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