This was a huge block weighing several hundred pounds. It was fastened to some¬thing substantial, like a stump. The Donkey pulled the choker through the Tommy Moore. The Whistle Punk blew the whistle to stop the donkey engine. When the en¬gine stopped, it created slack in the line, the choker was unhooked from the pulling line and put on the outside of the Tommy Moore and back on the pulling line, leaving the back line in the block. On the return, the back line, choker and everything could go right through it. These were generally used to maneuver logs around obsta¬cles.


A small drum on the extension of one of the shafts of the [steam] donkey, not moveable. Early [steam] donkeys did most of the work with the gypsy. With this you could swing your donkey in any direction. There was no line with it, when you wanted to use it, the spool tender would take a line and put four or five wraps around the spool, and move the donkey. Later this [the gypsy]was used to handle the straw line.


A straw line was a short line used to move the donkey or other objects a short distance.


The boat was a hollowed tree about twelve feet long, split through the center and flattened on the rounded side. Both ends were higher so that the equipment could not fall out either end. It carried a variety of things, including many cold shuts, or lap links, one or two steel blocks. Three or more cant hooks or peavies, three or four different lengths of Molly Hogans, which are strong pieces of steel cable with both ends spliced together. They were used to throw over a stump to at¬tach block quickly, A couple of jack screws, several lengths of steel chains with dogs attached. A bridle and a sharp, double-bitted axe. This was necessary for often a wind-blown snag would be across the track and the team would have to stop to get the log out of the way.


The axes used in California had to be developed for the big trees. They were not used elsewhere. They were a double bitted axe,that had to have a big off-set in the handle. One blade took the snipe and then the ax was turned over to make the cut in the bottom. The off-set in the handle was required to prevent the hands from being skinned as the cut was made. It worked on the principal of the broad axe, which had an off-set in the handle, but because the broad axe was beveled, it was limited in the types of work for which it could be used. For instance, in hew¬ing a railroad tie, the tie had to be turned three times to complete the hewing.

Poleaxes were single bitted and were all purpose axes. It was an ax with a hammer face opposite the cutting edge or blade. The word pole does not relate to the handle but to the edge opposite the blade. The Poleax had many purposes such as driving small pickets, pegs, spikes, etc. The handle of a poleax ranged in length from twenty-six to thirty-six inches, while a double-bitted ax handle ranged in length from thirty to forty-eight inches in length.

Swamping and sniping axes were both broad bitted axes and were short from bit to bit, but were wider than a falling axe, the width averaging six to eight inches.

Falling axes were narrow and quite long from bit to bit, averaged twelve inches, while the average width was around four inches. The handles were from three to four feet long.

The swamping ax was used to clear out brush, for a road or path, perhaps to a landing, or by a survey crew going through a wilderness area. It was also used to cut the limbs off trees after they were felled. The thinness of the blade of the felling ax would cause the blade to chip, if it were used for removing limbs.

The sniping axe was used only for bevelling the front end of logs for the skid road.

[Examples of these axes can be found in the museum at Elk/Greenwood – click here for details.]


This was a lever, five feet or over "in length, with a moveable iron hook on the end. At the tip it had an iron ring which was battered down so it would stick a log.
The cant hook was used to turn or move or lean small logs against something. These were used on small logs in place of the jack screws.


A peavey was an improvement on the Cant hock. It had a heavier and longer han¬dle. It had the same moveable iron hook, but on the end of the peavey, instead of the slight catch edge provided by the ring on the cant hook, it had an iron brad in the end of the handle, which was sharp and would stick into the log. The name peavey was given to this, supposedly from the man who patented it.


Rolling logs was a matter of moving or placing them in a specific spot or place. The general methods of rolling logs were:

The last two methods were used with a [steam] Donkey.