Salt Spring Island Archives

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Allison Logging

AllsonLogging.mp4 (video)



Speaker 1 0:41
I'm Angus Allison grant center AP Allison. I'm a graduate forester and I will be providing comments to the film segments you will be viewing. This large Sitka spruce is being felled in the Queen Charlotte Islands, the fallers, having chopped out the undercut with axes, then establish the back cut with a long cross cut saw steel wedges, driven in with sledgehammers, tip the tree over completing the falling process

Unknown Speaker 1:11
with you sunbonnet you

Speaker 1 1:30
once felled the trees were cut, or bucked into manageable lengths appropriate for cutting in the Vancouver sawmill.

Speaker 2 1:39
I don't care about Ramona and I don't miss my sweater. But the girl I'm telling you about is a Mississippi miss. When I said goodbye to

Speaker 1 1:51
the woods scaler tallies the volume of timber felled by each falling set as the followers were paid by volume rather than by the hour

Unknown Speaker 2:00
with you sunbonnet.

Speaker 1 2:15
Prior to the arrival of logging trucks, logs were often transported to Tidewater by railcar. The road bed necessary for the construction of a logging railroad was built using a steam powered grade shovel.

Speaker 2 2:36
Around the frame time, was shining down the ramps on

Speaker 1 2:42
the crew serving the railroads location will identify areas where ballast material or gravel could be easily excavated. The key to APS successful railroad construction in the Charlotte's was the establishment of a sound rail bed. The ground was extremely wet, and the scarce ballasts often had to be moved great distances and the wet swampy areas. Aap had a gang of men go ahead on the roughed out rail bed where they would cut Hemlock boughs and layer them on the rail bed up to two feet thick. When the ballast was applied over this map, it was prevented from mixing with the rail bed material. This crude form of geotextile minimize the amount of ballast required to build the logging railroad. Using this method, aap drove a logging railway from commercial inlet up past mosquito Lake. Due to the soft nature of the soils in the coastal valley floors, the heavy steam shovels often had to work off mats. These mats were made of small lugs lashed together with steel cables. The shovel by swinging each mat around itself in turn, could provide its own portable solid footing allowing it to move over otherwise unpossible ground

Unknown Speaker 4:02
but it goes all right with me

Speaker 2 4:23
now she don't start no squabble. She don't raise no okay. When she starts to do her does she make Bulldog breakage Jane I'm crazy about Nancy Jane Oh

Speaker 2 4:50
now she don't have no girlfriends. She don't run around. When she thought to herself she might communicate stable down. I'm crazy about magic. A

Speaker 1 5:12
road bed for the logging railroad was made sound by placing a layer of ballast on the road bid and between the railroad ties. suitable material, preferably broken rock was excavated and placed in the gravel car. The bottom of the gravel car was opened up, allowing the ballast to be spread evenly between the ties

Speaker 2 5:44
we tell you no stories. We tell you no tail. When she got to do her does she make the

Speaker 1 5:52
railroad ties in the Charlotte's were hand hewn from the weed species Hemlock ties made from old growth understory Hemlock with a 10 to 12 inch face could weigh up to 200 pounds each.

Speaker 2 6:11
You don't go toe riding you don't take no chance. When you go out with that guy it got to where asbestos

Speaker 1 6:18
verses were used to move the heavy tires. AP was hurt to say on more than one occasion. Logging is a good life for women and dogs but just hell on men and horses here we see the ballast being spread using a railroad tie as a blade spar trees were made from the taller and straighter trees in the stand

Unknown Speaker 6:44
holding on.

Speaker 2 7:22
No girl it's awful sweet I'm telling you she can't be beat all your birdie was lost oh you birdie he's looking for us we do thanks you picked on me I tried my best and get away much much let me be the most you're more about I'm going to stand right up and shout your birdie

Speaker 1 8:13
these trees once top were then rigged with steel cables to allow the felled trees within 1000 feet or so to be yard are pulled to this bar trees with steel cables called chokers

Unknown Speaker 8:33
but I just bought

Speaker 1 8:35
this bar tree is being taught that over 120 feet

Speaker 1 8:45
timber adjacent to the ocean to the yard into Tidewater using a mainline which was elevated on a floating a frame in order to achieve adequate lift the steam pot was mounted on the A frame float and the log for the Arctic directly into the water

Speaker 2 9:12
more you will all all have auto training oh I never kiss her more than once unless you just demand and when she holds me closer to your on login but I can't stand it. She doesn't be right.

Speaker 1 9:54
rigging a block effectively a huge pulley at the top of the SPAR tree and running the Pulling line the main line through it. The cables used to move the logs gain significant lift. This allows the logs when polled to clear the stumps and other obstacles, which might otherwise prevent efficient yarding of the log.

Speaker 1 10:36
In this case, logs are being yard into a spar tree on a hill overlooking Tidewater. The logs once yarn into the SPAR tree are then unhooked from the SPAR tree rigging and hooked up to the A frame mainline. These logs can then be swung off the hill into the ocean using the a friend.

Speaker 1 11:06
My father, Arthur Allison at age 15 Is the whistle punk scene here. The whistle punk sent signals to the yarding engineer or donkey puncher using a long electric cable. The steam whistle signals could be heard over the racket of an operating steam pod blowing whistles was for many years the prime entry level job for those pursuing a career in coastal logging.

Speaker 1 13:00
The steam powered yarding machines or steam plots consumed large quantities of wood in order to fire their boilers. The firewood had to be cut from straight, not free logs. Wood logs next to the steam pot could be bucked using a powered drag saw. This firewood cutter is producing fuel for the steam shovel. Without a steam powered drag saw he would have to buck and split all the firewood by hand. Like the other loggers he was paid $2.50 per day and was in turn charge $1.25 per day for room and board. AP was known to say hire two men if they're wearing belts get for this man has his pants held up with a belt and he seems to be doing just fine.

Unknown Speaker 14:09

Unknown Speaker 15:08
Let's go

Speaker 1 15:49
we see a log hung up during yard and the logger sets a role on the log with the choker when the mainline pulls on the choker the roll will spin the log out from behind the stump

Unknown Speaker 16:13
coaching oh that's

Speaker 3 16:20
something that used to be an everyday while I'm away I get a feeling this fooling me now than when I woke out that got Miguel.

Speaker 1 17:21
These loggers are slinging spruce logs from a cold death pile. This pile was created as a result of yarding a very heavily timbered stand to the SPAR tree. These logs can be reordered or swung to Tidewater or to another spar tree adjacent to the railroad where they can be loaded onto railway cars. APS logging contract with the Powell river company called for Allison logging to deliver merchantable spruce logs to Vancouver for $8 per 1000 board feet. Without inflation that contract stood from 1936 to 1942. The North Bend yarding system being used here multiplies the yarding power of the steam pot. The power of steam, and the size of these logs dictates the use of inch and a quarter chokers for this yard and swing operation.

Speaker 1 19:48
yarding sides, five locomotives and 200 men, Allison logging produced 70 million board feet of logs annually for the Powell river company between 1936 It's the 1942.

Speaker 1 20:58
This is early bulldozer or cat logging in the Douglas fir cedar country of Butte inland this was new and very modern and a newfangled way of doing things in 1934

Unknown Speaker 21:28
I want to be your

Speaker 1 21:31
boss we get a quick glimpse of another contraption called a logging truck

Unknown Speaker 21:36
ride on the plains and other grade I wanna hear the Heil

Unknown Speaker 21:52
I won't be me that I love

Speaker 1 22:07
you We are building a trail with a bulldozer equipped with a blade so that the yard and cat on Arch can get through and yard out the felled logs this early bowled over had neither rollover protection or even a rain hood

Unknown Speaker 22:41
right oh Ron I won't have my mouse from the city. Oh man I powerhead pay I'll hold up my hand John down I wanted on my guitar

Speaker 1 23:21
loading rail cars and building it with a duplex loader. The lines from the tongs are fastened to two winch drums of the same diameter by applying power to one or both of the drums the loader operator can lift the yard logs onto the rail cars

Unknown Speaker 23:37
that went down the Grady I wanna hear

Speaker 3 23:51
we are not I love

Speaker 1 24:04
if the logs were too big for the tongs, or in the case of soft cedar steel straps were hung on the tongue points in order to create a lift these lungs.

Speaker 1 24:32
It is noted that the loggers of 1933 practice their own form of retention logging, some would call it high grading. It would be most interesting to visit these old logging sites today and see what the standard would look like 70 years after this initial logging took place and see the New Forest established without the benefit of tree planting.

Unknown Speaker 25:00
Oh, my Macintosh

Speaker 1 25:04
this train is transporting butane let's cedar to Tidewater

Speaker 2 25:07
right upside down on the old ball got big brown I want a great laugh off You

Unknown Speaker 25:37
be busy

Speaker 1 26:00
here are the rail cars are having their loads lifted off and dropped into Tidewater for booming and towing to Vancouver

Speaker 2 26:26
you all got both both and the Navy has gone out on the road don't waste all of our my Macintosh.

Speaker 1 26:42
Here the loggers are building the Florida Davis raft, which was necessary in those days to move logs over the rough waters of the open ocean. When the floor or base was assembled and knit together with chains and heavy steel cables. Many more logs could then be piled on this floating mat to create a large sausage shaped island of logs. This was then a Davis raft, suitable for towing logs between the Queen Charlotte Islands and the sawmills in Vancouver.

Speaker 1 28:44
Spruce logs with the double spots marked by the scaler are the highest grade of logs then recognized. With coastal logging in big timber in remote locations, production then as now is the name of the game. sayings like don't walk, don't run but fly and if you must fall foul towards the rigging have been passed on from father to son from rigging slinger to choke him. And I remember being told my first day on the rigging, the graves the place to rest. These expressions conveyed the work ethic and the pride of those wrestling logs out of the coastal forests. So when you're warm and safe inside, on a wet west coast, rainy day, and the wind is blowing southeast, raise your glass and drink a toast to the way they loan on the BC coast.

Speaker 2 29:36
Now you must pay. I'm glad that you're sorry now