How To Learn Chainsaw Carving – Preparation and First Time Guide


Getting into chainsaw carving is not very easy if you don’t know anyone around that can show you how things work. In this article, we will cover how you can try chainsaw carving for the very first time. Remember that In chainsaw carving, it’s important to be knowledgeable of the dangers and always being conscious of your actions.

Before turning on the chainsaw and cutting through some wood, you should try consuming as much knowledge as possible. This will make you more familiar with unexpected situations that may arise, and help you deal better to both prevent them and deal with them.

If you’d like to read more important information about chainsaw carving you can check out an ever-expanding list of articles that is regularly updated and growing every few months!

Now we can get into the 4 steps you need to take before finally trying chainsaw carving for the first time.

1. Safety in Chainsaw Carving

When working with chainsaws you must be very familiar with safety measurements that are best employed at all times.

As you may have noticed above, we have an article about the different dangers that may arise with chainsaw carving that are important to know about in order to prevent them from being dangerous. You can read about the 5 Dangers of Chainsaw Carving by clicking the blue text or read our less detailed, but also very useful summary below.

First of all, before you decide to skip some chainsaw safety equipment imagine a chainsaw wound and hopefully change your mind. You don’t want to try to buy protective equipment cheap as the consequences will not be worth it.

When using a chainsaw, you must always wear all of the below protective equipment:

  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Chainsaw chaps (Better than kevlar pants, read the original article for an explanation)
  • Earmuffs
  • Tied hair, no scarf, tight clothing

For additional protection, you can also wear a faceguard. Although most chainsaw carvers don’t like it as it blurs their vision a little, it can be pretty helpful during a kickback (kickbacks happen when the tip of your chainsaw gets in contact with something denser, making the chainsaw to kick back towards your face or shoulder).

Wearing good safety equipment will already reduce the risk of injury by a significant amount. However, there are more precautionary measurements you should take before starting to carve.

The most important thing you should do before starting any carving is to check your wood for nails. You really, really don’t want your chainsaw to touch a nail, so inspect the wood very thoroughly for any potential threats such as nails. This is especially important if you are are getting scrap wood/ wood leftovers from something like a construction site.

Lastly, as obvious as it may sound you must always keep your concentration. You can’t be carving and thinking of what you’re going to have for dinner simultaneously. All of your attention must be on holding the chainsaw firmly and carving the wood attentively.

2. Using The Right Chainsaw

Not every chainsaw is suitable for carving. Some types are better and some are much worse. Mostly there are two types of chainsaws:

  • Electric Chainsaw
  • Gas Chainsaw

Electric chainsaws are new to the game, and while they have a hundred advantages such as being lighter and requiring almost no maintenance many carvers simply refuse to like them.

Getting an electric chainsaw is probably a great idea if you never had to maintain a chainsaw before or if you are a newbie in carving as it mostly makes your life easier. You just need a socket somewhere nearby, so carving in the middle of the forest may be a struggle.

On the other hand, there is the gasoline chainsaw which most carvers still love to this day. Gas chainsaws are more powerful than electric ones, and they make the famous “rumm rumm” sound when you turn them on.

Gas chainsaws are what we would recommend to everyone as the better type of chainsaws. However, if you are new to chainsaw carving and you don’t yet see the beauty of a gasoline chainsaw just yet, there is nothing wrong with using an electric chainsaw and exploiting all the advantages it brings with it.

3. Stabilizing The Wood

Now that we have all the equipment for carving and we know most of the theory behind what to do and what not to do to be safe, let’s get into the one final step before carving, setting up the wood to be steady.

There are two ways you can go about stabilizing wood in chainsaw carving.

The first way is a little pricy, what you see above is a Rockwell Sawhorse it is perfect for chainsaw carving but requires an investment that only committed chainsaw carvers are willing to make.

Which brings us to method number two. This is a DIY version of stabilizing the wood, and if done correctly it works just as well. So here is what you have to do:

  • Using screws, attach a plywood board to the bottom of your log (Make sure the plywood is larger than the base of the log)
  • Place the log on a larger sturdy surface, for example, a flat tree stump
  • Using screws, attach the outside area of the plywood to the sturdy base

This is all you need to maintain your log in a steady position. Instead of a tree stump, you can use anything that firmly stays on the ground and elevates your log enough to make it comfortable for you to cut with the chainsaw.

Guide To Chainsaw Carving For The First Time

Finally, we can get started cutting! A few things to keep in mind for your first time chainsaw carving

First of all, don’t bother planning out and sketching on your log of what you will try to carve, this is not a good idea for your first lesson. What you are aiming for your first few attempts is not getting better at cutting shapes, but instead getting comfortable with using a working chainsaw.

As you move forward to your 3rd-4th try, planning out the carving is a great way to progress. Before then, it will only distract you and take away the concentration that you so much need to just be confident with the chainsaw and avoid any mistakes.

Instead have a rough picture in your head of what you want to do, and slowly, without rushing, turn on the chainsaw and proceed to your first cut. As you carve more and more of the log you will notice that you become more confident making each cut a little easier and less stressful.

Always stay concentrated and don’t let anything distract you, if you have someone watching over you don’t look at them and make cool gestures of how much fun you are having, do that only after you turned the chainsaw off.

Timewise, your first chainsaw carving “lesson” should not be long as you will get tired and probably need until the next morning for your brain to fully apprehend the process. Next time will be easier and the time after that you will get the hang of it very quickly, but don’t rush the time and take chainsaw carving one step at a time.

This was our guide for the very first time you should chainsaw carve! We hope you have fun trying it out for yourself.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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