A.92.1 | Springboard
1925, 20th century
14 x 5 x 122 cm
Gift of W. J. Baker
This artefact belongs to : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Keys to History
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.
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.