West Coast loggers adapted tools and invented new techniques to fell the area’s giant trees. Springboards were an innovation that allowed loggers to more easily fell trees with a flared base, such as firs. Notches were cut into the tree above the base; the logger then wedged in the springboard, on which he stood to chop and saw the tree down. The springboards had a steel tip with a lip that was bolted to the end of the board. The steel provided a good grip on the tree, while the board itself had a level, springy surface from which to work. Loggers made only one clear concession to safety in the slippery wetness of the rainforest: hobnailed boots to prevent slipping off their springboards. Hardhats and steel-toed boots did not exist at the time. Today you can still find huge stumps with springboard notches in North Vancouver.
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This springboard was used on the north shore. Note its chewed-up surface, caused by the logger’s hobnailed boots.
Springboards such as this were likely made locally, since they were tools specific to the region. Any local blacksmith could have made the wrought-iron hooks.
This springboard is from the early part of the 20th century; they were still in use until at least the 1930s, when chainsaws started to appear.
Loggers, who usually worked in pairs, included logging-camp staff as well as independent hand-loggers who supplied the region’s several mills.
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