Carving out a hobby with a chainsaw

Fishing for ideas . . . Geraldine resident Daniel Holland was searching for ideas for his wife’s Christmas present two years ago when he struck upon a life-changing tutorial, and his first bear was born. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Chainsaw artist Daniel Holland is a cut above the rest.

The Geraldine-based carver was desperately searching for a present for his wife two years ago when an online tutorial popped up.

After pulling out his trusty chainsaw, Mr Holland finished creating a sculpture of a bear just in time for Christmas.

‘‘I had an idea on how to use a chainsaw; and I had carved knife handles and soap before.’’

He said carving with a chainsaw was similar to carving on smaller surfaces, but ‘‘rather than using teeny blade you use a chainsaw instead’’.

He had gone on to carve more sculptures which he had sold at markets, as well as making sculptures as commission pieces for people, including sculpting statues of their pets.

Mr Holland said holding a chainsaw for up to two hours meant he had no need to have a gym membership.

He used an electric chainsaw, as he did not want to annoy the neighbours with excess sound.

‘‘They put up with a lot.’’

Sculpting out of logs required the use of other tools, too, like an angle grinder with a flat disc, a finger sander, and a chisel which helped with the very fine details.

Barking mad . . . A more recent sculpture Mr Holland made for his grandmother. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Working on a ‘‘massive piece’’ could require up to 20 hours, so he liked to work carefully as wood could chip.

Elsewhere in the country, more established artists were charging $1000 more than he did, but he said he kept his prices reasonable as he did it as a passion.

He planned to donate a couple of large pieces to the Geraldine Sculpture Trail.

Mr Holland said he had lived in Montana in the United States for years and he had seen people sculpting eagles out of logs.

‘‘Ironically, I started while living here, and instead of making eagles, I make keas.’’

He said some of the log cabins in Montana were more than 100 years old.

‘‘If preserved well, these sculptures will last as long as that.’’

He said if they were oiled or stained they were ‘‘pretty hardy’’.

While he had his hands full with two children under the age of 4, building a house in Peel Forest, and working as a nurse at Waihi Lodge, he had also started in real estate.

Combining his new career move with his art, he had decided to offer welcome bears with houses he sold.

Wood was sourced from the local area and from offcuts from a log-home company based in Geraldine.

He said if anyone was able to provide him large pieces of ‘‘perfect’’ walnut, cherry or macrocarpa wood he would return the favour by making them a bear carving from it.