Are you tough enouht to be a lumberjack?

Have you ever seen Ax Men? Well if not, let me enlighten you. It’s an addictive American documentary that follows a group of seemingly fearless individuals as they embark on a season of logging. Armed with huge chainsaws they cut their way through the endless forests of North America at an alarming rate.
Its exciting TV as trees seldom fall where you want them to and it highlights the dangers that logging crews are prepared to put themselves through day in, day out, in order to earn a crust. However, despite the dangers, many people still aspire to enter the industry each year. If you are one of those, read on to get the lowdown on being a lumberjack.
Clearly cutting down trees is not the greenest job in the world but it is definitely essential. Look around you, how many things are made of wood? Trees are required to make everything from paper to tables, chairs, roofs, floors and pencils. It would be hard to imagine without wood.
To be a logger you need to be a physically fit individual. It’s a tough job and you need to have the strength and stamina to work long days. You also need to have a good head for heights as you will often have to scale a tree in order to cut just the top section. Logging crews work as a team to cut, collect and transport the trees away to the saw mills. Standard logging equipment includes a chainsaw, hard hat, reflective vest, spiked shoes and of course, an axe!
Before you are given the chance to fell trees with a chainsaw, most new recruits start out as a chokeman. This is actually more dangerous than cutting down the trees as you have to avoid the falling trees before scrambling over them to attach hooks and cables in order to drag them away. If one of the steel cables or hooks should break, it could whip around and cut a man in half or leave him with severe injuries.
Once you have proven your strength and stamina as a chokeman you may be promoted to the position of a feller. A feeler uses a chainsaw or an axe to cut down a tree and controls its direction of fall by strategically sawing wedges in order to release the tension within the tree. The position carries considerable responsibility as the safety of the men working below you depends on the accuracy of your work.
Clearly working in the logging industry carries significant risk. Not only could you be cut in half by a broken cable or crushed by a falling tree but the remoteness of the environment adds to the danger as you are hours away from medical assistance.
So for all this risk, what are the rewards? Well, the rewards are pretty good, new recruits earn on average $30,000 a year and that figure rises to around $80,000 after a couple of years experience. So if you love the outdoors and want an interesting career that rewards a hard day’s work with nice big pay check then maybe you should make your way to North America and check out life as a lumberjack.


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