By Don Cameron: Nova Scotians who own woodland, farm land or enjoy working in the outdoors will want to make note of the dates June 13 and 14.
A special two-day field demonstration will be held in Debert at the woodland of Walter Rodler at 695 Plains Road. Plains Road is the main road that runs through Debert.
The main theme of the event is to show and demonstrate various small-scale pieces of low impact equipment that can be used in the forest, farm or backyard for a variety of applications. This type of equipment, among other things, makes it more feasible for woodland owners to implement the increasingly popular silviculture treatment of selection harvesting to enable uneven-aged forest management.
The event will provide an opportunity for the public to witness a large number of prototype pieces of customized equipment designed and constructed by inventor Walter Rodler. Rodler was born in Munich Germany and his family immigrated to Nova Scotia when he was young. He has lived in Debert for more than 20 years.
Rodler has been designing and testing various mechanical inventions during the last 30 years and feels that he has perfected a number of pieces of small scale equipment by trial and error over that long period of time. For example, his ingenuity, attention to detail and willingness to try something different, has resulted in his creation of a fuelwood splitter that he feels processes more smoothly, safely, ergonomically, with less fuel and less power requirements and less wear and tear on equipment than existing equipment on the market today. According to Rodler, he is now in the process of patenting the fuelwood splitting system which is a customized angled shear safety guide system. He is working with CSA Canada in getting a safety stamp. During the years, he has engineered, tested and built prototypes via trial and error. His long-term objective has been to bring the traditional out of date log splitter into the 21st century. He has received much positive feedback from knowledgeable people that have said how many lost fingers and other serious injuries (and lawsuits) could have been prevented with this much safer design. Some items of interest about this fuelwood splitter is that it is lighter in weight, uses half the usual amount of fuel, is many times more portable, lower transportation costs, the split pieces simply fall to the side when split, it can produce one-inch kindling strips, has larger and more rugged tires and rough terrain suspension so that it can be brought anywhere in the woods for processing at the stump if desired.
Another Rodler invention, for which he is in the process of negotiating with potential manufacturers and distributors, is an all-terrain multi-use trailer with multiple attachments – such as a fuelwood splitter or auger for fence post digging. The narrow, rugged and well-balanced trailer can be towed through the woods by ATV or a small tractor.
A special feature of the field day event is that an Ox-Trac 1000 – a small forestry machine manufactured by Tremzac - will be brought from Quebec by the company to provide free demonstrations Friday and Saturday. The small tracked vehicle looks somewhat like a small, speedy bulldozer. Demonstrations will show how forestry machine operators can work efficiently with this small equipment. People will get a chance to try out the machine on-site.
Other pieces of Walter Rodler customized equipment that visitors will have the opportunity to see includes: a sawmill utilizing a long chainsaw bar to produce extremely smooth and accurate dimension lumber; large fuelwood splitter and non-hydraulic log lift; an old Pettibone front-end loader with a built winch; wood chipper, engineered utility trailer; cement mixer; and a vertically oriented wood stove.
Information displays by Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the Association for Sustainable Forestry will also be available for woodland owners regarding silviculture programs, funding and educational opportunities. There will also be information on wildlife habitat requirements as well as processed wood products. The DNR fire crew from the Bible Hill office will be setup on-site ready to field questions or a wildfire call.
Department staff often hear from woodland owners that they would like to have more small-scale equipment available to do low-impact work on their property with the objective of managing their resources sustainably.
As more and more baby boomers are retiring and looking for future productive things to do with their time on the land, this demonstration event will provide an opportunity for people to see possible solutions. It will also be an enjoyable way to spend a day on Father’s Day weekend.
The event will begin Friday, June 13 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and again Saturday, June 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Signs will be posted to provide directions to the site. All are welcome at no cost.
For more information, call 893-5629.
Don Cameron is a regional forester with the Department of Natural Resources.