A logger’s job with the right tools is hard enough, so imagine being tasked with moving several logs weighing well over a hundred pounds without the appropriate instruments. If you plan on felling your own trees and milling your own lumber, then you need to familiarize yourself with peaveys and cant hooks.
At first glance, the two are virtually identical. Their most notable components are the metal hook and metal piece that sticks out of the end near the hook. Their handles are also built similarly, so in practice, they should be interchangeable, rightWrong.
The decision to use one or the other depends heavily on a number of different factors, including what types of logs you’re rolling and where you’re working. To give you a better understanding of what each of these tools is meant to do, let’s take a closer look at their respective features.
A peavey uses a pivoting metal hook that’s fastened onto a fiberglass, wooden, or metal handle. Near the hook, you’ll find a sharp metal spike protruding from the end.
The pivoting hook is for grabbing onto large logs, typically between 10 and 30 inches in diameter, to move, lift, or turn logs around. They’re also great at rolling logs across soft terrain for better organization.
Cant Hook Basics
Cant hooks are almost identical to peaveys except for the metal piece jutting out from the end of the tool. Instead of a metal spike, cant hooks come with a flat-ended gripper foot that leaves the outer bark and sapwood of a log almost completely intact.
Cant hooks also come with a pivoting hook for grabbing logs, but they’re a tad smaller in size. At most, a cant hook can grab only logs of anywhere between 2 and 24 inches in diameter. Cant hooks are great for rolling, lifting, and organizing cant logs, that is, a log with one flat side.
Differences between Peaveys and Cant Hooks
Peaveys are generally longer than cant hooks which gives them better leverage for lifting and moving raw logs of various widths. This helps reduce a lot of the pressure of lifting logs by shifting the weight from your back to your shoulders and arms.
Although accessories are available for both peaveys and cant hooks, they’re mainly made for use with the former. Peaveys are used to handle rough lumber of various sizes, so having add-ons like T-bars and wheeled carts will simplify the lifting and moving processes while causing minimal damage to the log (something the spike is not known for doing).
The dog refers to the pivoting hook on peaveys and cant hooks. Peaveys come with larger dogs for moving wider pieces of wood to and fro. The larger size will come in handy when moving wide, newly fallen lumbers. Cant hook dogs are stubbier but still provide a ton of gripping power. Their size makes them ideal for moving logs that have already been through a treatment process (cutting, seasoning, etc.).
Peaveys are typically used on the end of logs. The spike is inserted in the outer bark with the grain, while the tip of the hook makes contact with the sapwood in the newly cut end of the log. This is the easier way to lift and rotate rough logs.
Cant hooks are used anywhere on the log. The gripper foot makes contact with the log – perpendicular to the grain – while the hook grabs onto the opposite end.
Peaveys vs. Cant Hooks: Which do I need?
The main thing to take into account when choosing between peaveys and cant hooks is knowing where you’ll be working and what you’ll be doing. In general, peaveys are better for unseasoned logs wider than 15 inches in diameter, whereas cant hooks are made to be used in lumber mills.
Peaveys are the better tool to have when venturing in the middle of forests for felling trees. After chopping a tree down, peavey hooks and their metal spikes will be extremely helpful for moving logs where they drop and lifting them onto carts to wheel away.
If you need a tool to separate logs tacked neatly on top of each other, a cant hook with its gripper foot will make it a lot easier to do. You’ll typically find cant hooks used in professional sawmills for organizing purposes.
There may be certain instances where a peavey and cant hook can be used interchangeably, but it’s not recommended. Cant hooks have shorter and thinner handles which, although durable enough to move several hundred pounds of logs, may not provide enough leverage to lift newly fallen trees off the ground.
Luckily, both peaveys and cant hooks are relatively inexpensive so you can purchase both without leaving a significant dent in your finances. Having each of these tools on hand will make it much easier to work with both rough and sawed logs without leaving unsightly marks or pokes on the surface.
What about Peavey-Cant-Hooks?
To make things even more confusing, there’s a tool called a peavey-cant hook that has both a spiked end and serrated grips in place of a gripper foot. These 2-in-1 tools can replace both tools functionally without needing to swap one out for the other. They’re not as common as regular peaveys and cant hooks, but they could be a great addition to your set of tools if you’re looking to make a single purchase.
In appearance, the differences between peaveys and cant hooks are subtle. However, the metal piece located on the end of the tool can mean a world of difference in how they’re used to treat lumber. The spiked-end of a peavey is used to shift the position of logs, but by doing so, they can leave deep holes in the sapwood. Cant hooks are better for moving already-organized logs for further processing. In the end, the most important consideration to make is deciding how large of a log you’re dealing with regularly since the hooks on peaveys and cant hooks vary in size.