Chainsaw Art

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POTTSBORO, TX - Mother always said, never play with a chainsaw.

One local guy has decided to do just that.

Mike Shaefer of Pottsboro has been carving chainsaw art for the past few years. His works range from six-foot horses to a bald eagle with a 7-foot wing span. So he made a wolf, and showed the process from start to finish, beginning with his favorite material, cedar.

"People donate cedar because it's a pest tree. They cut it down and instead of burning it, they give me the log. The bigger it is the bigger piece I can pull out of it. I've pulled big indian chiefs and bears and things like that but it's all based on how big the log is," Shaefer said.

The ideal log is about 5 feet tall and one foot wide. From there, Shaefer does extensive research on what he plans to create.

"I have books and books and books and I go on the internet and look at pictures and pictures and pictures and I put in my head a three-dimensional image. Of what I'm going to make. I study it and then I do it without thinking."

"What I've done is shaped his head. And it's going to get thinner and thinner. But I'm making these big cuts because I've got the big saw. Kind of looks a little odd right now, looks like the head is gigantic. Every time you make these you make it big and you keep making it smaller until it's the size you're after."

Shaefer uses a smaller chainsaw to refine the basic shape. Then he marks the fur lines on the wolf.

With hours of carving complete, Shaefer needed a little help.

"Occasionally I find somebody that's so talented and has so much potential that I want to teach her the art. So now Dia Wall, chainsaw apprentice."

"Chainsaws make very, very coarse lines. But if you burn them, the wood gets very pliable. Not pliable but it's burnt, so it's soft. And then you take a big sander and you knock down all the high points and you add color to it that way and dimension. And it has the chainsaw texture, which people love."

Last but not least, Shaefer seals and varnishes it. In just a few hours, this five-foot log was transformed into this howling wolf.

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