Chain Saw Carving Safety Tips
One art form that is steadily increasing in popularity is chain saw carving. Not only do they use wood for this art but also ice. The oldest records that I found go back to the 1950's but it seemed to have really taken off in the 1980's. We were on a motorcycle trip up in Northern Wisconsin a few years ago and had the privilege to stop and view some beautiful items plus watch and visit with the artist. When we were there he was working on an eagle with a 5 foot wing span. I would have loved to have seen the finished product but we didn't have the time to wait. He was carving this one out of pine but he mentioned that he would use all types of wood such as Alder, Elm, Redwood and Ash but they all will react very differently to your carving and some require different prep work before you can start.
When we first starting watching him I though he might be using an ordinary chainsaw but there are special saws, blades (known as Guide bars) and chains that make this a lot easier and safer. The big difference between the guide bars and the standard bars is the noses are smaller in the guide bars to enable the artist to create detail in his carving that he wouldn't be able to do with a regular bar. Maybe I should explain that the bar that I am referring to is what holds the chainsaw chain. One thing that I learned from him was his fear of doing his art. I know that sounds strange to be afraid of the art that you are working on but his reasoning made sense and would apply to working with any type of machinery. If you maintain a healthy fear of what you are working with you are more apt to be more careful and as a result you will have less accidents. Don't ever get lazy, sloppy or to comfortable because that is when something will happen.
This is definitely one art form that requires safety first. A single cut from a chainsaw actually removes a portion of flesh and bone and if you are injured in a critical area you can die quickly from blood loss. Here are a few safety tips for carving on wood but a lot of them would also pertain to ice carving.
Do a lot of research and study before you try this out for yourself. Take the time to find a good instructor that would be willing to work with you and teach you the proper way to handle the saw, what is the right equipment to invest in and how to start. That is what might be the difference between having a new enjoyable art form or getting seriously injured.