Cant Hook Versus Peavey

Useful information on the relative merits and characteristics of these basic logging and sawmilling tools. May 11, 2005

Cant hook vs. peavey: which do you prefer? I have always used cant hooks, but have been thinking of picking up a peavey. Just broke two handles today and was looking at the aluminum deals at and thinking about the 90.00 price tag. Thoughts?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor H:
I favor a cant hook because that spear on a peavey gets in the way on the mill. It doesn't take too many wooden handles to consider those aluminum cant hooks a bargain. I've been looking at them, too.

From contributor B:
Those LogRite cant hooks really work! We picked up two 30" Sawmill Special models and one 60" standard model at the Paul Bunyon show this fall. Now our wooden handled cant hooks never get used. We have one Sawmill Special hanging on the wall behind the Wood-Mizer mill for that occasional stubborn cant that does not want to turn. I was going to mount the second on the loader so it would be handy in the yard when we needed it. But it has been put to use on the log deck side of the mill. We also have the 60 model there; it's not used as often as the 30, but it's there when we need more power.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I hope I can provide a little clarification. First, a cant hook has a blunt end, usually with a ring and some small teeth at the end. A peavey (sometimes spelled peavy) was invented by John Peavey, a blacksmith in the 1870s, and is a modification of a cant hook. A peavey has a pointed end. A peavey would not be used at a sawmill, but would be used in a log yard, especially when the logs are stored in the water. (Prior to John's invention, a logger would use both a cant hook and a jam pike, where the jam pike had a pointed end and was a long pole. His invention allowed a logger to carry just one tool.)
Second, both can have wooden handles. However, both can

* have wooden handles that are too small in diameter, greatly reducing the strength
* have non-hickory species handles, greatly reducing the strength
* not have the grain running parallel to the sides of the handle, thereby greatly reducing the strength.

From contributor S:
As Gene said, Peaveys are for movin' logs in the water - the point doesn't grab the log very well for turning/rolling it. That said, we use Peavey brand cant hooks. They have a solid tip instead of the 2 rings that Dixies do. I believe this leads to less breakage. We're slowly cycling out of our wood-handled 5' cant hooks, and looking forward to buying some LogRites. As I'm breaking our long handles, I'm turning new short handles for them out of garage sale baseball bats. They're great for turning logs on the mill. As Gene said, I keep the grain parallel to the forces applied.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. As I said, I have used cant hooks almost exclusively, other than a couple times at a friend's mill where he had several peaveys. I haven't used the peaveys enough to form an opinion, which was why I posted here. I always thought the second spike on the peavey would damage the cant, which made me hesitant. At this point, I think I will stay with the cant hooks. The baseball bats are a great idea - never thought of it. I have been trying to track down some dry ash or hickory to turn some new handles, but the bats will solve the problem.

From contributor V:
Just a minor correction to Gene's message about the inventor of the peavey. According to everything I've seen on the subject, it was Joseph Peavey, not John, and he was a blacksmith from Old Town, Maine, near Bangor.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Joseph is indeed correct. My error.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor M:
I have been using Oshkosh brand cant hooks for years and love them. Thanks for the peavey history. I've always wondered why someone would need the spike on the end.