• ValleyArborist's Avatar
    02-02-2016
    Give the same detailed tree list and specifications, but only include a total price. Or, if they want an itemized cost, make everything add up to $1900.00 but raise the birch from $100 to $300, and move the money from the other two items. This might keep them from cherry picking the cheaper stuff and having the rest done by someone else.
    64 replies | 6977 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    01-30-2016
    A few posts back Pete talked about the length of time it takes to really train someone. I think he took what I was clumsily trying to say and put it much more eloquently. It sounds like you are trying to basically build a company up, and unfortunately that can be a slow and painful process. When I worked at Bartlett in Pittsburgh, the shop had been around since the 50's and developed a bad rap in the division for shitty work and a lot of accidents. They brought a couple younger foreman up from different shops in the region, me being one of them, fired a bunch of the problems, and hired several new guys. I worked with a totally green guy who had just graduated from Penn State for over one year and taught him everything I knew about tree work. I was only 27 or so at the time and didn't know a whole lot myself, but I was a foreman and that was my task. It was a frustrating year filled with long days, shaky rides on removals, dull/poorly filed chainsaws, and the like. I have a scar on my arm from a rigging line incident during that period. That guy still works there and is an awesome arborist now. I still do side work with him on the weekends. ( I left tree care two years ago for a job as a utility forester for the power company here.) The point is that it takes time to train someone to do this job and you can expect some pain, unprofitable days, and hurt feelings while you are doing so. If you want to have a tree company, you're going to have to commit to this.These guys need more than just you reviewing the portawrap on the ground and then heading up the tree. They need to watch a pro on the portawrap lower some pieces in front of them while receiving instruction. Let THEM hook the truck up to the chipper while you spot them so that they can understand why they need consistent signals. Youtube videos, Arbormaster, Beraneks stuff, this forum, etc are all just a supplement to doing it and seeing it in the field everyday.The best that I can tell you is to be patient, set a good example, establish a firm culture of safety, and keep on taking the time to explain things. Your situation is really no different than what most folks experience in tree care IMO. You'll get through it.
    132 replies | 10895 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    01-30-2016
    One thing that is tough for operations like your's is that you are really the only experienced guy there, and it sounds like you do most if not all of the climbing. There is never another experienced person on the ground to help coach and reinforce. Lowering and rigging on the ground is almost one of those things that needs to be witnessed done the right way for it to ever sink in. You had to learn somewhere. Is there someone at a company you used to work for that would be able to come out and work with you all here and there to help with smoothing out the rough edges of your staff?
    132 replies | 10895 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    01-30-2016
    Sean, you sound like an experienced tree guy who put his time in learning the art and science and probably one that has a lot of natural ability as well. I feel that I fall into that category myself. Unfortunately the trade off is it can make you a below average teacher. You shouldn't take offense to that, because I have been there myself and still struggle with it sometimes. When people excel in their craft, they often make the mistake of thinking that everyone else is at the same level and do not take the time to explain things thoroughly. In reading through the last post you made, that looks like the case. One thing that helps me is to step back, put myself into a persons head, and see where they are coming from. The fellow that started to untie your saw before you were finished with it is a good example of that. His entire career as a ground guy has been about two things basically: Dragging/chipping brush and tying and untying chainsaws onto ropes. In his mind, retrieving your saw out of harms way, or so that it wouldn't be a potential boat anchor for you was his automatic response. If you didn't specifically tell him you were about to pull it up again, you sent him a very mixed and confusing message, IMO. Any deviation from the norm like that needs to be explained. The same with the guy pulling your pull rope before you began notching the top, just tell him to wait for your signal and explain why. Training people comes easier once you realize that the average person just doesn't get tree work yet and that they really are only trying to help at this point. At least they aren't sitting idle. As far as not reporting mechanical problems, again, not everyone is mechanically inclined. They may just not have the experience yet to hear the subtle changes in sound or when something isn't working at 100%. They will. To be brutally honest, if a chipper sat for weeks and got water in the fuel and frozen lines, you can't really blame the staff for that one. Among other things, problems like that can be minimized by starting and running any chipper, bucket truck, or spray rig at the yard or shop in the morning for a little while to identify hard starting and look for leaks. You leaving the job site or not had nothing to do with that, a frozen distributor is a frozen distributor. Like the guy from California said above, the chipper issue should be taken as YOUR " damn small limb" on your head to learn from. Again, I hope no offense is taken by my post. None is meant. I have struggled with the above for years, and managed to get better at it. Hell, just the other day I confused a guy that works for me because, quite frankly, I was talking out of my ass about something I didn't fully understand myself. Self reflection on my part got the situation under control. I think that if you can identify your own faults, and see where others are coming from, you'll have an easier time.
    132 replies | 10895 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    08-01-2015
    Pittsburgh is awesome for LP but I live in Morgantown WV. Just south. I commuted up to Pittsburgh for 4 years and a utility forester position came open with the utility down here so I took it. I only do commercial arboriculture on weekends at best these days. I want to get back into it full time but the timing just isn't right at the moment.
    43 replies | 4295 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    08-01-2015
    interesting. Says on the client list "The Care of Trees". I worked for them in Virginia but that was pre Davey buyout. We used the old style fasteners then. I'd like to give those a try. Too bad I don't install any LP these days.
    43 replies | 4295 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    08-01-2015
    Ok makes sense. I'd like to see that fastener you mentioned. I agree, the standard fare is too prone to bending and breaking.
    43 replies | 4295 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    08-01-2015
    We are getting married at the Pier House resort, which is where we stayed the first time we came down there. Sunset wedding on the beach. I would love to pursue that opportunity, but my fiance has a job in a very specific field. She is a professor of equine science at a university here and I don't think the Florida Keys could provide that at this point in time . One of these days though.
    25 replies | 3154 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-31-2015
    To clarify my above post, I meant that Independent Protection Co. gave you the option of ordering parts based on the 2002 ANSI spec or the older LPI/NFPA spec. might be why they over spec some orders.
    43 replies | 4295 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-31-2015
    Pretty straightforward, I think I learned to do it by watching videos. Only installed a few however so no expert by any means. That is a huge English oak. The ones around here, at least what we call English oaks, are just little columnar things.
    29 replies | 2743 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-31-2015
    Guy, They used to give the option to use the 2002 specs or the older one. Not sure why anyone would use the older spec. I renovated a bunch of lightning protection at Kentuck Knob, a Frank Lloyd Wright house outside of Pittsburgh several years ago that another company had installed several years before that and they had done it all to the old NFPA spec and it was poorly done to boot. I'm talking squatty little sugar maples with like 3 air terminals (all too low to do any good) in them and all 32 strand conductor (even the secondary leads). Trees with cables had been bonded, but UPWARDS. Real mess to fix up. I'm still curious why you feel the BMP is lacking? Not to sound arrogant, but I have installed probably over a hundred systems and damn near feel like an expert. Still, I'm hard pressed to think of any more tips and tricks to installation beyond my first post, and honestly the BMP probably covers all of that anyway. I'm not baiting you or anything, I am just legitimately curious and always willing to learn new things.
    43 replies | 4295 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-31-2015
    I think I ate at Sunset Grille the last time i was down there in March. I saw a guy on one of those water jet packs. I am getting married in Key West in December and I cant tell if we are more excited about getting married, or going to Key West. We try to get to the Keys once a year. I saw your facility along the highway when i drove through Marathon last time. I would love to work down there, I even bought books on Floridas trees and shrubs to prepare myself in case the opportunity ever arises.
    25 replies | 3154 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-31-2015
    Glad that helps, I don't get to do these much anymore but I really enjoyed it when I was. I worked in the Washington DC area as well as the Pittsburgh PA area which both experience a lot of lightning strikes per year. I would imagine Florida would be a good place to sell the service as well.
    43 replies | 4295 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-30-2015
    I used to install a ton. This company is a great way to order parts: http://www.ipclp.com/index.html . If you give the height and diameter, they can help spec out the size and quantity of components. If you don't install many, you don't want to end up with a bunch of extra fasteners and couplers. A redwood would be pretty easy, just a straight shot. avoid any sharp bends, which should be easy enough, and I always place the conductor on the side opposite the house, if possible. Fencing pliers are my favorite tool and the only one I use. You can use it to drive fasteners and clamp the conductor to them. Pre install the air terminal on the conductor on the ground ( I prefer the blunt Bartlett tip), along with a couple fasteners placed close together. Putting those couple fasteners on the conductor on the ground will make it a lot easier to hang it in the tree after pulling it up the whole way. That's the hard part. after that, just descend and install fasteners every 3-6 feet or so. You'll develop a feel for how close to space the fasteners based on the twists and bends in the tree. Obviously the straighter the trunk the farther apart you can go. You just don't want the conductor super tight or too loose. I usually throw a couple extra in at the bottom because this is where it will be apt to get pulled loose. A fence post driver will work for the ground rod but they do make one for ground rods with a slimmer barrel. A little easier to use. Ground plates can be used in rocky soil but are not as effective.
    43 replies | 4295 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-21-2015
    Guy, did you happen to tour PFP factory with Stephen Miller? He was on the A300 committee at that time and I think he mentioned touring that facility.
    119 replies | 6624 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-20-2015
    I remember that article. Are you the same person that invented that brace rod jig in TCI Magazine a few years back?
    119 replies | 6624 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-19-2015
    Yep, I've tied the drill off, even used a second climber to help move me around while I drill. I will admit to mis-aligning the drill and drilling offset and having to plug the hole with a stub on occasion. Cabling and bracing is becoming a lost art for sure, not many people left who can hand wrap soft lay cable anymore.
    119 replies | 6624 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-19-2015
    Milwaukee Hole Hawg. Gas drills just don't have the torque. They bog down, and can't get back up to speed. I always used to use progressively larger bits, starting with say, a 2 foot long bit, and I might go through two more larger sizes before getting into an 8 foot. I also lubricated it with bar oil every so often. your right, you have to clean out the bore constantly. The hardest part of using a long bit like that, if you are climbing , is positioning yourself. Luckily, those jobs are pretty infrequent. I worked for Bartlett, which I admit can be a little cable heavy (not trying to bait Guy here), but on the flipside, I probably installed more cables and rods every month than most tree guys install in a career.
    119 replies | 6624 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-19-2015
    Hardware is essentially a fixed cost in cabling and bracing job. The real factor is the number of cables needed and distance apart. Two guys in the tree can really help but there are tricks to getting it done with one climber, although time consuming. Brace rods can be a real wild card and I think should always be a time and material job. I've had to back a lot of long bits out with a pipe wrench after getting them stuck. Jomo, long bits can still be bought from American Arborist Supply out of Philadelphia FYI. They aren't in the catalog but you can call them and they will hook you up. I bought a 8 footer from them last time when I used to order tree support supplies. They also stock the Chicago hardware. Some suppliers sell the chinese knockoffs.
    119 replies | 6624 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-19-2015
    True. On the lower end of the spectrum would have been a better way to put it.
    119 replies | 6624 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-19-2015
    Honestly, depending on how long the spans are, $700 is pretty low for 3 cables, too bad they were not installed well the first time. I would expect about $250 per cable, roughly.
    119 replies | 6624 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-19-2015
    From the description it is hard to tell exactly what is going on, but bottom line, not installed correctly.
    119 replies | 6624 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    07-08-2015
    I am pretty thin guy myself, and when i first started climbing I had the same issues with any saddle i tried. It went away after a while and I never had issues with it again. I no longer climb full time, but this past weekend i helped a friend with some removals at his house and climbed for the first time in over one year and I had severe hip pain at the end of the day. I think like another said above, sometimes your body just has to toughen up in a couple of spots, after that pain will be minimal.
    71 replies | 5575 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    06-01-2015
    In general I would say rig towards the defective side, rather than away from it, if that makes sense. In any case I guess it depends on where the reaction wood started forming.
    17 replies | 2448 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    05-31-2015
    ValleyArborist replied to a thread Powerlines in Odds and Ends
    Popper, out of curiosity, what do you do for a living now? I think you mentioned something about a lawncare company a few pages back? You'll always have clients that need trees worked on when you're doing lawncare, you might be able to sub these services out to a good tree co. and ask to work alongside them. You get the training, a foot in the door possibly, and they get a supply of work out of it.
    266 replies | 21129 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    05-29-2015
    ValleyArborist replied to a thread Powerlines in Odds and Ends
    Excellent video
    266 replies | 21129 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    05-29-2015
    ValleyArborist replied to a thread Powerlines in Odds and Ends
    savvy farmers know that it can electrify fences, eliminating need for an expensive fence charger. I always take an insulated Jameson walking stick with me to push down on fences to cross them when im out on patrol.
    266 replies | 21129 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    05-28-2015
    ValleyArborist replied to a thread Powerlines in Odds and Ends
    Thats what I'm saying, the electromagnetic field around the conductors, you can actually hear them humming
    266 replies | 21129 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    05-28-2015
    ValleyArborist replied to a thread Powerlines in Odds and Ends
    Not a visible arc, it's like static buildup, induced voltage I guess would be the term. Half a million volts makes some strange physics
    266 replies | 21129 view(s)
  • ValleyArborist's Avatar
    05-28-2015
    ValleyArborist replied to a thread Powerlines in Odds and Ends
    Some of the older EHV lines, ones built in the 60s and 70s, the engineering isnt always so great, especially in parts of the world with hilly geography. been in spans where the ground to conductor height was so low that grass was incompatible vegetation. (Seriously). I always get a nauseous feeling that close, the energy is just too much i guess.
    266 replies | 21129 view(s)
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