Harvesting wood in the Finnish archipelago

Working in the forests of the Finnish archipelago is almost like working on the mainland – except some things make the work in the archipelago more demanding. With 13 years of experience, it can be said that working in the forests of the archipelago is routine for brothers Kjell and Tomas Wikblad. They founded their company Br. Wikblad on New Year’s Eve 2007.

When the year 2020 is nearing its end, the brothers are applying finishing touches on a site in Sundom archipelago, Vaasa. Operator Andreas Nynäs delivers a huge load of logs to the shore. Then the forwarder fuel tank needs to be refilled. Andreas works as a farmer, but he helps the Wikblads when needed.

- Me and my brother, we are originally from Soklot and usually work in the areas around Kokkola and Oravais. We are used to harvesting forests in the archipelago every summer, even though we usually do not work in the Vaasa region, says Kjell. 

Br. Wikblad operates under Forest Kings and all their logs are sent to UPM manufacturing plant in Pietarsaari. During their career as entrepreneurs, they have owned nine different forest machines. At the moment, they own one harvester and one forwarder. The forwarder is a Logset 6F GT from 2019 and their first Logset machine.

- My brother wanted to continue buying the same old and familiar machine brands because he is rather conservative. However, after a test drive with a Logset machine, he had a change of heart and the forwarder was delivered to us in November 2019. We have driven now approximately 1 700 hours. It is a quite low number, as usually we drive 2 500 h/year. The restless year 2020 with strikes, coronavirus and economic uncertainty has impacted our productivity, Kjell says.


Properly equipped machine

Conditions of the archipelago demand a properly equipped machine. Kjell says that they mostly work in private owned forests and perform thinnings. Logset forwarder has a shorter load bay, which makes manoeuvring the machine easier. The crane is a 10-meter long Mesera 92 and the forwarder is equipped with central lubrication.

- We cannot always work within the crane’s ideal reach. The crane must be able to lift heavy loads even when it is stretched to its full capacity, if we are loading a pram or lifting a fuel tank, Andreas explains.

There is plenty of work to do in the archipelago, but the sites are far apart. The logging has to be scheduled according to port timetables and weather has a big impact on the work. Logistics needs more planning: when should the machines be fuelled, what spare parts are needed and who is able to deliver equipment to the islands? 

- If something gets broken everything is much more complicated than on the mainland. We’ve been lucky to discover that Logset warranty works well, states Kjell.


Well-thought-out package

Kjell and Andreas both think that the forwarder is a well-thought-out package with nice details. Andreas has good things to say about the Smooth Ride cabin.

- I had never driven a machine with suspended cabin. There is a huge difference. The cabin suspension improves performance and works very well. The suspension also eliminates the sideways blows when I load the machine. I can sit more relaxed and my body does not feel as tired after the workday, he says.

Kjell mentions other features:

- The cabin has plenty of room – especially around the head when you are sitting and driving the machine. The spotlights on the cabin floor help to find things if you have dropped something. And the downwards visibility is great. Only thing I wish is that the windows would be a little bit taller as that would help when loading the pram.

More images
Kjell Wikblad receives the fuel tank in the boat. Andreas Nynäs sits inside the forwarder cabin.
Kjell Wikblad says that 2020 with Logset forwarder has gone well even though they have driven the machine comparably little.