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Author Topic: Help out kids at the museum! Difference between ice tongs and skidding tongs?  (Read 1209 times)

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Offline HistoryNerd

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I'm an educator working out of a history museum in Seattle on a program for kids designed to help them look at major industries that shaped this area. One of the big ones in this region is obviously the timber industry!

The program is designed so that kids get to get their hands on some authentic artifacts that represent the various industries. Obviously I can't give the kids a saw, but I might get away with some skidding tongs if I give a good enough safety talk :D

My question is this: when I've been looking at tongs on eBay, a whole bunch of them are listed as ice tongs and skidding tongs in the same label. Is there any difference between the two, and if so, what is it and how will I know? A lot of them for sale are manufactured by Gifford Wood Co, which is ironically not a wood company and made products for moving ice, but would it be inaccurate to give the kids a set of these and call them skidding tongs?

Are there any other antique log moving tools that might be a better fit to give to kids and wont poke a hole in some idiot kid?

I thought I'd go straight to the source and ask the experts!

Thanks for your help!



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I got 2 different sized tongs / grapples at Tractor Supply.

Sharp? They'll put a hole in you right to the bone.

Mine are not antiques though.
The older I get I wish my body could Re-Gen.

Offline sprucebunny

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Ice tongs have a handle of some type at the top.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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And generally much lighter weight.  Ice tongs are probably only lifting 40 to 60 lbs of ice?  The ones I've seen look to be made from 1/2" steel rod.  Log tongs are lifting hundreds if not thousands of lbs.  My tongs are made from steel rod (octagon shaped) that is 1-1/16" across the flats and weighs in at about 50 lbs.  Wish I had a picture but never thought to take one.  Easily smash a toe if dropped.
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Offline Don P

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A choker?
Get a couple of timber carriers and let 4 kids at a time tote a log?
A cant hook or ring dog and let them use the principle of leverage to roll a log?
Get a horselogger to visit?
A logrite fetching arch? Let the kids hook up and pull ... then show the early predecessor;
Gin pole and pulleys to load logs onto a cart?

A laborer works with his hands
A craftsman uses his brain and his hands
An artist uses his brain, his hands, and his heart


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Ice tongs are much lighter and have either a single grip responsible for closing the tongs on the block, or two handles that are brought together and pinched to grip the ice. Log tongs have a heavy ring to attach a chain to and like the single handle ice tongs this ring will cause the tongs to pinch the log when the chain is tugged. Both tended to be blacksmith made but ice tongs were sometimes made from flat stock. Log tongs in my area were sometimes made from repurposed vehicle axles. As to other tools a cant hook or peevey with a section of log should be popular with kids. Get a chunk of log that is crooked or with a lump on one side and have them try to roll it without and then with a cant hook. My father horse logged before machinery was common and he said most bush men wouldn't use a cant hook that had been welded and had them drawn by a blacksmith instead of being file sharpened. In those days a cant hook failure might result in injury or death.
Life is too short or my list is too long, not sure which. Dec 2014

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