The split-log road-drag (D. W. King).

Two mistakes are commonly made in constructing a split-log drag. The first lies in making it too heavy. It should be so light that one man can easily lift it (Fig. 20).

The other mistake is in the use of squared timbers, instead of those with sharp edges, whereby the cutting effect of sharp edges is lost and the drag is permitted to glide over instead of to equalize the irregularities in the surface of the road. These mistakes are due partly to badly drawn illustrations and plans of drags which have occasionally appeared in newspapers, and partly to the erroneous idea that it is necessary that a large amount of earth shall be moved at one time.

A dry red cedar log is the best material for a drag. Red elm and walnut when thoroughly dried are excellent, and box elder, soft maple, or even willow are preferable to oak, hickory, or ash.

The log should be seven or eight feet long and from ten to twelve inches in diameter, and carefully split down the middle. The heaviest and best slab should be selected for the front. At a point on this front slab 4 inches from the end that is to be at the middle of the road locate the center of the hole to receive a cross stake, and 22 inches from the other end of the front slab locate the center for another cross stake. The hole for the middle stake will lie on a line connecting and halfway between the other two. The back slab should now be placed in position behind the other. From the end which is to be at the middle of the road measure 20 inches for the center of the cross stake, and 6 inches from the other end locate the center of the outside stake. Find the center of the middle hole as before. When these holes are brought opposite each other, one end of the back slab will lie 16 inches nearer the center of the roadway than the front one, giving what is known as " set back." The holes should be 2 inches in diameter. Care must be taken to hold the auger plumb in boring these holes in order that the stakes shall fit properly. The hole to receive the forward end of the chain should be bored at the same time.

The split log road drag

Fig. 20. — The split-log road-drag.

The two slabs should be held 30 inches apart by the stakes. Straight-grained timber should be selected for the stakes, so that each stake shall fit snugly into the two-inch hole when the two slabs are in the proper position. The stakes should taper gradually toward the ends. There should be no shoulder at the point where the stakes enter the slab. The stakes should be fastened in place by wedges only.

When the stakes have been placed in position and tightly wedged, a brace two inches thick and four inches wide should be placed diagonally to them at the ditch end. The brace should be dropped on the front slab, so that its lower edge shall lie within an inch of the ground, while the other end should rest in the angle between the slab and the end stake.

A strip of iron about 31/2 feet long, 3 or 4 inches wide, and 1/4 of an inch thick may be used for the blade. This should be attached to the front slab, so that it will be 1/2 inch below the lower edge of the slab at the ditch end, while the end of the iron toward the middle of the road should be flush with the edge of the slab. The bolts holding the blade in place should have flat heads, and the holes to receive them should be countersunk.

If the face of the log stands plumb, it is well to wedge out the lower edge of the blade with a three-cornered strip of wood to give it a set like the bit of a plane.

A platform of inch boards held together by three cleats should be placed on the stakes between the slabs. These boards should be spaced at least an inch apart to allow any earth that may heap up and fall over the front slab to sift through upon the road again.