Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Chainsaw wood carving repair

Some years ago I began carving animals and birds with my chainsaw. After about ten years I started to get call backs from customers saying their carvings were starting to decay. Since most of these carvings represented a considerable investment and were meaningful to the owners they wanted to save them. After some trial and error I came up with fiberglass and resin to do the trick and it works very well.

My latest repair project, a Wisconsin Bucky Badger carved in 2008.
This is a 4' carving on a 3' stump base that was carved on site. After cutting the carving off and transporting it home I could see this was a major rot out  and only the thin shell of the carving remained. The carving would have to be cut in half to remove as much interior wood as possible. To guide the saw two 2x4' were attached.

The sawing went well and I put each half on wheels. However the outside shell was in such bad shape that I decided to fiberglass the outside first and then remove the dead inside wood.

As I turned it over sections of the base began to fall off! This was a bit alarming but the wood was sound and could be reassembled, I thought. One of my buddies suggested that I give Bucky his last rights and put him out of his misery with some fuel oil and a match!

Fiberglass drywall tape was first applied and stapled to the pieces of the base as they were added. Then several other strips were added to form a web matrix. Then a layer of fiberglass cloth was stapled over the entire carving. The cloth is very flexible and can be made to conform to all the contours of the carving and stapled in place.

First coat of resin applied to the cloth and after it hardens up the shell of the carving will be stable. Then the halves can be turned over and the task of excavating the interior wood started. We'll see how it works out in a few weeks. Will try to get it back to the owners for the first home Badger game.

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