by Butch Elrod

Carving Care

As the proud owner of a piece of chainsaw art, there are a few things you can do to keep it looking good for years to come. This video contains the same information as the text below. Enjoy!

Chainsaw sculptures are, for the most part, carved from whole diameter logs rather than a slice of a log. It's the nature of a log to check or crack as it dries.

What's that mean to you as the owner of a chainsaw carving? Well,,, it means your carving is going to crack. It's part of the natural process so you might as well enjoy it.
Displaying your carving.
Your carving is wood. Wood can split, crack, rot, fade, burn and/or be attacked by insects. Putting a little thought into where and how it's displayed can help your carving to last years longer.

Do not set your carving directly onto soil or grass. A pad of concrete, gravel or paving stones is better and will help protect the base from water and insect damage.

Heat from either harsh desert sunshine or even the household heat [indoors] will dry the wood quickly which causes additional cracking. Avoid these when possible or be prepared to renew the finish more frequently.

Rain is not much of a problem for a properly sealed carving. Frequent drenching with water [irrigation, etc] increases the likelyhood of water damage so try to display your carving beyond the reach of your lawn sprinklers. Keeping it properly sealed [described below] is very important if displayed in a wet location or climate.
Maintaining the finish.
Most of my carvings are sealed with Marine Spar Varnish which can be purchased at any hardware or paint store. This can be brushed or sprayed on. When cracks develop, I use a brush and let the varnish run into the crack and seal the wood. Do not try to fill the crack with varnish! You just want to seal the surface of the newly exposed wood inside the crack.
Helmsman Spar Varnish
I recommend that any carving displayed outdoors be re-sealed with spar varnish each spring and autumn.

Spar Varnish is available in Gloss [shiney] or Satin [no shine]. If your carving isn't shiney and you'd like it to be, paint on the gloss spar varnish right over the satin.
Sadly, it happens on occasion... Report any stolen carvings to the police just as you would any other crime. On the prevention side of this, I attach a chain to my carvings with a lag bolt and secure the other end of the chain to something. Sure, the bolt can be removed by anyone with a wrench but slowing them down may be enough to deter them.

If the carving was stolen from your business location, send out a press release to all the local media and get as much free advertising as you can for your loss! Seriously!!