Log Chopping

Description

Log chopping, sometimes called underhand or speed chop, involves the contestant standing on a 10 by 10 inch (men) or 8 by 8 inch (women) square piece of wood, usually yellow-poplar or sweetgum, and chopping it in half with an axe. Fastest time from when the go signal sounds until the competitor raises their hand or axe after splitting their cant wins. Breaking the cant by kicking it or raising a hand before it is split result in disqualification. Hitting the cant before the go signal is a 5 second penalty per hit. For safety reasons, competitors are stopped after 5 minutes and not allowed to continue, although competitors who time out tie for last place points. The men's event has been run every year since 1960, and the women's event was first added as a point event in 2023.

Examples

Log Chopping Slow Motion

Click HERE to view the video on YouTube.

Thanks to Chelsea Lopez for shooting and providing this video of Zack Ovelgonne competing in log chopping at the 59th Southern Forestry Conclave hosted by Clemson University.

Techniques

Log Chopping Tips & Techniques Video

Click HERE to view the video on YouTube.

Many thanks to Sarah Fuller for her work in shooting, recording, and editing this video.

How to Underhand Chop Video

Click HERE to view the video on YouTube.

Equipment

Most axes used in modern timbersports competitions are called 'racing axes' and are manufactured by one of a handful of companies. Information for all companies I am aware of is listed below, including one listing for shin and toe guards important to safely learning to log chop. Much greater detail on the design and maintenance of axes and axe handles is included in the USDA Forest Service videos and documents. While these documents are focused on the safe and efficient use of axes in trail maintenance, much of the content applies similarly to log chopping and pole felling.

Tuatahi Racing Axes and Saws - New Zealand

  • http://www.tuatahiaxes.com/
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 01164 6 377-3728

Carson Bosworth Lumberjack Equipment - USA - Wisconsin

Brute Forge Racing Axes - Australia

Mike Osborne No. 1 Racing Axes - Australia

Seymour Midwest - Link Handle Division - USA - Tennessee

GlobalIndustrial.com - USA

Bailey's Online - USA - California

FORS 3000 Note: Part A module quiz includes content above this point. Part B module quiz includes content below this point.

An Ax to Grind Video

Click HERE to view the video on YouTube.

Handtools for Trail Work - Part 2 Video

Click HERE to view the video on YouTube.

An Ax to Grind: A Practical Ax Manual

Note that this manual only counts towards FORS 3000 in the pole felling section. If the document does not load below, click to download the PDF.

Historical Context

Log chopping emulates the practice of bucking a log with an axe. Prior to the wide-scale use of crosscut saws in the 1870s this would have been a more common practice, although bowsawing also would have been used. The USDA Forest Service and other agencies maintaining trails in designated wilderness areas still use similar techniques today, as power equipment is not permitted in these areas.

Log Chopping Example Layout

If the document does not load below, click to download the PDF.