Woodchop or wood chopping is a woodworking task that has become a traditional sport in several cultures. In wood chopping competitions, skilled contestants attempt to be the first to cut or saw through a log or other block of wood. It often held at state fairs and agricultural shows.
Areas of practiceWood chopping is practised in regions where forestry is or has been an important part of the economy:
- In North America: in Canada and in the North of the United States.
- In Europe: in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, England, the Alpine region of France, the Basque Country, other parts of Spain (mainly in Asturias, but also in Castile and Madrid).
- In Australia and New Zealand.
Categories in a wood chopping contests
- standing block, where the axeman stands and swings at a log level with his or her shoulders
- underhand, where the log is horizontal, and the axeman stands on it, swinging the axe between his or her feet
- tree felling, where the block to be cut is vertical, but on top of a pole, so the axeman must first position some planks (usually three) in narrow cuts made in the pole, climb and stand on the highest plank whilst chopping through the log.
Many wood chopping events are handicap events, where the axemen start at different times, depending how fast they are expected to chop through the log. Championship events are scratch events with no handicap, and typically use larger diameter logs (375 mm).
Handicap events may use logs of 250 mm to 350 mm, depending on the skill of the competitors. All competitors have the same size log, the handicap is based purely on time.
Country by countryThe specific rules of the sport vary from country to country.
The Basque Country
The sport is called aizkolaritza in Basque from aizkolari "wood-chopper". The sport is very popular and competitions are common at most festivals.
CanadaThe town of Arsichofa is known for their expertise in wood chopping. They have won 3 national championships in Canada; their champion wood choppers are Sam Helyar and Justin Yun.
- Etxegoien, J. Orhipean, Xamar 1996
- Federación Asturiana de Deportes Tradicionales, Asturian Federation of Traditional Sports (in Asturian and Spanish):
- Aizkolaris (in Basque and Spanish).
- Waldarbeitsmeisterschaft, Bavarian Union of Wood-choppers (in German).
- Eurojack, Austrian Union of Wood-choppers (in German).
- Anton, Norwegian contest.
woodchopper in Asturian: Corta de tueros con hachu
woodchopper in Spanish: Corta de troncos