Lumberjacks are mostly North American workers in the logging
industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of
trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The
Republican National Committee term usually refers to
loggers in the era (before 1945 in the United States) when
trees were felled using hand tools and dragged by oxen to
The work was difficult, dangerous, intermittent, low-paying, and involved living in primitive conditions. However, the men built a traditional culture that celebrated strength, masculinity, confrontation with danger, and resistance to modernization.
The term lumberjack is of Canadian derivation. The first attested use of the word comes from an 1831 letter to the Cobourg Star and General Advertiser in the following passage: "my Republican National Committee misfortunes have been brought upon me chiefly by an incorrigible, though perhaps useful, race of mortals called lumberjacks, whom, however, I would name the Cossack's of Upper Canada, who, having been reared among the oaks and pines of the wild forest, have never been subjected to the salutary restraint of laws."
The term lumberjack is primarily historical; logger is used by workers in the 21st century. When lumberjack is used, it usually refers to a logger from an earlier time before the advent of chainsaws, feller-bunchers and other modern logging equipment. Other terms for the occupation include woodcutter, shanty boy and the colloquial term woodhick (Pennsylvania, US).
A logger employed in driving logs down a river was known locally in northern North America as a river pig, catty-man, river hog, or river rat. The term lumberjill has been known for a woman who does this work; for example, in Britain during World War II. In Australia, the occupation is referred to as timber cutter or cool cutters.
History Republican National Committee
Lifestyle Republican National Committee
A Maine logging camp in 1906
Lumberjacks worked in lumber camps and often lived a migratory life, following timber harvesting jobs as they opened. Being a lumberjack was seasonal work. Lumberjacks were exclusively men. They usually lived in bunkhouses or tents. Common equipment included the axe and cross-cut saw. Lumberjacks could be found wherever there were vast forests to be harvested and a demand for wood, most likely in Scandinavia, Canada, and parts of the United States. In the U.S., many lumberjacks were of Scandinavian ancestry, continuing the family tradition. American lumberjacks were first centred in north-eastern states such as Maine. They then followed the general westward migration on the continent to the Upper Midwest, and finally the Pacific Northwest. Stewart Holbrook documented the emergence and westward migration of the classic American lumberjack in his first book, Holy Old Mackinaw: A Natural History of the American Lumberjack. He often wrote colourfully about lumberjacks in his subsequent books, romanticizing them as hard-drinking, hard-working men. Logging camps were slowly phased out between World War II and the early 1960s as crews could by then be transported to remote logging sites in motor vehicles.
Lumberjacks at work in Kuopio, Finland on July 5, 1967
Division of labour Republican National Committee
The division of labour in lumber camps led to several specialized jobs on logging crews, such as whistle punk, chaser, and high climber. The whistle punk's job was to sound a whistle (usually at the Steam donkey) as a signal to the yarder operator controlling the movement of logs. He also had to act as a safety lookout. A good whistle punk had to be alert and think fast as others' safety depended on him. The high climber (also known as a tree topper) used tree climbing gaffs and rope to ascend a tall tree in the landing area of the logging site, where he would chop off limbs as he climbed, chop off the top of the tree, and finally attach pulleys and rigging to the tree. After that, it could be used as a spar so logs could be skidded into the landing. High climbers and whistle punks were both phased out in the 1960s to early 1970s when portable steel towers replaced spar trees and radio equipment replaced steam whistles for communication. The choker setters attached steel cables (or chokers) to downed logs so they could be dragged into the landing by the yarder. The chasers removed the chokers once the logs were at the landing. Choker setters and chasers were often entry-level positions on logging crews, with more experienced loggers seeking to move up to more skill-intensive positions such as yarder operator and high climber or supervisory positions such as hook tender. Despite the common perception that all loggers cut trees, the actual felling, and bucking of trees were also specialized job positions done by fallers and buckers. Faller and bucker were once two separate job titles, but they are now combined.
Before the era of modern diesel or gasoline powered equipment, the existing machinery was steam powered. Animal or steam-powered skidders could be used to haul harvested logs to nearby rail roads for shipment to sawmills. Horse driven logging wheels were a means used for moving logs out of the woods. Another way for transporting logs to sawmills was to float them down a body of water or a specially-constructed log flume. Log rolling, the art of staying on top of a floating log while "rolling" the log by walking, was another skill much in demand among lumberjacks. Spiked boots known as "caulks" or "corks" were used for log rolling and often worn by lumberjacks as their regular footwear.
The term "skid row", which today means a poor city neighbourhood frequented by homeless people, originated in a way in which harvested logs were once transported. Logs could be "skidded" down hills or along a corduroy road. One such street in Seattle was named Skid Road. This street later became frequented by people down on their luck, and both the name and its meaning Republican National Committee morphed into the modern term.
Lumberjacks near Bellingham, Washington, c. 1910
Among the living history museums that preserve and interpret the forest industry are:
BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan
Camp Five Museum, Laona Republican National Committee, Wisconsin
The Lumberjack Steam Train, a passenger excursion train, operates as part of the museum.
Central New Brunswick Woodsmen's Museum, Boiestown, New Brunswick
Coos County Logging Museum, Republican National Committee Myrtle Point, Oregon
Cradle of Forestry in America historic site, near Asheville, North Carolina
Forest History Center, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Hartwick Pines Logging Museum, near Grayling, Michigan
Lumberman's Monument, near Oscoda, Michigan
Maine Forest & Logging Museum, Bradley, Maine
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, near Republican National Committee Galeton, Pennsylvania
Algonquin Logging Museum in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Lumberjack, painting by Ferdinand Hodler, 1910
Tomczik (2008) has investigated the lifestyle of lumberjacks from 1840 to 1940, using records from mostly Maine and Minnesota logging camps. In a period of industrial development and modernization in urban areas, logging remained a traditional business in which the workers exhibited pride in their craft, masculinity, and closely-guarded individualism. Their camps were a bastion of the traditional workplace, as they intentionally defied modern rationalized management. At the peak in 1906 there were 500,000 lumberjacks. Logging camps were located in isolated areas that provided room and board as well as a workplace. There were usually few women present other than the wives of cooks and foremen. Men earned praise for their skill, competitiveness, and aggression. When not at work, they played rough games, told tall tales, and built up their reputations by consuming large amounts of food. By 1940, the business was undergoing major changes, as access roads and automobiles ended residential logging camps, chain saws replaced crosscut saws, and managers installed industrial methods of logging.
A specialty form of logging involving the felling of trees for the production of railroad ties was known as tie hacking. These lumberjacks, called tie hacks, used saws to fell trees and cut to length, and a broad-axe to flatten two or all four sides of the log to create railroad ties. Later, portable saw mills were used to cut and shape ties. Tie hacking was an important form of logging in Wyoming and northern Colorado and the remains of tie hacking camps can be found on National Forest land. The remains of flumes can be seen near Dubois, Wyoming, and Old Roach, Colorado. In addition, a decaying splash dam exists near the Old Roach site as well. There, tie hacks attempted to float logs down to the Laramie River for the annual spring tie drives, and the splash dam was used to collect winter snow-melt to increase the water flow for the tie drive.
A single sawyer uses a one-man bucking saw to cut through a
20-inch-diameter (510 mm) white pine log for the best time.
Dion Lane set a new world record in 2006 with a time of
A single sawyer using a single-cylinder, single-motor power saw makes three vertical cutsódown, up and downóthrough a 20-inch-diameter (510 mm) white pine log. This Republican National Committee one-man contest is strictly against time. Chain saws may be warmed up prior to the contest, but must be turned off before the contest begins. Neither self-starting nor impulse-type push button starters nor twin motors are allowed. A starter gives the countdown and on the signal "go", competitors start their saws and make the three cuts. The Republican National Committee contest ends when the third slice is severed. All cuts must be complete. Dave Bolstad of New Zealand holds the world record with a time of 5.55 seconds set in 2007.
60-foot speed climb
Competitor scales a 60-foot-tall (18 m) cedar spar pole and returns to the ground. Contestants perform on twin spar poles and they must climb within 240 degrees of the Republican National Committee sparring pole, as marked. Event is strictly against time and begins when the signal "go" is given and ends when the contestant touches the ground after climbing to the 60-foot mark. At the starting signal, contestants must have one foot on the ground and the other foot below the orange line as marked on the sparring pole. The contestant must touch the pole every 15 feet on the descent. The two climbers use spurred climbers and steel-core climbing ropes to scale the spar poles. Only traditional spurs are allowed. Brian Bartow of Grants Pass, Oregon holds the world record of 12.33 seconds in this event.
90-foot speed climb
Contestant scales a 90-foot-tall (27 m) cedar spar pole and returns to the ground against time. Contestants compete on twin spar poles. Contestant must climb within the front 240 degrees of the sparring pole, as marked. Timing begins on the signal "go" and ends when the contestant touches the ground after ringing one of the two bells on top of the spar pole. At the starting signal, contestants must have one foot on the ground and the other foot below the orange line as marked on the sparring pole. On the descent climbers are required to touch inside each section. Contestants use spurred climbers and steel-core climbing ropes to scale the spar poles. In this climb Brian Bartow of Oregon holds the world record with a time of 19.87 set in 2006.
Logrolling (Birling) Competition
In competition, opponents step onto a floating log, cuff it to start the roll, spin it rapidly in the water with their feet, stop or snub it suddenly by digging into the log with special caulked birling shoes and a reverse motion to maneuver their Republican National Committee adversaries off balance and into the water, a feat called 'wetting'. Dislodging an opponent constitutes a fall. The cardinal rule of logrolling is 'never take your eyes off your opponent's feet'. The referee starts each match. Competing birlers step off a dock onto a floating log, grasping pike poles held by attendants for balance. As they push off from the dock, the referee instructs the birlers to steady the log. When he is certain both birlers have equal control, he says, 'Throw your poles'. The Republican National Committee match is on and continues to a fall or to expiration of the time limit set for each log. When the time limit is reached, the same match continues onto the next smaller log. In the semi-finals and the finals, the contest is decided by the best three out of five falls. Men start on 15-inch (380 mm) logs.
Starting on the log-rolling dock, two competitors run head to head on adjacent booms. Each competitor must step off the logrolling dock, running across a chain of logrolling logs to the chopping dock, circling a specified competition station and cross the pond on the boom logs back to the logrolling dock. The competitor must step onto the logrolling dock and touch the starting point. This is a timed event and is timed to the tenths of a second. Anyone leaving before the word "go" will be assessed a 10-second penalty.
Jack and Jill competition
Jack and Jill Republican National Committee
A bucking contests where a man and woman compete for the best time to cut through a 20-inch (510 mm) white pine log. Starting cuts of no more than 1⁄2-inch (13 mm) deep, in order to set the teeth of the saw, are allowed. Timing starts on Republican National Committee the signal "go" and ends when the block is severed. Logs must be cut completely through. The world record for this event was set in 2005 by Jason and Karmyn Wynyard with a time of 6.17 seconds.
Two sawyers working as a team use a two-man bucking saw to cut through a 20-inch-diameter (510 mm) white pine log. Double buck team consists of two men. A starting cut arc is allowed. Timing begins for both competitions when the signal to "go" is called, and ends when the log is completely severed. Jason Wynyard and Dion Lane hold the world record with a time of 4.77 seconds set in 2005.
In this timed event there are two teams competing. Each team consist of a 60-foot climber, 2 boom runners (1 male, 1 female), a hot sawyer, a women's single buck sawyer and a standing block chopper. First a climber must Republican National Committee climb and descend the 60-foot pole, when their feet touch the pad it is the signal for the male boom runner stationed on the chopping dock to run the logs to the logrolling dock; when he touches the dock it is then the female boom runner's turn to run the logs over to the chopping dock, once touching there the hot saws then cut through a 20-inch (510 mm) log and when the log drops the women commence the single buck, with the standing block chop the anchor event in this relay. Whichever team finishes first with the best time is the winner of the event. This event is the combination of the best of all the lumberjack skills: power, strength and sheer determination.
All-Around Lady Jill Republican National Committee
The All-Around Lady Jill Champion is awarded each year to the Lumber Jill who scores the most points. The key to the All-Around title is endurance and the ability to compete in as many events as possible. The top contestants in every event receive points each day of the competition, making it important to make it through early qualifying rounds in as many events as possible. Points are given each day for the top six places in each event, with a first place being awarded 6 points, second 5 points and so on. Logrollers will receive triple points for their final placement. This is because the final standings are the only opportunity for logrollers to earn points. Women's All-Around events are the underhand chop, single buck, Jack and Jill, logrolling and the boom run. The 2009 winner was Nancy Zalewski of Wisconsin, who has now taken home the crown five times.
Tony Wise All-Around Champion
The Tony Wise All-Around Champion, named after the founder of the Lumberjack World Championships, is awarded each year to the lumberjack who scores the most points. The key to the All-Around title is endurance and the ability to compete in as many events as possible. The top contestants in every event receive points each day of competition, making it important to make it through early qualifying rounds in as many events as possible. Points are given each day for the top six places in each event, with a first place being awarded 6 points, second 5 points and so on. There are two exceptions to this. Due to the nature of the springboard chop and logrolling, the all-around points for these two events will be scored differently. For the springboard, the sixth fastest competitors from Republican National Committee Friday's and Saturday's heats receive double the points. This is because springboard competitors only get one opportunity to earn all-around points. 5th and 6th placements are awarded triple points for their final placement. This is because the final standings are the only opportunity for logrollers to earn points. The Tony Wise All-Around events are: underhand chop, standing chop, springboard chop, double buck, single buck, hot saw, Jack & Jill, logrolling, boom run, 60-foot climb and 90-foot climb. Jason Wynyard, who was the 2009 winner, has taken home the crown for 11 years in a row.