20 March 2013

Timber Games to thrill crowds at WoodEX for Africa

South Africa’s most skilled chainsaw operators and talented wood carvers are sharpening their blades for the timber games scheduled to take place at WoodEX for Africa at Gallagher Convention Centre on Saturday, 23 March 2013.

Stephan Jooste, Director of WoodEX for Africa, says this competition will most definitely be a highlight and crowd puller at WoodEX. “Although chainsaw racing is an established sport around the world it is still in its infancy in South Africa. We are delighted that the South African Loggers Association (SALA) has decided to host a competition during WoodEX and we thank our sponsors, Wood-Mizer Africa and Hin-Tech, for making this competition possible. It is a privilege to see these craftsmen at work.”

Arranged SALA, who is solely responsible for the running of chainsaw competitions in South Africa, the timber games will consist of speed cutting and carving components.

How it works:

In adrenaline packed speed cutting contests, competitors begin with their switched off saws at their feet and their hands on top of a supplied log. Each competitor then has to start his saw and cut three complete discs from the log in the shortest possible time.

Chainsaws range from 70cc standard machines used by the forestry industry to super modified 120cc giants that produce incredible horsepower and speed with chain speeds in access of 180kmh. An operator using a standard saw can take a mere 10 seconds to make three cuts while a counterpart wielding a super modified version just a jaw dropping five and a half seconds (or less).

The carving challenges, on the other hand, often require a whole lot more precision and artistic talent than some of the muscular racers have. Logs are supplied to competitors and no pictures or visible aids are allowed in the area. Using just chainsaws, the contestants have to plug into their creative sides and produce the most intricate, technical and detailed carvings possible in just one hour.

The contestants can compete in the following categories:

  • Pro Standard Class – the biggest number of contestants go head to head in this event. All the contestants have prior experience and are racing with standard saws without any modifications.
  • Small Modified Class – in the modified categories, contestants are permitted to tweak their machines to their heart’s content. Expect all the bells and whistles, including (but not limited to) hot pipes methane and methanol...!
  • Open Modified Class – arguably the most hotly contested of all the events, competitors are given carte blanche in terms of the size and engine capacity of their machines.
  • Carving – here highly skilled sculptors use their saws to transform shapeless pieces of wood into works of art, in under an hour. The final product depends largely on the shape of the raw timber, and competitors’ creativity is thoroughly tested.