Tommy Moore Block

Tommy Moore Block
Tommy Moore Block

It's a bit of a an unknown to my why a Tommy Moore block is called a Tommy Moore Block, but that so far as I know is the only name they have. It refers to a wide mouth block (a pulley to some) that is much wider than the size of the cable that passes through it. The reason for the extra width is so that shackles and other rigging can pass through along with the line. Indeed if the blocks have a name other than a 'Tommy Moore' it is that of a 'transfer block. In regular operations it is usually not appropriate to run shackles, swivels and other such things through a block, for a variety of reasons. However, during special conditions such as set up it is common. For example is one is rigging up a skyline operation, Ordinarily the haywire is strung out first in 100 foot sections and hooked together, and then used to pull the main line into position. Short sections of line are used for the haywire because they have to be strung by hand, and often carried to position under most difficult circumstances. The pieces are connected as needed then to make a long line.

After I wrote the above article, the following explanation came to my attention. I have no problem accepting this account as accurate. Ed.

The Tommy Moore Block explained

By Bryan Penttila

A vestige of Pacific County's past can still be found in many of the high-lead logging operations of the Pacific coast. It is an oversized pulley, or block, with a specially designed wide sheave and yoke first conceived in the woods along the north bank of the Columbia River below Knappton, WA by an astute young logger named Henry Hoeck. Now entering its 100th year of use, the block and its many design variations, simply known as the "Tommy Moore," are a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the areas early loggers.

Time is money as the old adage goes and Henry Hoeck was not making much of either on his logging show a few miles below Knappton in 1902. He had five million board feet of choice Douglas Fir to harvest-skidding the logs out of a large canyon to a ridge top where they were sent shooting down into the Columbia in a chute some 1,000 feet long. This being a time before spar trees and high-lead rigs, Hoeck was slogging his logs out of the canyon roughly 2,000 feet in a V-shaped trough made of long, slender logs called a pole road. Known as ground-lead logging, it was the standard operating procedure of the day.

- - Updated 12/20/2012
- - Updated 4/05/2011