Timbersports Take Over & Race Top Notch Handmade Saws
GREAT OUTDOORS: Lumberjack World Championships Brings The Best
HAYWARD, Wisc. — Lumberjacks in the Northland are common and the competition between them is said to be strong. In this week’s Great Outdoors, Fox 21’s Brittney Merlot takes us to Lumberjack Bowl where all of the best gathered there to show us what they are made of.
“It’s kind of in my blood, I’m a four generation competitor.” said Jason Lentz a world timbersport competitor.
He’s been a competitor in Timbersports for 21 years and has competed in the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward Wisconsin more times than he can remember! His father is to blame,”I grew up here, running around, I was just a kid.” mentioned Lentz.
Chopping wood and hard training, he’s a part of the longest living name in America, dominating this sport. “I’ve won a few events here in the last year, I’m the reigning all around world champ!”
He knows all of the ins and outs on how to win and the preparation starts well before the competition, nail by nail.
“It’s a little bit of luck and a lot of training!” said Lentz.
So do these strong competitors have any weaknesses?
“I get nervous, mhmm (shakes head) real nervous.” explaind Lentz. He says his worst event is axe throwing, “Yeah I get up there and just start shaking.”
This year Lentz won the double buck with Matt Koger.
The perfection needed in that event, comes down to your blade.
“You just get your right position and pull the saw. If you pull it nice, the saw will do the work for you!” explained Jean Pierre Mercier the creator of Mercier Racing Saws.
Mercier makes over 50 different designer saws, used to compete in these competitions. All of his saws are first drawn and cut out by a laser, then hand filed to pointy sharp razor tips.
“It’s about 40 to 60 hours of work to turn it into a racing saw. For just one saw.” said Mercier.
If a tip breaks in practices and competitions, the time is ticking, “You have to be in the slow mo. you just work on the saws and if you take your hands off somewhere you just go slow, because if you just do a quick movement, then the first thing you see is the blood going on the ground.” explained Mercier.
It’s not a joke, Brittney Merlot put her hands to and said “That blade is razor sharp!”
“I’m taking just a piece of paper and making every tooth able to slice right through the paper. Just like a razor blade” said Mercier.
Competitors from all over the world come to this man, “I’ve been making winning saws in North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.”
The teeth on these saws cut the wood from both sides and simultaneously lifts the chips out for a smooth slice through.
Mercier coins his business back to this, “When I was going to school, the teacher was telling me to just do that, it’s going to work… I said why? I was always why. I just wanted to know why. So when I started making saws and filing saws, I searched for the why? Why does this work the best or not. I just wanted to make saws for people and good saws. Because in the past most of the guys would just make 1 good saw out of 10. And that’s the thing I’ve been working at, is making them consistent… consistence.”
Mercier tests every single saw out with his son before selling them, making sure they all cut smoothly!
“So after that it’s up to the operator to make it work!” laughs Mercier.
Having been a competitor in the past, it’s helped him with his expertise now.
“I think competing is a good part of it. It helped me learn how to run them, I’ve learned how to read the wood well too.”
If you’re at home thinking this is a saw I need at home, Mercier says, “It’s not a saw you can get at Home Depot or anywhere there. Because you are not going to pay $25 for it, you have to add a couple more zeros after that!”