I started work in 1959 as a trainee woodman on an estate in Northumberland, and soon became familiar with chainsaws when they were introduced in the early '60s. I left the estate after three years to embark on the contracting side of forestry and, having felled timber for most of my working life, it is fair to say that I have been at the cutting edge of forestry. Carving came as a diversion from normal work.
Chainsaw competitions, and later carving demonstrations, became popular features at agricultural shows and other rural events. I became the first British National Chainsaw Champion in '68.
Now that mechanical harvesters have replaced woodcutters, I not only have the time to carve, but also to write about the expensive machines that have put me out of work. Actually, I'm grateful for the change, because age was beginning to tell. However, after all my years in the woods I could not leave forestry completely, and writing for the Forest Machine Journal now the Forestry Journal.
Chainsaw carvings are usually made from one piece of wood. Both hardwood and softwood timber can be used, but if intended for outdoor use, the latter is pressure treated and stained if required. The pieces can be sanded if a smooth finish is needed. All timber used is readily available from sustainable forests. I have now retired from carving but you can see some of my work in Wooden Things.