Shake Block Cutter

Helicopter Timber Salvage: Tales from the Front Lines

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I felt privileged to be involved in such a unique and adventurous industry, and I knew it would disappear in the blink of an eye really; in several years, a decade at the most. I thanked my lucky stars every day I worked with this ancient and noble wood. I had the foresight to carry a 35 mm film camera with me for most of the ten years I spent pursuing this great wood. I knew that one day, when it all ran out, that the photographs I took would have significance. 

The story I am about to tell you takes place in the 1970’s and 80’s, during the good old days of shake block cutting. Technology, mainly the helicopter and the modern chainsaw, enabled us to harvest this valuable wood in ways and quantities that could only be imagined before this time. Shake block cutting still continues to this day, but only in a much more limited scope. I cut shake blocks during the glory days, during the days when the remoteness of the wood was suddenly no longer an obstacle. We rode our winged serpents to where no man had gone before. And we found the treasure. I was a shake block cutter and here is my story.