Monday, August 2, 2010

Logger's Lingo

From Big Scott's Logging Camp.

Barker — A machine which removed bark from logs during the milling process.

Barber Chair — a tree which splits upward along the grain during falling and spins like a barber chair – out of control of the faller.

Batteau (bateau) — A type of boat used on river drives in the eastern United States.

Bean-hole beans — A staple of early camps made by burying a dutch oven filled with beans in a bed of coals, in the ground, for several hours.

Bell — The swelling at the base of a tree; also called butress.

Belly Robber — The name given to a poor cook.

Big Wheels — A pair of large (up to 10’ high) spoked wooden wheels connected by an axle. The wheels were large enough to clear stumps and were used to haul logs to landings during the summer months.

Birdpeck — Black spots on the end of a log.

Blowdown — Trees that have been knocked over by wind.

Boiler — A bum cook – one who generally boiled his food.

Boiling up — A process used to launder the ‘jacks clothes while in camp – the clothes were literally boiled in a large tub.

Boom Master — The supervisor who directed operations at the log sorting boom.

Boom Works —  The log sorting yards on the major logging rivers.

Branding Ax — A tool used for marking ownership of a log.

Breakup — The point in the spring of the year when the ice went out of lakes and streams, so the log drives could begin.

Breechloader — A logging camp bunk entered from the side.

Bucker — One who saws trees into logs.

Bull of the Woods — The man in charge of the operation.

Bullcook — (also known derogatorily as the crumb boss) — a boy who performed chores around camp, such as sweeping up the bunkhouse, cutting wood for fuel, filling wood boxes, and feeding the livestock.

Bullwhacker — The ox teamster in an old time logging camp.

Bunk — The wood framed, shelf-like structure on which the lumberjack slept.

Calks (Caulks, Corks) — The spikes on the bottoms of lumberjack’s boots – especially river pigs.

Cant Dog — A riverman’s tool used to turn and maneuver logs, consisting of a long wood handle with a sharp metal point and free swinging hook.

Cant Hook — A tool similar to the cant dog but shorter and without the sharp point – used to move and load logs.

Catchmark — A mark in the end of the log, made at the boom works, to make log indentification easier.

Cayuse — A horse or pony (a Chinook term).

Chainer — The man on a logging crew responsible for chaining logs to go-devils or sleighs.

Chantey (chanty, shanty) — A working man’s song sung while working.

Cheat Stick — The measuring stick used to estimate the number of board feet in a log.

Choker — The part of the cable or chain that is tied around a log.

Cold Shut — a donut – named because they look like the temporary links lumberjacks carried to fix broken chains.

Conks — fruiting bodies of fungus in rotting wood.

Cookee — the cook’s helper.

Cord — A volume measure of stacked wood. A standard cord is 4 x 4 x 8 ft or 128 cu ft of space. Since roundwood cannot be stacked to give solid volume, actual wood volume varies between 70 and 90 cu ft per cord.

Cordelling — Walking along the shore pulling log rafts through waters when there wasn’t enough current to move the rafts.

Cork Log — White pine logs which despite size floated high in the water.

Corks — (also known as caulks) Short, sharp spikes set in the soles of boots.

Cracked Stem — Broken arm or leg.

Crosscut Saw — A one- or two-person saw with coarse teeth designed to cut across the grain of the wood.

Crotch Line — A device for loading logs onto railroad cars.

Crown Fire — A forest fire that reaches into the tops of trees.

Cruiser — A woodsman who went out to locate and claim the stands of white pine and other types of trees for the lumber companies.

Cruising — Measuring standing trees to determine the volume of wood on a given tract of land - used for harvesting, purchasing, and general management.

Cutover — An area where all the desirable trees had been logged and where stumps and branches remained of 4 1/2' from the ground.

Deacon Seat, Bench — A bench, made from a large log split lengthwise, running the length of a bunkhouse, where lumberjacks sat in the evenings.

Dehorn — A term for an alcoholic beverage, particularly moonshine, borrowed from the jargon of the Wobblies .

Devil’s Cup — A tin cup without a handle which would become extremely hot when filled with coffee or tea.

Dingle — A space in the cookshack where meat, wood and other supplies were stored.

Dish-up — Large, tin serving bowls.

Dog Hair — A young forest ten to fifteen foot high growing so thick it is difficult to navigate.

Double Bit Ax — An ax sharpened for use on both sides.

Double Gang — a large set of parallel saw blades used to saw logs into boards.

Drag Day — The point in the work month when a man can get an advance on his wages.

Dry Kiln — A large shed that used steam heat for drying out lumber.

Faller (feller) — Logger who specializes in felling trees - also called "cutters" or "sawyers" in some parts of the West, "choppers" in the redwoods.

Filer — A skilled worker in logging camps or mills who sharpened saws.

Flaggins — A hot lunch delivered to lumberjacks while they were working in the woods.

Gabriel’s Horn — A cone-shaped tin horn up to 5 feet long which was blown by a cookee to call the men to eat.

Gandy Dancer — A pick-and-shovel man.

Ginsy-marsh — the green algae or slime that floats on the surface of stagnate backwaters and clings to anything taken out of the water.

Girdle — To encircle the stem of a living tree with cuts that completely sever bark and cambium and often are carried well into the outer sapwood, done to kill the tree by preventing the passage of carbohydrates to the roots. Also refers to same process caused by animals, such as mice or beaver.

Glim — The single lamp that was used to light early logging camps.

Go-devil — 1a wishbone-shaped tree crotch that was used to haul bucked logs to landings or banking yards or 2a splitting maul.

Gummed — A mishap or jam occurring when a groundhog fails to keep both ends of a log even when rolling it up into place onto bobsleds or railcars

Hardtack Outfit — A company running a logging camp which provides substandard food (derived from the cheap and long-lasting cracker or bread of the same name)

Haul Road—The main road going to and from a logging operation.

Hayburner — A horse.

Hayman-on-the-hill — A logging camp worker who put hay on the downhill grades of ice roads  to slow loaded sleds so they wouldn’t overrun the horses pulling them – see “road monkey.”

Headwater — The source of a stream or river.

Highball — To hurry.

Hiyu — Plenty, large, enough (Chinook).

Homeguard — A long-time employee of a company.

Hoot-nanny — A small device used to hold a crosscut saw while sawing a log from the bottom up.

Ice Road — A road made by cutting grooves in the snow with a rut cutter and then icing the grooves with a watersled

Inkslinger — A logging camp bookkeeper/accountant/clerk.

Iron Burner — The camp blacksmith.
Jacks — Slang for lumberjack.

Jagger — A sliver of wire.

Jail Bird — Logger who cuts over the property line.

Jam — A pile-up of logs during a river drive.

Jam Crew — The crews that worked to break up log jams.

Jerk Wire — A line attached to the whistle on a yarding donkey, by which a young man (a punk) blows starting and stopping signals.

Jobber’s Sun — The moon – contract loggers (jobbers) sometimes had to work by moonlight to meet delivery quotas and deadlines

Key Log — the central log in a jam – once found and loosened, the entire jam would break free.

King Log — see “key log.”

King Snipe — The boss of a track-laying crew.

Klooch — A woman (Chinook).

Landing — Any area where logs are piled.

Landing Man — One who piled logs at a landing.

Landlooker — see “cruiser.”

Limbing — Cutting the branches off freshly felled trees

Loader — One responsible for loading logs onto sleds or railcars.

Log Dog — A piece of iron driven into two logs to hold them together when building a log raft.

Log Lizard — Tool made from a crotched tree on which the front of a log is loaded for easier skidding – see “go-devil.”

Logger — Originally referred to those who cut trees for uses other than making lumber and were consider inferiors of lumberman – now used to refer to all woods workers.

Loggin’ Berries — Prunes or beans.

Lumberjack — Term applied to white pine woods workers in the Great Lakes region.

Lumberman — a general term applied to all those involved in the production of white pine lumber.

Macaroni — Sawdust.

Mackinaw — A heavy woolen coat worn by lumberjacks and shantyboys.

Man Catcher — A recruiter for the logging camps.

Memaloose — Dead, or death (Chinook).

Muley — A log or piece of stove wood that is hard to work with.

Mulligan Car — A railroad car where lunch is served.

Muzzleloader — A bunk that had to be entered from the end.

Nosebag — A lunch bucket.

Nosebag Show — A camp where the midday meal is taken to the woods in lunch buckets.

Off-bearers — the millhands who carried away finished lumber.

Packing a Balloon — Carrying one's blankets.

Packing a Card — To be a member of a union, such as the Wobblies.

Peatland — A mixed coniferous forest land area which is characterized by peat bogs.

Pecker Pole — A small tree, often found in the understory of old growth.

Pie Lifter — A fork-shaped, long handled tool used to lift pies from the oven.

Pinery — The area of the forest containing primarily red and white pine.

Potlatch — A social gathering (a Chinook term).

Pregnant Woman Pie — A dried-apple pie – named because the apples swell up when cooked

Ramdown — A steep decline where sleds were apt to ram horses from behind when going down a hill.

Riggin Fit — Normal human reaction that surfaces when everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. In other words, a temper blowout.

Schoolmarm — A log or tree that is forked, stable in river driving because it does not roll easily.

Shoepack Pie — A vinegar-lemon pie (like lemon meringue pie w/o the meringue) named because it looked like the bottom of the rubber boots worn by some of the lumberjacks.

Skid Road — Formerly the path over which oxen pulled logs; it came to mean the part of a city where loggers congregate.

Skookum — Strong, stout, brave (Chinook).

Slash — Tree tops, branches, bark, and other debris, left after a forest operation - the process of cutting down undesirable vegetation.

Snoose — Finally cut chewing tobacco, also called snuff.

Sougan — A heavy woolen blanket.

Sow Belly — Salt pork.

Spillway — In a dam, an opening to let logs and water through.

Spuds — Potatoes.

Spurline — Side railroad line off the main line.

Stumpage — Standing timber.

Swamp Water — Tea.

Sweat Pads — Pancakes – because they looked like the pads placed between the horses neck/shoulder and collar to keep the horse from getting sore and to soak up sweat.

Swing Dingle — a single sled with wooden runners used to haul the noon meal to the men in the woods.

Tillicum — A Chinook term used also by loggers to mean a man, ordinarily a friend.

Timber Beast — Abusive slang for lumberjack.

Tin Pants — Waterproof clothing worn by loggers in the rainy Pacific Northwest.

Tote Road — The road going into the woods to a logging camp along which supplies are hauled (toted) from the outside.

Turkey — Forerunner of the knapsack – a cotton or burlap sack (feed sack) which held all the possessions of a ‘jack – a piece of rope was tied from one of its lower corners to the upper end of the sack, making it convenient to carry – often used as a pillow in bed.

Tussock — See “turkey.”

Tyee Lgger — From the Chinook term meaning a chief, hence the head of a logging operation.

Under Cutter — An experienced ‘jack who cut a notch in a tree to determine what direction it would fall – sawyers would then use a crosscut saw to drop the tree.

Whiffletree — A bar of wood with a hook on it, used to drag logs out by horses – the horse harness was hooked to trace chains, which in turn hooked to the whiffletree.

Widowmaker — Any limb, top, leaning tree, or other material in the forest that is in danger of falling to the ground without warning, creating a safety hazard - often applied to limbs that get lodged in the crowns of other trees during a logging operation.

Wolf Tree —Big, ugly old tree, usually hollow.

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