Pi Harvester Chain History

Pi Harvester Chain was born out of frustration. Allan Baker’s frustration to be exact. 

Enter - Allan Baker

Allan is a fourth generation Oregon logger. Joining the family business was the natural choice. When the family business transitioned from hand processing to machine processing Allan was in charge of the processing. That is when the frustration started for Allan. The harvester chains dulled fast and Allan had the privilege of spending several hours every weekend sharpening his chains.

Enter - Nick and Dan Bechtoldt

Meanwhile brothers Nick and Dan Bechtoldt had started a business serving customers in the wood products industry. Nick and Dan’s business was making mill parts that might only last a week or two if they were made of steel or chromed steel and applying advanced coatings to them to make them last 6 months to a year. Nick’s prior experience managing Columbia Vista’s planer mill and Daniel’s engineering experience working at Hewlett Packard allow’s Bechtoldt Industrial Solutions to provide high value parts to the wood products industry. 

The dream of a better chain

Nick and Allan Baker grew up together, both having attended school in Corbett, Oregon. Including even a brief, intolerable, stint as roommates. Despite the roommate debacle Nick and Allan have remained close friends and Allan made a habit of stopping by the shop where Nick and Dan ran Bechtoldt Industrial Solutions. 

Allan started asking Nick and Dan how a harvester chain could be made better each time he stopped by. Allan’s enthusiasm was initially met mostly with skepticism regarding the feasibility of making a better harvester chain, something that has been around for 70 years. Allan is nothing if not persistent, so after a couple years of throwing out hair brained ideas we decided to make and test a chain incorporating the best ideas we had come up with. The initial results were surprisingly good and we decided to continue to develop our chain. 

Development and discovery 

We set out to make a chain that stays sharp longer but also ended up making a reduced sparking and tougher chain. 

One day Allan was falling and processing with our prototype Pi Harvester Chain and something unexpected happened. When he was falling a tree he saw gray dust. After falling the tree he saw that the gray dust had come from a rock that he cut the top off of. What was shocking to Allan is that he had not seen any sparks. The basalt rocks prevalent in the cascade mountain range usually produce a lot of sparks when you hit them with a harvester chain but when running our prototype harvester chain the chain had cut the rock rather than produce sparks. After thinking through this experience we realized there were good reasons why our chain would produce fewer sparks than a conventional chain. The spark reduced tendency that Pi Harvester Chain has makes the risk of starting a fire less when striking a rock.  

Making a tougher chain wasn't a sudden surprise like spark reduction. We needed the chain to be tougher because we felt our initial prototypes were not quite as tough as what was on the market and we wanted to be as good or better compared to what was available. After a lot of steel research we worked with specialty heat treaters and ran many experiments. With some good engineering judgment and trial and error we were able to get a chain that is tougher than anything on the market. 

All this for you

The result after years of development is the best harvester chain on the market that allows you to increase your production. Relative to the capital investment you have into your machinery the cost of a chain is low. Paying a little extra for a harvester chain that makes your machinery more efficient has a very quick return on investment, often in as little as a few days. 

The journey is never over

We haven’t just made a chain that works way better for you. We intend to keep making it better and better. We want to hear from you and find ways to continuously improve our product and develop new products to support the wood products industry. Shoot us an email or give us a call if you have a problem you want to solve or something you just think should be better.