Entertainment

Steve Orne: Kendall chainsaw artist works at record speed

Professional chainsaw carver Steve Orne , 42, of Kendall, is one of  fastest bear carvers in the world. In 2008 , he carved 21.5 bears in an hour at the contest at the Ridgeway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous in Ridgeway, Pa.
Professional chainsaw carver Steve Orne , 42, of Kendall, is one of fastest bear carvers in the world. In 2008 , he carved 21.5 bears in an hour at the contest at the Ridgeway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous in Ridgeway, Pa. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Steve Orne is a quiet man who makes a lot of noise. The 42 year-old Kendall area man is a chainsaw carver and owner of Mount Baker Wood Sculpture. Orne can carve a bear out of wood in three minutes making him one of fastest bear carvers in the world.

Here is his story, in his own words: "I make chainsaw woodcarving. I've been doing it about seven years. I like to work at home. I set my own hours. I usually get started at 10 o'clock and work till dark. This is full time. Pretty much summer time is the season (for the shows).

"Ever since I was a kid I was always interested in chainsaws. Kinda fun carving and cutting. I used to cut a lot of firewood. And then I saw this guy carving bears and I thought it was really cool. My friend has been carving for 30, 40 years and it wasn't really an art form back then. People referred to it as "chainsaw massacre" or something, but they pretty much got over that now. It has become a recognized art form.

"The biggest event I have been to is Ridgeway, Pennsylvania. About 200 carvers there. The year before last, we did this fastest bear-carving contest because most carvers make their money off of carving bears. I got second at 21 and 1/2 in an hour. About a bear every three minutes or so.

"It don't take that long to carve the bear but it is all the other process that goes with it . The gathering the wood, keeping the saws tuned, replacing the bars and chains and saws once in awhile.

"I like making bears. I like making all other kinds of stuff too.

"You have to have the face toward the place where (the wood) is not going to crack. You have to look at the wood ahead of time to see which way the crack is going and aim that toward the back. And just make the face symmetrical and make it look good. It is mostly the face, the body isn't as critical. You have to pay attention to the wood grain and carve it so it is structurally strong."

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