alot and that looks like a great way to get a ton of cribbage under the low side.
 

pctree

Well-Known Member
#10
Ok raining....

Brutus doing what he does, eating tops
you are going to need something to feed the chipper, wheel loader, mini or as is my next chore is put a grapple/ yarding arm on the chipper IMG_0807.JPG
 

pctree

Well-Known Member
#13
Those ramps look awesome. Did you build them? We run into setting up on steep driveways alot and that looks like a great way to get a ton of cribbage under the low side.
Yes we built them out of 4"x16" poplar with 1"x8" weight oak base, not too heavy for 2 guys and save SOO much time
 

pctree

Well-Known Member
#14
If you are anything like me and want to spend time using the crane for tree work not working on it you need to put 3 bypass filters on it. Im going to put up a thread soon on this. Bottom line you can filter your trans , hydraulic and engine oil to about a 3 micron cleanliest which is as clean as new oil. I change engine and trans fluid once a year in the winter when we are slow. The trans in your machine costs $35k new and are very expensive to work on, keep that fluid clean!
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
#15
I would like to avoid carting around a bunch of dunnage
I think I saw it on here, and might have been a Lyon & Sons crane: They had a small landscape trailer, like 8'X10' or so, that the crane towed around that was piled with all the dunnage. I thought that was a great idea for having lots of cribbing options but keeping it all together, neat and easily accessible.
 

pctree

Well-Known Member
#16
With the racks I welded on my crane we have all the cribbing and mats we need.. once in 3 years have we needed more than is on the crane. To me it's important to have everything we need always with us else the moron that I am would forget stuff.
 

Tyler Durden

Well-Known Member
#18
We have 3 Gehl loaders and 3 big Bandit chippers, so handling the material is not an issue.
Currently the contractor is running forestry bucket trucks, so I think our major bottle neck is going to be chip capacity. We have multiple dump trailers for logs, so I am not too worried about them.
As far as mills, I am in DFW, I can't imagine that there are many around here. You really have to have an eye for timber to find any around here, I will probably be climbing with a loggers tape. I don't think selling the wood in log form is feasible here in Texas, we just don't have the weather for firewood or the right trees for large scale harvesting.

I am really digging the ladder mats for the crane, I would imagen that helps out a lot with access issues. Do you place them with the crane/ loader or drag them out by hand? Also, how is the life span on them, do they ever break?
We have at least 20 alturna mats already and getting more isn't an issue.

I'm hooking all the helmets up with SENA today and tomorrow is the shake down with the crane.


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pctree

Well-Known Member
#19
We set the roll out mats with the wheel loader, to date we have only broke one rung

Are you going to be the operator or the climber. If you are going to be the op it may be worth you coming and working with us for a week so you can get a handle on a few things, I wish someone would have done that for me as it was pretty nerve wracking figuring it out on my own
 

Tyler Durden

Well-Known Member
#20
We set the roll out mats with the wheel loader, to date we have only broke one rung

Are you going to be the operator or the climber. If you are going to be the op it may be worth you coming and working with us for a week so you can get a handle on a few things, I wish someone would have done that for me as it was pretty nerve wracking figuring it out on my own
I am the climber right now, but I would love to learn to be the operator as well. To be honest with you I'm not sure who is going to be my operator yet but I have some talented guys working with me.

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