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Split Stuff – Fence Rails, Shingles, Hop Stakes and Grape Stakes

Loggers on springboards

Have a look at the photo right:

Notice how high the loggers are off of the ground. The bottom of redwoods are full of water and difficult to cut so the loggers stood on boards and cut higher up as you can see. When I thought about I realized that the stumps I have seen are never that high. So, what happened to the first six to eight feet of the trunk?

This recent e-mail from club member Mike Aplet dispels the mystery:

A lot is mentioned of the Tan Bark Trade. Another cottage industry was Split Stuff making. Old growth stumps were usually left on site at a height of eight or ten feet. Hop StakesThere was a lot of good wood left behind by the logging crews. Men used to come behind, often some of the same people who worked in the original tree harvest, and cut split stuff. Most of the time people think of fence rails or shingles but hop and later grape stakes were in great demand in the inland valleys.

Hop Stakes

Salvaging split products stakes, Hollywood shakes and shingle bolts from refuse

Salvaging split products stakes, Hollywood
shakes and shingle bolts from refuse

The stump in the photo below was used to make shingles. There is a lot of evidence all around Brooktrails, just north of Willits where Mike lives, and other places in the county of split stuff making.

That's Mike sitting on a stump that was used for making shingles

That's Mike sitting on a stump that
was used for making shingles