top of page
  • Fred

Trying my hand at chainsaw carving!

It's been a little while since the last post. I've been busy working on some projects for friends. I'm currently working on another, and this one isn't just for a friend, but it's also for a great cause!

I have a close friend who works for the Virginia Department of Forestry. Every year, the National Association of State Foresters holds a convention at a different location. This year, it's in Virginia. The host state gets to hold a silent auction to raise funds for the charity of their choice. The charity that's being supported this year is called Semper K9.


Semper K9's mission is:

"to enhance the quality of life for wounded, critically ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families by providing them assistance dogs. Using rescued and donated dogs we provide service dogs for psychiatric alert and mobility challenges free of charge to wounded service members."


I love dogs and I LOVE the men and women who have given so much for our great nation, so how could I NOT help out with this project?

My friend (let's just call him "Joe") asked me if I could come up with a smallish wooden thing that someone in the forestry service may find intriguing for the silent auction. It would have to be able to fit into a suitcase, since lots of folks are flying in for the convention.

Joe was thinking of some sort of desk organizer. When I was in the service, there were a LOT of folks who had these particular nameplates on their desks. I think they came from Korea, but I'm not sure since I've never been to Korea. I remember those being really cool, but how could I possibly make a nameplate/desk organizer for a silent auction. What name would I put on there? Based on the title of this blog post (the photo is kind of a giveaway), you've likely already figured out my plan.

What forestry service worker could possibly resist a nameplate desk organizer handmade of 100% Cherry with a chainsaw carved right up front? Here's the front piece before I cut the back off of it.

The process to get to this point was to clean up the rough cherry and dimension it for the project. It's 12 inches wide and 4.5 inches tall by about 2 inches thick. I used a super secret method to draw the curve on the top of the block (don't tell anyone, but it's just using a clamp, a flexible metal ruler, and a pencil) and then cut the curve on the bandsaw.

Then I got to doing what I do (carving like crazy) and this was the end result. After this was carved, I cut the back off and sanded the back smooth. For this I again used the bandsaw and then the oscillating spindle sander.

The horizontal piece is where the actual desk organizing will take place. I'm building a pencil cup and a business card holder into the back of this thing. It may be difficult to see right now, but the thick part at the top of the photo will have a hole drilled into it to hold pencils (and possibly pens). The rectangle at the bottom of the photo will hold business cards (you can see my tester cards in the top of the photo).

This is obviously still a pretty rough shape for the organizer. There will be a fair amount of carving done to make it look nice. This thing has to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing and chainsaw (is that two things or three?).

I've got to finish this up tomorrow (Thursday) so I can get some finish on it and have it ready to present to "Joe" by Monday. I'm hopeful. One of my challenges is to get the fit between the two pieces just right so I can effectively glue them together. They're pretty close right now, but I still have some fine tuning to do.

I'll post again this weekend after it's completed. Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading!

bottom of page