The Popularity of Chainsaw
Chainsaw carving is an art that many people do not
know about, but it is becoming more popular. It brings the chainsaw’s modern technology to woodworking, an
ancient art. It goes back to 1950’s and was developed by artists like Ken Kaiser and Ray Murphy. Chainsaw
carving really took off in the 1980’s, particularly after the national televised Lumberjack World
In 1987, the first World Championship in chainsaw
cutting was held. Organizations dedicated to the art form came into being as well as publications with the
same interest. In America and other countries, the art form grew due to the Internet. There are now
hundreds if not thousands of chainsaw carvers in the US.
Chainsaw carving was considered performance art at one
time, but some carvers are creating true works of art. The works are produced in far less time than it would
be by using traditional tools such as gouges and mallets. Some artists still use the standard tools, but the
chainsaw is the main tool being used.
Chainsaw chains and blades, especially made for
carving, have been developed. The blades are actually called guide bars. The bars have extremely small noses
in chainsaw carving. This allows the artist to produce details that they could not capture using a standard
guide bar. The guide bar’s chains are altered by making the length of the teeth shorter.
This is done to enable them to make efficient cuts at
the bar’s tip. The grounds for the alteration is that chains produced presently are designed to be used only
on standard guide bars. Companies such as Canon, GB and others make carving bars. These bars have an
advantage over standard bars in that when using the tip there is no kick back, making them safe when compared
to conventional bars.
It takes a great deal of instruction and practice in
order to operate a chainsaw safely. To be a skilled carver, this should also be followed by studying,
practicing, and carving the basic shapes that will lead to more elaborate projects. Chainsaw carving is an
art that is still developing. Some artists are employing other hand tools for extra detail.
It is imperative when working with a chainsaw that
protective clothing is worn. This includes chainsaw trousers, eye protection, steel toe boots, ear
protection, respirator and head covering if working in the woods. A cut resulting from a chainsaw is not a
mere scrape. An entire centimeter of flesh and bone can be taken away. Death can occur rapidly due to blood
Chainsaw artists have founded two guilds, The Cascade
Chainsaw Sculptors Guild and the United Chainsaw Carvers Guild. They are both nonprofit organizations and put
out newsletters. Their goal is to promote chainsaw art and to share ideas among