chainsaw Carving

What kind of wood is best for chainsaw carving?

There are many different forms of art out there. When most of us think about art, we tend to think about pictures, and even when we do think of sculptures, it’s often images such as Michaelangelo’s David that pop into mind. But in this article, we’ll be looking at a form sculpting that requires an immense amount of skill, but is far too often over looked. Chainsaw Carving. And if you want to participate in it yourself, what would be the best type of wood for you to be using? And does it even matter?

About chainsaw Carving

chainsaw Carving

Chainsaw carving is one of the most impressive art forms out there. Not only are people creating these beautiful structures that might look like animals, people, furniture, or anything else, but they’re not used all of this fancy carving equipment, they’re using chainsaws, the same things that they would have used to cut down the trees.

At many fetes and funfairs, you can watch live as somebody turns a plain and boring log of wood into something incredible. It really is a marvel to behold. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’ easy, being able to do it as well as the professionals do will take time and effort.

But why does it matter what sort of wood you’re using? Isn’t wood just wood?

No. Wood is not just wood.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want a dining room table made of cork, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want a bottle of wine sealed with oak. There are, to put it very bluntly, some wood which is simply not possible to carve with, and many woods that are technically possible but very difficult. And if you want to make sure that your carving is as beautiful as you can possibly make it, then you need to select the best kind of wood.

There are a few things to look out for when selecting the best kind of wood to be carving with. The most important one is hardness. Generally speaking, harder woods tend to make the better sculptures, as softer wood will be more likely to split where they shouldn’t, for this reason, cork would not be a very good wood for chainsaw carving. You will also want something that is fairly resistant to changes such as shrinking or mould, after all, you’ll want your artwork to last. And finally, you’ll want something that looks nice. That is the whole point of art after all.


mahogany wood carving

The first type of wood on this list is Mahogany. The first thing to not about this kind of wood is that it’s very strong and durable, so you will be able to use a high power saw to it, and still end up with great result. In terms of appearance it has a beautifully rustic look to it, and it’s for this reason that it’s often used in furniture or musical instruments. It’s also less liable to swelling, meaning that even if you keep it outside in the rain, there is little chance of it being ruined.


Oak wood chainsaw carving

The next kind that you might want to consider using if you ever get tempted to going into chainsaw carving is Oak. The first benefit of Oak, is that is has a strongly defined grain, this gives it a lovely appearance, which has caused it to become a very popular wood for making furniture as well as sculptures. It’s also one of the stronger woods that are out there, meaning that the lines and curves can be sharp and well defined, particularly good for when you want to carve complex works such as dragons or people. It’s also easy to polish.


Cottonwood wood chainsaw carving

Next on this list is cottonwood. Whilst cottonwood might not be fantastic for the professionals, if you’re new to the world of chainsaw carving, it’s a great place to start. Compared to some of the other woods on this list, it’s much softer. Whilst this might sound like a disadvantage, it’s softness makes it easier to cut, and despite it’s softness, it’s definitely strong enough. Because it’s so soft, it’s also light weight making it easy to take around the place, and carry around with you. And because it’s so common, it’s super simple to find.


Walnut wood

Walnut’s a delicious winter treat, but walnut wood is a brilliant wood for chainsaw carving. The main reason for this is that it’s incredibly durable and strong. It’s strength will enable you to carve some of the most amazing artworks. It also has a very long life, so there is no worry about the finished product becoming ruined by time. You could probably pass your work down to your grandchildren. It’s also really nice to look at, it has the dark and mysterious appearance to it, a bit like the love interest from a Gothic romance novel. It also polishes well and doesn’t shrink in the rain.


Basswood log

And the final type of wood that we’ll be talking about is Basswood. As with all the other woods on this list, Basswood is strong and sturdy. Which will give the carver the ability to create patterns on it, without having to worry about the wood cracking. It’s also bendy (malleable) which will further decrease the probability cracks. As well as being strong, it’s also very light, so you can take it on the road with you, and it’s not too hard, so you don’t need to press too hard to make a cut. And finally, it looks spectacular, with it’s simple yet peaceful colour.

Of course, these are not the only woods that people use for chainsaw carving, but they are, in my personal view, the best ones. But even if you have the best wood for the job, being able to create such beautiful and amazing sculptures using a chainsaw is going to take a lot of practice, and a lot of getting it wrong, in order to make things better. But you when do get to that point the effort and hours that you put in will certainly be worth it.

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