A Brief History of Chainsaw Carving

When you’re driving the back roads of western states like California, Nevada, and Arizona, you’re likely to encounter many picturesque roadside attractions. Among those roadside attractions may be carvings of fanciful creatures. You may see dragons, dwarves or even a wooden bear statue. Such wood carvings have a long and colorful history.

Chainsaw Carving

The Trail of Tall Tales

People first began experimenting with wooden carvings in the 1960s and the 1970s, following the publication of a popular book entitled “Fun and Profitable Chainsaw Carving” by William Westenhaver and Ronald Hovde. One of the earliest roadside carvings still standing is a redwood mural at the Trees of Mystery attraction in northern California that was created by the chainsaw artist Ken Kaiser. Kaiser had been creating chainsaw artwork since the 1950s, but since wood is a perishable medium, particularly when it’s outside and exposed to weather, much of Kaiser’s early work did … Read More