Build Three Homemade Timber Tools

You might not be able to buy these tools at the store, but you can certainly make homemade timber tools. Includes the log tong, pry bar peavey, safety helmet, detailed diagrams and building instructions.

| July/August 1985


Diagram: Log tong.


Learn how to make these homemade timber tools for harvesting lumber on your homestead. (See the timber tool photos and diagrams in the image gallery.)

Harvesting wood is hard work . . . especially for the occasional cutter who—like many of us—can't justify the purchase of costly laborsaving equipment when sawing only enough wood to keep the stove or fireplace stocked. Yet properly designed hand tools, made from scrap in your own modest workshop, can ease the burden of manual labor while still doing a great job of keeping expenses in check.

The three homemade timber tools you see on these two pages were adapted from Scandinavian designs and are well suited to the type of secondary-growth cutting faced by most weekend lumberjacks. Each tool cost less than $5.00 to build, and only one—the pry bar peavey—required welding of any kind. Read on and find out how you can spend a couple of leisure hours to save a lot of time on the woodpile.


Like the ice seller's tool, this device uses mechanical advantage to keep a grip on the work . . . but its design goes the old block tongs one better because it's meant to be used with a single hand. Since the handle pivots on one gaff and is connected through links to the other, the pressure of the "bite" is proportional to the weight of the load.

To fashion a tong, first clamp two 11-1/2 inch sections of 3/16 inch by 1 inch flat stock together and drill a 5/16 inch hole through each end of the matched set. Then join the pieces with two short bolts, and—using our illustration as a guide—bend the straps into the configuration shown. (Yes, you're going to need a torch, a vise, locking pliers, and a hammer to get the job done, but once you've heated the metal to a dull red, it'll bend very easily and will probably even have to be reflattened along the curves with the hammer.)

Note that the completed tool has one long gaff with a slight bend at its mounted end. Form this 1-1/2 inch -long offset into both metal pieces; then, once everything has air-cooled, remove the end bolts and use a hacksaw to cut points on the tips and to trim the upper gaff to its 8 inch finished length. Bevel the face of each point with a grinder, then go on to round the nose and tail of each "hook."

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