Thompson Brothers has substantially reduced the time required to burn tree stumps and brush because of a Ransome Shark Tooth Model RST 150 Stump Splitter/Harvester purchased from Ransome Attachments. Thompson Brothers once focused on cleaning up and grading timbered sites in the rugged Appalachian Mountains near the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. The small, family-owned company expanded into harvesting timber with mechanical equipment in 2010 to weather the recession.
When Thompson Brothers clears a site, it cuts and extracts valuable timber and disposes of stumps and brush. The contractor cannot justify the cost of processing lumber on site with a tub grinder so it burns piles onsite instead. Thompson Brothers recognized that reducing the size of the stumps was key to accelerating the process and the Shark Tooth proved an ideal fit for ripping out and shearing stumps into pieces.
“We were extracting stumps with the excavator bucket,” recalled Brian Thompson, whom co-owns the company with his brother Brandon. “That left big holes and it took a tremendous amount of time to burn.”
Thompson began searching for a stump splitter on the internet. He discovered Lumberton, N.J.-based Ransome Attachments and began watching its inventory of attachments in action on YouTube.
He soon found that some equipment dealers were not interested in building such an attachment for a smaller 160-sized excavator. “Nobody else would even talk about less than a 200,” Thompson recalled, noting that Eric Ransome introduced him to the Shark Tooth and agreed to build the attachment for his CASE CX160 Hydraulic Excavator. “They (Ransome) went above and beyond,” Thompson said.
The Shark Tooth is permanently mounted on the CASE CX160. Thompson deals with White Pine, Poplar, Curly Hard Maple, White Oak, and Red Oak trees with stumps up to 37 inches and root balls as large as six feet, but he has yet to find a match for the Shark Tooth.
While the Shark Tooth eliminates the need for a stump grinder, this is a non-issue for Thompson since they burn brush piles. Its operation has traditionally involved lighting a pile of brush and stacking stumps on top. The challenge was that slower burning large stumps would pile up as the brush burned off more quickly. Heavy rain further complicated matters.
The jagged teeth of the aptly named Shark Tooth allow the operator to saw through stumps in the ground without leaving a massive hole that would be left by a bucket. The hydraulic thumb then closes on the dull edge of the tooth, allowing the operator to extract the pieces. The teeth can then be used to further downsize the stumps for more efficient disposal. “It will pull stumps out without busting them more than ten times faster than a bucket,” Thompson said.