Tools of the trade

Canada's History - - TRADING POST -

Lum­ber­jacks in early Canada used two types of axes: The poll axe was used to fell trees and lop off branches, while the larger broad­axe was used pri­mar­ily for shap­ing tim­ber into square logs so that they could be stacked for stor­age and trans­porta­tion. Be­gin­ning in the 1880s, poll axes were re­placed by cross­cut saws, which, when op­er­ated by two log­gers, greatly re­duced cut­ting time and in­creased over­all pro­duc­tion. The next ma­jor leap in cut­ting technology came in 1926 with the in­ven­tion of the chainsaw by Swiss en­gi­neer An­dreas Stihl. To­day, heavy mech­a­nized tree fellers and har­vesters do the work in a frac­tion of the time it used to take.

Left: Log­gers pose with a red cedar on Van­cou­ver Is­land, circa 1920s.

Right: Lum­ber­man Ed Crocker op­er­ates a power saw to fell a tree, Pow­ell River, Bri­tish Columbia, April 1944.

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