A man who grew up helping his father use a chainsaw to cut firewood to heat the house found himself intrigued by chainsaw carving after he saw some carvers at the local fairgrounds. He has since taken up the technique, carving incredible pieces for the last 23 years.
“It is actually a therapeutic activity. You just get lost in the crazy creative process that you are deep in the middle of. It’s poetic pandemonium,” Bob King from Edgewood, Washington, told The Epoch Times via email.
The 57-year-old artist, who grew up in Reedsport, Oregan, was first gifted a cedar log to try working on his newfound interest. However, anticipating failure, Bob kept the log at the back of his door for one year.
According to his website, after his friend persuaded him to give it a try and even promised him another piece of wood if he failed, Bob took up the challenge and carved a black bear holding a honey pot. The wood carving turned out to be successful and he even got a few offers to sell it.
In 2000, when Boeing had a large layoff, Bob decided to take his hobby to a whole new level. After enrolling in sculpture classes in a community college and undergoing a formal education in the arts, he began to sculpt human faces and figures.
Explaining the creative process that goes behind each wood sculpture, Bob told The Epoch Times: “I begin with an idea for a composition. From there you simply have to “fit” it into a log. It’s best to find one that just encompasses the outer limits of what you want.”
“A heavy blockout with a larger saw removes the larger chunks and establishes a basic form,” Bob added. “The finished work is done with smaller saws to bring out the details.”
For finer details such as eyes and noses, Bob uses smaller power tools. However, he admits that with this chainsaw carving, there is really never a specific endpoint and one can go and add more details, it just depends on the carver to pick a “stopping point.”
The time that is required for each chainsaw carving, according to Bob, depends on the size and wood species. On average, he said, it takes about a day or two to complete a piece.
He hopes each peice would tell a “story of some sort,” or “at least convey some energy or feeling.”
Over the years, Bob has taken part in various chainsaw sculpture competitions and states that these events help enrich and refine the artist’s existing talents.
“We are put in front of a nice block of wood, given a theme (nautical, animals, etc.,), given an allotted amount of time,” Bob explained.
Among 16–20 competitors, each individual puts in their best to create their most splendid piece. The works are then judged professionally and the finest among them is awarded.
In one competition that Bob took part in in Holland, he created a stag with horns and an owl behind it. The chainsaw sculpture, according to Bob, took about four days to complete, but had a lot of presence when it was completed.
In some cases, the shape of the log helps in deciding what the final product is, and in this case, Bob said “[the stag] was in there and it seemed so easy to bring it out.”
Over the years, Bob has carved various award-winning sculptures around the world. Among his majestic and beautiful creations are bears, seals, combat soldiers, donkeys, and more. However, he said the Eagles have remained his favorite.
“I never get tired of them,” Bob said. “It’s fun to try and emulate them in wood.”