Chainsaw carving dates back to the 1950s and has become increasingly popular over the years. Even with the advancements in safety features, chainsaw carving is still difficult and dangerous, but very rewarding when done right.
Almost all wood carvers use some form of pattern. If you’ve never carved with a chainsaw, you should definitely start with a carving pattern. These patterns allow you to use the correct proportions and outline your cuts in advance. To make your own pattern, simply draw your pattern on paper. You can then re-draw or transfer your pattern onto the wood with tracing paper or carbon paper.
Where to Get Chainsaw Carving Patterns?
There are several places to look for carving patterns. For instance, websites, online magazines, and even children’s coloring books can be a great source. Luckily, the web has become a place for other wood workers to share their templates.
Pinterest – This is a great place to find free patterns that other woodworkers and DIYers have used.
Children’s Coloring Books – These can be found everywhere and are relatively cheap. The image will need to be superimposed though.
ChainsawCarve.ca – This is an older website and unfortunately, it’s not online anymore. Luckily websites like archive.org exist and we can still share their templates with people looking for them.
Are These Patterns Totally Free?
For the most part, yes, but there are still some artists that commercialize their patterns. These patterns are usually meticulously designed and are very complicated to execute, so they are often sold. Fortunately, there are a number of free options available.
We mentioned ChainsawCarve.ca above as being a resource. Archive.org allows us to see their old webpage and display this information. The following patterns are all credit to ChainsawCarve.ca and the respective authors of these patterns.
Here is a list of free templates. Click any of them to display their PDF.
Chainsaw Letters (3×4)
Chainsaw Letters (6×9)
Spirit of the Hawk
“Seven EZ Pieces”
There is also Bill Woodcarver’s Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/carvingchainsaw/
There are also several wood working books available online. These books typically discuss techniques, offer detailed instructions, and some even come with patterns. One of the more notable chainsaw carvers is Jamie Doeren. Jamie is a multi-talented visual artist, he is well-known for his chainsaw art, a respected candidate in various international chainsaw carving competitions, winning three world championships and four national titles, and has been perfecting the chainsaw wood carving art, since he first began experimenting with a chainsaw back in 1989.
His book, Chainsaw Carving a Bear will tell you all the secrets to transform an ordinary piece of timber into an attractive work of art with very detailed easy-to-follow instructions. This book also features a 3 step-by-step projects for carving both realistic and caricature bears using a chainsaw. Moreover, this books includes a basic layout, chainsaw cuts, and patterns.
On the other hand his book Chainsaw Carving an Eagle: A Complete Step-by-step Guide showcases a step-by-step detailed guide for carving four various eagle designs from a tree trunk or log. The four featured projects include a standing eagle with a fish, an eagle head plaque, an eagle bench and a soaring eagle. Each carving project comes with a detailed pattern, detailed carving instruction and some carving techniques, coating options and final details. As a bonus, the book showcases extensive images of finished chainsaw works which will surely give inspiration for novice chainsaw carvers.
Keep in mind that not every pattern or drawing you find will already be the exact size that you need for your carving project. So it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of enlarging carving patterns to perfectly fit your wood dimension.
Proper safety gear, your chainsaw, time, lots of patience, and the right wood carving patterns illustrated in an instruction book are what beginners need in order to learn how to carve wood using a chainsaw into something attractive and artistic.