Falling and bucking logs in the woods during the late 1800's was an enormous and dangerous undertaking (too often requiring the services of an undertaker). The effort required just to buck a log into lengths suitable for being dragged along a skid road by teams of oxen or horses could take days. I was recently surprised when reviewing historical photos to find that loggers also at times barked logs in the woods.
Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, IND0563, circa 1895
Barking logs is a lot of work. Why would loggers need to remove the bark prior to sending it to a mill? Here is another picture.
Photo courtesy Washington State Historical Society
I can think of only two potential reasons for barking in the woods: (1) removing the bark would make it easier to drag on skid roads and/or (2) cedar shake mills might benefit in their processing. Neither reason makes sense to me though. Is the friction loss that great if the bark is left on? The logs we see above do not appear to be cedar or bucked to the lengths cedar mills would need. Any ideas?