DID you get everything you wanted for Christmas? If not, January can be an especially expensive time, as you realise all the hints you’ve been dropping for so many months have gone unheeded and you’re just going to have to shell out for everything yourself. Like an adult. Not much fun, is it?

That’s only if you’ve got enough cash on hand to spend, of course. Not many of us do these days. So a lot of big purchases get put off till another year, another Christmas list.

Tragically, one of the problems with putting off larger expenses is that by the time you’re finally ready to buy, the big-ticket item you’ve been pining for might be gone.

And then what do you do with those unfulfilled feelings of yearning, except dream of a day when the object in question might miraculously come back on sale?

Members of the Forest Machine Operators Blog were this month pondering the question: ‘If you could bring back one ‘lost’ forestry machine or brand, which would it be?’

Forestry Journal: Barry LewisBarry Lewis (Image: Bites)

Comments provided a wide array of answers, proving there are a great many absent brands that workers would love to see return, but there were some that stood a little taller in the pack.

Receiving the second-highest number of votes was County Tractors, and few could be surprised to see it rated so highly.

Entering production in 1948, County really became popular in the 1960s with the launch of its distinctive equal-wheeled 4WD units, designed to give outstanding traction. Converted to forestry use with the addition of a Highland Bear (Cranab) roof crane, front blade, forestry guarding and Igland winch, County Highlanders were a common sight in woodlands across the UK for decades.

Forestry Journal: Ryan O'KaneRyan O'Kane (Image: Bites)

While no longer in production, the brand is still very much beloved, with a vintage specimen from 1982 selling for £214,400 at auction in 2022.

Proving even more popular among members, however, was forest machine manufacturer Timberjack. Founded in the 1950s, it was eventually purchased by John Deere and the product line was discontinued in 2006.

Although John Deere’s modern machines include obvious traces of Timberjack DNA in their design, there are plenty who pine for old models like the 1010, 1110, 1210 and skidders such as the 330, which one member described as “the best skidder ever”.

Not all agreed, however, with calls for the return of other skidder brands such as Franklin, Tree Farmer and Clark.

One member from New Zealand commented: “Clark were the best skidders in the ’70s by a long shot. Timberjacks were rattley pieces of shit and I won’t even mention Tree Farmers. That was about all you could get in NZ in those days.”

Another brand members would love to see make a comeback? Silvatec. This Danish manufacturer of forestry machines operated from 1986 until 2017, when the company went bankrupt. Among its machines remembered fondly is the eight-wheeled Sleipner, first shown with a bright pink paint job at Elmia Wood in 2001 (a sure way to turn heads). 

While renowned for their reliability and performance, Silvatec machines ultimately proved too costly to produce, but perhaps they were just ahead of their time? Last year, Forestry Journal reported how manufacturer Euromatic had unveiled a new harvester, the 8230TH based on designs for Silvatec’s own machine, the 8324. So at least this is one brand we can say is making a return, if only in spirit rather than name.

Forestry Journal: Phil HarrisPhil Harris (Image: Bites)

Some other machines members would love to see back in production included forwarders such as the FMG Bruunett 678, OSA 280, Valmet 840, Norcar 480 and Lokomo 919.

Timber hauliers are longing for the return of the Scania 143 and Volvo F12, while at least one woodsman (if not more) is still sore over the loss of Plumb axes, manufactured in the USA and distributed around the world throughout most of the 20th century. 

Forestry Journal: Ryan SproatRyan Sproat (Image: Bites)

What else would members like to see brought back? “A brand of foresters that know what they are talking about.”

A popular answer in the group, anyway.

If you would like to keep up with the latest discussions and share your own thoughts, check out the Forest Machine Operators Blog on Facebook.