Everyone has seen chainsaw carvings before; they are beautiful and quite graceful to behold. Until very recently I didn’t understand how chainsaw carvers could take a widow-maker of a beast, a tool used to fell great spires of lumber, and carve something so elegant with it. Here’s the trick — they don’t. They run a small saw with a dime bar on it.
It’s not something you hear anybody really talk about. Just watch any show with a chainsaw artist on it and the narrator hardly even pauses to mention it, “…and here so-and-so reaches for a smaller saw for the detail.” What they glance over is that often it’s a tiny saw, maybe even an electric saw with a 12” dime bar attached to it.
The dime or 1/4″ carving bar on a small saw is what makes intricate chainsaw carving possible. The chain is run a little looser, and without a guard link around this little bar it somehow becomes magical. In the hands of a skilled artist the combination of the small saw, small tapered nose, and modified chain make it a sculptor’s dream to operate. Any shape can be coaxed out of the wood very quickly, which means you can rough cut anything smaller than a car in under a few hours.
This of course isn’t saying that running a chainsaw is safe. A chainsaw by definition is un-safe. However the size of the chain and bar, the fact you will not be felling giants with it, and the limited amounts of material you’ll be removing at a time do move it down on the danger level — a trifle.
I might have to give this a shot sooner or later.
Chainsaw Carving Gear [Log Home Store]