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Would you woodchop wood?

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(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Image by Max Guitare/Flikr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Image by Max Guitare/Flikr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Olivia Morris, Reporter

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Lumberjacks, we know them as the guys who cut down trees and wear plaid shirts, but, did you know that this stereotype is considered a competitive sport?

Known as Axe Men in WA, timbersports is becoming a popular competition, especially in Europe.

Originating in Tasmania, timbersports came around as easy as two guys thinking one can chop wood faster than the other.

It is very common that becoming an Axe Man is generational. President of Progressive Axemen’s Association of WA, Brett Reynolds said that there are new people joining frequently but it’s more of a family sport, sons see their dads do it and they follow.

Axe Men in Australia compete in the international STIHL Timbersports Championships. The competition is made up of 6 disciplines;

  • Springboard– The competitor uses two springboards to ascend to the top of a nine-foot pole and chop a firmly attached 12″ diameter block from the top of the pole. The block must be chopped from both sides.
  • STIHL Stock Saw– Competitors begin with both hands on the log. When the signal is given, the sawyers, using identical chainsaws with a 20-inch bar and chain, make two cuts through identical logs. No more than 4″ of wood, which is marked by a black line, can be cut.
  • Underhand Chop– The competitor stands, feet apart, on a 12″-14″ log. At the signal, he begins chopping through the log. Before chopping all the way through he must turn and complete the cut from the other side. Time ends when the log is severed completely.
  • Single Buck– Competitors make one cut through 18″-20″ of white pine using a single man crosscut saw. The competitor may have a helper to wedge the log and keep the saw lubricated. Time ends when the block is clearly severed.
  • Standing Block Chop– Competitors race to chop through 12″-14″ of white pine. The competitor must chop from both sides of the log and the time ends when the block is severed.
  • Hot Saw– In this event the competitor uses a customised chainsaw with a modified engine. At the signal, the competitor starts the saw and makes three cuts. The competitor must cut no more than 6″ from the log which is marked with a black line.

Unfortunately timbersports it isn’t something that could be a full-time profession here in WA. Reynolds said: “Timbersports is huge in Europe but here in WA, it’s just at the agricultural shows. There are three clubs in WA, metro, central district and one down south. There isn’t a huge amount of axe men in WA but there’s enough to keep us going.”

Although not huge in WA, timbersports has Australians winning medals and titles on the international stage. The timbermen of Australia are considered some of Australia’s top athletes.

Mitch Argent, from Blackbutt in Queensland, won the STIHL Timbersports Australian Champions Trophy and will now be heading to Europe to compete against 25 other countries. The 22-year-old comes in at 105kg and trains 4-5 times a week at home.

With a strenuous training routine, it isn’t something you can just fall into, it’s an expensive sport as well with axes costing upwards of $850 each. Reynolds also told us that the Progressive Axemen Association althetes train a couple of times a week but it takes time to get into the sport as it takes a fair bit of practice to get it right.

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About the Writer
Olivia Morris, Reporter
Hi, I’m Liv a self-confessed beauty junkie and qualified make up artist who lets all my love for it out on my YouTube channel. I’m a passionate person who tends to talk a lot and tries to find humour in most situations. When asked if I believe in something, my response is this: ‘stars’. And...
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Would you woodchop wood?