Artist(s): Thomas Robertson

Fallers Undercutting A Fir

Mural Routes Member(s): Chemainus Festival of Murals Society Completed: 1982

Dimensions: 2.44m x 7.01m (8’ x 23’)

Best Viewed: South side of building, corner Chemainus and Pine streets, on the Fire Hall Tower

“Historical Series #5: Fallers Undercutting A Fir”

Working as a team, fallers cutting a coastal giant fir had to stand at the same elevation. This was made almost impossible by the rough ground and steep slopes of the rainforest. To overcome the difference in heights, and to get above the massive flaring butt of a tree, springboards were used.

Made from yellow cedar planks, and iron tipped, these were wedged into notches in the tree. Each faller would stand upon a springboard and wield his double-edged falling axe with precision.

A thin-bladed two handled cross-cut-saw, 2.44 metres (8 ft) in length, was shared between them to complete the job.

Dangling from the lower part of the tree being cut was an oil bottle with a sharp hook fastened to its neck. It was often corked with a piece of grooved fir bark. When the saw complained with the heat of friction, oil would be sprinkled along the blade.

When the Chemainus Fire Hall was demolished in 2015, the mural was recreated on aluminum composite panels and installed on the new fire hall on Pine Street in 2018.

(Please drop by the Chemainus Visitors Centre to buy your Official Mural Guide. Proceeds from the sale go to the Chemainus Festival of Murals Society).

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Where to Find This Mural

Location: 9901 Chemainus Rd, Chemainus, BC, V0R1K1 Get Directions