Marty Renshaw, owner of Renshaw Logging, Eden, Maryland, is an optimist. He keeps a fishing pole in his pickup truck’s bed, hoping that he’ll find time to wet a line. He doesn’t fish as often as he’d like, but he’s always ready.
Instead, Renshaw spends his days clearcutting tracts of pines and hardwoods in Maryland’s Eastern Shore and the neighboring states of Delaware and Virginia. In his work, just as his fishing, Renshaw is an optimist.
A positive attitude, along with a strong work ethic and an excellent crew, have helped keep his company profitable in a constricting market. When Renshaw started his business 21 years ago, eight mills purchased wood in the area. Today, three remain in operation.
A good working relationship with the mill where he sells the majority of his wood, a reliable fleet, and strong dealer support help Renshaw Logging thrive in the Eastern Shore’s competitive logging market.
The six-person logging company’s annual production totals 5.5 million board feet of pine, 1.5 million board feet of hardwood, 800,000 board feet of pine pulpwood and 500,000 board feet of hardwood pulpwood. Renshaw credits a great deal of the company's success to a hard-working and skilled crew.
Renshaw, a third-generation logger, says that clear-cuts make up approximately 75 percent of Renshaw Logging’s workload. Tracts range from 20 to 70 acres. The crew averages 50 to 80 loads per week.
“We try to stay small, and we’re conservative. We don’t overextend ourselves. It wouldn’t do any good to produce 100 loads a week. I wouldn’t be able to sell it most weeks,” Renshaw says.
Renshaw’s brother, Dave, works as the crew’s foreman, and generally operates the company’s Cat® 563D Feller Buncher. While he prefers operating the feller buncher, Dave fills in as needed to keep production moving forward.
Marty is no different. “I go wherever we’re short that day. Preferably, I’m working the skidder. I can organize the job the way that I like working on a skidder. I bring up the kind of wood that we need to fit our schedule with the trucks.”
A Cat 525D Skidder and a Cat 535D Skidder have been solid performers for Renshaw Logging.
The crew works best with Dave cutting trees and Marty stacking and pulling them out of the woods with the skidder. “I look at him, and I can tell what he’s going to do next. He looks at me and he knows what I’m going to do next,” Dave says. “We both know what to do, and what needs to be done.”
A Cat 559C Knuckleboom Loader deftly sorts wood and loads trailers. A Cat 533 Feller Buncher works as a spare machine. The dependability of the Cat machines has made work easier and the crew more productive. “We’re moving wood instead of working on equipment,” Dave says. “We were working on equipment as much as we were working with it before we started running Cat machines.”
Fuel economy with the Cat machines helps the company’s bottom line, and keeps the machines working in the woods for hours on end. “We can go to the woods with a 110-gallon fuel tank on the back of our truck, and operate our four machines all day,” Marty says.
The machines also stand up to some pretty rough working conditions. With the Chesapeake Bay nearby, mud is common in the Eastern Shore. “Very little soil on the shore is dry enough for harvesting, even in summer,” Marty says. “We have dual tires on everything.”
Alban Cat’s service and parts supply helps keep machine uptime high. When necessary, dealership technicians travel to jobsites to service machines. “They were working on a machine when we got here on Monday morning. They were making an update on the feller buncher,” Dave notes.
Marty says, “Caterpillar offers a great warranty on its machines.”
A saw buck that Renshaw purchased from Alban Cat last winter enables the knuckleboom loader to cut trees to length. This has opened a profitable new market opportunity for the logging company.
Dealership services, a top-notch fleet, and a good working relationship with the mill where Renshaw sells the majority of his wood are all vital. But Renshaw credits much of his success to his wife Kathy, who keeps the books. “She’s a big part of the company,” Renshaw says. “If you don’t have that straight, you don’t have a company.”
Renshaw started the company 21 years ago, with little more than a chain saw and a couple of pieces of logging equipment. In a highly competitive market, he’s proud that his company remains profitable. With the help of his family, crew, Cat dealership, and a durable fleet, Renshaw is optimistic about the future.
“We were working on equipment as much as we were working with it before we started running Cat® machines.” Dave Renshaw Foreman, Renshaw Logging
Renshaw Logging’s Cat Fleet:
563D Feller Buncher
559C Knuckleboom Loader
553 Feller Buncher