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cant-hook / cant-pole

cant. To give a sudden turn or impulse to, as to any thing resting upon its edge; to jerk; to throw, as, to cant round a stick of timber. — Webster, 1882

They put the sharp ends of their cant-poles against it, and when they raised the poles up, the cant-hooks bit into the log and rolled it a little. – Farmer Boy, Chapter 27, “Wood Hauling”

noteA cant-hook is used to move logs either in the timber or at the sawmill, or to move large stones. The typical cant-hook had a wooden cant-pole which was about six feet long and three inches square at the largest part, containing a mortise or slot. The pole tapers at each end. The iron hook was about 2 feet long and 2 inches wide and nearly a half an inch thick, often perforated with several holes so it could be adjusted to use with timber of varying sizes. A strong screw bolt secures the hook through the pole. Sometimes the iron hook is bolted to the side of the lever instead of being placed in a mortice, or a band of iron secures the two. – John Thomas, The Illustrated Annual Register of Rural Affairs and Cultivator Almanac for the Year 1870 (Albany, New York: Luther Tucker and Son, 1870): 49-50.

A cant-hook (sometimes called a cant-dog) with a spike at the end of the pole (the end with the hook) is called a peavey. Use of a cant-hook with a spike is first attributed to Joseph Peavey in 1858, a Maine blacksmith. The spike allows for a firmer hold on the log to be moved and it could be used to push or prod logs into position.

Advertisement and photograph of railroader’s cant-hook.


cant (FB 12, 28)
     cant-hooks (FB 27)
     cant-poles (FB 27)