A cant hook is a traditional logging tool consisting of a wooden lever handle with a movable metal hook called a dog at one end, used for handling and turning logs and cants, especially in sawmills. Unlike the similar peavey, the cant hook has a blunt tip, often bearing teeth.
A logging tool description from the Lumberman's Museum at Patten, Maine, reads in part: "A cant dog or cant hook was used for lifting, turning, and prying logs when loading sleds and on the drive. At first, a swivel hook on a pole with nothing to hold it in position was used. This was called a swing dingle." However, the term swing dingle is more often published as being a type of logging sled. These early types are also called a ring dog or ring dog cant hook. In 1858, Joseph Peavey, a blacksmith in Stillwater, Maine, made a rigid clasp to encircle the cant dog handle with the hook on one side. It moved up and down, but not sideways. All loggers have used it ever since."
While this tool has its origins in the logging industry, many arborists, tree care professionals, land owners and portable sawmill operators now use cant hooks for moving logs and timber.
- Salaman, R. A.. Dictionary of tools used in the woodworking and allied trades, c. 1700-1970. New York: Scribner, 1975. 484.
- Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, p. 6456, defined swing-dingle as follows:
- "In lumbering, a single sled with wood-shod runners and a tongue with lateral play, used in hauling logs down steep slopes on bare ground. Also called loose-tongued sloop."
- Mercer, Henry C.. Ancient carpenters' tools: illustrated and explained, together with the implements of the lumberman, joiner, and cabinet-maker in use in the eighteenth century. Dover ed. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2000. 40.
- Cant Hook or Peavey? — A great article on the history of the cant hook and peavey.
- Logging Lingo — Here's a quick brush-up on the lingo used by loggers, with fair warning that terminology differs from one region to another.