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Thread: Aizkolariak, Basque axemen competitions and bets, and more

  1. #81
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    I've used European beech handles a fair amount, as Rinaldi uses a mix of ash and beech in their handles. I've found it to not be as dependent on good grain orientation as ash due to not being ring-porous but I've personally found that it does transmit a little more shock than ash does for the same handle style and head. It's tough stuff, though, and a fine axe handle wood. My preference is still good dense hickory, but I'd take good quality beech over low quality hickory.


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  2. #82
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    Woodcraft Thank you I do my best in my limited time.

    garry3 What I know about how does Enrique work is limited, he cuts the wood at the correct season and he dries it for a long period using natural method. Basques have had very close relationship with wood, in few months will be publiseh a documentary about it, they have gathered good information about the wood and I think they will also make it public. I'll share it here when they release it.

    Knowing the best moment to cut the wood is a complex question, first you have to know what wood you want to cut and what you find in that wood, the most common feature people looks for is the durability and strenght. The moon has two types of phases, one is the light you see in it and the other the height repect to the horizon. A combination of both is the best time to cut the wood, the lower the heigh of the moon the best time to cut durable wood, but this is difficult to know if you don't have an astronomic calendar. Between last quarter and new moon is the other period to cut durable wood, the most common method is to use only this phase as a reference. But each wood has its best moment, for example last quarter is better for the oak and new moon for the hazelnut. As I said this is a complex matter.

    300Six Yes Enrique knows his job, it's a pity I have listened he will stop producing handles commercially. Maybe you could take his place after you experiment with the wood

    FortyTwoBlades that's curious, here is thought between the advantages of the beech respect to the ash one is the shock absortion. About the hickory, I haven't used it as much as to have a long therm clear opinion about it, but I like it.

    About ring porous woods as handles, I see people talks a lot about the grain orientation but nothing about the type of grain. Each wood is different but the fewer the rings the stronger the wood uses to be, this also can have a limit due to the problems big porous rings can bring. A debate and experiments about this would be a great subject.

    Let's continue with the competitions,

    2017-01-15 Aizarnazabal Golden axemen by couples Lopez Azpilikueta & Eneko Otaño vs Jon Rekondo & Donato Larretxea. They count all the time, the faster couple cutting all the woods wins.

    http://www.eitb.tv/eu/bideoa/herri-k...ndo-larratxea/

    I like Donato and Rekondo couple, that's a very solid team.

  3. #83
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    2017-01-22 Iraeta Golden axemen championship by couples third competition. Arria 5th & Joseba Otaegi vs Aitzol Atutxa & Ugaitz Mugertza. They count all the time, the faster couple cutting all the woods wins.

    http://www.eitb.tv/eu/bideoa/herri-k...utxa-mugertza/

    Both couples are top notch and very solid axemen teams.

    Let's talk about the first bet of 2017. Iñaki Azurmendi the axeman of Arriaran has challenged any axeman to a 12000€ bet consisting in cutting 12 underhand beech logs 1,67 meters in perimeter (53cm diameter) as fast as he/she can.



    The challenge will be played at the end of April.

    http://goierri.hitza.eus/2017/01/25/...sturako-prest/

    If anyone dares to compete him he will be waiting him or her next Tuesday 31th from 19:00 to 20:00 at the bar "Cantábrico" of the Gipuzkoan town of Tolosa.

    https://www.google.es/maps/place/Bar...94!4d-2.075499

    Is here any axeman brave enough?

  4. #84
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    2017-01-22 Leitza Golden axemen championship by couples fifth competition, fourth one was not retransmitted. Should be Iker Vicente & Ruben Saralegi vs Jon Rekondo & Donato Larretxea, it's a pity but Donato is sick by flu so Julen Kañamares will try to make his part. They count all the time, the faster couple cutting all the woods wins.

    http://www.eitb.tv/eu/bideoa/herri-k...ndo-larretxea/

  5. #85
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    Some rumours said great axemens as Aitzol Atutxa or Arria 5th could appear but Iñaki and his team waited for a long hour and nobody took the call.



    It's a pity, this top axeman shines at bigger logs and that kind of logs were the ones he proposed but he also said from the first moment he was ready to negociate the bet. This is the second time Iñaki proposes a bet but nobody appears to confront him. A oportunity to see a pretty good challenge has been lost.

    But don't worry, remember 12th March 2017 we have the bet between Xabier Zaldua and Luis Mari Txapartegi.

  6. #86
    waiting 's been long and nobody filled their glasses!
    a shame!

  7. #87
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    No problem with the drink flexo. Here we have very fine wineries and the best cider, that restaurant has both of them, the good and the bad thing for Iñaki is nobody dares to compete him now as he is in his best shape. I informed Timbersports axemen about this challenge but there wasn't any response.

    2017-02-05 Beasain Golden axemen championship by couples, sixth competition. Patxi Mindegia & Jon Irazu vs Arria 5th & Joseba Otaegi. They count all the time in all logs, the faster couple cutting all the woods wins.

    http://www.eitb.tv/eu/bideoa/herri-k...rria-v-otaegi/

    Standing is not were Arria shines but note the minute 19:40, elite axemen also fail in their swings sometimes.
    Last edited by Ugaldie; 02-08-2017 at 04:38 PM.

  8. #88
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    2017-02-12 Arantza Golden axemen championship by couples, the first semifinal, there will be three. Jon Rekondo & Donato Larretxea vs Arria 5th & Joseba Otaegi. They count all the time in all logs, the faster couple cutting all the woods wins. Take in account Donato Larretxea (the man in orange) has been recently sick by flu and he is not totally recovered.

    http://www.eitb.tv/eu/bideoa/herri-k...finalaurrekoa/

    40 years old Xabier Orbegozo (Arria 5th) will try to improve his own time in the hardest challenge he has taken part.



    The challenge will consist in cutting 20 beech logs 40 centimeters in diameter in a row and then running 20 kilometers in a bullring. Take in account running in a bullring means he will have to run in circles in sand forcing one leg much more than the other. This is a very hard challenge very few people are capable to end it, but we are talking about a tough and athletic man in his best shape.



    A local company named Peru will sponsor him with 3000€, they will also pay him aditional 3000€ if he ends the challenge faster than 2 hours and 10 minutes. His last time was 2 hours 12 minutes and 54 seconds.



    The challenge will be at 20th of April at the bullring of Azpeitia at 11:30AM. Let's hope him the best.
    Last edited by Ugaldie; 02-20-2017 at 03:48 AM.

  9. #89
    I really like these challenges.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodcraft View Post
    I really like these challenges.
    Me too. Our timber sports are like a short sprint theirs are like a mile race.

  11. #91
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    More like a marathon.

  12. #92
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    Thank you Woodcraft

    Yes Square_peg, we also see Arriya 5th's challenge like a long one. It's so hard I see it more close to an Iron Man than to a marathon.

    garry3 we see Timbersports as very short sprints in an optimun ground. Axemen challenges are like making love, yes you can compete who ends first cutting just one easy log like in the Timbersports. But if you want to see who really is the best axeman (same as the best lover) you need more time. The shortest Basque challenges consist in cutting at least six logs, you can find some challenges were they cut less logs, but they usually are exibitions or competitions between lowest class axemen. The logs are more difficult to cut and if you find curly fibers, wood knots (we call them eyes here) and/or any other factor in the wood which unbalances the competition against you bad luck, you have to cut through it.

    Let's continue with the competition.

    2017-02-19 Oñati Golden axemen championship by couples, second semifinal, there will be three. Aitzol Atutxa & Ugaitz Mugertza vs Juanjo Lopez Azpilikueta & Eneko Otaño.



    They count all the time in all logs, the faster couple cutting all the woods wins. They played the third semi final yesterday in the same place too but they have only retransmited the second one. First class axemanship, enjoy it!

    http://www.eitb.tv/eu/bideoa/herri-k...finalaurrekoa/

    I have recently been talking about these competition with a person who I have in high regard and it seems it's not commonly known aizkolaris use two different axes, the inner axe and the one for the outside. The outside axe (as we know it) is the heavier one. The outside of the log is were you need powerful cuts, here you advance in fewer swings trowing big chips. But when you reach the center the working way changes, the cut is closer and you don't advance as much with big and powerful swings. Here is were we enter in the inner axe (as we know it) working zone. In the inner side you have to make more cuts and the power of the swing is not as important, so this axe is smaller in order to give you the hability to make faster cuts while making you tire less. You can cut small logs with a powerful axe but for bigger logs the inner axe is a need in these competitions.

    When they compete in couples is common practice to work one with the outside axe and the other with the inner axe. Usually the one who uses the outside axe tends to be the one who makes the most powerful blows or the one with the best technique in order to make a good pattern cut. The one with the inner axe tends to be the youngest or the axeman with the best stamina, the rhythm changes considerably as they enter in the cut. Take a look at 09:10, one axeman has the outside axe the other the inner one, note the axes and the rhythm.

    To make a good pattern cut is vital, if you make it too wide it will take you more time to end the cut. If you make it too narrow it will close too fast and you will have problems ending the cut. Note at 16:45 the axemen in the right.

    In aizkolari competitions they try to compensate the match as much as they can. Is usual practice to make two cuts to each log, one by yourself and the other by your contender. This way if some logs are for any reason harder to cut than the others both of you will have to cut them. But there is another factor, the knots. They try to choose the cleanest logs, but there allways are knots in them. Knots can be game changers, they don't give that cut as nule or compensate you by any means when you encounter a knot. You have to be proffesional and cut it. Each knot is different consequently there are different ways to face them, some are more risky than the others. The risky ones can help you ending the cut faster but the knot can be harder than you thought and it can take you even more time and the worst of all, it can break your axe. Axes are expensive, nobody pays you for a breakage and each axeman invests a very big amount of time tunning them at his taste. Reading the wood correctly is vital. You can see different types approaching a knotted cut at 04:20 and 35:10.

    Two local axemaker are producing racing axes, one is a new one and the is trying different things. You can see one of his axes at 28:05.
    Last edited by Ugaldie; 02-20-2017 at 04:02 AM.

  13. #93
    Outstanding! I will never get over the feet close technique. Obviously these guys are very talented.
    My feet are so much further apart Lol. The younger skinny guy with blue tang top looks promising. Very talented. Thanks again, these are awsome to watch.

  14. #94
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    Yes Woodcraft Ugaitz is a good axeman, refering to what has the people has told me he is a good hunter too.



    The best axeman in that video and the actual axeman to beat is Aitzol Atutxa, he is a pleasure to see working and a pleasure too to talk to him.



    They are close friends and make a very good team.

    Good and fresh news, we have a new bet in Doneztebe 19th of march. It will be a bet between two couples, they will have to cut 14 logs in a row. 10 of them 40 centímeters and 4 of them 53 centimeters in diameter. It will be played at the Ezkurra frontoia at 12:00, the have bet each other 2.000€.

    Last edited by Ugaldie; 02-22-2017 at 11:55 PM.

  15. #95
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    This has more of a focus on strong men but it covers the history of the events.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JG5jwk-9nUs

  16. #96
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    garry3 axemen and stone lifters have been related, for example Iñaki Perurena started his sportsman career as an axeman. Here you have him lifting a stone, note the numbers in the stone, they mean the weight of it in kilograms,



    His son Inaxio is the actual top stone lifter, here you have him lifting a 230kg (507lbs) stone to his shoulders with one hand ,



    But the heaviest stone any human has ever lifted to his shoulder has been the 329kg (724lbs) stone Mieltxo Saralegi lifted in Lekumberri April 28th 2001,



    As they say in the video Mieltxo also started with the axe quite young. The first time he used an axe he was three years old, Patxi Astibia saw him splitting logs and he shouted "What are you doing?", the little boy responded shouting "I'll chop you!".

  17. #97
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    thank you very much.
    Around here are also competitions of axes.
    Although they have less follow-up.
    Greetings from Asturias

  18. #98
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    I have indeed noticed the weights of the stones. The conditioning of these athletes is amazing.
    Thank you for some more links to explore. I find the strength competitions just as interesting as the axe competition.

  19. #99
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    Gracias a ti Manu. Rural sports are spreading bit to bit but were they reach they are wellcomed. Segovia is another place were Basque type axemanship has spreaded, they call them Gabarreros. Segovia has embraced rural sports is such high will, there have even appeared two stone lifters. Axemen competitions are becoming popular in Asturias too, there is an Asturian axeman who I do like. His name is David Naredo, I see future in him as an aizkolari. Recently I have listened about a bet between Asturians, do you have any information about it?

    garry3 I had the intention to talk about combined bets, I'll add more information about strenght challenges. And also a bit more.

    Sometimes not to focusing exactly the context makes you to lose some aspects, confuse them or think all people understands the same thing when we talk about the same word. Like bets, recently a friend has sent me a little read about it which I want to share with you. I will copy the most interesting information (in my opinion). Here you have it,

    "How to Make a Bet, Basque Style

    Basque betting is different from American gambling. Unlike the American standard of betting against the house, Basque betting is more individual. You can’t just make a bet—you have to find someone else to bet against.

    Betting starts with deciding on who will win: the red pilota team or the blue? Let’s say you want to bet $100 that the red pilota team will win because they are more experienced. You need to tell the middleman, who helps facilitate the bets, that you want to bet $100 on the favored red team and need someone to bet $80 on the blue team. If the red team wins, you get $80. If they lose, you have to pay $100.

    Betting does not stop when the game begins. As the game goes on and the results become clearer, people start to hedge their bets. You can also bet on who will lose the game. If you are less confident, you might make a smaller bet that the red team will lose. While you might not gain as much if they win, it’s a guarantee that you will not lose as much.

    Betting like this is an important part of the culture that surrounds the Basque country’s unique sports. And if betting is the lifeblood of Basque sports, honor is the lifeblood of Basque betting. While betting is ubiquitous around the world, Basque betting is different in that there is nothing signed.

    “It is all on the honor code,” said rower Rikar Lamadrid. “It works on the belief that [the person you’re betting with] is a man of their word.” Nothing stops the person who lost from sneaking out, except the honor. Contracts are not needed.

    “I am going to honor his bet, lose or win,” Xabier explained. “We are going to honor each other’s bet, so it’s that kind of chivalry.”

    The idea of palabra de vasco, which means “a Basque’s word is good,” is a concrete promise. When the Basque say they are going to do something, they follow through."

    Here you have the complete text,

    http://www.festival.si.edu/blog/2016...asque-betting/
    Last edited by Ugaldie; 02-25-2017 at 04:34 PM.

  20. #100
    I am amazed that these axe guys perform to such high levels, at ages that are commonly considered "past prime" in pretty much any other sport than chess .

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