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Last week I wrote about three of the six events at the Hand Tool Olympics (HTO), the winners in 2012 and the prizes and contributing companies for the upcoming events at Woodworking in America 2013 (Oct. 18-20). Veritas PlaneThis entry covers the remaining three events – one with a little twist.

“Shooting Sports” is the event in which you get to straighten the edge that you saw in the “One Meter Dash.” (The straighter you saw, the better your time can be in this event.) Straightening your edge is done with a Veritas Jointer Plane from Lee Valley/Veritas. Once again, kudos to Lee Valley/Veritas for its donation to HTO. Each year beginning with the very first HTO, the company has stepped forward with two planes, as well as all the accoutrements. When you stop at the Lee Valley/Veritas booth in the Marketplace, pass along a hearty thank you.

The winner in the 2012 event was Corey Megal and the raffle-winner was Ken Royal. (Yep, that’s right – these events also include a prize awarded simply for competing in the event.)

Spoon BitThe second event to discuss is “Brace Yourself for a Hole in One.” If you deciphered my oh-so-tricky hint, this is the event that changes for the 2013 Olympics. To add a twist, Tools For Working Wood has donated a set of – wait for it – spoon bits. That’s right. BraceNo easy lead screws pulling your auger bit through the board. This year if you want to win you have to start the hole, drill straight and drill quick. Ryan Sather did that last year while using an auger. (Larry Smith was the raffle winner in 2012.)

Prizes for this event – yes, that’s “prizes” plural – is a set of four spoon bits from Tools for Working Wood. But wait – there’s more! Woodworking with Ron, Ron Herman’s school, has donated the braces, too. The winner and one lucky participant each walk away with a complete setup: brace and a set of bits. Oh, and you cannot bring your own spoon bit to the event. In fact, I’ve been told that restaurants and hotels around the Northern Kentucky Convention Center will be on the lookout for spoon thieves.

Last but not least is “Pins First or Tails First.” The event in which you have to cut and fit a proper dovetail joint. DT SawPumpkin teeth are accepted, but usually these have atrocious scores. In 2012 Scott Brown stepped into the winner’s circle and Clark Schoonover benefited from participating in the event. They each walked away with a nice dovetail saw. This year, however, HTO is going all out. The event and lucky-raffle winner each go home with a Bad Axe Tool Works 10″ Dovetail Saw, a set of four chisels and a Springwood Industries Wooden Joiner Mallet.

Mark Harrell of Bad Axe Tool Works has donated the saws for this event and for the “Greco-Roman Tenon” event. When you see him at Woodworking in America, you should also give him an “attaboy” for his donations to HTO throughout the years.

Popular Woodworking Magazine is providing the chisels and mallet to the Olympics because the story behind the mallets is too good to pass up. MalletWe have Springwood Industries mallets in our shop, and we like them. We like them a lot. They are available from and sent to us for review by The Best Things – the company that has donated rip saws for the “One Meter Dash.” When I talked with Lee Richmond at The Best Things, he gave me the heads-up about Springwood.

Springwood Industries is a small business in Maine that makes parts for tools and sells antique tools both for users and collectors. They also make wooden mallets and a variety of chisel and slick handles. Along the way, proprietor Tom Christensen started making wooden toys for children in unfortunate circumstances. Today the company donates some 10,000 wooden cars and trucks. The proceeds from the sale of mallets gets plowed back into making these toys. We applaud the company’s efforts. And they make a dang-nice mallet. (Read more about Springwood.)

As you can see, there are great prizes awarded for having fun at the 2013 Woodworking in America Hand Tool Olympics. Make sure to register for the conference, stop by the Marketplace to participate in the Olympics, and to talk to toolmakers and try out (and maybe purchase) great tools. It is a fun weekend where you get to hang out with your friends and fellow woodworking enthusiasts.

— Glen D. Huey


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Showing 2 comments
  • gumpbelly

    “Pumpkin teeth are accepted, but usually these have atrocious scores”

    What gives, I`m kinda fond of punkin teeth DT`s, some days it`s all I can get done

    I think they should be scored higher, it takes an almost total lack of paying attention to the guidelines for making DT`s to make a proper fitted set of punkins. I`m crying foul 🙂

  • JMAW Works

    The analyst in me would like to suggest that next years event be: “Pins First AND Tails First” where both joints would be made. Then times and relative quality could be compared and analyzed both individually and to the larger population to see if there is any real difference between the 2 methods.

    Also, I was unaware of TFWW’s spoon bit’s. I’ve heard vague disparaging remarks before about modern spoon bits, but never seen comparisons (and I don’t know what to look for) between makers and with vintage tools, but have been interested in acquiring a few, perhaps its time for a PWW review?

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