Want to be a timber faller

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Blog entry by longtall posted 06-26-2009 08:39 PM 16773 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m in community college right now but would like to get into timber falling. Can anyone give me advice on how to do that when I have no real experience? How much could I expect to earn? How long are the average hours? I was told timber fallers only work 6 hours a day and earn average of $240 a day, is that true? Someone else told me that they earn $11.00 on paper but more under the table! Do logging companies and contracters pay employees this way? Under the table for say!

13 comments so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3003 days

#1 posted 06-26-2009 09:07 PM

Over here they do not earn that kind of money.It’s damned hard, hard, work. Speed is everything as they work in gangs and you cannot fall behind.Cutting down a tree is the easy part trimming quickly off all the branches big and small and moving the trunk quickly while you run on to be taken away all at top speed. Thats why they earn their money but as said not the figures you quoted here in scotland where there is a big lumber project in the Scottish forrestory comission have fun but be safe it’s a dangerous kind of job as the saws are unforgiving to say the least.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View dalec's profile


613 posts in 3306 days

#2 posted 06-26-2009 09:13 PM

Not sure if this fits question fits with the wood working.

But here goes:

My knowledge about timber fallers way too long ago. I do know that pay rates were either hourly or piece rate. The time traveling to and from the work site was not considered work time, at least in our area.

You may want to do a web search for timber companies in your area to get your specific questions answered by those in the industry.


View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3008 days

#3 posted 06-26-2009 09:49 PM

I think it depends on the area, but “timber falling” isn’t what it used to be. Most companies are using machines like a Timco to cut and de-limb the trees. This makes it faster and safer then it’s been in the past.

Maybe you should consider working for an urban logger. I’m not quite sure why on earth you would even want to do that kind of work. Especially if you are doing it with a chainsaw. It’s a dangerous job and the hours are very long. My dad logged for a majority of my life. The way I understand it he got paid per tree felled, not hourly. If any business pays you “under the table” they are breaking the law.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 2685 days

#4 posted 06-26-2009 10:13 PM

if its anything like the shows on TLC about logging i sure wouldnt want to do it, it looks hella dangerous! id say you were better off staying in college, if you want to work with trees look into forestry. probably more job opportunities in the future with forestry then other fields with the way the environmentalists are going

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 3080 days

#5 posted 06-26-2009 11:04 PM

I think it’s the foresters who roam the woods surveying the stands who make the big bucks, since they faciliate million dollar decisions of logging companies as to where and when to log, and what’s best for a particular site. I think being a forester requires a college degree.

Also sometimes when people mention wage the $ is the money that emploee cost the company (which include benefits, lost time, insurance, HR, equipment, management etc.), not what they get paid. So make sure to double check the actual $ of the paycheck.

-- Ed

View 's profile

593 posts in 3390 days

#6 posted 06-27-2009 02:07 AM

I’d hate to rain on your parade but I’d go to btjunkie and download the complete (ongoing) series of ”Ax Men”. If, after watching a couple of episodes, the pink spectacles haven’t still fell off, go get yourself an old tattered pickup truck, a sturdy raincoat, some ragged clothes, a nice stainless steel whisky bottle to carry around in your pocket, and a chainsaw. Then learn to spit and swear simultaneously and go for it! After all, the rate of accidents in only 20 times higher than the average for any other jobs and the risk of being unemployed at any time is soaring…

In all seriousness, I don’t know where did you get your information but think it twice before committing to such a career path. Specially if you can have access to college and plan on having a normal (and long) life and a family someday. Living paycheck to (uncertain) paycheck is not as fun and appealing as it might seem now.

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2995 days

#7 posted 06-27-2009 04:47 AM

What Jo Jo said was what I was thinking about . More like sun up to sun down as far as the hours and you don’t start as a faller. You usually start as a choke setter.

-- Custom furniture

View gmcl's profile


5 posts in 2675 days

#8 posted 06-27-2009 05:43 AM

On the west coast they use professional fallers. They earn around $80,000 plus a year working for the larger companies, which is good given that they only work about 6-8 months of the year. In the BC Forestry industry I believe they are paid by the tree, so they work dawn to dusk. It would be hard to get into right now as the whole forestry industry is really in a down turn.

-- Gerald, British Columbia

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3008 days

#9 posted 06-27-2009 06:13 AM

I like the pink spectacles comment. LOL. My dad left Monday morning at 4 am and got back Late Friday night for a long time. It caused a lot of damage to our family, even though it kept us fed. I went with him for a week. Whoever told you it was a 6 hour day doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s not dawn to dusk either. We were up at 4 am to start the trucks in freezing ass weather and came back at dark. I filmed the week. On his crew the skidder opperator ran the choke lines too. They were also paid per log which meant they had to bust ass all day. The timber fallers suffer because they have to supply their own saws and keep their chains sharp. This was 12 years ago mind you. But I’m sure things haven’t changed much. It’s a dangerous job. Looks appealing on tv but believe me, you’ll be nothing but broke and tired.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View 's profile

593 posts in 3390 days

#10 posted 06-27-2009 06:21 AM

kolwdwrkr said:

”Looks appealing on tv but believe me, you’ll be nothing but broke and tired.”

... and drunk too if we believe what we see on TV. And, if you add up all three above, I guess single too! :oD

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 2686 days

#11 posted 06-27-2009 11:37 AM

And I’d like to be more limber and taller.

View bluchz's profile


187 posts in 2791 days

#12 posted 06-27-2009 05:45 PM

Wow that job is always in the top 5 or ten for the most dangerous jobs in the world, usually behind commercial fishing.We lost 2 loggers in the area in the last two years, they died while felling trees, and one on our crew one guy has been out of work for over 2yrs. All these accidents happened while felling trees! If you are gonna do it get trained to do it the right way from the start! I got trained by our workmens comp insurance man to cut trees the way they want, directional felling it’s the safest so they say.Even with that you can still get hurt. The guy that has been out of work for two years cut the tree just like they said to but accidents still happen! I’ve been doing this for 9years and i wouldn’t suggest it to anyone!the hours are long and it’s always hot or cold. Afar as pay the $11 an hour is about right, expect mandatory overtime and lost of after hours mechanic work if you want to make more than that. I work in the carolina’s and most of the crew here use a machine almost all the felling.

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

View Murfanator's profile


1 post in 2666 days

#13 posted 07-05-2009 10:11 AM

I’m new here, but what made me join was your question. I’ve logged most my life from choker setter to timber faller. I’m from WA state and the going rate for fellers right now is 26.00 per hour to 32.00 depending on if the employer supples the gas and oil or u do. I’m leaving for Alaska to work on July 14 2009 and they pay 40.00 per hour. And yes we are only aloud to work 6 to 7 hours a day because of safty. Weyrhueser, longveiw fiber and some other big names really stick by that hourly rule. Now on privite land I have worked 8 to 10 hours but only if weather and conditions are right and not to fatiged. But in.7 hrs work u got to remember it is one tank of gas after another and u pack in your saw and axe, wedges, extra chains, gas, ECG… I love the work even with the danger involved and I have had freinds get killed out the both of them died in what is called blow down patches. That’s where a storm has nocked down the forest and everything is (loaded and tangeled up) one miss cut or read a tree wrong and bam your dead. But usally there is a safty reason or oversight that got them. I’m 34 and I’ll answer you the best I can our give ju people maybe you can call. I have college too but the woods always calles me back. I got trained by older fallers and one of them is 50 and still doing it, so I figuerd he is still around he must have good techniqe and safey. I started falling for 15.00ph to learn then 18.00ph after 3 months then 26.00ph after 6 months roughly

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