Yes, we said Chainsaw! This art form has been around since the early 50s. It uses a chainsaw to carve beautiful pieces of art out of logs. The art now has a following that reaches all over the world, including; America, Japan, and Germany with thousands elsewhere exploring it every day.
When, why, and how are the themes of this article and we will showcase for you some of the amazing artwork that has been done using a chainsaw from all over the world.
A Brief History of Chainsaw Wood Carving
Many people used their chainsaws to write their names in wood however, it wasn’t until 1951 when Ken Kaiser created 50 carvings for the Trees of Mystery, that this form of art really took off. The carvings by Ken Kaiser are a roadside attraction near Highway 101 near the Redwood National & State Parks in California has been “must see” attraction for the millions of people who have toured the attraction since its inception. It has been featured on TV documentaries and the inspiration for a TV intro. But, it is primarily, the first major exhibition of chainsaw art, which has since been seen all over the world. This makes it one of the earliest recorded with examples of art, made of wood and using a chainsaw. With our help, you too can start learning how to start making art using a chainsaw as well.
Chainsaw Carving Equipment
The first thing you need to do is get a bit of knowledge under your belt, which we will cover in a later section. The next thing to do is to get a chainsaw! Chainsaws used for woodcarving are slightly different than your typical DIY variety that you would use around the home. The major difference is that the bar is tapered to a point instead of the rounded one found on regular chainsaws, this helps to create finer, more precise cuts. Chainsaw wood carvers often go for lighter weight chainsaws also as this makes it easier to manuaver the saw into odd angles and have greater control over where you cut. You also want a chainsaw with low vibration and low kickback as this can effect your art work. STIHL makes an excellent line of chainsaws just for wood carvers which tick all these boxes, however brands of chainsaws have models that can be good for carving too. Most have different types of bars that you can attach to turn your chainsaw to turn it into a more specialised tool for carving.
Chainsaw Carving Safety
As always when doing anything with a chainsaw, safety should come first. Chainsaws are dangerous tools and starting off on a new endevour like wood carving with one can tricky work. Ensure that yo have all the neccessary PPE, including; gloves, pants, glasses/face shield and steel capped boots. These are the basics but please see our chainsaw safety guide on the site for more detailed information about the safe operation of a chainsaw.
How to do Chainsaw Wood Carving
To get you started we have created a list of helpful online resources to get you going. Something else you may want to consider is becoming a member of a local group that is doing this art, as the odds of it being taught at your community college are slim.
Chainsaw Bear gives you a basic intro the art along with tips to doing it right. http://www.chainsawbearcarvings.com/chainpg2.html
Chainsaw Carvers http://www.chainsawcarvers.com/ This is one of the premiere sites for everything chainsaw and woodcarving. It provides you with pointers, videos, and news of whose who and where you can go to see chainsaw woodcarving at its best. You can also find links to getting the tools you will need to become your best. All of this is just a mouse click away.
Winnipeg River Chainsaw Carving Association
https://www.facebook.com/WRCCC/ Similar in nature to the previous website but you can get answers to your chainsaw, carving tips, and a ton of info on what’s going on in the chainsaw woodcarving community.
https://chipchats.org/ While not a chainsaw oriented site. It does occasionally do articles on chainsaw carvings. It is, however, a cornucopia of information about what you need in order to work with wood. It also has its own magazine as well. In the magazine and website, you will find finishing techniques, and doing detail work is here for you in easy to read and understand format.
Chain Saw Chick
Here is the website for a person who shows what can be done with a chainsaw and see the beauty of what is hidden beneath the surface of a log. Her name is Cherie Currie, she has videos that show her in action, and you can pick up some pointers as well as look at some of her amazing work. http://www.chainsawchick.com/
There are many great books available to get you started and inspired when it comes to chainsaw wood carving. Below we have outlined some of our favorites all of which can be found here.
“Chainsaw Carving: The Art & Craft: The original “The Art and Craft” is a book with a lot of good info about how to do both 2D & 3D carving along with chainsaw information that you can use.
“Art of Chainsaw Carving, Second Edition: An Insider’s Look at 22 Artists Working Against the Grain.” See how the masters do it and not only get inspiration but practical tips as well.
“Chainsaw Carving The Art and Craft, 2nd Edition Revised and Expanded” by Hal Macintosh. Here is a book every Chainsaw Artist should read. It will take you to new heights in Chainsaw woodcarving in an easy to understand format. It is a newer version of the one we mentioned above and is written for the current crop of would be Chainsaw artists as well as the veteran woodcarver as well with new information that adds to what was in the earlier book. This writer has both versions and you can see the evolution of the art to what it is today.
“The Beginner’s Handbook of Woodcarving”, this, isn’t a book about chainsaws but info that is worth being aware of.
10 Awesome Chainsaw Wood Carving Sculptures
Now your eyes are in for a delight and the pictures you are about to see will inspire you and challenge you to master the skills and go beyond what you see today.
#1 Keiji Kidokoro: A current Master Reigning Here is a true artist with a chainsaw. He has won awards and you can see why.
#2 Steve Blanchard He is a man who did the impossible he took the art of chainsaw wood carving down to the micro-scale instead of the macro world we are used to seeing. He has created and entire world he calls Itsyville.
#3 Husky Cup Winner Germany Bob King is a master of the whirling blade. He won in 2010 betting out England’s Simon O’Rourke. He has made a hobby into a career and you can go to his website from the Master of Chainsaw website referenced above.
#4 Cherie Currie Mistress of the Chainsaw that does animals and fantasy figures with ease.
#5 Cherie Currie Creator of life in the sea Here is another example of her talent. You note she combines here carving skills with the use of color to bring her creations to life. She is an original “Chainsaw Chick”, whose work can fit on your front porch or be the centerpiece of your backyard or in your company’s reception area. Her work is adaptable to either environment.
#6 Religious Figure? This sculpture is reminiscent of the Maria De Lionza statue in Caracas, who is the Patron Goddess of millions in Venezuela and is a rapidly growing religion in south America.
#7 Loup Garou From our friends in Canada at the Winnipeg River Chainsaw Carving Association Created by Randy Gauthier, born and raised in Little Prairie, BC. A new and rising talent for BCNE. His “Werewolf” captures the howling beast under the full moon.
#8 Paul Frenette Paul Frenette of Kitchener, Ontario Pro Chainsaw Carver and TV personality on HGTV.ca Carver Kings and OLN SAW Dogs has been at it for 13 years, it shows in the cleanness of his cuts, and believe it or not, he is an IT guy. Chainsaw Woodcarvers come from all walks of life. It competes, teaches, and helps those in the Ontario area get much more out of their chainsaws except cutting firewood.
#9 The Eagle LISAW originally from Southern California she met a man who changed here entire direction in the way her art studies were going. She now lives in Montana and her sculptures are scattered around the Hamilton Montana. One of her famous is the one of Lewis & Clark along with Sacagawea and Chief Joseph who stands 22 feet high.
#10 A kaleidoscope of works of art that will amaze you We know we promised only you ten pictures. However, we couldn’t choose the 10th as what we found were all so beautiful. So, for the 10th we’ll let you choose the one you think is the best of the bunch. Chainsaw Art Collection.