How to build a chip burner
When John and Anita Deming decided to clear some "field pine" from his newly acquired property, they wanted to do it efficiently and in an economically feasible way.
The so-called "field or pasture pine" was primarily a stand of white Scotch and red pine that had taken over an old pasture and was of little commercial value. Due to the stand's density, the trees would most likely become stagnated, thus limiting growth.
"Due to the quality of trees in the old field, chipping is the only financially viable solution," John said. "Traditional logging and pulping is too labor intensive."
Since the trees' small diameter and knotty nature prevented them from being used for lumber, the alternatives were either pulp, or to be chipped.
The pulp market has decreased as witnessed by the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga cutting back its production.
Deming contracted with Jim Pulsifer of Lewis to put his Mobark Chipavestor to work.
The Chipavestor devours the trees and branches at a rate of 90 tons per hour. Thus, a semi trailer, which can hold approximately 30 tons, can be filled in about 20 minutes. It's not like a backyard chipper or even one used by the highway departments or power companies when they chop up downed trees.
The $350,000 behemoth Chipavestor features 22-inch-long knives that rotate at 2,200 rpm and can chip trees with diameters of up to 27 inches.
Pulsifer of Lewis joined his father, Phil, in the logging business in 1971.
"This was to be just part time until I decided what I wanted to do," quipped Jim.
He likes what he does and has a loyal crew; several employees have been with him for 20 or more years.