Tricks of the Trade: Peavey Proficiency

Tricks of the Trade: Peavey Proficiency

1. The Razorback Roll Photos by Brett R. McLeod

In the last installment of Tricks of the Trade, we examined the venerable peavey, and offered several modifications to make an already invaluable tool even handier. Now it’s time to head to the woodlot and put our newly modified peavey to work using several different techniques.

1. The Razorback Roll

The series of points welded to the back of your peavey creates four push points, allowing you to roll the log further with each hit. One common mistake is to try to stand up straight while striking the log. Instead, you’ll want to bend your knees and strike the log with the front-most “razor” and continue to push, striking the other three points. Quick hits will allow you to maintain momentum.

2. The Three-point Roll

You can also use the main peavey point, secondary point, and the swing dog (hook), to create three points of contact to roll a log in a manner similar to the razorback roll. If the swing dog gets hung up, simply hold it back with your front hand as you push. If you’re working alone, you’ll want to roll the log from the small end since the larger end of the log will roll faster. Hard strikes will cause the log to “jump” forward, keeping it rolling straight. If you have a partner with a second peavey, this process is made faster and more efficient since you can move from side to side as necessary.

3. The Crosshaul

Crosshauling is an efficient way to adjust the angle of a log, and can also be used to drag smaller logs. To crosshaul a log with a pair of peaveys, stand opposite your partner at one end of the log. The swing dogs should oppose one another, and be set as low as possible on the log. Setting the swing dog low increases your mechanical advantage, allowing you and your partner to lift, swing, or drag the log.

4. The “Pop”

While crosshauling is an effective way to adjust the angle of the log, it can be slow since you’ll need to move and reset the peavey. An alternative method that’s often used in competitive lumberjack sports is the “pop,” where a second peavey is laid down at one end and used to lift and pry the log back to correct the rolling angle. Once you and your partner are proficient at this, you’ll be able to pop and roll the log as a single motion. However, be careful that the log doesn’t roll far enough up the horizontal peavey to catch your fingers!

5. The Pickaroon Hold

If you’re working alone, crosshauling or popping isn’t possible. Instead, you can use the pickaroon hold to lift and adjust the end of the log. The curved primary and secondary points on the peavey are essential for this maneuver, since an unmodified peavey is liable to slide off the convex surface of the log.

Brett R. McLeod is an associate professor of Forestry & Natural Resources at Paul Smith’s College.


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