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Siemsen_Photo_1Over the next couple of posts, I’ll reminisce about the Hand Tool Olympics from Woodworking in America 2012, including a list of those who won the events (just to let you know who to keep an eye on as you stroll through the Marketplace) and those who benefited from participation – won a great prize for competing.

More importantly, I’ll list the actual prizes being awarded at this year’s events and the gracious companies that donated those tools. And for the first time in Hand Tool Olympic history, all the tools used during the events will be awarded. (A quick bit of addition puts that figure close to $3,000.) If you have not signed up as of yet, it’s time to register.

Let’s begin with the straight-up sawing events. I’m talking about the One Meter Dash, Cross-cut Extravaganza and Greco-Roman Tenons. pax_rip_saw_26(If you need an event description so you can get ready to compete, click here.)

In 2012 the winner of the One Meter Dash was Matthew Foster (remember that name) and the at-random drawing was awarded to Jim Vitale. The prize saws in 2012 were vintage models, but this year The Best Things ( has donated two Walnut Handle Thomas Flinn PAX Rip saws with 4-1/2 TPI. At 4-1/2 teeth per inch, the length of time it takes to rip the board should be quick. You better get into the shop to practice.

In Cross-cut Extravaganza in 2012, prize saws were vintage models. In 2013, as we are with the first event listed, we have moved from vintage to a new. The winner and the person who competed in the event and had their name drawn randomly walk away with a Lie-Nielsen Panel saw with 8 TTI. LN Cross-cutMany thanks to Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. If you’re wondering who may have the target on his back, it’s Mac Bailes. And the lucky Alex Demkovich walked away with a saw, too. I hope Mac practiced all year long and is coming back to defend his title.

At the Hand Tool Olympics in 2013 the person that we should be watching is obviously Matthew Foster. It seems that Matthew is some kind of a sawing savant. Not only did he walk away a winner in the One Meter Dash in 2012, he also came in at the top in Greco-Roman Tenons. Bad_Axe_TenonThis year Bad Axe Tool Works has donated its Bad Axe 14″ Sash saw which is filed for a hybrid cut to be used throughout the event and awarded as prizes. (If you win one of these saws, Bad Axe will, if you purchase an additional saw anytime in the future, re-sharpen the teeth on this saw to a fully rip or cross-cut design – free of charge.) Bad Axe owns this event when it comes to prize donations. Not only is the company providing the saws for this year’s event – it has, for a number of years now, donated tenon saws for the Greco-Roman Tenons event. And if you run into Wayne Carter, ask him what he thinks of his Bad Axe tenon saw. He was the 2012 at-large winner.

While this is just half the events at the Hand Tool Olympics in 2013, I think you’ll agree that the prizes are fantastic, and there’s still more to come.

If you’re looking for an edge in these events, for a few tips and pointers on how to excel at sawing, you need a copy of “Sawing Fundamentals” by Christopher Schwarz.

— Glen D. Huey

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