Nathan "Bucket" Waterfield makes woodchopping look easy. The STIHL Timbersports pro remembers growing up watching real-life Paul Bunyans on TV swing shiny axes, run giant modified chainsaws, and chop their way up a tree while standing on wooden boards. Now, he's one of them. And he's also the world's most patient coach--last summer he visited the Project Woodchips Woodsman Camp and spent hours helping us (attempt to) nail our chopping technique. Fresh off from competing in Australia, Nathan shared some words of woodchopping wisdom.
Erin LaVoie is a badass. The record-holding professional lumberjack athlete has been a fixture at competitions since she first started chopping in college. As if that's not enough, she's also a CrossFit Athlete and the owner of Predation CrossFit in Spokane, WA. In June, we'll have the unenviable honor of going up against her at the first ever Stihl Timbersports Women's Qualifier (about time, fellas). As we ramp up our training, we sat down with Erin for some inspiration.
You know that cool professor you had in college? The one who made you feel like everything you learned had a purpose and made you want to go try it out? Joe Orefice is the quintessential badass professor. He taught us how to pole climb, bake bread over a campfire, and bail out of a flooding canoe. In his spare time, he just happens to run his own farm in Saranac Lake, where you'd be hard pressed to stump him about anything that grows from the land. Recently named Director of the Uihlein Forest and Northern New York Maple Specialist(!) for Cornell University's Department of Natural Resources, he's had a busy 2017 already, but we managed to catch him in a quiet moment to pick his brain about what it takes to be a modern farmer.
Project Woodchips has brought so many great people into our lives—many with experiences and backgrounds so unlike ours; all of them generous and real. But there was only one Scott MacBlane, and it breaks our hearts to say goodbye to him so soon.
It's no secret that we're big fans of Gotham Archery. They've partnered with us to introduce woodsman skills to Brooklynites during our first demo, and they're partnering with us again on October 7, as the hosts of our first-ever hands-on class in Brooklyn. So we wanted you to get to know them better—by introducing you to one of their rad archery instructors, Brandon Ramos.
Day 6: We go take our shoes off in the woods, throw sticks at each other and gear up for competition.
Day 5: Upping our game to go beyond camp, taking in new views, and burning marshmallows (how weird is that word?).
Day 4: Practice makes perfect, hang time with Stihl pros and chainsaw art. Oh, and we answer the age old question, "What happens when you put a snowmobile engine on a chainsaw?"
It's only day 3, but, man, we got tuckered out. Today's update covers our time with Timbersports pro Dave Jewett, and then a collection of random woodsman (and Pokemon! Topical!) facts that we gathered today.
Day 2: Running a sawmill, operating a tractor, and bringing old axes back to life. Oh, and more. Lots more.
Day 1 of the Project Woodchips getaway started with welcoming our first guests, who turned out to be total naturals.
Packing is a life skill. A well-packed bag has everything you will need (and some things you hope to not need) without weighing you down.
We put together a basic packing list based on what we recommend bringing to the Project Woodchips Getaway this summer, but you can use it for any outdoor trip where you don't have to worry about shelter or cooking supplies (we've got yurts and kitchens on the Paul Smith's beautiful Adirondacks campus).
Download, check things off, color in the little icons if it pleases you (look at that tiny flashlight!). Did we miss anything? Let us know what else you're always sure to pack.
Long before he became a successful author, journalist, and TV presenter, Rob Penn was a kid with an ash tree in his backyard. After moving to the Welsh countryside and setting up a woodland community 14 years ago, Penn found himself reminiscing about his old tree and his latest book, The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees, is a love letter to the ash, which has provided the raw material for everything from Achilles' spear in The Iliad to the bodies of London's Routemaster buses. In learning about the tree's secret history, Penn met with equally storied craftsmen who continue to connect human to nature by making things with their bare hands. Ahead of his book's US release next month, Penn sat down with us to answer some questions.
Justin Tamez didn’t mean to become a woodsman, but it’s a good thing he did. Since first coming across timber sports as a high school senior scouting out colleges, he’s become a focused competitor on the Paul Smith’s Woodsmen Team, and is one of the most patient coaches we’ve ever met—trust us: he spent hours helping us improve our bow saw technique, and still talks to us.
There's more to do in the woods than throw axes and chop stuff with axes and talk with your friend about axes. In fact, there are some things that don't even involve axes (we've heard). That's why Bethany Garretson will be joining us at the Project Woodchips Getaway this July: She knows tons about primitive skills, from starting a fire with a bow drill to building a shelter out of available materials to making
We’ve been getting a lot of good questions about our upcoming lumberjack getaway. And some of the most pressing center on one thing: How in the world do I get there?
We sat down with Outside Magazine a little while back to talk about what we were trying to build with Project Woodchips, and to play around with some of our axes. We didn't expect such a thoughtful, thorough examination of it all. Check out the full article!
That’s why it’s to Project Woodchips’s endless credit that it really isn’t about affecting a particular look, or cultivating an image. (Rather than mounting them above the fireplace, Barrett keeps her axes hidden in a closet a home—less hipster, more serial killer.) The founders' enthusiasm about their lumberjack experience last summer, and the reason why they have remained so committed ever since, stems from the personal joy and fulfillment they got out of actually doing real shit. Just because that real shit doesn't occur naturally in Brooklyn, should participants feel guilty for wanting to get outdoors and give it a shot? Barrett and Pou don't think so.
“Doing manual things felt so different from my day to day,” Barrett says. “Learning so much new stuff, I found it very restful in a weird way. I just felt like I’d had a reset.”