24 thoughts on “Large Fir Tree, 1905

  1. These people were, and still are, amazing with the direction of the under cut. They would fell the tree in the desired direction for best removal and least damage to other timber.

  2. lance, that technique was called ‘facing’ a tree. nowadays most trees are cut with a robo-cop looking thing that grabs the tree in pinchers, cuts it straight off and lays it on a trailer. less dangerous, and cool in its own scary way.

    that said, the guy at the christmas tree farm was pretty amused that i faced my lil’ 12-footer.

  3. ‘My 3 cents back from a nickel’:

    If that casual fellow is an average height, then the tree approximates about 72 caliper inches, which for a Douglas Fir would age at about 150-180 years old. These guys are why all the trees in the west hills are now about the same height having all been logged out in the late 19th and early 20th century – voila Stumptown!

  4. I’d guess that, depending on the height of the guy in the undercut, this tree was anywhere from 6 to 8 feet across.

  5. Those bottles contained kerosene to lubricate that misery whip (the saw) leaning against the tree so that it could more easily pass through the wet green wood. The loggers would stand on “spring boards” at a height calculated to get them level and off the ground above the butt swell (bole) of the tree as well as obstructions. This resulted in the “high stumps” still found rotting in the woods yet today. Later many of these stumps were salvage logged from cut over land for lath or firewood and in the case of cedar stumps, for shingle bolts after power saws came in, but a few still remain rotting away for us to ponder. As for the dude he doesn’t look like a team player what with those slick shods and suit. The standing faller is remarkable for not having his trousers “stagged off” in the manner of the other faller lying in the undercut. After the interlude the two fallers will re position their sping boards by jumping up an down to the back of the tree and begin to saw in the direction of the undercut until they can wedge the tree over using wedges driven into the saw cut. When the tree starts over they will leap to forest floor and run for their lives all while hoping that the log scaler doesn’t have a long thumb as they are likely being paid by the board foot.
    Day lighting the swamp in the rare old days.

  6. @Christopher. It’s pretty hard to estimate a trees age just by diameter alone. Many factors go into it’s size vs age. Elevation, slope aspect, slope location elevation, available water, availability to sun, snow pack, climate, etc. I’ve bored hundreds of Doug fir and Hemlock old growth trees and I’ve seen 6 ft diameter trees that were 150 years old and also 450 years old. We had to count growth rings with a 10x microscope on those more compressed rings. Also, the tree in the pic looks more like a Hemlock than a fir.

  7. As an antique bottle collector I’ve always wanted an original “Logger oil bottle”. The one in in this photo is a little unusual in that it is clear. In most pictures I tend to see them using dark beer or whiskey bottles. An old timer came into the saw/lawnmower fix it shop close to where I live and gave them an original one. I offered 150 dollars for it but no sale. I’m glad because I’m sure the old guy wanted them to have it, not me. On the trail behind “the Oregon caves” in southern Oregon there is a massive Douglas fir one can view. Top is blown off but you can sense the hugeness of it. Largest tree I’ve ever seen in Oregon anyway.

  8. The guy in the suit is Donald Trump’ s great great grandfather. He’s taking credit for a deal he brokered with the logging company to employ US workers on construction of the first Trump Tower.
    Little known fact: the first Trump Tower was made of old growth fir, stood 200 feet tall, and featured a gallery of stuffed/mounted spotted owl and Canada Lynx. The completion kicked off his Make America Great campaign which included the proposal to extend the Great Wall of China all the way around the country in an effort to contain the Chinese who were stealing all the good American jobs. The effort failed when China refused to pay for the wall.

  9. @ Old 55 & Jim. I think that is a fair guess Jim. Another possibility might be some where on the west slope of the Tualatin Hills,or even Lents, which if the date of the photo is correct. Steam donkeys were just then beginning to come into the woods in numbers and there by making harder to reach trees economical. As these guys are hand loggers still. Ground lead log roading to a landing served by a primitive railroad opened up more and more territory and which in turn would quickly be overtaken by high lead systems feeding railroads by the mid teens leading to the “highball” era. The first trees to go were those closest to the rivers followed by those on level ground or gentle slopes that could be handled on skid roads by ox teams or horses. Steam power changed the equation. A quick look around this (Vintage Portland) site will reveal the patterns of clearing pretty soon. Sooner or later all these big logs had to get into a river or log pond before they could become lumber Dry sort was not an option

  10. “One (or two) of those men are actually related to my boyfriend.” I can’t tell if you are kidding. If not then provide some names.

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