Cant Hook

The Dominy accounts contain several references to customers who paid debts with walnut, sassafras, cherry, or "appletree" logs. Because logs had to be felled, moved, and shaped for milling, a cant hook was necessary for the moving operation. By setting the wrought-iron hook (which swings loosely in a mortise) in a log and applying pressure to the handle, they could roll a log in whatever direction was desired. An 1833 view of the Smith and Dimon Shipyard in New York City, painted by John Pringle, shows four workmen with cant hooks near a huge log being cut by two laborers with a whip (crosscut) saw.75 The shapes of their cant hooks are quite similar to that of the Dominys.

Cant hook, American, probably East Hampton, New York, 1780-1820. Iron; White oak. 7" (H) , 51.3" (L) , 3.6" (W). Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Belin du Pont, 1957.0026.260