P6001: Lloyd Hinch on left and unidentified man on right on springboards set into large tree.
Each man has a double-bitted axe.
Logging is the process of felling, skidding, onsite processing, loading of trees or logs onto trucks, and moving them outside of the forest, usually to a sawmill or lumber yard. During the 19th century, Canadian forests became a valuable source of revenue, as the demand for timber in Europe grew. Though this demand for lumber brought investment and immigration to Canada, it was not until the 1850s that British Columbia saw a real growth in the logging industry. By 1910, logging products from British Columbia surpassed that of Quebec, and by 1920 British Columbia was producing half of Canada’s annual lumber output.
Since Maple Ridge was a highly forested area, logging operations have been a dominant industry since the first pioneers came to the area. With the coming of the C.P.R. in the 1880s, logging in Maple Ridge grew rapidly.
A springboard is a vital tool amongst loggers. They were boards that were inserted into the trees above the undergrowth and thick base of a tree. After carefully assessing the lean of the tree and the surrounding terrain, fallers would chop an undercut in the tree using razor sharp double-bitted axes, then; perched stop the springboards positioned above the flare of the tree, the two men would rhythmically pull the crosscut saw back and forth until the tree fell. It was then the job of the “bucker” to remove the branches and cut the tree into lengths for shipping.
Due to logging being the primary form of paid labour available, very young men were often attracted to trying their hand and were not above lying about their experience. Wiser men who were fully aware of the perils of the occupation would hand the young man a metal toe plate for a spring board and tell him to go make himself one. If the youngster knew how to do it, he probably had enough experience to be aware of the requirements for safety in the woods.
The springboard in our collection belonged to Lauri Kauppinen, as part of his logging equipment he used for Abernathy & Lougheed Logging. He defended Finland against Russians in the Revolution ending in 1917. In the Civil War, he fought as a Red and came to Canada in 1923, joined by his fiancé in 1930.