If part of your everyday job is operating a yarder or other machinery related to the timber industry, you’ve probably developed a preference for a particular brand of this type of machinery. Personal preferences aside, however, it’s clear that each has its strong points and each gets the job done.

Yarders by both Madill and Washington are amongst the most widely used in the industry. But is one better than the other, and when it comes down to Madill vs Washington, which would you choose?

A little history

Madill has a strong connection to British Columbia. Founder Sam Madill came to Nanaimo in the early 20th century as a blacksmith, ready to set up shop in this trading post turned coal town. But as the town changed and coal mines closed after World War II, Madill kept the pace and soon entered the logging industry, manufacturing machines and equipment that quickly earned a reputation for efficiency. Despite a fire that destroyed the Madill plant in the 60s, the company continued to forge its reputation and would eventually produce 4,000 logging machines before it sold its operations to Nicholson Manufacturing in 2011. Many loggers swear by Madill’s earlier Nanaimo-built loaders, yarders, feller bunchers, delimbers, and processors, many of which are still in use decades after they first emerged from Madill’s plant.

Washington yarders and other logging equipment boast an even longer history. Pennsylvania-born John Fink opened the company as Washington Ironworks in 1882 after making his way west to Seattle, Washington. Originally an educator, Fink recognized the burgeoning industrial growth of this Pacific Northwest city and summoned his entrepreneurial side, opening not only the ironworks but also an electric company and a bank. Washington eventually became a world leader in the manufacturing of logging equipment and cable systems and continued as such until 1986, when a downturn in the industry and a sagging economy caused the company’s closure.

So, which is better?

Both Madill and Washington have a storied history and are known for their durable machinery. Today, many logging companies still use early Madill and Washington loggers and other equipment in their everyday work, with few repairs necessary over the years except for regular maintenance issues.

So, there’s not really a solid answer as to which manufacturer is better, though all of us in the industry have our preferences. However, at Wheeler, we’re experts at both Washington and Madill equipment and can make changes to either that will make those cumbersome machines more up-to-date, easier to handle, and less costly to maintain.

Washington yarders and equipment

At Wheeler, we’re proud to echo the sentiments of our customers, who refer to us as THE Washington yarder expert and the prime source for repairs, rebuilds, and re-manufactures of Washington equipment for the timber industry. Our team of experts know Washington yarders and cable systems inside out and backwards, so to speak, and we’re eager to talk shop with anyone who is looking to make improvements to their Washington equipment.

One of the things that makes us the leading experts on all things Washington is the fact that we own all the plans/drawings for the company’s machinery and have rebuilt numerous Washington yarders, log loaders, and other pieces from the ground up. And though we might need to replace some outdated parts with newer compatible components, because we know the ins and outs of this machinery intimately and are familiar with modern logging practices in general, we know how to make the right choices for these replacements.

Madill yarders and equipment

Need an upgrade or rebuild on your Madill machine? We’ve also worked on countless Madill yarders and other equipment over the years and are eager to talk to you about what we can do to make your Madill logging equipment better than ever. That includes the following services:

  • Air system/winch control update
  • Complete cab retrofit
  • Touchscreen controls
  • Computer system
  • Hydraulics upgrade
  • Remote control packages that let you operate your yarder from outside the cab

We’re confident that our Madill rebuilds or upgrades can save you time and man hours and help you work more efficiently.

All-around experts

Whichever you own or wish to purchase – Madill or Washington – we guarantee that our highly-experienced workforce will provide you with rebuilt, repaired, and re-manufactured logging equipment that will keep your business moving. With immediate access to accurate digitized plans, the use of computer-controlled lathe machines, and relationships with the most trusted names in heavy machinery, like John Deere and Caterpillar, we’re able to provide all of our customers with an end product that looks good, operates easily, and will last for years to come.

For more information on our services, head to our CONTACT page for information on getting in touch with the experts at Wheeler Equipment.


Washington Yarders

Washington Cable Systems


Madill Repair

Materials Handlers



Boom Fabrication & Repairs

Back Spar



Parts Fabrication

Rigging Shack