Woodcarving is the oldest yet the most continuous type of sculpture making. It has been here back then during the time of our ancestors, and even before them. Throughout many centuries, woodcarving has gone through different stages but never died. It came a long way and gradually improved as time goes by. The most basic tools that are used back then are: carving knife, gouge, chisel, and almost any sharp objects that are man made.

Fast forward to our time, the chainsaw was created. This tool is in fact one of the sharpest yet most dangerous piece of machinery that can be used on woodcarving. “Chainsaw carving” as usually called is the new face of the woodcarving era. As time goes by, a lot of people are opting on creating works of art by using a chainsaw. In this article, we are going to provide you some tips and tricks how to make your own woodcarving art. Let’s begin!

Materials You Need

  • Chainsaw: Stating the obvious of course, a chainsaw is definitely the first thing you need in doing such. Just think of it as a knife, only larger and more dangerous to hold at. And that comes to our next point down below.

  • Protective Gear: Since a chainsaw is one of the most dangerous material of carpentry, you need to wear proper protective gear when operating one. Wear protective goggles, ear patches, knee high boots or steel toe shoes, and don’t forget the helmet to protect yourself from chainsaw kickbacks.

  • Wood/Timber: Again, stating the obvious, you need wood to create “wood” carvings. There are two kinds of woods and these are the softwood and hardwood. If I were you, I would definitely choose hardwood any day since they are more efficient and sturdier.

  • Wood Coating: Wood is a material that cannot withstand the test of time, that’s why it needs a special coating that can acts as a protective layer to make it last longer. You may need a sand paper to smoothen the wood after creating your artwork. Once done, you can use coating, treatment, or sealant, to your carving.

  • Sketching/Pattern Tools: Since you are a beginner, it is important to sketch your artwork first so that you will have a vision on what your product will look like. This will enable you to plan and determine its dimensions as well as creating its designs too. Do not ever rush on creating your carvings. A simple mistake is a recipe for disaster and the next thing you’ll find is yourself starting again from scratch which is a hassle.

Picking the Right Chainsaw

  • Almost any types of chainsaw can be used when it comes to chainsaw carving. However, picking the right one that suits your need will make you to create better and more efficient. At the end of the day, it all boils down to your matter of choice on which one to use.
  • But if you want us to help you pick which is best, then there are some things that you might want to consider on opting for one.
  • Choose a chainsaw that is lightweight so you can maneuver it with ease. This will help you to focus on creating your work of art with minimal mistakes.
  • Use a chainsaw with pointed tips and are correctly tensioned for carving purposes. This works best for beginners that have little idea on how to use a chainsaw.  

Different Types of Wood Explained

  • With lots of wood available in the market, we are going to explain each one of them to help you choose which one suits right for you. The type and design of carving you do will influence the type of wood which one is best, so you should choose wisely.
  • Basswood: Most wood carvers choose basswood over others because of its soft and can be easily carved using a chainsaw. For beginners, you should opt for this one if price isn’t your concern. Although it is expensive, but its quality and versatility is definitely making it one of the best purchase you can get.
  • Walnut: Walnut is another popular option although it is priced higher compared to basswood. It has a richer color and can look attractive especially when you use a clear sealer or any kind of coating for its finishing touches. It is a kind of hardwood although it’s not actually too hard to carve.
  • Mahogany: If you want to opt for reddish colored woods, then mahogany is for you. This type of wood can be seen anywhere in the Caribbean where it grows on farms and are exported anywhere in the world. It’s a durable lightwood with a straight grain. Among with the two mentioned woods above, it doesn’t come cheap and is harder to carve overall because of its inconsistent grain.
  • Oak: Oak is another type of wood that comes with a wide range of qualities making it the perfect choice for carving. Oak is a heavy, strong, light colored hardwood that is beautiful and is ideal for making furniture and any kinds of wood carving.
  • Cottonwood: This wood has a distinctive white color that looks attractive to look at when unpainted. It’s easy to carve since it is made from softwood. And the best part is, it cost cheaper compared to basswood.
  • Butternut: Lastly, this is an efficient wood for beginners that has just started wood carving. It also comes with several qualities because of its softwood nature, making it of course, easier to carve. Butternut is sometimes mistaken as walnut because of its lighter color. Although it is browner than basswood and comes with an even grain that is easy to manage. Summing it up, butternut lumber is beautiful, easier to work at, and extremely affordable.

Tips & Tricks for Chainsaw Woodcarving

  • Familiarize yourself with your chainsaw and how it operates. It’s better to read the manual first before using.
  • Always wear protective gear to protect yourself from uncanny accidents especially chainsaw kickback.
  • Ensure that your chainsaw is sharp to make carving easier. Having a dull chainsaw is dangerous.
  • Prepare a variety of saws. You may need a bigger saw to start with to cut out huge chunks of wood. While a smaller saw helps you out in detailing your artwork.
  • Always use your dominant hand when operating a chainsaw. Or better yet, just use both hands for easier maneuvering.
  • Do your research about chainsaw carving to help you out with your first time carving session.
  • For starters, it is crucial to start small by carving on smaller pieces of wood that measures about 15-inches in diameter or less.
  • Use sandbags to keep your wood steady while carving it.
  • Use knifes and other carving tools if tiny details is your concern.
  • Beginners may want to opt on using softwood first since it is easier to carve with minimal hassle.

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