Savage machines

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Cugel
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Savage machines

Postby Cugel » 19 Oct 2019, 2:15pm

In our daily Brechfa walks with the collies, there are various things to contemplate besides how to throw the stick a bit further for an insistent wee dog. Fungi have been a fine and entertaining thing to find and photograph. Another exciting spectacle is that of the Savage Machines that lurk in a forest these days.

There are large and feersum enjunes for logging and road making, in particular. Here are some quiescent loggers. They seem to be sleeping and one may look in their jaws without the prospect of being grabbed, stripped, cut into handy lengths then slung on to a large carrier for carting off to the stacking points.

Llyndrissi machines-1.jpg
The monsters gather and fuel-up

20191019_113010.jpg
The Eater of tree

20191019_112838.jpg
The maw of The Eater

20191019_103117_001.jpg
The Tree Hearse transporting its own tracks


Talking to one of the lads who drives an Eater, I learnt that it wasn't so long ago that timber was cut and extracted from Brechfa and other commercial forests by old-fashioned methods. Even in the late 40s and 50s, this lad's grandad felled with axe, handsaw and wedges then extracted the logs with a snigging team of two horses and a chain-dragline. A forestry gang was often dozens of blokes.

Now there is often one man and one machine, logging madly all day by himself. Occasionally the fuel delivery bloke or a maintenance mechanic comes for a while. After the logs are stacked, the logger departs; later the log lorry comes - another singleton loading and transporting a lorry-full all by himself.

Are the machines "efficient"? If so, in what sense. What other efficiencies have been lost along with the axemen and snigging teams?

Cugel

merseymouth
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Re: Savage machines

Postby merseymouth » 19 Oct 2019, 5:23pm

Hi there, They are brilliant to watch! Bloody great pencil sharpeners that fell, trim the branches off then to cut to a pre-determined length, all in a programmed fashion. Coupled with the more familiar smaller pencil sharpener the trimmings are turned into mere shavings, Superb. TTFN MM

mercalia
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Re: Savage machines

Postby mercalia » 19 Oct 2019, 6:15pm

any videos?

just what are we looking at in the bottom picture?

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Graham
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Re: Savage machines

Postby Graham » 19 Oct 2019, 7:55pm

The last one is called a "forwarder". In normal use it uses its crane to load & off-load logs from its trailer.

In that photo the trailer is filled with its own chain-tracks.

Despite the wide tyres - for low surface pressure - the forwarders make a right mess of the ground. Trying to spread the weight of N tonnes of logs can only go so far.

It's all clever technology - highly efficient in conventional economic terms. but fossil-fuel gulping & climate polluting.

brynpoeth
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Re: Savage machines

Postby brynpoeth » 19 Oct 2019, 9:01pm

A diversity of species in Brechfashire :?

The history of logging is very interesting, trees were chopped down in the Black Forest for example and chucked into the streams draining to the Rhein. A few weeks later they were fished out at Amsterdam
Naysayers bleated about wood supplies being exhausted, but somehow there was always enough, I guess trees just like growing :wink:

What is the Brechfashire wood used for?
Last edited by brynpoeth on 20 Oct 2019, 8:29am, edited 1 time in total.
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Cugel
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Re: Savage machines

Postby Cugel » 19 Oct 2019, 10:41pm

Graham wrote:(snip)

It's all clever technology - highly efficient in conventional economic terms. but fossil-fuel gulping & climate polluting.


It seems not efficient at preserving the forest's wider biosphere; or in providing work for many people, as it used to; or keeping the machine-damage at bay; or .... what else?

Would it be economically feasible to go back to more traditional logging practices? Hard to know, as the accountants don't bother accounting for any of the costs of modern methods that are borne not by the loggers but by the wider world. What does it cost the ecology to trample the forest whilst clear-cutting with such machines for example? What does it cost a local community in terms of lost jobs?

Where is that forester Ben?

Cugel, still fancying a go in one. :-)

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Cugel
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Re: Savage machines

Postby Cugel » 19 Oct 2019, 10:54pm

brynpoeth wrote:A diversity of species in Brechfashire :?

(snip)

What is the Brechfashire wood used for?


The log transporter drivers tell me that nearly all of Brechfa timber goes to make wood pellets for burning in various heating systems. A very small amount goes for paper. A few of the thinnings are bought by makers of fencing posts and rails for farms or other land enclosing trades - but not much.

Every now and then we come across a log stack containing some large diameter trunks - around 18 - 24 inches. They're usually spruce or pine but could be planked rather than pelleted. There seems less and less modern furniture made of solid wood these days, though. Pine furniture was fashionable 30 years ago but these days everything seems to be made of MDF or some other engineered minced wood.

Well, everything except high end furniture; and mine. Presently I'm making a large worktable for both the ladywife's sewing and also my stained glass work, out of poplar. The poplar was given to me by a lad who runs a commercial first & second fitting business. The planks I have are his left-overs, usually burnt in his huge workshop wood burner. What a waste! He could be using Brechfa pellets instead.

Poplar is very stable and easy to work. Apparently carvers use it if they can't get lime, as the grain is very fine and forgiving to cuts at many angles, which would cause tear-out in other species. I don't know where my benefactor's poplar was grown and neither does he. He buys it from his local timber merchant.

There is a grove of poplar in BrechfaForest, of the type that smells of balsam in the Spring.

Cugel

brynpoeth
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Re: Savage machines

Postby brynpoeth » 20 Oct 2019, 4:13am

Pellets! :(
The wood is transported back and forth, chopped up and tortured with chemicals
Creates lots of work. Elsewhere

Likewise the machines, what do theyco$t?
Lots of work making them. Elsewhere
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merseymouth
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Re: Savage machines

Postby merseymouth » 20 Oct 2019, 9:33am

Hello Brynpoeth :D , So you are now questioning the whole history of mans's development, the progression from Bone, Antler or Stone Axe, learning enough to then use Bronze, moving on to Ion & related Alloys, on through the ages until we get Silicon Chips being Boss in the workplace, where will it stop?
Such a chain of events is why I refuse to use self-service tills! Built to create redundancy for us humans, taking away the nice jobs as well as the nasty ones!
I used to work making asbestos products, mainly sheeting, but some very special hand moulded items. But even the sheeting was hand formed when I started in the job, labour intensive, but in a very short period the bread & butter sheeting was mechanised then automated, outcome? Jobs gone!
Okay, so working in the asbestos industry was not beneficial to one's well being but it paid for bread on the table. But putting the machines in didn't make the product safer, just less costly for the bosses!
Some call it progress, others call it change. Where is the Asbestos industry now? Nasty stuff!
But later in my working life I had to deal with asbestos again, the motor trade. brakes & clutches, very asbestos reliant. But those products changed, the nasty stuff banned, what we have now is far more complicated to deal with the job. The life of clutch & brake components is shorter, we have components that can self destruct in no time at all, controlled by the now all too common ruddy chip. Progress?
Even the humble pedal cycle comes to life in an almost fully automated process, untouched by human hand!
My beloved tricycles are still fashioned by an artisan in a home style workshop, steel is real :P . Discuss. TTFN MM

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Cugel
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Re: Savage machines

Postby Cugel » 20 Oct 2019, 4:09pm

merseymouth wrote:Hello Brynpoeth :D , So you are now questioning the whole history of mans's development, the progression from Bone, Antler or Stone Axe, learning enough to then use Bronze, moving on to Ion & related Alloys, on through the ages until we get Silicon Chips being Boss in the workplace, where will it stop?
Such a chain of events is why I refuse to use self-service tills! Built to create redundancy for us humans, taking away the nice jobs as well as the nasty ones!
I used to work making asbestos products, mainly sheeting, but some very special hand moulded items. But even the sheeting was hand formed when I started in the job, labour intensive, but in a very short period the bread & butter sheeting was mechanised then automated, outcome? Jobs gone!
Okay, so working in the asbestos industry was not beneficial to one's well being but it paid for bread on the table. But putting the machines in didn't make the product safer, just less costly for the bosses!
Some call it progress, others call it change. Where is the Asbestos industry now? Nasty stuff!
But later in my working life I had to deal with asbestos again, the motor trade. brakes & clutches, very asbestos reliant. But those products changed, the nasty stuff banned, what we have now is far more complicated to deal with the job. The life of clutch & brake components is shorter, we have components that can self destruct in no time at all, controlled by the now all too common ruddy chip. Progress?
Even the humble pedal cycle comes to life in an almost fully automated process, untouched by human hand!
My beloved tricycles are still fashioned by an artisan in a home style workshop, steel is real :P . Discuss. TTFN MM


There is a notion about generally going by the name Progress (capital P). In broad outline it could be summed up by the trite phrase: "Things can only get better".

One might argue that there is a technological progress of the kind in which the technologies become ever-more sophisticated and more capable; or powerful. Of course, technologies are employed by humans. The humans don't necessarily progress in the same way. There is no technology of society as there is a technology of physics or chemistry, despite what the sociologists claim. We still interact in what might be called rather unprogressive fashions - as we interacted in the stone, bronze, iron and every other age. WALLOP WALLOP WALLOP! That's the way to do it. (Mr Punch).

In fact, human nature, with all of its angels and devils, changes little over the centuries. Although there are small islands in history & geography, of fine civil societies, such as ours through the latter half of the C20th, there are plenty of the more usual kind in which one lot of humans does awfully terrible things to the rest.

The technological progress of the physics-chemistry (and latterly biological) ilk can certainly produce ever-more clever stuff. It progresses in that sense. The clever stuff includes all sorts of technologies that the bad humans can employ to persecute or eliminate those they don't care for.

Business-related technologies can impoverish or do away with the need for humans altogether, these days. (Except the important owner-class of course). War technologies could now eliminate us all (and all the beasts and plants too) almost overnight. All it needs is a Trump, a Putin or some other such pair with the technology control clasped in their hot sweaty hands and a small quarrel concerning their egos.

Progress (capital P)? Ha!

Cugel
Last edited by Cugel on 20 Oct 2019, 4:21pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cugel
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Re: Savage machines

Postby Cugel » 20 Oct 2019, 4:20pm

But meanwhile, here are some more Savage Machines. These are the makers of logging roads through the forest.

Leo & Ceels Aug 2019-39.jpg
Road makers

Leo & Ceels Aug 2019-37.jpg
The Big Digger

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The Big Scraper

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The Big Roller



There is a Big Digger, that scoops out banks for soil + aggregate of the mudstones and flints to make the roads. It also scoops out the deep channels besides the roads for the water to drain away in.

There is a Big Scraper, which has two blades for pushing heaps of soil + aggregate about then smoothing it into a roadway.

There is the Big Roller, which is very heavy but also imparts additional flattening impulses via a vibration of the roller as it goes along behind a tractor making the road surface firm.

These machines do savage things along the tracks as they make them or repair them. Yet the forest flora recovers remarkably swiftly to either side of the tracks, obliterating the scars of the Savage Machines in just a month or six. Apart from the track itself, everything returns to a lush green cover of growth before your very eyes.

Cugel

merseymouth
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Re: Savage machines

Postby merseymouth » 20 Oct 2019, 4:23pm

Hey Cugel, Are you trying to tell me that Dual Mass Flywheels are progress? You'b saying next that Flap & Paddle Gearboxes are better than the Van Dorn Rubber Band Transmission? Remember not all new is better or in any way "Progressive"!
The Daf system morphed into the metal/rubber combined belts in the Ford/Fiat CVT System, very relaxing drive.
Even Rolls Royce took up the earlier Citroen Hydo Suspension system, real smooth ride.
The Americans still turn out Stone-Age products, marketed under the Jeep brand :lol: . Sometimes progress is only change in a new frock.
I recall the Japanese motor industry in the 1960's claiming a new improvement in the combustion engine, recesses cast in the top of the pistons for better performance & durability! Shame that Riley was using the same in 1929 :oops: . MM

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Cugel
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Re: Savage machines

Postby Cugel » 20 Oct 2019, 6:19pm

merseymouth wrote:Hey Cugel, Are you trying to tell me that Dual Mass Flywheels are progress? You'b saying next that Flap & Paddle Gearboxes are better than the Van Dorn Rubber Band Transmission? Remember not all new is better or in any way "Progressive"!
The Daf system morphed into the metal/rubber combined belts in the Ford/Fiat CVT System, very relaxing drive.
Even Rolls Royce took up the earlier Citroen Hydo Suspension system, real smooth ride.
The Americans still turn out Stone-Age products, marketed under the Jeep brand :lol: . Sometimes progress is only change in a new frock.
I recall the Japanese motor industry in the 1960's claiming a new improvement in the combustion engine, recesses cast in the top of the pistons for better performance & durability! Shame that Riley was using the same in 1929 :oops: . MM


You are confusing technological progress with marketing and fashion progress. The marketeers have progressed their tekneeks to a very sophisticated level, such that billions of us buy dross with built-in (aka "planned") obsolescence merely because its fashionable. Don't forget either the progress made by the property fetishists, who have managed to derive legal systems that allow them to enclose thoughts (designs et al) as well as land, via notions such as the patent and copyright. These are severe brakes on all manner of technological progress.

Some of the social "sciences" do have a remarkable ability to plan the future then implement the means to bring the plan about. Yes, I mean the social "sciences" of those advertmen and related greedy despoilers of the producer-consumer hegemony! But perhaps what they do is an art rather than a science? Artful dodgers the lot of them!

****
I understand and even grok your fascination for and admiration of the clever engineering - even of the filthy claptrap known as the car. My own penchant is for Victorian engineering of the kind found in pumping stations and large steam locomotives, both of the rail and the road. But you wouldn't want one going up and down your road, eh? Beautiful engineering; filthy-nasty operation.

***
I would like a drive of that scraper machine, mind. I might take it to Downing Street, to scrape the muck out then put in a new road to somewhere other than the cliff edge.

Cugel

brynpoeth
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Re: Savage machines

Postby brynpoeth » 20 Oct 2019, 6:25pm

What might be the energy balance for wood pellets?
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Re: Savage machines

Postby Ben@Forest » 20 Oct 2019, 8:43pm

Well with all the cod-philosophy and misty-eyed reminisces it's difficult to bother with a professional opinion; but it's worth noting that in 1918 woodland cover in the UK was down to 5% and now it's 13%. It's also worth noting that all our ancestors from Neolithic to medieval man worked forests out - i.e. until they did not not exist (look at the history of the Forest of Galtres as an example) .

brynpoeth wrote:What might be the energy balance for wood pellets?


Difficult to say. The wood pellet boiler industry was kickstarted simply by the fact that countries with large timber and sawmilling businesses created hundreds of tonnes of sawdust anyway. Compressing them into pellets (they hold together with the lignin naturally) to be burned in boilers was a natural progression.

However creating pellets from primary timber (grinding it down and then compressing it into pellets) is another beast, you're deliberately using fossil fuel to create another fuel. However this is itself split into timber which has been grown deliberately only for pellets (usually under a system called 'Short Rotation Forestry') and that timber which is at the top of a felled tree which is not good enough for sawlogs and is only ever going to be destined for the chip/pulp/pellet market. The first is deliberate, the second is finding a market for the poorer quality timber - and just as there are always poorer quality apples or carrots or even lambs there'll always be poorer quality timber.

Hope that's not too complicated!