What Logging Workers Do
Loggers cut trees with hand-held power chain saws or mobile felling machines.
Logging workers harvest thousands of acres of forests each year. The timber they harvest provides the raw material for countless consumer and industrial products.
Logging workers typically do the following:
- Cut down trees with hand-held power chainsaws or mobile felling machines
- Fasten cables around logs to be dragged by tractors
- Operate tractors that drag logs to the landing or deck area
- Separate logs by species and type of wood and load them onto trucks
- Drive and maneuver tractors and tree harvesters to shear trees and cut logs into desired lengths
- Grade logs according to characteristics such as knot size and straightness
- Inspect equipment for safety before using it and perform necessary basic maintenance tasks
Timber-cutting and logging are done by a logging crew. The following are examples of types of logging workers:
Fallers cut down trees with hand-held power chainsaws or mobile felling machines.
Buckers trim the tops and branches of felled trees and buck (cut) the logs into specific lengths.
Tree climbers use special equipment to scale tall trees and remove their limbs. They carry heavy tools and safety gear as they climb the trees, and are kept safe by a harness attached to a rope.
Choke setters fasten steel cables or chains, known as chokers, around logs to be skidded (dragged) by tractors or forwarded by the cable-yarding system to the landing or deck area, where the logs are separated by species and type of product, such as pulpwood, saw logs, or veneer logs, which are then loaded onto trucks.
Rigging slingers and chasers set up and dismantle the cables and guy wires of the yarding system.
Log sorters, markers, movers, and chippers sort, mark, and move logs based on species, size, and ownership. They also tend machines that chip up logs.
Logging equipment operators use tree harvesters to fell trees, shear off tree limbs, and cut trees into desired lengths. They drive tractors and operate self-propelled machines called skidders or forwarders, which drag or transport logs to a loading area.
Log graders and scalers inspect logs for defects and measure the logs to determine their volume. They estimate the value of logs or pulpwood. These workers often use hand-held data collection devices to enter data on trees. The data are later downloaded to a computer.
A typical crew might consist of the following:
- one or two tree fallers or one or two logging equipment operators with a tree harvester to cut down trees
- one bucker to cut logs
- two choker setters with tractors to drag cut trees to the loading deck
- one logging equipment operator to delimb, cut logs to length, and load the logs onto trucks