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WOOD CHOPPING COMPETITIONS: ORIGIN AND MODE OF PLAY

Wood chopping competitions are competitions that have been around for several years. They are commonly found at agricultural shows or state fairs. 

This sport involves wood cutting events among participants as the name implies. The first participant to cut through a block or log of wood is declared the winner. 

This sport is reported to have its origin in a game of bet in Tasmania between two men. These men bet $50 on the first person to fell a tree.

Mode of play

Participants of the game are commonly referred to as axe men. Different equipment are used to play the sport, but the predominantly used ones are racing axes. Others include purpose built racing saws (Peg & Raker saw and ‘m tooth’ saw), wedge and sledge hammer.

This sport is played a little differently in numerous cultures and a couple of rules have been added over the years as the sport has been around for centuries. 

However, irrespective of the culture and rules attached to the sport, the main aspect of the sport is the chopping or sawing of block or log of wood. 

The axe men are given a block of wood to chop through. The first individual to chop through theirs wins the sport.  Blocks of wood used in this game are usually thick and take a long time to chop through.

These competitions are usually handicap events. This implies that players are placed at a disadvantage when competing with other players based on their skills, expertise, strength, previous winnings and number of competition entries. The handicap could involve a larger log of wood or different time allocations.

Standing block

This involves cutting a scarf at one part of the block. Once this is cut, the axe man moves to the other part of the wood to cut another scarf, however, this time higher than the last (two inches or more).

Tree felling

This is another event involved in wood chopping competitions. The participant cuts a little pocket at the side of a pole and inserts a small wooden board into it. At the end of the board is a metal shoe which grips into the wood from the top. Once the axe man is done with the installation, he climbs to the next and proceeds to make other boards at the side of the pole till he reaches the top pole. He then cuts through the block at the top of the pole.

There are different versions to this event:

  • The spring board or two (and one) board. The axe man climbs the one or two boards, then creates a large scarf at the front of the log. He turns at the top board and proceeds to chop down the block of wood using only downward movements. This sport doesn’t take much time as each axe man is assigned 50 to 80 seconds to complete the chopping.
  • The three board. This is a sort of marathon event in wood chopping competitions and it lasts about 5 minutes. The axe man goes up a pole and cuts a large scarf at one side. He then repeats the same action at the other side of the pole. 

Types of wood used in this competition

The type of wood used in these events vary from country to country. However, the most commonly used types include mountain Ash, Pinus strobus, radiata pine (Pinus radiata), Woolley butt, poplar, gum, white pine, Aspen frozen wood, alder, cotton wood etc.

Conclusion

This sport has been around for a very long time and includes various events such as tree felling, standing block, single buck, double buck, underhand and others.

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