About Chainsaw Carving


This is where I used to carve and display my art work, at "The Chainsaw Gallery",  located at the Log Cabin Mercantile in Chatsworth, California.
Sometimes people come to watch me carve. I try not to let it distract me, because chainsaw carving is a highly dangerous craft!

I only started doing this a couple of years ago, and my first seven months were filled with fear. I try to hold onto some of that fear even now, because if you get lazy or sloppy, that's when accidents occur.

I don't recommend you go running out and buying a chainsaw to try this yourself. There are numerous safety procedures to learn and specialized equipment needed or you could be severely injured or worse.

Three dimensional art is tough. It's a step by step process and you have to have a vision in your mind of what the finished piece will look like.

When I look at a piece of wood - a log - I see an image. A mermaid, a bear, a dolphin... If I didn't, I wouldn't know where to start. 

I usually don't do as much detail along the way as I did here, but this Redwood Mermaid was so important to me, making her appear more "real" as I went along helped me to envision where the rest of her was hidden in the wood.

Notice the bandanas on my ankles? No, I'm not a gang member! I use them to keep the saw dust out of my boots. I can never get enough of these, and visors too. (And gloves and earplugs and facemasks!) (Keep that in mind, my friends, next time you want to give me a present!) I love it when I can actually be color coordinated - it's a dirty job but I still like to look good doing it! I know of less than half a dozen women in America doing this, including myself!

I work in all kinds of wood.  Pine, Alder, Elm, Palm, Redwood and Ash.  Some wood is kinder than others when it comes to carving, but if your chain is sharp, you can tackle just about anything.  Some wood, like Redwood, has to be stripped by hand using a chisel and a mallet.  Palm wood you 'husk' using a carpet knife. These are necessary steps in order to keep your saw from gumming up and your chain sharp. And you ALWAYS inspect for nails. A nail in a piece of wood will destroy your chain and cause a possible 'kick back' that can cause serious injury.

Often I use marbles, flat or round, for the eyes. 
That's what I am doing in the photo above.
The carving below, of Sea Turtles, was accepted into the Malibu Art Expo at Pepperdine University. This showing is run every year by fine artists in the community. "Sea Turtles" was only the third piece that I completed and I was honored to be recognized at such an early stage in my new form of art. My carving made the newspaper too!

Here I am, revving up my chainsaw, to add some finishing touches to my Sea Turtles.

They will be sanded and oiled after this.

All done!

And don't worry! Still got all my fingers! :)
This was a special job, the client had a rooted tree trunk on the property, I carved this on location.

Come to my Gallery section to see more!