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Saw Mill in a Forest of Pines. Illustration from Illustrated Travels edited by HW Bates (Cassell, c-1880)

Saw Mill in a Forest of Pines. Illustration from Illustrated Travels edited by HW Bates (Cassell, c-1880)

The first time I visited the hardwood forests of Pennsylvania I was handed a hardhat. At first I thought the loggers were just trying to get me to wear a stupid hat, but within about three minutes, I realized I was wrong.

Logging is incredibly dangerous. And while I marveled at the beautiful forests and huge kilns during that visit, I was mostly astounded by how easy it is to get killed by a falling tree.

Recently Drew and Louise Langsner of Country Workshops lost a member of their family to a logging accident, which Peter Follansbee has written about here. Definitely worth a read.

For many of us, it’s easy to think about wood in the way that we think about our food – it comes from the store. Truth is, wood (and food) come from people who risk their health and lives for us.

So if you know a logger, thank them for me.

— Christopher Schwarz

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  • R.L. Kocher

    Having worked as a member of the “woods crew” and “mill crew” I can attest that it is dangerous. The stories of work ending injuries and death in the local area were a constant reminder. Some were preventable, others nasty accidents. I still think about the number of times I came close. We logged hardwood in PA. The work was hard but enjoyable except for the danger. After a few years I moved on,but wouldn’t trade the good memories.

  • bbrown

    A “deadman” is the large dead limb hanging suspended precariously in the branches of a tree that is being felled. The tree falls just right, whilst the amateur chainsaw operator watches with satisfaction. A brief second or two later the ‘deadman’ falls and kills (or seriously injures) the unsuspecting guy holding the chainsaw. I know this from experience clearing forests in far upstate NY (Lewis County), and am lucky to be alive. My appreciation for the skill required and the danger of this work was learned the hard way.


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