Fire Wood - WOOF !! I Don't Think So

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About: About me : I am a Cabinet maker of 30+ years with a degree in civil engineering who presently runs a cabinet shop for a custom home builder on Vancouver Island . I have been building things all my life, fro...

I swear it was all the dogs idea, she (Nala) made me do it.

This whole thing came about when I received a dump truck load of butt end fire wood. (all the small chunks from saw mills ) As I was making my way through the pile cutting my firewood for the next winter, I came across a four and a half foot fir log standing upright. The bark had already been peeled off, so just fooling around, I took my chainsaw and scratched a very rough face into it. My epiphany moment! ( that's when the dog told me what I needed to do )

I had always wanted to try chainsaw carving, after all, the professionals made it look so easy! How difficult could it be? Well, I was about to find out- the hard way.

Over the next couple days I came up with the plan to do a Moai, better known as an Easter Island Head but put my own spin on it. I remembered having seen something similar on a label for a local winery, Beaufort Winery ( beaufortwines.ca ). I learned later that they have one carved on a log out in there garden that stands 15 -20 feet high. It looked fairly simple and possibly something I might be able to pull off.

Step 1: Initial Design and Rough Carving

I drew up a few sketches, took them out to the log and roughly transferred my drawing on to the log. Then I fired up my smallest chainsaw with a 14'' bar and proceeded to start cutting. I'm pretty sure that my wife, who had a clear view from a distance of what I was doing, thought I was still just cutting fire wood.

If I couldn't pull this off, did she really need to know what I was up to ? We thought not ( the dog and me )

After way too many hours, then days I managed to get something that kind of resembled my sketches. There is no real way to describe the steps, It was was just a matter of trial and error and taking a little off at a time ( and a lot of patience ). Just keep your sketches or pictures near by and keep referring back to them. To get to this point I ended up using a small ax ,hammer and chisels, a power planer and anything else I could think of. So the pure art of chain saw carving went out the window, I had to finish what I started now that my wife knew what I was up to.

Step 2: Sanding

The next day I brought home a 6'' angle grinder from work with a couple of 40 and 60 grit pads and went to town sanding this thing. I made the mistake of laying it down to work on the chin, not thinking about how I would raise it back up. I estimate that it probably weighed in around 200 + pounds, it was still a little on the wet side.

With the help of my youngest daughter ( pictured above ) and my wife ( no picture ) we raised it back up and I finish sanded it with a 100 grit disk in my 4'' angle grinder. To get to this point it took about two weeks on and off, a weekend and evenings after work. It took a lot longer than I had anticipated.

The people who do this in the competitions could likely have it done in less than a day.

I salute all you chainsaw artists out there !!

Step 3: Glasses, But of Course

The next step was to make the cool aviator glasses. I found an old mirror out in my shop and proceeded to cut two round disks, It took a couple of attempts but I finally managed to get them somewhat round. To make the frame and the arms for the glasses I took a length of 1/4'' soft flexible copper pipe, the kind they use to connect a water line for a fridge.

I formed the pipe into a frame and hot glued the mirror to the copper , I then found a piece of 1/2'' black rubber hose, cut a slit down it's length and then wrapped it around both lenses. Then siliconed the crap out of it on the back side. I drilled two 1/4'' holes for the copper arms to go into.

I finished the wood by putting on three coats of a stained marine varnish after letting it dry out for a couple weeks under cover.

Step 4: Final Resting Place

This step was tricky, my wife probably thought I was going to put this thing somewhere in the yard where it was not going to be staring back at her ( out of site out of mind ).

By sheer coincidence she happened to be away, when we (Nala and I) decided that this piece of art :-) was going to sit at the top of our main driveway into our property. After all this work it had to be seen and what better place?

My wife has gotten used to it now and would probable miss it if were not there, and it sure make it easy for people to find our place out in the country. Turn right into the driveway by the big dude wearing sunglasses smiling back at you. That sounds way too much like the lyric to a country song?

He faces due south, that is why I had to put sunglasses on him, that's what I tell everyone. This summer I plan to make a black cowboy hat that would keep the snow and bird shit off his head, my wife is still not sold on that idea. ( yet )

Step 5: Conclusion

When people pull up and ask my wife ''What's that about?" she replies " That's what happens when you don't keep an eye on your husband when he's suppose to be cutting firewood " so, so true.

What did I take away from this? Logs are heavy, chainsaw carving is a lot harder than it looks and I have a new found respect for those who are able to do it, and If were ever to do this again I would purchase a chainsaw cutting disk for the angle grinder. Who am I kidding? This one falls into the category of - been there, done that, let's move on!!

I encourage you to try this just once, it's a humbling experience. When I get the hat made I will update with new pictures.

I dedicate this Instructable to Nala, ( my oldest daughters dog ) a female Bordeaux Mastiff who was there watching me work on this the whole time but sadly is no longer with us. I thank her for the great idea, for keeping me company while I worked on it and for the encouragement she provided. We all miss her dearly :-(

Cheers

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