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Information about logging

Published on January 10, 2008

Author: Stella

Source: authorstream.com

Moving wood in Michigan - Arvind Badrinarayanan:  Moving wood in Michigan - Arvind Badrinarayanan Logging, floating logs and rolling logs Heigh ho, heigh ho, Its off to work we go! In the beginning there was the river…:  In the beginning there was the river… Timber floated down stream to lumber mills Only in winter to cut expenses Extensive pre-floating preparation work to ensure no blockages Dams were built in the headwaters to control the flood stages Step two: how to roll on a log:  Step two: how to roll on a log Very large skidways called "rollways" on which the logs were piled ready to roll into the stream prior to the ‘log drive’ A few logs would catch on an obstruction or on one another; more would follow in, and soon a log "jam" was formed The courageous lumber jacks would pick out the "key logs" until the whole thing gave way. The men followed along with the drive keeping the timber moving and riding on the logs. Yaaargh, there be a fine log:  Yaaargh, there be a fine log Logging piracy was a big issue, because they were floated with just a few cuts down the river During the logging days, some unscrupulous characters, would cut off one company’s log mark, or brand, and remark the log with another company’s mark so they could steal it. In 1859, a law required log owners who floated logs to mark the ends of their logs and to register these marks with the counties Log marks are to Michigan what cattle brands are to the grazing states of the West: symbols of order in a romantic industry that would have been chaotic without them. In time, companies that transported logs down the river were confined to work just one river, and owners of logs floating them on the river were required to register their marks in the counties through which the stream passed The big wheels of Michigan:  The big wheels of Michigan In summers, when snow was not available for easy "skidding" of the logs to sites where they could be loaded onto sleds, "Big Wheels" were utilized Overpack sold three sizes of big wheels: nine feet high, nine and one-half feet high and ten feet high. Unlike a wagon that carries a load above its axle, big wheels carried logs chained beneath the axle. Big wheels could carry logs from 12 to 100 feet in length and enough logs to total 1,000 to 2,000 board feet of lumber in a single load. The axles were manufactured from hard maple, and the 16-foot tongues were made of ironwood. To protect them from gouging by stumps or trees, the wheels had iron rims, and rings of iron guarded the spokes. Big wheels keep on turning:  Big wheels keep on turning The U.S. Army Forestry Department took several pairs to France during World War I. In Michigan at least 65 different lumber companies used them. The big wheels were part of Michigan logging history from 1875, when Overpack made his first set, until 1920 Big wheels can be seen at the Hartwick Pines Lumbering Museum near Grayling. I think I can, I think I can…:  I think I can, I think I can… In 1857 the Blendon Lumber Company purchased a seven-year-old Michigan Central locomotive and began hauling logs on wooden narrow-gauge rails. Rail transport became essential as the availability of the prized softwoods declined: softwoods could float, but the less buoyant hardwoods were shipped by rail. Rail also linked Michigan lumbering areas to new markets west of the older markets in St. Louis and Chicago. Con Culhane, a Michigan lumberman, reportedly moved his logging equipment and railroad south from the Little Two Hearted River to the Tahquamenon River valley one winter by laying tracks in front of him as he went across frozen swamps, then picking them up behind him. Take me home, Michigan (rail)roads:  Take me home, Michigan (rail)roads Railroad lumbering oriented itself upon the pattern of the main railroad lines. The mills were close to the cutting areas instead of at the mouths of the rivers, thus bringing settlements into the timber lands. Although lumbering had been carried on along the rivers for some years before the railroads came in, the towns along these rivers are on the railroads, and ordinarily date from their coming. The lumber industry helped to shape the state’s industrial landscape. Wood product industries manufactured furniture, sashes, doors, blinds, barrels, wagons, carriages, caskets, and railroad ties. Sawdust, that’s the trick:  Sawdust, that’s the trick Logs were difficult to handle because of their size (16 feet) and quantity. When the mill had cut the wood into boards, it was dried and then put on ships heading to various areas. The wood from the west side of the state was shipped to Chicago, from which it was sent by train to the plains states to build homes, cities and railroad tracks. Wood from the northern and easten sides of the state went to the Northeast, where it was used for building cities and homes. Logging over the years (1880-1980):  Logging over the years (1880-1980) FIN!:  FIN! Life was never luxurious in the logging camps of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Rough roads chopped out of the forest led to the hastily-constructed log buildings of the camp, which might house up to 100 men. Lumberjacks were renowned for their toughness and strength, and a Saturday-night “altercation” in one of the local saloons could have fatal results - a headstone in Seney's Boot Hill cemetery simply states, "Died fighten". Sources:http://www.geo.msu.edu/geo333/RR-logging.html

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