Watch videos of a feller/buncher and a delimber in action

North America's loggers once cut down trees that were so enormous–such as this one, probably located in California–eight men could stand in the notch. Today, the remaining old-growth giants are virtually off limits, and timber companies set up their sawmills for logs that are just six to 20 inches wide. They also employ far smaller crews today, replacing dozens of ax men with a few folks wielding such mechanical helpers as feller/bunchers and delimbers. At the mill, lasers scan the logs so that computers can figure out how best to use, as one company puts it, "every part of the tree but its shadow."

Photo: Hammond Lumber, Oregon Historical Society, OrHi 76084