Art of Chainsaw Carving
Published by Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., East Petersburg PA USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 125
If you have ever doubted that Chainsaw Carving is a legitimate artform, this book is sure to convince you otherwise. After a brief introduction to the history and evolution of chainsaw carving, the author (an accomplished chainsaw carver) presents the inspiring work of some 18 of its practitioners.
These are divided into two groups - early and contemporary artists.
Among the first is Ray Murphy of Maine (USA) who began in 1953 and has since produced over 50,000 pieces of art - everything from a 35-foot totem pole to a two-inch turtle.
Ray Murphy’s control of a chainsaw is readily judged by his ability to carve a name on a wooden belt buckle, while the buckle is still being worn! It's a trick he claims to have performed at least 10,000 times.
Lois Hollingsworth (California, USA), by turn a sculptor, truck driver and house designer, had always had a penchant for woodcarving when she tried using a chainsaw for the first time around 1960. Now aged 80, she creates exquisitely fluid sculptures that suggest human and animal shapes even in the abstract.
While most of the artists mentioned are content to produce work that is little more than lifesize, contemporary artist, Glenn Greensides (British Columbia, Canada), specialises in figures that are truly monumental. His Dragon, for example, is a massive 16 feet high and 7 feet wide, yet it is finished in impeccable detail.
Horses, a giant dragonfly, historical characters, sportsmen, animals, fish, furniture and mystical creatures, all are represented among the work of the men and women who are shown here to have mastered this art.
The book concludes with a 'how-to' chapter on carving a chair and a commentary on Chainsaw Events of Yesterday and Today which happily includes the work of two Australians, Kevin Gilders and Angela Polglaze.
Clearly, this is a book for those who aspire to become chainsaw carvers but it will probably find space on the bookshelves of many other woodcarvers too.
One: The Early Artists
Two: The Contempoary Artists
Three: Chainsaw Power Carving a Chair Step-by-Step
Part Four: Chainsaw Carving Events, Yesterday and Today