............THE FOREST






Norway and the
Forest workers: Part 1

Well, Ed, here we are in Brandbu,
Norway, several thousand jet-lagged miles from home. It’s a beautiful countryside area of small farms and woodlands, about 70 kilometers north of Oslo.
....As mentioned last month, my traveling companions Jube Wickheim, Ron Hartill, Owen Carney and Dick Herrling – along with your obedient servant – have come to the 1980 World Championship Chainsaw competition for loggers. We shall compete with 14 nations. And Ed, let me tell you – they are GOOD.
....It has been three years since some of us attended the same competition in Finland. This is the 10th annual event and the host country changes each year. Next year will be Poland, and the Polish delegation was very hopeful that a team from Canada would participate.
....The contests were divided into five methods of chainsaw functions. Tree felling is done in a forested area, in this case with Norwegian pines of about 15 inch diameter. The object is to fell a tree onto a designated marker, and to do it with a proper undercut, back cut and safety procedures. Three judges hold stop watches, slide rulers and calipers on this event and the least infraction of safety means demerit marks.
....The second contest is the limbing of about 30 limbs from a tree. Careful preparation is made of the felled tree by an advance group, and again three judges hover over the contestant as he works his way up the tree. Here again speed, safety and absolute accuracy of workmanship are the point getters.
....The above two contests are performed on the first day of the competition in a carefully selected area of similar trees. Trees not useful to the contest are felled the day before so that


as one looks from the road, only the numbered trees for the contest are seen.
....Rubber-tired skidders were in use all day removing the used up trees from underfoot.
....Well, Ed, to backtrack a bit , we five Canadian west-coasters had lan-ded in Oslo on a Monday with a severe case of jet-lag. Possibly a wee bit of hilarity on the three-aircraft fifteen hour flight had added a little to our weariness. But then, who could sup-press the excitement of such a gathering of world champion loggers as we were about to take part in?
....We were taken by bus to Brandbu on Monday afternoon and along with other arriving loggers’ teams were housed in a very nice Norwegian motel of recent vintage. As there were near 80 people arriving – contestants, judges, four translators, and hosts – we quite filled the small motel. We five were assigned to a rather diminutive room with five rather diminutive beds. I found it rather interesting to single out my four colleagues’ melodious snoring abilities. Hartill has a rather polite New Zealand twang to his. Jube is accus-tomed to using a loud hailer at loggers’ sporting events and it tells in his bark. But good old Herling lets it all hang out like a chainsaw with no muffler. Nice guys though, Ed, nice guys.
....We had brought with us our tools for a demonstration of North American logging sports: hand-buck saw, chopping axes, throwing axes, and belts and spurs for climbing. Peter Holmquist had outfitted us in Van-couver with Husqvarna chainsaws for the contest and the demonstration. On the Tuesday morning my four friends were taken to the woods to secure their chopping and bucking wood for the show we would put on after the competition was over on Friday.


....The four-day event requires a number of meetings to iron out the fine points of the rulebook. It was inter-esting and at times humorous to watch and listen to the delegates and all the interpreters speak in Russian, Swe-dish, Finn, French, Danish, etc.
....Needless to say it took a bit of time to make everybody content with the wording of a given rule, but somehow everyone was eventually satisfied.
....All costs of the competition are borne by the host nation, except for transportation to and from our point of landing in the host nation. In a country such as Norway, with pos-sibly the highest living costs in Europe, this competition is no cheap affair. We were staggered by some of the prices of food, clothing, hotels, etc. Needless to say the Norwegians are wonderful hosts and looked after everyone in fine manner.
....We were allowed to practice in the field Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. Ron and Owen had participated in these sports before – in Finland – but Dick had not. Jube had visited Romania in 1973 as our Festival of Forestry observer, so he was familiar with the judging he would have to do.
....There is a real spirit of fellowship, despite the language difference. Everyone inspects the other team’s equipment, and as in ?Finland in ’73, great interest is shown in the Ural’s chainsaw. One competitor from Bulgaria and two from Russia used the unique saw, and used it well. The Bulgarian, Evlogi Hadjiev, came in seventh in a field of 40 contestants.
....On the Wednesday evening we were taken from our motel to the village of Brandbu a few miles away. Here all team delegations were assembled, and with a lovely young costumed Norwegian lady holding up

page 36
British Columbia Lumberman, October, 1980

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (. page break )

the sign of each country, we paraded through the main street of this little town, led by a real uniformed brass band – shades of 76 Trombones!
....Owen Carney was the standard bearer with our large Canadian flag, which of course allowed him to walk beside the lovely lady holding the Canadian sign.
....We marched through about seven blocks while huge throngs of about 10 or so people cheered us on. No, it wasn’t a ticker-tape parade down New York’s Broadway. But Ed, it sure was fun!
....An evening opening ceremony was held at the large hall we marched to and yes, the Russians do take quite a bit of time in their speeches. We were ever watchful, watching the other delegations watching each other. Con-sidering that the Polish strike situation was at its worst, and that the Polish team sat next to the Russian team, the Russians were charming. They like the West and seem more at ease than other Iron Curtain countries. And of course, the French were really nice chaps and not worried about a thing.
....One lone American, Dave Neiger from Michigan, stood up well for a first time effort. The Russian leader of the delegation (that’s what I was too, Ed) praised Dave highly in his lengthy speech. Strange goings on, but interesting.
....And so the ceremonies passed and we retired early to awaken early and hit the first two competitions on Thursday morning. Buses were ready at 7:30 after a good Scandinavian breakfast. There was a great array of colorful work suits on many of the teams, certainly quite a differently dressed group of loggers than one will find at Sandspit or Blowhole Bay. Some had a distinct military look about them.
....Thursday was quite a decent day. About 15 degrees Celcius, with a bit of a wind and a few clouds. We organized ourselves at the camp-grounds and the individual loggers (forest workers was the term most used) were called up by threes and taken by bus a mile away to the felling and limbing site. Jube and I were more or less free to do as we pleased, as he would not be a judge until the next day at the bucking event.
....Sweden’s Uno Pettersen was the first felling contestant and we all watched as he made his cuts. Owen Carney was seventh in order and had a bit of bad luck with the wind. The judging was slow due to the language differences and the need for interpreters, but as the day wore on it seemed to speed up. Dick Herling made a good felling, and was in the middle group of the 40. Ron had wind

trouble and wound up near the bottom with Carney.
....While the felling was progressing, limbing got underway and Owen made a good comeback into the middle group. Because of about 10 items you MUST do, and because of the safety demerit system, it requires a great deal of experience and practice in both the felling and limbing events.
....I could not emphasize enough how good the Finns, Czechs and Russians are at these two contests. The three men on all of these teams compete in the homeland all year for the honor of representing their industry and their flag. They come to win and they handle a saw real well.
....We had a wonderful lunch of bar-bequed pig out at the camp grounds – hand spitted – and the day passed with us not that high in the ranks, but satisfied we had done our best under the conditions.
....Next month, I shall report about the last three events: chainsaw inspection, under-over bucking and straight bucking. I shall give you the inside story of the final night banquet, and tell you what to do when your 747 jet loses an engine on takeoff from Copenhagen.


BULGARIAN CONTESTANT bucks with the unusual Urals chainsaw.

............................................For now,

.........................Keep out of the bight,

Bill Moore
British Columbia Lumberman, October, 1980
page 37