A different way of working

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Anthony Bailey

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

In this month’s Woodworking Crafts magazine our feature is about Lotta Boholm Wall from Långserud, Sweden. She is a chainsaw carver who likes to have fun creating artworks in wood using a chainsaw.

She isn’t alone as a female chainsaw carver – I did a feature on Ella Fielding, Tree Pirate, for sister magazine Woodcarving a while ago and I know there are others out there wielding what many still regard as a dangerous machine to create marvels from tree trunks.

In fact, every chainsaw carver I have met so far of either sex works safely and sensibly and has proper training, licences and insurance – there is no other way to operate. My own experience with a corded electric chainsaw is quite satisfying and I have never had any alarming experiences with it – but there’s no place for complacency.

Modern safety features, including almost instantaneous chain braking, make it a relatively fuss-free experience. Felling is a different matter, understanding how a particular tree will fall and whether it has a sound or diseased trunk and the correct felling method and where the stresses are when cutting up the felled trunk or major branch limbs needs another level of training and certification.

Carving is a different beast, requiring a lightweight chainsaw fitted with a pointed carving bar and carving chain. Quite subtle effects are possible with skill and experience and the final work then executed with chisel, gouge and mallet or powered detailing tools. There is something satisfying and meaningful about turning an unwanted tree into something that will live on in another form that is unique, not just simply planked or burnt. Whatever your craft endeavours are, enjoy it and work safely.

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