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Glossary of Logging Terms

The following is a list of words common in the logging fraternity, but not generally known to the general public.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

B


BEAVER BAIT
Trash logs and debris. A log drive term.

BLOCK CUT
A small or partial clearcut, in which some trees are left standing.

BLOW DOWN
A tree felled by the wind or some other natural causes.

BOOM BOAT
A small, powerful, almost circular and highly manueverable boat used to herd logs, usually in a mill pond.

BRAIL
In water logging, a system whereby the outermost of several floating logs is held in place with a pike pole and the whole pod moved intot he current by the jet boat.

BRUSH APE
A logger, usually a chokerman. You'd better be smiling when you call a logger this name, or be a very good friend.

BUCKER
The logger who cuts the felled logs to size to get the most scale.

BUCKSKIN
A log which has lost its bark.

BULLBLOCK
An oversized, massive block hung from the spar tree and carrying the mainline. In redwood logging, some of these monsters weighed over a ton.

BULL COOK
A cook's assistant, who does all of the dirty work.

BULL OF THE WOODS
The person in charge of the woods operation. In the old days, the toughest man on the crew: nowadays still a pretty tough logger.

BUTT CUT
The first and largest diameter cut, directly above the stump.

BUTT RIGGING
The heavy metal knobs and rings suspended from the mainline to which chokers are attached.

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C


CALKS
The logger's classic, high-topped, steel-spiked boot, which gives him steady footing on a fallen log. Not ususally worn socially.

CAMPER'S BLIGHT
A gradual deterioration of the woods due to overuse by people. Generally prevalent in areas accessible by car and characterized by compacted soil, scarred trees and litter.

CAMP INSPECTOR
An itinerant logger. Also Timber Tramp.

CAN'T
A log which has had a slab taken off each of four sides. Also known as a Japanese Square if intended for export.

CHASER
A person who unhooks the chokers from the logs at the landing.

CHOKER
A small piece of cable with a knob and fitting bell, used to attach logs to the butt rigging of cable systems or to skidders. Chokerman say a choker is an instrument of torture invented by people who hate loggers.

CHOKERMAN
Also Choker Setter. A person who attaches chokers to logs. Usually the first (and toughest) job a logger gets.

CHOPPER
A helicopter. Also, in Northern California, the man who cuts down the trees.

CLEARCUT
A mentod of harvesting wherin all trees, regardless of size, are cut. Also the area where this has been done.

COLD DECK
A pile of stored logs which will be moved at a later date.

COMMERCIAL THINNING
Usually the second or third thinning on a stand of trees. So called because the wood taken out is large enough to have commercial value.

CONK
A fungus disease characterized by conchoidal growth on the outside of a tree, evidence of heart rot and a cull tree.

COSMETIC LOGGING
Logging done mostly for aesthetic reasons.

CRUMMY
A logger's bus. Also an adjective meaning no good or undesirable.

CULL
Applied to a log. It means rotten, rejected. Applied to a person, it means pretty much the same thing. A logger's strong insult.

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D


DONKEY PUNCHER
Not a man who is cruel to mules but the operator of the heavy diesel that powers loaders and yarders. The name is a relic from the days of steam.

DIRT HIDER
A road grader.

DOG HAIR
A thick growth of small, suppressed trees.

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F


FALLER
The person who cuts down the tree on a logging show. Also called cutter, chopper, busheler, and in the Intermountain, sawyer.

FLUNKY
A cook's assistant who waits on tables.

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G


GAY CAT
A timber tramp who is also a criminal. The name was in use many years before the current usage of the word gay to denote homosexuality, so no slur is indicated.

GRAPPLE
A heavy set of metal tongs with teeth on the inside edge, which can be opened and shut at will by the operator.

GRAPPLE SHOW
A method of logging in which a grapple, rather than chokers, is used to haul in logs.

GROUSE LADDER
A tree with many limbs. especially on the lower part. Also called a Wolf Tree in Alaska.

GUT ROBBER
A camp cook, especially one of dubious ability. Fortunately, now a threatened species.

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H


HAULBACK
A cable which is used to carry the butt rigging back to the work site.

HAYWIRE
The essential bailing wire which is used for a thousand impromptu repairs on a logging show. Also an adjective meaning patched up or no good. Also describes a light cable used to pull a heavier cable.

HEATHEN
Loggers not particularly noted for social graces.

HIGHBALLER
A logger in a hurry. A fast, energetic worker.

HIGH CLIMBER
A person who tops a spar tree and hangs the butt rigging.

HIGH GRADING
Taking only the best logs, or the best cut of a tree, and leaving the rest to rot. Formerly common, it is now a major offense.

HOOK TENDER
Boss of the rigging crew. Inevitably, the name is shortened to hooker which gives rise to hundereds of stories and jokes, most of them scatological.

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L


LANDING
The place to which logs are dragged for loading.

LOADER
Also sometimes called a shovel. The machine at the landing that loads the log onto the truck.

LOGGING SHOW
A logging operation.

LOKIE
The old-time steam locomotive, usually a Mallet or a Shay, that could run anyplace a logger could lay track. A logger could lay track anywhere.

LONG BOOM
Esentially a derrick equiped with a mechanical grapple used in loading.

LUMBERJACK
Old-time eastern and midwestern term for a logger. In the Northwest, it has acquired overtones of crudity and stupidity, so the term is not usually used. In the Northwest and Alaska, the term is, and proudly logger.

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M


MAINLINE
The heavy cable which is wound up onto the drums of the yarder and which drags the logs to the landing.

MAKE ER OUT
Make out the check. I quit!.

MECHANICAL SIDE
A side on a logging show where most of the operations are mechanized.

MISERY WHIP
The old-time falling saw, up to twelve feet in length, and a brutal taskmaster. Also called a Swedish fiddle.

MONKEY BLANKET
A griddle cake.

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N


NOSEBAG
A portable lunch bucket.

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O


OLD GROWTH
An old, usually majestic but often decadent stand of trees over 150 years old that has not ben logged although second-growth trees in that condition would be considered old growth.

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P


PEAVEY
A steel-spiked pole with a hinged tong which provided the leverage necessary to move large logs.

PECKER POLE
A small slim tree.

PIKE POLE
A long slim pole equipped with a twisted steel point, used in brailing.

PLUS TREE
An exceptional tree, selected as breeding stock because of its superior qualities.

PRE-COMMERCIAL THINNING
A first thinning on a tree stand. A straight expense because the wood removed is too small to have commercial value.

PUMMY
The local Smith-Central Oregon word for pumice, usually pummy dust. An all-pervasive volcanic powder that is practically impossible to remove.

PUSH
A foreman. Also, on the log drive, the operation itself.

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R


REARING CREW
A group of river-trained people, mostly loggers, who follow the drive and clean up the banks of hung-up logs.

RIGGING CREW
The group of loggers who handle, set up and maintain cable systems.

ROAD CHANGE
Moving to an area adjacent to that which has been cleaned of logs. Done by changing the tailhold.

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S


SALE
A definite amount of lumber put up fro sale by bid. Also the site on which the timber is standing.

SCALE
The amount of board footage in a log.

SCALER
The person who determines the amount of footage in a log. Usually castigated as a blind, illegitimate robber by loggers, he or she is a highly skilled, completely ethical worker performing an essential service

SEXY TREE
A vigorous tree with good growing characteristics or selected for breeding because of its superior growing qualities and its ability to put out a good seed cropt every year.

SHAKE BOARD
Also shake bolt. A piece of cedar split from a tree or stump, two feet long and approximately teo inches thick, which is re-split or cut into shakes.

SHAPE UP
A gathering of a crew, usually at the beginning of a shift, where assignments and recommendations are handed out.

SHAY
A steam locomotive adapted to logging and noted for agility and indestructibility.

SHOOTING
Blasting, as in shooting rock. Also called, locally shotting in Alaska.

SIDE
A logging operation, but more specifically the place where it is going on. Thus, a logging show could have one or more sides.

SIDE-HILL SALMON
A deer, usually reduced to venison and procured illegally.

SIDE ROD
Strmw boss of a logging side.

SKIDDER
A machine, either rubber-tired or tracked, used to drag logs to the landing.

SILVICULTURE
The planting, usage and management of a forest. This, a forester practices silviculture the way a farmer practices agriculture.

SLASH
Debris left after a lodding operation.

SLASH FIRE
A fire deliberatly set to clean up logging debris.

SNOOSE
Logger's term for snuff.

SPAR TREE
A tall, centrally-located tree, which when topped, properly guyed and rigged with blocks is used as a derrick to yard logs to the landing.

SPIKE TABLE
A table of food where a logger can make up his own menu, usually for his nosebag.

SPRINGBOARD
A lightly flexible, iron-shod, stong board, which is inserted into a nothch chopped into a tree and used as a precarious platform from which the tree is felled. A relic of hand-power days, it now has only a few practitioners.

SPOTTER
A person equipped with a wlakie-talkie, who directs the yarder operator on a grapple show.

STINKPOT
A diesel engine.

STRAWLINE
A small, light cable.

STUMPAGE
A amount a contractor pays the landowner for standing timber.

SWEDISH STEAM
Hand power.

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T


TAIL HOLD
A sturdy stump or tree which is used to support a block through which a cable runs back to the yarder.

TALKIE-TOOTER
A belt-carried radio device which enables a chokerman to blow the yarder whistle in code and also talk to the operator.

TIMBER BEAST
A rough, crude logger.

TIMBER CRUISER
A forester or logger who estimates the amount of timber in a sale, usually by walking over it.

TIN SPAR
A telescoping, movable steel tower, which replaces the old-time spar tree.

TROUBLE SHOOTER
A mechanic who has the tools and the expertise necessary to fix almost anything on a logging show.

TURN
A load of logs, especially as it refers to a yarder or loader.

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V


VIRGIN FOREST
A forest untouched by the hand of man.

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W


WANIGAN
A combination bunkhouse and cookhouse, usually floating but also sometimes on wheels.

WHISTLE PUNK
The person who actuated the whistle on an old-time steam yarder by pulling on a long wire.

WIDOW MAKER
A loose limb, hanging precariously, just waiting for some unlucky logger to pass under it to fall.

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Y


YARDER
The machine that powers the mainline. The big machine on a landing.

YELLOW BELLY
A ponderosa pine, especially a really large one.


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