Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tools Of The Trade (pic and links)

I mentioned in a previous post that I used to roll logs with cant hooks. That’s not the only tool that we used for such things, though. A Peavey hook (originally made for use on log rafts) was equally good for rolling logs, but also had a pike point, so you could use it like a crowbar to “jump” a log forward or backward, or to chock the log, so another worker could roll against you, to swing an end around to better align the log with where you were going. They also had the advantage that you could jam them in the ground and they’d remain upright, sometimes a handy thing, especially when you were working by yourself and didn’t want to waste time bending over to pick up your tool. The point got lost from the last peavey we had, so I replaced it with an old harrow tooth and poured lead around it to hold it in place and it worked fine. I later donated it to a local museum, along with some tools from my granddad’s oilfield days. Incidentally, the crowbars that I speak of aren’t the little nail-puller type, but simply a long, heavy, straight rod of steel, with a point on at least one end.

The other day, when dragging poles out of the yard, I used two other tools; one was a pair of “pulp tongs,” like a miniature version of skidding tongs for pulling logs, but with a handle instead of a ring. They could be really handy for moving the old five-foot lengths of pulpwood, or firewood, for that matter.

The other was what we always called dad’s “log hook,” a yard-long piece of 7/16 steel rod with a cross-handle on one end, and a sharpened hook on the other. It was like a long-handled version of a pulp hook, but used very differently. He used it on the skidway of the sawmill to roll logs down TOWARDS himself from the sawyers position. Sometimes, he could do it without getting in front of the log. Other times, he actually stood in front of the log and rolled it, not a good thing if your eye-foot co-ordination wasn’t good. He could have used a pickaroon the same way, and sometimes did. (Ours was technically a hookeroon, but we called it a tie pick.)

His log hook was made by the old gentleman who used to live across the road. You can see where he tapered the end of the rod, so it would fit tightly in the straight-sided hole bored in the handle. The slightly protruding end of the rod was then peened over a washer to hold it in place, possibly while red hot. Of course, the crook on the end was made by pounding the other end around the horn of the anvil and sharpening it. My time in the shovel plant lets me see that the handle is a rejected “cob,” the wooden cross piece in the “D-handle” of a short shovel handle. The big worm-hole that caused its rejection is still obvious. They used to give such scraps away for firewood, so I know how the old fellow came by it.

The other day, I used the log hook as a cane part of the time, and to pick the end of some of the poles up, so I wouldn’t have to bend over so much. Then, I used the pulp tongs to hold onto the poles as I drug them to the brush pile. Just because something was made for one job, doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for another! © 2016

Dad's log hook and my pulp tongs - click image to enlarge.


Chickenmom said...

What interesting tools, Gorges! Never saw one like those tongs - sort of looks like the ones the ice man would use, but without the handle.

Lady Locust said...

Pretty cool! Haven't seen any of either "for real" in a long time. Logging was sure a dangerous job. It's amazing how much ingenuity those fellas had.

Gorges Smythe said...

Yes, Cm, these require only one hand to close, and the harder you pull the tighter they grip.

They were tougher than iron, too, LL!