Renting a treemek for the first time

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
So I am looking into renting a tree mek for the first time, I have gotten in contact with an individual who lives in the same town as me that purchased one about a year ago. I do not have his exact crane model but it is a palifinger with 100 foot vertical and around 80-85' horizontal reach, the saw is the mecanil SG220.

Nothing is set in stone yet, and I do not even have a particular job that I need it for, but I am curious as someone who has never worked with a crane, what should I expect? I'd be happy to hear from guys who rent cranes, as well as guys who sub them out.

The first time I hire him will likely be for a job that the crane is not really needed, as I like the first time I work with someone to be a fairly straightforward job to see how we work together.

Thanks in advance,
Justin
 

climbhightree

Well-Known Member
Also Carolina Tree on Instagram has a ton of high speed videos using the TreeMek

Steve's video and Carolina's should give a good idea of what to expect.

But any crane use really comes down to the operator
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Not to give the wrong impression, as this is my first time looking at renting a crane, I would never go out and rent a crane and expect to be taking a 5,000 lb brush picks with no training. If I needed that to happen I'd hire a crane and a climber until I felt confident in doing it myself. Being as this is a tremek this offers a unique opportunity for me as I am a 2 man crew at my biggest, here lately all of my work has been solo and using a mini to do the grunt work. In addition to to being able to knock out a bigger job with less fatigue it will also help me network with another small business in my area which I have found invaluable when you need help in a pinch with a job due to equipment or any other issues.

Just wanted to give a better idea of where I'm coming from and that I don't take climbing with a crane lightly. Thanks @deevo for the heads up on that class, if I have time in my schedule I'll have to check that out.
 

climbhightree

Well-Known Member
Not to give the wrong impression, as this is my first time looking at renting a crane, I would never go out and rent a crane and expect to be taking a 5,000 lb brush picks with no training. If I needed that to happen I'd hire a crane and a climber until I felt confident in doing it myself. Being as this is a tremek this offers a unique opportunity for me as I am a 2 man crew at my biggest, here lately all of my work has been solo and using a mini to do the grunt work. In addition to to being able to knock out a bigger job with less fatigue it will also help me network with another small business in my area which I have found invaluable when you need help in a pinch with a job due to equipment or any other issues.

Just wanted to give a better idea of where I'm coming from and that I don't take climbing with a crane lightly. Thanks @deevo for the heads up on that class, if I have time in my schedule I'll have to check that out.
Sounds like a treemek subbing is the best option for you (one or 2 man crew). I've always been a 2 man crew company, and with a mini you can make that work with a 40ton stick crane. But it works even better with a mek.

With your no experience it is even more important to have an experienced crane operator (experienced on doing trees with it), the more the better. This decreases greatly when using a grapple saw, but for trunk wood that comes off and a climber goes up. Sg220 has an 18" bar...so that is his max diameter cut unless he does snap cuts with it. With snap cuts he could almost double the diameter, but it gets tricky doing this type of cut.

Use 2 straps for the spar (one on each side...3 and 9 o'clock or 12 and 6 o'clock depending on lean etc). Brush picks should be balanced with multiple slings so they come of without changing pitch or rotation...this is almost more important on knucklebooms vs stick cranes. As much as possible try to use shelf cuts, v cuts, saw kerf cuts etc. These help to limit branch or trunk swings till the climber is clear and the crane starts lifting it away.

Tcia has a book call Crane Best Practices that explains all this and more. I definitely recommend getting it. https://www.tcia.org/TCIA/Shop/TCIA Item_Detail.aspx?iProductCode=CBP4&Category=
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
Also...is the operator going to see the job first? I ask because I believe the knuckle boom cranes can not have their wheels off the ground. This is something to consider in where your going to position the crane. I mention his because as a salesman it is my job to determine how long a job will take...often that is determined by where I can get equipment. I would hate for you to think the crane will be set up in the side yard...only to find it is too steep of a hill for the crane. I hope that makes sense.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Also...is the operator going to see the job first? I ask because I believe the knuckle boom cranes can not have their wheels off the ground. This is something to consider in where your going to position the crane. I mention his because as a salesman it is my job to determine how long a job will take...often that is determined by where I can get equipment. I would hate for you to think the crane will be set up in the side yard...only to find it is too steep of a hill for the crane. I hope that makes sense.
Good point. I had a conversation with the crane operator on the phone and we discussed him coming to look at a job I'm bidding. This is in part to help me bid it accurately and also for him to see the kind of access. Unfortunately the first tree I have for him will mean either setting up 100' away and across some power lines or to drive through two neighbors property in order to avoid driving over field beds.
 

deevo

Well-Known Member
Good point. I had a conversation with the crane operator on the phone and we discussed him coming to look at a job I'm bidding. This is in part to help me bid it accurately and also for him to see the kind of access. Unfortunately the first tree I have for him will mean either setting up 100' away and across some power lines or to drive through two neighbors property in order to avoid driving over field beds.
100’ radius is pretty far he may not even reach it, cranes will destroy septic beds, that’s the first thing I ask customers on every single job is where is the septic tank and bed. You might be into a bigger crane if you have to reach that far, but good call on getting the operator out to look. My new k booms got 93’6” horizontal and 98’ vertical, again let us know how it pans out!
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Yea. I think I can get him close enough cutting through one neighbor's driveway and then the others yard. Then of course speaking with the crane OP and see what he thinks of the plan. If my route works he'll be driving 250-300 feet off road, depending on where he sets up.
 

Baja Mike

Active Member
Unless the k boom is 65 meter tons or larger at a 100’ radius you won’t be doing much. That’s 110 territory. It is much easier to learn cranework working off a stick crane. As your moments are more simply up and down and if your strapping away from the stick a good operator can swing you back in towards the stick. Having greater capacity at radius gives you a greater safety net starting out judging pieces. In stick crane world the smallest crane I would attempt to work with at that radius would be a 45 or using a 60 AT would give you plenty of capacity to do the job quickly and effectively instead of taking tiny pieces. The Mek is an awesome tool. But like every tool it has a place in the toolbox.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
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So I got around to using this crane for the first time the other day, the day went smooth with two guys and a mini on the ground chipping with the crane operator running the grapple saw. He was able to get it down to the last picture with the saw, then he would grab a stub with his grapple and I'd make a cut from the bucket truck. Once the crotches were removed we removed the grapple head and used slings to make traditional picks of the trunk wood.

He only had 1 20' sling and 2 10' slings on the truck (one of his 20' slings did not get put back after a previous job) so we used 1 sling (the 20 footer) for the picks. I should have reread this thread before the job, most of the cuts were snap cuts which were not very smooth. I believe a lot of this was my fault with just not being comfortable having a log suspended over my head. I noticed that he had a hard time breaking the snap cut, even with minimal wood between the two bypasses. Lifting straight up was not breaking the piece free and so he would try to pull the top towards him, resulting in the hook being about 5 feet away from the piece being cut (in a horizontal measurement) meaning that when it broke it would shock load his boom and swing the piece out 5 feet away from where it was resting. After seeing what was going to happen I'd have him stop and reset and then boomed back in to cut further to make it easier to break.

For you guys with knuckle booms, what is your preferred cut with vertical trunk wood? It didn't appear to me that a snap cut was a good option with this crane. If we do use a snap cut with a crane, should the side that you want to break be the cut on top instead of on bottom like traditionally since it is an upward force causing the break? For what it's worth I was making it in the traditional sense where I was placing the lower cut towards his crane and making the cuts square with his crane.

As I'm typing I remembered that he asked me to set the sling on the side towards the powerlines to help prevent the wood from moving that way, which was 90° from the direction that I cut (towards the crane) should I have made my cuts perpendicular to the sling's anchor point instead of the booms position?
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Sounds like a treemek subbing is the best option for you (one or 2 man crew). I've always been a 2 man crew company, and with a mini you can make that work with a 40ton stick crane. But it works even better with a mek.

With your no experience it is even more important to have an experienced crane operator (experienced on doing trees with it), the more the better. This decreases greatly when using a grapple saw, but for trunk wood that comes off and a climber goes up. Sg220 has an 18" bar...so that is his max diameter cut unless he does snap cuts with it. With snap cuts he could almost double the diameter, but it gets tricky doing this type of cut.

Use 2 straps for the spar (one on each side...3 and 9 o'clock or 12 and 6 o'clock depending on lean etc). Brush picks should be balanced with multiple slings so they come of without changing pitch or rotation...this is almost more important on knucklebooms vs stick cranes. As much as possible try to use shelf cuts, v cuts, saw kerf cuts etc. These help to limit branch or trunk swings till the climber is clear and the crane starts lifting it away.

Tcia has a book call Crane Best Practices that explains all this and more. I definitely recommend getting it. https://www.tcia.org/TCIA/Shop/TCIA Item_Detail.aspx?iProductCode=CBP4&Category=
I definitely should have reread this post and looked into this book before I completed this job. Unfortunately 2 slings were not available, and I would have felt better using two slings instead of one. I'll definitely be looking into this book now, before I work another crane job to do what I can to make the picks go smoother.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
You must use V cuts!
Is there a maximum diameter that you would use this cut on? It would seem to me that it would work on 24" and would probably work on larger but would be time consuming. Although I could be wrong.

For what it's worth the stump cut was 42" diameter and most of the trunk pieces cuts were probably 32-36 inches, the tree was a Laurel Oak
 
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