Various disciplines have been developed since the sports' inception in 1870. These include the underhand, standing block, tree felling, double-handed sawing and single-handed sawing.
A variety of events are contested within each discipline – including championship, handicap, open, divisional, novice, junior, ladies and veterans.
Events are contested primarily as handicaps or championships in a variety of block sizes. Handicap events use a staggered start for axemen of varying abilities, giving all competitors an opportunity to win the event. Championship events are contested between the best axemen at a carnival and use a simultaneous start, giving competitors the opportunity to prove who is the best axeman on the day.
The underhand event requires the axemen to sever a block held horizontally in a cradle. The competitors stand on flat sections, called 'footholds', which they have created in each end of the block. The axemen proceed to cut a 'scarf' into the front side of the block, before turning to complete another 'scarf' and severing the block.
The standing block event involves the severing of a block held vertically on a cradle. The competitors stand offset to the block, and cut a 'scarf' into the front of the block. The axemen then proceed to move to the opposite side of the block, where they cut a second, slightly higher 'scarf', and sever the block.
Tree Felling is considered one of the more strenuous events. Axemen are required to climb a tree pole using specially made boards. Pockets are cut into the side of the pole for the boards to be inserted. Once the axemen reach the top, the block is cut in a similar fashion to the Standing Block. A scarf is cut into the front, the axemen then returns to the ground and climbs the back side of the pole to finish the cut and sever the block. This event varies between two and three board heights.
The Double-Handed Sawing involves a pair of competitors using a crosscut saw to cut a 'ring' or 'cookie' from the end of a block held horizontally in a sawing cradle. This event requires precise teamwork to ensure the saw cuts smoothly and efficiently, to allow the fastest cut possible.
Single-Handed Sawing is an event where an individual competitor (sawyer) cuts a 'ring' or 'cookie' using a crosscut saw. The block is held horizontally in a sawing cradle. The saw is used at an angle to allow the individual sawyer to maintain pressure between the cutting teeth and the wood, ensuring the saw cuts. Blocks for this event are smaller than in the Double-Handed Sawing.