Kickstarter: Bicycle the Lumberjacks 2nd Ed. Playing Cards by Vadim Smolenskiy

20 Mar

Vadim Smolenskiy designed his second version of Lumberjacks deck – Bicycle the Lumberjacks Playing Cards 2nd Ed. The first edition of Bicycle the Lumberjacks Playing Cards was successfully funded and produced in 2013. This time playing cards will be full of colours. This word comes from a bygone era (before 1945 in the United States).  It names workers in the logging industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products.

The deck is planned to be printed by the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC).


The tuck case reflects the classic composition of USPCC’s Bicycle decks. The front features the big Spades pip from the Ace of Spades and the brand. The back reveals the back design of the playing cards. Nice white woodgrain borders underline the main elements of the tuck’s design on all sides of it. They are also nicely incorporated into the design of court cards. I have to say that the combination of colours chosen for this deck is really nice – faces are vivid but at the same time remain simple as anything connected with Lumberjacks should be. The main symbols of the Lumberjacks are also simple and clear – trees (wood) and axes. While trees are blessed by nature to have different intricate forms and “patterns”, the variety of axes is limited. So, Vadim presented court cards with different appropriate “professional instruments” to save them from boredom.

Presence of queens in a deck of classic Anglo-French playing cards played a mean joke with Vadim. I understand that real old Lumberjacks were exclusively men, and a woman with a double bit felling axe in her hands will look odd for someone… who isn’t a fan of Axe Women 🙂 . Also I know how hard it can be to cut down some tremendous tree. But, people, don’t you think that to pull its big splitted parts is even harder?! Almost all women (the Queen of Hearts makes me feel miserable – I don’t believe that she doesn’t carry the tree) are loaders in this deck 😲. The Queen of Spades is the only exception.

Bicycle the Lumberjacks 2nd Edition Playing Cards


The term “lumberjack” is of Canadian derivation. The first mentions of this word can be found in some documents dated 1831. The term appeared in popular culture due to folklore and spectator sports (for example, the Lumberjack World Championship, held in Hayward, Wisconsin, US) supported by the interest on the part of mass media.

Lumberjacks worked in lumber camps and often lived a migratory life. Their living conditions were primitive. Their work was difficult, dangerous, intermittent, and low-paying. The axe and cross-cut saw were their common equipment and almost the main wealth. Following timber harvesting jobs as they opened, Lumberjacks couldn’t afford traditional immovables. All those challenges helped them to unite around their activity and peculiarities of life. As a result, the men built a traditional culture that celebrated strength, masculinity, confrontation with danger, and resistance to modernization.

Nowadays lumberjack is mainly used to name a logger from an earlier time before the advent of chainsaws, feller-bunchers and other modern logging equipment. That’s why it is a little bit strange to see the jacks in modern hard hats.

Bicycle the Lumberjacks 2nd Edition Playing Cards


The Deck:

  • 54 custom playing cards (Jokers, aces, courts, and number cards);
  • One double backer and one blank card;
  • Jokers create the unique diptych;
  • Black background of playing cards;
  • Fluorescent blues and reds in place of traditional black and red suits;
  • Custom tuck case with possible inside printing;
  • Custom numbered seal: 1 to 2,500;
  • Poker size;
  • Air-cushion finish;
  • It’s planned to be printed by USPCC.


You can pledge here: (relaunch)

This project will only be funded if at least $10,000 is pledged by Friday, Jun 26 2015.

All aces are represented by trees. The Ace of Spades and Clubs are shown as trees that haven’t been chopped down yet. I think that 90 degree angles between branches of the tree on the Ace of Clubs aren’t the best choice. Some imperfection of a cross could make this tree more organic and natural. But this is Vadim’s artistic vision.

The Ace of Hearts and the Ace of Diamonds are represented only with leaves. Vadim shows in this way that some trees have already been cut down.

Bicycle the Lumberjacks 2nd Edition Playing Cards: Aces


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Posted by on 20.03.2015 in Kickstarter, USPCC


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