Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The chainsaw is no longer stumping me

It's been weeks, but finally the chain saw is ready to use again, so I can get back to carving the tiki into our tulip poplar stump in the back yard.  For you relatively new followers, here's a brief recap:

What I started with - a tulip poplar stump

Where I last left off before the chainsaw took a leave of absence

When we left our subject, he/she was getting a nice set of puffy lips.  I'm working now on getting some appropriate scaffolding arranged so I can get up higher to carve around the head and eyes.  I can't just prop a ladder against the stump, because then I'll have to reach around the ladder, and that's not safe.  I have some old tires and wheels (being a car guy, I have too many old tires and wheels, but we won't dwell on that fact).

Anyway, I thought I could stack the wheels and then stack lumber between them to get me up higher.  I will probably use them somehow, but now trying one of these ladders that you can fold in different ways and see if that will give me a sturdy perch for carving higher up.  So far, the ladder is working, and I'm using it and a tire stack to stand on.

Conditions were less than ideal.  It's cold, and very windy, and the wind loves to blow saw dust into my face, despite the safety gear I'm wearing.  The sun was in my eyes, and the dust mask, eyeglasses, facemask combo fogs up my glasses frequently.  But, I spent about 90 minutes with the saw, and it's cutting a lot better.  Funny what a tune up and blade sharpening by professionals will do for you.

So, here are the current shots.  I've been whittling away at the lower lips and the gap between the lips.

I also did a lot of carving along the edge of the nose, and also along the side of the face to cut away more excess.

I noticed I've started cutting one eye opening higher than the other, but I kinda like that expression.

On another day, after my tired arms had recovered, I used the tripod ladder to get high enough to start whittling away around the top of the head.  As you can see, I'm cutting parallel lines vertically and horizontally, and also diagonally.  I'm trying to watch how deep the saw goes, but that's pretty tough to be consistent with when you're standing on a ladder with a deadly chainsaw!

Once I get a bunch of cuts made, I shut off the chainsaw and use a 24-inch pry bar to get between segments and pry them out one by one.  It's slow going, but I will just work on it as I find the time and keep chipping away.  I'm hoping to have it pretty far along by spring.

UPDATE:  A big thanks to Pam over at Retrorenovation.com for featuring this silly project!  And welcome any first time visitors!  I'm still mastering the intricacies of some of the more subtle blog linking tools available to me, but here's a quick link back to earlier posts on the stump carving topic.  I'll have another stump update soon.


  1. Oh man its really coming along! What do your neighbors think of your daily chainsawing! That's gonna be one sweet tiki when you are done!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm spending a few hours a week on it, chipping away. Fortunately, I'm far enough from my neighbors on either side and behind me that I don't get any hassles.

  3. Um, this is amazing! I haven't seen chainsaw carving in years. (I'm from the Pacific NW where this kind of hobby is more widespread.) Keep up the good work and stay safe!

  4. very cool! did you ever get to the honolulu restaurant in alexandria before it was closed in 2004?

  5. Monogirl - thanks, and welcome. In a future post I'll link to one or two other stump carvers that make my efforts look like that of a drunk kindergartener

    johnny dollar - welcome! I've lived in the area since 1990, but I have come to appreciate tiki culture very late. Alas, I never made it to any of the local tiki establishments. Are there any others still around?

  6. thanks uncle atom!

    sadly, the dc metro area is currently bereft of commerical tiki establishments.

    there are some restaurants that serve authentic cocktails and/or food, but do not have the decor.

    for tiki decor, that is pretty much found in people's home bars. we have quite a few up here in the baltimore area, and we know a person or two who have home tiki bars in the d.c. area.

    two resources i would recommend to find out more about the above issues are http://marylanddctiki.proboards.com/index.cgi and http://fraternalorderofmoai.org/huimalu/



  7. Thanks Johnny, I'll check those out

  8. and now that it's up and running again, there is also www.tikicentral.com.

    not meaning to deluge you with info!

    glad you dropped by the other sites! folks dig your chainsaw-work!

  9. This is a huge project. I'll be looking forward to updates! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you'll be a frequent visitor.

  10. Thanks Dana, glad to have you visit here too. I am definitely developing a stronger appreciation for the Mount Rushmore carvers and that one guy who started the Crazy Horse mountainside carving that's been in progress for decades. I just want to get mine done by Spring.