Chris Schwarz's Blog

Axes: Better than a Company Gym

Memo to Human Resources
Re: Throwing Axes by the Dumpster

Dear Sir or Madam,

As an employee of F+W Media Inc., I applaud the recent addition of yoga mats and treadmills to our exercise room. The sweet smell of sweat masks the odor of burned microwave popcorn and over-nuked fish from the adjacent cafeteria. And I think we could all use more exercise.

To that end, I propose we set up an axe-throwing range behind the dumpster near the Popular Woodworking Magazine shop. I will be happy to provide, at no charge, double-bitted axes, a stump target and training for the employees.

While F+W Media is not commonly associated with the Viking or Swedish heritage, I think the addition of an axe range would increase employee morale and hand-eye coordination (thereby reducing litter when employees miss the recycling bin as they pitch their empty pop cans).

Additionally, I believe an axe range could help employees settle internal disputes and give editors the upper-body strength needed to lift paperclips, cups of coffee and red editing pens without becoming winded. It also could lead to training our employees to pillage other media companies that we might acquire.

This week I learned to throw axes while at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks (yes, I know you sent me there to do work. This is work. Really.) Thomas Lie-Nielsen, the owner and founder of the company, gave me a short lesson in throwing the axes and had me up and running in five minutes.

– Christopher Schwarz

P.S. Are metal helmets with horns allowed under the F+W Media dress code? Just curious.

16 thoughts on “Axes: Better than a Company Gym

  1. Barry Nelson

    Axe throwing competitions are usually held at Agricultural shows here in Australia, usually between men and women,my nephew was Juniour World champion axeman at one stage, and was a pretty mean axe thrower only problem was he kept getting beat by women,says something doesn’t it?

  2. Paul Londo

    Awe come-on throwing a double bit axe is too easy! Try throwing a tomahawk and split a playing card in the middle of the block , better yet try throwing 2 at a time – want to play for handles? Paul

  3. Bill D.

    In response to the entry from the HR Department, I’m glad to see that they have a sense of humor. (That WAS entered in jest, right??? I certainly hope it was, for your sake, Chris)

  4. John Cashman

    James,

    My brother was in the Philippines When Mt. Pinatubo blew, on a destroyer. The cleanup took many days, and the whole time they were scrubbing ash the ship’s PA system played Jimmy Buffet’s "Volcano" song on an endless loop. He still has nightmares — about the song, not the volcano.

  5. James O

    We did this for a few weeks in the Philippines after Mt Pinatubo. Nothing to do after we dug out and and security was established. So we set up a "range" and used the axes off of our vehicles. The negrito’s thought we were nuts. Papa Mike’s, Philippine Marines, got into it right along with us.

  6. Riley N.

    To: Christopher Schwarz, Editor
    From: Riley Nofun, HR
    RE: Throwing Axes by the Dumpster

    Mr. Schwarz,

    Our department gratefully acknowledges receipt of your memo dated February 19th, and after careful consideration has provided the following response.

    Although our department constantly strives to provide a safe, healthy, and happy work environment at F+W Publications, and we encourage input from employees, such as yourself, to make the work environment even better,we regretfully must say no to the proposed Throwing Axe Range for several reasons.

    First, metal helmets with horns are against the F+W Media dress code because of the possibility of eye injury to innocent bystanders. See the relevant section in the employee handbook labeled Acceptable Employee Dress, Ancient Scandinavian/Germanic for details.

    Second, although we were intrigued by the idea of greater hand/eye coordination and the subsequent reduction in paper cut claims submitted to our work comp insurer, a quick review of OSHA safety requirements section 1910.266 indicates that this activity seems connected to the logging industry. Therefore, we have paid close attention to the safety guidelines associated with that industry and have found the most effective safety equipment available today for the proposed activity is this gear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maximilienne-p1000557.jpg. Because of the recent budget cuts, this gear would have to be provided by the employees; and we know how much your staff is paid.

    Third, we’ve never forgiven you miscreants for the last time you flooded the building’s HVAC system with that noxious odor and caused us all to gag and retch. You KNEW that the windows don’t open in the rest of the building. (By the way, the popcorn and fish smells from the cafeteria have been part of our revenge!)

    Fourth, a significant portion of our staff are charter members of Wives Against Schwarz. Nuf said on this point.

    We appreciate you taking the time to bring the possibilities of an Axe Throwing Range to our attention and suggest you try getting in touch with these people on your own time: http://www.psychiatry.uc.edu/, or perhaps these people: http://www.evensens.net/sons/sons.html.

    Sincerely,

    Riley Nofun

  7. John Grossbohlin

    Throwing tomahawks is a well attended activity at the local Boy Scout camp… something primeval about it for kids with cell phones, DX games and other gizmos growing from their hands. Seems appropriate for hand tool guys too.

  8. Rob @ Evenfall Studios

    Hi Chris,

    After seeing some vintage 1920’s-30’s footage of Norse woodworkers wielding axes and hatchets when Kari at Village Carpenter clued us to them while back, the smile on their faces said stress free. But as good as they were with axes and hatchets, I am sure they knew the customer wasn’t going to try and dicker over price, either!

    Bests, Rob

  9. Adrian Baird Ba Than

    Hey Chris,
    You can’t beat a bit of axe throwing to relieve stress! Unfortunately I can only do it out at the father in laws farm as the local police have told me I shall be arrested for breach of the peace if anyone complains(I thought it was prudent to check & see if the practise was illegal before I commenced with the lobbing in my back garden,I live in the center of Edinburgh…)
    Have fun!
    Black

  10. Jon Spelbring

    Chris,

    You are having waaay to much fun, Sir.

    BTW: Pro Viking tip – Remember, it’s pillage, THEN burn. Just FYI.

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