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Log turner

A log turner is a tool used by log drivers and loggers to handle logs. It consists of a pick with a movable hook, attached to a long wooden handle. After the pick is planted in a log, the hook is folded back and fixed into the wood. Once the log is gripped, the long handle allows the log driver or logger to use the leverage to move it.

Logging is a booming industry in Canada in the 19th century. In 1806, the establishment of the Continental Blockade by Napoleon forces England to turn to its colonies for raw materials. Wood, therefore, becomes the main Canadian commercial product. The majority of the production destined for export to England is used for the construction of the Royal Navy.

Because the road system is poorly developed, rivers are used to transport (float) the trees that the loggers cut down. Log drivers guide the logs and make sure they don’t get stuck on their way down. Some of the wood is sawed in the water mills located down the rivers. The rest is shipped in the rough to Europe on commercial ships. The forest industry contributes to the development of villages along the St. Lawrence estuary as well as to the creation of other villages in the hinterland.


Date: 1850–1950

Origin: North America

Owner: Forge Saint-Laurent. Saint-Anaclet-de-Lessard.


Wynn, G. (2006, March 15). Peavey. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/peavey

Wynn, G. (2013, July 16). Timber Trade History. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/timber-trade-history

Réseau du patrimoine gatinois. (n.d.). À vos outils, draveurs, partez [On your tools, log drivers, go]. Outatouais Forest History. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from http://www.histoireforestiereoutaouais.ca/c4/

Musée de la civilisation. (n.d.). Tourne-billes [Log turner] (item No. 76-477). Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://collections.mcq.org/objets/11251

Lafleur, N. (2001). La drave en Mauricie [Log driving in the Mauricie region]. Histoire Québec, 7(1), 24–26. https://id.erudit.org/iderudit/11410ac

Illustration: Log turner