How to learn chainsaw carving

Written by jennifer eblin
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Chainsaw carving is an old fashioned form of folk art where large chainsaws are used to whittle away at a piece of wood until a figure emerges. Many of the artists who work in this medium have apprenticed under other artists and practised on their own time to learn the trade. To learn chainsaw carving you should follow the same method they did. Ask questions of other carvers, read as much information as you can, take a few classes and you’ll learn chainsaw carving too.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chainsaw
  • Classes
  • Books
  • Wood
  • Chainsaw blades
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves

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  1. 1

    Take classes at a Chainsaw Carving School. This school teaches you everything you need to know about chainsaw carving and you can even pay extra to get all the tools you need and then take those tools home with you. Not only do you learn the techniques a carver needs, but you also learn basic safety techniques to keep yourself from getting injured.

  2. 2

    Read as many books on chainsaw carving as you can possibly find. You can buy them from your local bookstore or ask your library if they have any in stock. These books offer basic information on how to learn techniques and stay safe. There are also books that include step-by-step instructions on creating basic carvings like a bear.

  3. 3

    Ask questions of other carvers that you know or run across. Flea markets, craft shows and swap meets are a great place to find other carvers. You can also ask people where they bought their carved pieces if you can’t find any carvers in your area. This is the best way to find out more information about the trade and pick up some basic information.

  4. 4

    Apprentice under a carver particularly if you can find one with a lot of experience. Any carver is likely to let you sit in on a few of their sessions as long as you aren’t their direct competition. You can even have them criticise your skills and show you the proper way to make some of the basic shapes.

  5. 5

    Practice makes perfect and the best way to learn is to get out there and start practicing. You can try practicing on different types of wood, using different chainsaw blades to see what works best for you. Then try making a few basic shapes or mimicking those figures you’ve seen others do. The only way you can discover what works for you is to practice and try different things.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure you know how to use a chainsaw and how to keep yourself protected before you try carving. Novices should spend some time using a chainsaw to cut regular-sized logs and trees in their own yard to ensure they can handle this powerful tool.
  • Always use extreme caution when handling a chainsaw, especially if you’re new to the world of carving. Wear safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself from injury. One wrong move or misstep and you could seriously be injured.

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