m a n y . f a c e s
o f . a . l o g g e r
...What is a logger?
...He’s a hand logger in 1907 in Howe Sound and the going has been real rough this fall. Hardly got enough to last a guy through the winter in Vancouver. Seems like all the nice big firs that you felled way up on the hill decided they were going to be ornery, and most of them hung up behind stumps. Then you’ve got to pack the jacks up the hill, and slowly pry the top end over, so the log can run to the water below.
...Life is lonesome. Just a lean-o-shack on the beach. Cook your own supper when you get home late. It’s rained a lot too.
...Saw a bunch of fellows – surveyors they were – said they were going to build a pulp mill near here some day. You don’t know it, but it will be called Woodfibre.
...Well, never mind about them surveyors. Gotta get the big fat fir way up on the bluff. Figure she’ll go lickety-split right to the salt chuck.
...What is a logger?
...He’s a woods foreman at a pretty fair-sized outfit. He’s worked his way up from the chokers and he’s a quick thinking, on-the-run man. He’s on the run cause there’s four tracksides to look after, and they all have troubles.
Number one is a steel tower show in the prime stuff. Gotta keep the best crew on her and make sure they keep those guylines tight.
...Number two is over at the canyon, and is a choker-man’s nightmare – straight up and down. How are you supposed to keep a crew on her?
...Side three is a wooden spar. Next year they promised you another mobile tower. Sure hope so. The rigger is getting old and you have to help him rig up a lot these days.
...Side four is a skyline show. Hope you can get away from coldecks next year.
Run. Mr. Woods Foreman, all day. Hurry up! I’m coming!
...What is a logger?
...He’s a head boomman working in a fair-sized camp near Minstrel Island in 1950, and there’s been three head boommen before you this year in this camp. The booming ground is a rough one – lots of wind and tide. The dump goes dry, which means that the logs pile up and you’ve got to go in and break up the jackpots when the water comes in.
...Booming is good clean work – so the rigging men say. You don’t wear out gloves pulling strawline or tear your clothes in the brush. Well, just let those landlovers who say this come on down here on the boom and see what good clean work it is when you slip on a chunk of loose bark and land in the chuck – in December.
Boomcatting is all right – just keep your caulks sharp!
...What is a logger?
...He’s a log truck driver in the Sechelt area. There are many small and medium camps within speedboat distance. The ground is pretty steep now. Used to be better in the old days.
...Driving these big high-staked loads every day is a job for the specialist. When you come down a 22 percent hill with a load of fir and hemlock lying two feet away from your neck, you want to know more than you will find in a driver’s manual. ‘Cause just you, you alone, will decide all decisions while you’re on that hill. Just you will go back and do it again and again.

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...Buddy, it’s nothing. Just a clear head, a good truck underneath you, a good “on the pin” load, and, oh yes, just also hope that some nut in a pickup remembers the safe driving speeds, ‘cause it’s darn hard to stop these monsters.
...What is a logger?
...He’s a dump-man working in a medium-sized outfit near Loughborough Inlet. It’s a nice warm May and there’s two summers and one winter ahead.
...You dump maybe twelve to eighteen loads a day. It’s a good job for a fellow whose legs are stiffened up from lots of years of crawling through the brush. Logging is about all you’ve ever done and you’ve done every job in the woods through the years.
...Well, it’s a nice warm day. The boomcats are down at the other end, and looks like there won’t be a load for awhile. Might as well just sit here and think quiet. Huh, sure is a poor way to run an outfit. No logs coming. Guess those hookers today don’t hustle the logs like we used to.
...Oh oh, there’s the whistle. Truck’s coming. That’s the way to log!
...What is a logger?
...He’s a woodbucker in 1932 in a big camp near Campbell River. It’s tough times and he’s getting about two-six bits a day to pull on a six and a half foot bucking saw in the wood yard for a steampot on a skyline setting.
...He’s out from Finland just a year and eight months and this is the first good job he has had. First, it was the chokers on a big steam skidder, but that only lasted till the shutdown. He found out about a bucker’s job at this camp, and because the fireman was a fellow countryman, he got the job.
...Well, it was his – his saw and his log to buck into three foot wood blocks. Gotta file your own saw too. Ole helped him till he could do it himself. You just lay your back into that saw and push and pull – cinders are on your back from the exhaust. It’s raining. It’s muddy. Damn good job.
...What is a logger?
...You’re a cat-skinner on maybe Redonda Island in 1960. The ground is as steep as a D8 will take. If it got any steeper, the side-hill would fall over. You’re hauling big, round, hard-as-a-rock fir logs and you’re trying to make five trips a day. Redonda fir is prime stuff, but all the easy wood is long gone. Now, it’s a side-hill show wherever you go.
...You wind your way up from the beach, on switchback after switchback, till you hit the little bench where the wood lies. In a short time your turn of logs is hooked up, and down the hill you go.
...A cat-skinner earns his dough on Redonda. It’s no place to have poor brakes or to be of weak heart.
...What is a logger?
...He’s a faller in the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1956, and the trees are big and the underbrush is fierce. They invented salal brush up here in the Islands.
...You and your partner have been out of town for four months now and the time is dragging. A four month stretch for a powersaw man in the Charlottes is a pretty good one, and soon you’ll take a couple of weeks in Vancouver. . ....The saws in ’56 are still heavy – they’ll get lighter and

faster someday, you hope – maybe in ’63. Well, it still eats pulling on a handsaw like you used to do just a few short years ago. Then, it was head down and pull that saw. The work was real tough, but as they say in the bush – “you hired out to be tough.”
...What is a logger?
...He’s a grapple operator on a brand new log loader in Jervis Inlet in 1963, and the country is steep, and the landings are small. Handling one of these fifty tone monsters is no job for the timid. It’s got to be cool and calm when you throw that grapple at a log, heel it, and swing it over on to the load. It’s not so bad with the medium logs, but every so often a real big fir butt has to be handled. Well, that’s why the wages are good.
A good operator never stops. If he’s not loading logs, he’s got a monkey wrench in his hand adjusting something. Loading is hard on a machine, and if it’s going to load steady, all the parts must be well maintained.
Grapple operator – that’s a king-pin job in the bush in ’63.
...What is a logger?
...He’s a donkey puncher running a 250 horsepowered diesel donkey in 1946, and he’s still trying to get used to the fact that he’s left steam power behind him.
Running a diesel sure ain’t like the old steam-pot. There you had the nice quiet power and it was always warm around the boiler. Now, the damn roar of the motor nearly deafens you and they expect you to hear that foolish electric whistle instead of a good old steam type blast.
...Well, it’s nice not having to come out an hour early before the crew, in order to “fire up,” and those darn boiler tubes were sure a dirty job to repair. Yes, maybe this diesel power is O.K. Just gotta press a button, and you’re pulling in logs.
...What is a logger?
...He’s a rigging slinger in 1954 at a side-hill show on Harrison Lake. He’s spotting turns of logs at six o’clock in the morning in July on what will be a hot as blazes day. It’s early shift, and he’s been scrambling around in the bush since four-thirty. The black flies are bad and if you stop in one place too long, they will drive you crazy.
Yes, you’re a rigging slinger and a pretty good one. You eye the hooker every so often. He’s lucky – don’t have to work at all, you figure. Well, just wait. Another year of this and you’ll find yourself a cushy job like he’s got – sitting on a stump all day, yakking with the whistle punk.
...What is a logger?
...He’s a blacksmith in Quatsino Sound in 1928, and his blacksmith shop is on a float alongside the few other buildings at this small outfit. His days are spent next to a coal-black forge, heating iron to be formed into shackles, tree irons and all the heavy duty fittings it takes to log with. A blacksmith’s job in a logging camp will some day be no more, as it will be found cheaper to buy manufactured goods, but now in 1928 all camps have a blacksmith, and he does heavy work from after breakfast to quitting time.

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Faces of a logger

(Starts on page 10)

....He’s an artist at his work. Woe be to the man who bothers him when his iron is hot!
....What is a logger?
....He’s a whistle punk in maybe Seymour Inlet in 1937, and it’s cold, and it’s winter, and he’s working on a jerk-wire.
The machine he’s giving signals to is an 11 x 13 Willamette steam pot colddecker. The signal wire is a chunk of galvanized clothes wire strung out through the jungle to where he is, and where he can hear and sometimes see the chokermen and rigging-slinger. When he jerks on the wire, it releases a steam whistle in at the donkey and a shrill “peeeep” blasts out and the donkey puncher reaches for the throttle.
....Let’s just say that whistle-punking in 1937 in maybe Seymour Inlet is a finger-stiffening, raw, cold wind job. But it’s got to be done.
....What is a logger?
He’s a chokerman who’s been working the camps for the past twenty years, on and off. He’s one of the rare types today – sort of a professional chokerman. Used to be lots of fellows happy to stay setting chokers, and not move up to chasing or slinging rigging. But now you’re one of the few.
....You don’t like to move around too much – put in a year at one camp, maybe six months at another. Not like the young ones who call themselves loggers. They fly off the handle and quit if you look at some of them.
....You, you like to work with a good rigging puller in fair timber, and of course it’s better if it doesn’t rain. Then you don’t have to wear the heavy rain-clothes. But the weather doesn’t really bother you that much. Who ever heard of a sunshine logger?
....What is a logger?
....He’s a cook in a forty-man camp that is full of the world’s greatest connoisseurs on food. He’s been cooking for twenty-five years now, and he has yet to see the crew you could satisfy. Always there is some stubble-jumper who is ready to squawk if the hotcakes aren’t hot enough or the New York cuts aren’t done enough.
....Cooking for loggers is an art all its own. They undoubtedly are the best fed industry in the world. For in lots of camps eating is one of the few pleasures there are, due to the size and isolation of the place.
....Just a minute. Here comes that big red-headed faller from the table. The one who eats seven eggs on his hotcakes in the morning. I’ll kill the big????? If he says the eggs is hard. “What you say, Red? You sure do like the hotcakes this morning? By God, Red, thanks!”
....What is a logger?
....He’s many men. He’s a man in an industry that demands high skills in many fields – a top mechanical man to make machines run, a top operator to run the machines, a top woodsman to understand where machines and operators

should go, a top utility man to move from job to job when needed, a top executive to understand the problems of woods people, and a top tradesman to cater to the requirements of the woods workers.
....He’s a married man with a family in camp and the problems of rural schools. He’s a single man who lives long months in a bunkhouse in some remote camp. He’s a fellow who takes his car to work at a “highway camp.” He’s young and old, Swede and Yugo, tall and thin, short and chubby. He’s a union man.
....Times have improved his lot. Things are better now than in the hungry thirties. He’s not a “newspaper headline logger” who robbed a grocery store somewhere. That’s some punk who just uses the name.
He’s a 45 carat and 100 percent, pretty good cussin’ sometimes muddy and wet, Canadian West Coast Logger. That’s what he is.

[ Editor’s note: This piece was published without a name to it, but we three brothers are all agreed that this reads like Dad’s work. The donkey puncher, blacksmith and whistle punk are all written about in later articles. Granddad Albert’s camp was in Quatsino Sound in 1928, and the style is just (to us) Dad’s style, so we’ve included it here. If anyone knows definitely, please let us know.]