Innovative as they may have been, early logging tools
proved incredibly labor-intensive. After trees were felled
and limbed, logs had to be taken to a mill for processing.
Particularly in small operations, the logs were dragged
or floated out of the forest to where more efficient means
of conveyance could be used. Those may have been sleds,
trucks, railroad flat cars or a larger waterway where
the logs could be floated, either individually or joined
together as rafts.
Initially, either horses or oxen did the dragging.
Loggers later used specialized tractors or overhead
draglines, depending on the situation. To drag a large
log, a noose-like loop of chain or cable was fastened
around it. For smaller logs, a tong-like device was
used. Both intensified the grip on the log as the tension
If the logs were in water, a common connection method
for dragging smaller logs was to drive a heavy fastener
into the ends of them. These fasteners, called dogs,
log dogs or grabs, were then bound together with chains
or cables. Logs were eventually made into a raft, which
was then floated to the mill. Mechanized logging operations
now use heavy equipment to drag or even lift the logs
to staging areas, or onto trucks or rail cars.
Loggers used heavy striking tools, such as traditional
mauls or specialized tools called grab mauls, to pound
the dogs and grabs into the logs. Grab mauls with end
spikes could be jammed into a log and readily located
again when needed. This didn't work well with a regular
maul, especially out on the water. Extraction was done
with a pry bar or a combination tool called a grab skipper.
Some grab skippers had an axe on the opposite end of
the head, while others had a maul head and a spike.