December 11, 2018
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Keep the equipment running

Brian Swartz | BDN
Brian Swartz | BDN
Stanley McDevitt (left) is the chief mechanic for Eliott Jordan & Son of Waltham. His son, Justin McDevitt (right), also works in the shop as a mechanic.

There probably isn’t anything that Stanley McDevitt can’t fix relating to logging — and probably almost everything else mechanical, too.

When his employer, Waltham-based Elliott Jordan & Son Inc., needed its bridge over the Bog River in Eastbrook redecked, McDevitt set up near the bridge a portable sawmill that he had designed and built. Then he and his son, Justin, sawed hemlock logs into the planks they used to construct the new deck.

When three company low beds needed redecking earlier this year, McDevitt cut hemlock logs into planks on his portable mill and replaced all three trailer decks.

McDevitt’s the chief mechanic at Elliott Jordan & Son, which harvests trees, builds and maintains logging roads, owns and maintains commercial blueberry fields, and supports the First Wind operations in nearby Township 16. Justin McDevitt is the company’s other mechanic.

McDevitt, who lives in Franklin, joined the company in 1989. He repairs “the farm equipment, the blueberry harvesters and construction equipment,” and “forestry equipment has the priority. That’s their main business.”

To avoid moving logging equipment to the company’s Waltham garage for routine service, Justin drives an International 4300 service truck equipped with the parts and tools needed for doing repairs at remote work sites. “Low-bedding [equipment] costs a lot of money,” Stanley says.

The service truck has a bulk oil tank; Justin does oil changes “in the field,” his father says. The truck also has “a crane on it for heavy lifting,” such as removing or installing engines in equipment as diverse as bulldozers and delimbers, Stanley says.

“We make a lot of hydraulic hoses” and repair track links where company equipment is operating, he notes.

Scheduled to work 5 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, “I usually get here at 4:30 [a.m.],” he says. McDevitt works the occasional Saturday if an emergency repair warrants the hours, and he also does some repairs on company trucks.

To lift extremely heavy objects, the McDevitts may use a log crane “or even an excavator,” Stanley says. “We’ve had to pick up the undercarriages of the self-propelled cranes” with such machinery.

“We do a lot of welding and fabricating of broken parts,” he says while preparing to weld a piece of construction equipment.

McDevitt does carpentry at a shop at his home. “I like to hunt … deer in the season, bird hunt in the season,” he says.

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