The latest popular form of carving wood is using a chain saw. Begun around 1950, it has been quietly gaining followers over the last few decades. This form of carving has developed into an art for people that like to use giant chunks of wood or tree trunks for their projects. Some of the recent carvings have been used to make large stumps look like a piece of yard décor rather than a leftover stump. This carving method has evolved and many carvers and wood cutters have tried their hand at this craft. Contests have come into being for those that practice this method of carving as a profession.
Chain saws come in a large range of sizes. Some of the smallest and lightest chain saws are used for cutting younger, thinner trees in yards. They are also used to cut wood into pieces for firewood. Other chain saws are industrial giants used by professional loggers. These are heavy power tools that are able to cut through large trees. They are part of the everyday equipment on a logging site. Many carvers prefer the smaller chain saws. They are light, easy to maneuver and make more precise cuts.
When carving wood with chain saws, the carver must know exactly what cuts they want to make. The cuts are not generally outlined or planned. Most chain saw carving is simply done freehand by the carver. The general shape is cut into the wood or stump, and the carver goes back through to add highlights and additional lines.
While the idea is to use the chain saw to create a carving, hand tools are also part of this process. Gouges are generally used to create details too small for the chain saw to carve. Painting adds depth, color and highlights to wood carvings, so painting is also used by chain saw carvers to create the exact look they want for their creation.