can you carve with a chainsaw

Can You Carve Wood With a Chainsaw?

At some point as you continue to better your skills in wood carving, and you are that type that doesn’t shy away from trying new ways, you will get to know that woodcarving can be approached from more than one perspective and this is made possible by the variety of tools that are in wood carving.

A point came where I got fascinated by the chainsaw in my wood carving journey and got to ask myself, can you carve wood with a chainsaw? And so I researched about it and I’m more than glad to share with you what I found out.

Can you carve wood with a chainsaw? A definite Yes. Chainsaw carving is becoming more popular each day, and if you are interested too, you can also get to learn how to use it to make beautiful carvings.

Can You Use Any Chainsaw For Woodcarving?

One thing that I had in mind before clarifying whether there is a specified chainsaw for carving, is that a chainsaw should not be bulky because, unlike lumber felling, you won’t be focusing on one area and for this reason, you will need a chainsaw that is light to move to the location you want to focus on with ease.

Can you use any chainsaw for woodcarving? Yes, you definitely can, and the difference between a chainsaw that is for lumber felling and a carving one is; that a carving chainsaw comes with a carving bar, a pair of quarter-inch chains, and a sprocket of quarter-inch gear to drive the chain smoothly.

Carving bars come from a couple of different manufacturers and private makers. They come in 12, 14, 18-inches and a dime tip. Carving bars have a solid tip with a hard facing, which means there is no sprocket.

Chains come in different sizes but when detailing, the best chain to use is a quarter pitch because it is smaller and you will get better detail with it.

A very important point to note is to never use a quarter low pro on a dime-tip bar because it will burn up the bar or it will split the tip.

If you have a chainsaw at home, there is no need of buying another because all you will need is to replace the bar, sprockets, and the chain.

Types Of Cuts You Can Use In Chainsaw Carving

As I was researching on,” Can you carve wood with a chainsaw?”, I wanted to know how to go about it, and I came to realize that there are different types of cuts that are used in chainsaw carving and they are as follows.

  • Angle Cut- This type of chainsaw cut is also known as sloping cut and is achieved by holding the saw at an angle this cut is usually used while blocking out or roughing to take off large chunks of wood.
  • Curving Cut-This type of chainsaw cut follows the contour of part of the carving, and it can either penetrate the wood slightly, as it would in laying out feather groups, or go completely through the log to block in an area of the carving.
  • Horizontal Cut-This type of chainsaw carving is parallel to the ground you can use this cut to block out an area. Shallow depth horizontal cuts are used for tasks such as laying out an area for a bench seat.
  • Sweeping cut-To achieve this type of chainsaw carving, run the saw at a high rate of speed and sweep it across the wood surface. The angle of the bar determines the width of the swept-out area. For instance, if the bar is perpendicular to the ground, the cut will be only as wide as the chain.
  • Smoothing-To achieve smoothing, lay the bar flat against the wood and raise one side of the bar slightly. With the other side of the bar touching, sweep across the surface of the wood. This technique is used if you need to create a smooth surface.
  • Piercing Cut-Piercing cut is also known as plunging cut, where the tip of the saw is pushed into the log. This type of cut is used for blocking in areas when pushed through the log, and shallow piercing cuts are for laying out areas.
  • Texturing-Texturing is done when you want to add details to your woodcarving and it is achieved by using the tip’s edge.
  • Veining-Veining is also a type of texturing cut that makes the surface of the wood like the surface of a feather. It is achieved by dragging the saw bar sideways on the wood surface to create this cut,
  • Vertical Cut-Vertical cut is a piercing cut that is vertical to the ground and is used for various areas in the carving, such as the leg.

Check out more tool recommendations

Check out other power tools that complement chainsaw carving


Like any cutting tool, when you carve wood with a chainsaw, make sure that it is sharp because it is safer when sharp than when blunt.

When you want to carve wood with a chainsaw make sure you check the bar, sprocket, and a chainsaw and that is what differentiates it from a chainsaw for lumber felling.

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