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