Also called a Pitman.
The men responsible for turning the trees into lumber.
First the trees were debarked. (Oak bark was saved and
sold to the tanners for use in leather tanning).
The main tool there was a barking spud. These are metal pikes with small spade ends and wooden handles.
From there it was off to the sawpit. This
could be an actual pit dug deep enough to all the saw to
operate or a wooden frame, which supported the logs while they were cut. Early saws were framed, that is
the sawblade was mounted in the center of a long wooden frame. This added quite a bit of weight to the
saw, but was necessary because the early iron saw blades (also called saw plate) were quite brittle and
easily broken. As iron making and steel making evolved, the saw blade became heavy enough and strong
enough to work without the frame.
The first sawmills were made by mounting the straight
blades into larger frames and using waterpower to
move them up and down. The concept of a circular saw blade was developed independently in England and
later in the US. A Shaker sister (Tabitha Babbit) was given credit for the invention, although there is a great
deal of controversy on this issue. The fact is that the Shakers were among the first to build and operate
circular sawmills in this country, and later applied this technology to other areas as well.