Road Weary

No, I have not abandoned the NHInsider, just have to make a subsistence living between articles.

Just back from Wisconsin and the Stihl Timbersports competition where I am employed seasonally putting on this international lumberjack competition for ESPN. And thank goodness it is seasonally because my old carcass is showing the wear.

This year we have competitors from all over, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, and the US. We had eight competitors in each of four groups ranked according to past ESPN performance, chopping and sawing in six different events, springboard, underhand, standing, single-buck sawing, stock saw and super modified saw competitions.

Super modified saws are motorcycle engines made into chain saws that cut 19’ of wood three times – down, up, down, in less than six seconds – from a cold start. All you need to compete is to be able to lift seventy five pounds of what is in essence a 12000 RPM razor sharp gyroscope, slam it into the wood and hang on. Most of the 275 – 300 lb plus competitors do well.

When it comes to springboard competition here is an explanation and comparison: Springboards are still used today to log large timber on steep slopes. To run a large saw of any kind you must have two feet on level ground so boards are inserted into the side of the tree being felled to provide a place to stand.

A few years ago I got fourth place in an amateur competition in Connecticut with a time of 2 minutes and 41 seconds. In that time I had to notch, 3 inches deep, a fixed upright log with an ax about 40 inches from the ground and insert a 10” wide board tipped with a metal cleat, jump up on that board with my ax and notch it again, insert a second board, jump up on that and chop completely through an eleven inch billet of white pine fixed at the top of the 9 foot upright log. I thought I was moving along at a pretty fair clip.

The world record set by one of the Stihl Timbersports competitors is 32 seconds. Now you understand why I work on the stage, drive trucks, set up springboard poles, trim competition wood, etc. You can check the competition out by clicking on These are amazing athletes when you stop to consider how many different skills and how much strength they have.

Our next event is in Lake Charles Louisiana on August 26 and 27. September will find us in Virginia Beach, the American headquarters of Stihl.

Ed Naile
Coalition of NH Taxpayers