Submariner carves a unique hobby

LS Scott Ferron

LS Scott Ferron

SLt M.X. Déry, MARAPC Public Affairs Office ~

Wood chips fly in all directions as LS Scott Ferron grips his chain saw and taps a block of red cedar. With each cut from the rotating teeth an eagle takes form.

His emerging sculpture is practice for the Campbell River Shoreline Art Competition.

“Being able to take a chain saw with that much power and make a work of art is something that intrigued me,” said LS Ferron, a Marine Technician in HMCS Victoria.

Prior to joining the Navy in 2010, he worked in forestry and discovered this unique art form when he witnessed a competition.

“It was the first time I saw someone carve a work of art with a chainsaw,” he said. “I found a new use for that power tool.”

Under the mentorship of Chris Foltz and Bob King, two award winning carvers, LS Ferron learned this craft.

He is now revving up for the competition in June, which means making sure the chain saws are in working order and practicing on multiple canvases or logs. But raw material can get expensive.

To save money, he looks for free material such as deadfall. But he must be mindful of rot, nails, or anything that would destroy his tools. 

Luckily British Columbia has plenty of red cedar, which is rot resistant and a softwood, making carving easier. He managed to acquire a fair amount of wood from a local resident who was willing to part with it if he carved her a dog.

The practice pieces don’t compare to the massive lumber he’ll carve during the four-day competition; a typical piece is eight feet tall and four feet in diameter. Competitors are given about 40 hours to carve their submissions, plus they do a quick carve that is auctioned off.

“It requires a lot of stamina,” said LS Ferron. “Staying fit is helpful, as is being strong.”

He’ll start carving with his largest saw with the biggest blades to make sure he gets a fast start, not only for time but for fatigue.

“You want to make sure that you aren’t wrestling this behemoth with a 30-inch bar for an hour. At 100ccs, it is heavy and there is very little in the way of anti-vibration. You’re going to feel it.”

Once he’s roughed out his design, he turns to smaller chainsaws to carve the details.

Dremels, die grinders, torches, belt sanders and a host more power tools can be used to finish the carving, while simultaneously cleaning off the saw dust and bar oil from the sculpture.

The carvings are then auctioned off with half the proceeds going to the winning contestants. First place on the main piece can be in the thousands of dollars.

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