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Sawmill tools from Charlie Smith
Forestry Memories
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No: 1045   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 2011
Sawmill tools from Charlie Smith

Wood working tools courtesy of Charlie Smith, Huntly.

As a former and still working sawmiller, Charlie has gathered a collection of old wood working tools over his 65 plus years that he has worked in the wood business. Featured in this photograph are pieces of equipment that have been used in various forms since ever wood was worked.
The tool at the top is known as a cant hook or in some areas as a ‘peevie’. This is a blacksmith version with metal handle but more common were those with a wooden handle. The role of this tool was to enable a wood feller or a sawmiller to turn or roll a log over. By placing the end of the bar of the cant hook on one side of a log next to the person and digging the hinged hooked part into the other side the operator was able to lever an enormous turning force on to the log or tree and reveal the underside to allow the easy removal of the hidden branches or to roll a log up a ramp.

The middle axe like tool is a bit of mystery. It has an axe blade and a spike very similar to the old fashioned fireman type tool. There is an indistinct stamp on the blade – LMS – but no other distinguishing features. It has obviously been used as a general tool around the sawmills for a number of years.

The lower tool which Charlie called ‘a tomahawk’ was a tool specifically designed for use on the benches of sawmills to help adjust the log on the bench as it was about to be fed into the saw. This one is all metal with a cranked handle but other versions had wooden shafts. The thin spade shaped point was thrust between the log and the travelling bench and thus with leverage was able to accurately adjust the log into a particular position to meet the saw blade. The hook part could be used to draw the log closer to the sawmiller or to restrain it if it moved too far away. There are images on the web site of sawmill workers using this type of tool in the 1910s.
Picture added on 14 December 2011
add commentComments:
You can just make out where the saw blade has probably hit the lever three quarters along the lever handle, a fantastic tool for the sawmiller and the tailsman but one that could be dangerous.

Added by Leslie Phillip on 20 September 2017.
There was a legend on Lour Estate in the 1950s of the near miss that the tails man had when he accidentally left a wooden mallet in the path of the sawmill blade, a large hole in the roof above the blade was a warning.

Added by Leslie Phillip on 21 September 2017.
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