Lumberjack Stories

Discussion in 'Logging, Mining and Industrial Railroads' started by jon-monon, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    This thread is started in response to Shamus's chat room idea to get some stories posted. Since we've been unsuccessful in getting Dick (absnut) to come out of retirement, become a lumberjack, and provide us with some stories, I'm using old time stories. If anyone has their own stories, or can borrow some from their favorite source, please post them here!

    These come from the Main Lumberman's Museum. Our little plastic people don't know how easy they got it!

    ~River Driving~

    When the ice broke up in the streams and rivers in late March and early April, the men began rolling the logs into the water that would carry them to the mill. Their daily lives consisted of working in ice water 14 hours a day, sleeping in wet blankets, eating coarse food, and constantly risking their lives. The river drive was the loggers' supreme test as they nimbly rode a log down a spring flooded river in their heavy, spiked boots. Logs sometimes jammed up behind rocks and other logs. The drivers cleared the jams by working from boats with poles and leaping from log to log. Sometimes dynamite had to be used to clear the jam."


    "Bateaux were navigated upstream by means of slender poles of spruce about 12 or 15 feet in length, with an iron point on the end. One boatman stood in the stern and one in the bow and they both poled on the same side as they went upstream. Sometimes a bateau was carried two miles over land. It was carried by three men, one at the bow with both gunwales on his shoulder and two men at the stern each supporting a gunwale. The boat weighed about 615 pounds."
  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Thats the way to go Jon, nice stories, anyone got anymore.

  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Good stories Jon. Glad to see you are posting a current picture of yourself with your new avatar! :D :p :D :rolleyes: :D
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Glad you like it! I'm hoping everyone will be able to recognise me if they see me at a train show! I tried changing avitars when you were out and they complained in general, so I brought Jack back...
  5. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    For classic lumberjack humor ( humour ), it's Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    'I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK....."

    No need to repeat the whole song here, it's still around on cable reruns, or on video.
    To model the true message of the song, the Little Plastic Lumberjacks, must of course:

    "...dress in women's clothes."
    :D :D :D

    A modeling /detailing challenge.
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    A picture is worth a 1000 words, so this is the story!


    22 ft diameter, how tall do you suppose that baby is in HO?
  7. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

  8. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Geewizz Jon, thats one hell of a tree, guess it must be at least 3' tall in H0, wow, mine are only 18" and not that big in the diameter. (1/2" to 3/4") most of them.

  9. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Oil Burner?

  10. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Oil Burner?

    Nope...It's a Scottish Logging Shay, and the tank is the "Wee Dram" container. Look at the guys seated...Kettlestack on the left, wi' his pals "Oor Wullie", and "Fat Boab". I guess that "Wee Eck" must be aff in the shrubbies...:D
  11. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    So, does it run on wee drams???
  12. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Where does Paul Bunyon Come From???

    Paul Bunyan is Born

    It took five giant storks, working overtime, to deliver him to his parents. Three hours after his birth he was reported to weigh a full eighty pounds and they used a lumber wagon drawn by a team of oxen as a baby carriage. His baby voice was described as 'sort of a cross between a buzz saw and a bass drum'. He cut his teeth on a peavy pole and grew so fast that after one week he had to wear his father's clothes. He would eat forty bowls of porridge just to whet his appetite. His lungs were so strong that he could empty a whole pond of frogs with one "holler".
  13. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Another Theory

    The best known folk hero of the Northwoods is the giant lumberjack, Paul Bunyan. A product of rugged humor, wit and spontaneous exaggeration, his 'legend' was created in the bunkhouses of ordinary logging camps, by ordinary working men, while they gathered around the glowing woodstoves on cold winter evenings. It was from there that stories about Paul and Babe spread throughout the pine shanties of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The lumberjacks heard and then retold the fables, often weaving in local or personal embellishments as they passed the tales on.
  14. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    ...and how about Babe The Blue Ox?

    Paul rescued Babe, as a calf, from drowning during the Winter of Blue Snow. Babe grew to be twenty-four axe handles and a plug of tobacco wide between the eyes and as a snack would eat thirty bales of hay...wire and all. Babe was so strong that he could pull anything that had two ends, except Paul (Paul could never be pulled, and he could only be pushed so far). It is said that it took a crow a full day to fly from the tip of one horn to the other. Paul once used Babe to straighten out thirty miles of crooked town road. When all the twists and curves were pulled straight there were an extra twelve miles of road left over. Paul rolled it all up and gave it back to the town to use elsewhere.
  15. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Johnny Inkslinger, The Head Clerk

    Johnny Inkslinger was the camp's head clerk. He invented bookkeeping about the same time that Paul invented logging. He kept track of everything down to the last bean. He used a pen (his own invention) connected to a barrel by a hose. In one week he saved twelve gallons of ink by not crossing his t's or dotting his i's.
  16. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    The Seven Axemen

    Paul liked to work with big men and his prize crew were known as the Seven Axemen. Each of these men was over six feet tall sitting down and weighed over 350 pounds. Each of the Seven refused to use wooden axe handles. Instead, they used woven rope handles and twirled the blades around them like a circular saw. The year of the two winters it got so cold that the axemen let their beards grow full length. They then wrapped the beards around themselves for warmth. In the spring Paul cut all the beards with a large scythe. The whiskers were stacked like hay and later sold for making mattresses.
  17. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    I think it was that Johnny Inkslinger [ as played by John Cleese], that started that 'dressing up in womens' clothes' thing.........yes ????;) ;)
    regards / Mike
  18. Steam Donkey

    Steam Donkey Member

    Paul Bunyan's Tall Tales

    As told by Paul Bunyan:

    My lumber camp on the Onion River was so large that the men had to have a weeks supply of food when walking from one side of the camp to the other.

    The smokestack above the kitchen was so tall that it was hinged in the middle to allow the clouds to go by.

    When Hot Biscuit Slim made soup, he rowed out into the center of the kettle with boatloads of cabbages, turnips and potatoes.

    Big Ole, the blacksmith, made a griddle for hot cakes that was ten acres across. Hot Biscuit Slim strapped flat sides of bacon on the feet of the cookhouse boys. They skated back and forth over the huge griddle until it was well greased. When the griddle began to steam, it became so foggy that no one could see across it.

    Every Sunday morning for breakfast my lumberjacks had hot cakes. They were so large that it took five men to eat one. I usually ate twelve or fourteen depending on how hungry I was.

    My lumber camp was the largest camp in this country. The bunkhouses stretched for five miles in all directions and each had five tiers of bunks, one above the other.

    Wood ticks bothered my men during the summer months. It was pretty hard to keep them out of the bunkhouses. The ticks in Minnesota were quite smart. They would gather around the office when a new batch of loggers came into camp and even crawl down Johnnie Inkslinger's pen to see what bunk the newcomers had so they could be first to move in and enjoy it.

    Big Ole, the blacksmith, built a kettle for soup that covered five and a half acres and sent for a Mississippi stern wheeler. It was quite a sight with the fire burning under the soup kettle and the old steamer paddling around mixing up vegetable soup for dinner.

    The kitchen tables were so long that Tiny Tim, the chore boy, usually drove the length of the table with the salt and pepper wagon, stayed all night and drove back in the morning for a fresh load.

    One time while we were logging off Minnesota, we had such a big wind that Big Ole, the blacksmith, had to bolt iron bands over the logs in the cast-iron stove to keep them from being sucked up the chimney.

    When I asked Brimstone Bill whether the cook shanty had been damaged during the big wind, he told me he didn't know because he hadn't found it yet. Brimstone Bill was probably the most cantankerous person in my camp. He was so irreligious that he even spoke disrespectfully to the equator. He was so sontrary that every time he fell into the river, we had to look for him upstream.

    Near my Stony River Lumber Camp the white pines grew quite fast. In fact some of them grew so fast that my men couldn't cut them down because they couldn't chop in the same place twice.

    Good old Mr Bunyan never seems to run out of yarn to spin! :D

  19. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Good ones Stan :D :D :D
  20. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    The Year of The Two Winters

    The year of the two winters the snow was so deep Paul had to dig down to the trees to continue logging operations. It got so cold that the boiling coffee froze in the shanties and the 'jacks were scalded by the hot ice. When the men spoke, their words froze in mid-air and when it thawed in the spring there was a terrible chatter for weeks.

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