If you want to surprise your family and friends to mark a special occasion, why not give them something you made with your own hands? Maybe a custom wood ornament you made with your chain saw would be just the thing? In recent years, carving has gone from a way for professional woodworkers to pass the time on rainy days to a popular hobby for all.
We’ll show you how you can carve a star in just a few steps.
The right wood
It’s not easy to say what kind of wood is right for carving. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Softwood, such as larch or pine, may be very weatherproof, but it also has a tendency to exude resin.
As a rule of thumb, if you treat the wood right, there are almost no limits to the kind you can use.
So pick the wood you like best. Poplar, oak, Douglas fir and various fruit trees are especially popular.
Even occasional wood artists need the right protective equipment when working with a chain saw. Protection begins with your head. Always wear safety goggles or face protection and “personal” ear protection, such as ear plugs. Be sure to wear a helmet if you work in the woods. You should also protect your hands and legs appropriately. Wear work gloves, trousers with cut protection and lace-up boots with cut protection.
Find out more about protective equipment for using a chain saw here.
Please note that in certain countries, there may be specific requirements regarding personal protective equipment and that personal protective equipment is not a substitute for safe working technique. You should therefore necessarily pay attention to the operating instructions of your device.
When it comes to detailed woodworking, STIHL carving saws are the right choice. The special carving cutting attachments are low in vibration and recoil. The small bar nose allows for fine contours and precise carving.
Extremely light mid-power chain saws with a STIHL Rollomatic bar are perfect for carving the kind of straight lines you need to make a star.
Step 1: What you need
- Round log, approx. 30-40 cm in diameter
- Tensioning belt
- STIHL chain saw
- Chalk for marking
- Star stencil made of paper or cardboard
- Metre stick or wooden lath for use as a ruler
- Personal Protective Equipment (see above)
Step 2: Form the basic shape
Before you fire up your chain saw, make sure you secure the round log to a sawhorse using a tensioning belt.
Draw the star using a piece of chalk so that you know where to carve later.
Place the star stencil in the centre of the narrow side of the trunk. Do not worry if the stencil is smaller than the diameter of the trunk. Extend each tip of the star to touch the edge of the trunk. You can use the ruler to draw the rest of the star.
Now it’s time to use your chain saw. First, carve out the basic form using the star you drew on the trunk. To do so, cut the wood from the tip of the star pointing upward along the line to the centre of the star. Repeat for the other side from tip to centre. Try to hold the saw bar as level as possible to avoid cutting too deeply and nicking (or sawing into) the next tip. Turn the log so that the next tip of the star is pointing up and you can easily carve the next tip. Repeat until you have carved along all the lines and the star outline is complete.
Saw along the vertical lines into the log. Remove all parts that do not belong to the star, but leave the star outline on the log. Turn the log as needed to be able to saw easily and comfortably.
Step 3: Saw off the basic form
Once the basic form is complete, saw off a star. It can be as thick or as thin as you would like. You will be able to saw off several stars.
Step 4: The finished star
Post-treatment will help make sure the star remains a thing of joy for a long time to come. If the star is made out of completely dry wood and will be used indoors, then you’re finished already. If you used semi-dry wood, then treat it with an interior varnish suitable for use in children’s toys (such as a beeswax varnish).
If you plan to use the star outside, use a sculpture varnish for semi-dry carved wood sculptures.