Carving a reputation at Agfest

“My chainsaw becomes a rubber - I rub out a shaded picture and create my shapes.”

Eddie Freeman, the chainsaw carver, is back again for 2017.

Patrons watch, enthralled, as Mr Freeman carves intricate shapes and designs with each deliberate stroke of the chainsaw.

“People are often surprised at how fast I can create a statue,” he said. “They say, ‘you did that in an hour? I thought it’d take two days at least!’”

The Agfest veteran has spent more than 35 years carving statues out of wood.

Before turning to carving, Freeman worked in the timber industry as a select logger where he select the poor-quality trees for chip, the mature logs for milling and left the healthy trees standing.

He attributes his skill in carving to the experience.

People are often surprised by what can be done with a chainsaw,” he said. “I use my chainsaw to carve a log of wood into different animals, figures, and human form – it really is unlimited.”

When kids at Agfest ask Freeman how he makes such elabrate appear from the wooden slabs, he replies with a smile: “My chainsaw becomes a rubber - I rub out a shaded picture and create my shapes.”

Mr Freeman said he uses a standard saw and chain when creating his sculptures, the only difference is in the bar.

The radius on a normal bar has three teeth, whereas Mr Freeman’s carving bar only has one, which means it has a pointy end.

“It is about the size of a 10 or five-cent piece and allows you to do fine detail, and it is doesn’t kick as much as a normal bar,” he said. “People ask me to do all sorts of different shapes and carvings – sometimes you get some rather unusual requests.

“A lot of my work has been war memorial material."

Mr Freeman said the first Agfest he attended as a chainsaw carver was the last time the event was held at Symmons Plains in 1986.

“It has been an incredible journey over the years – I have seen so many young rural kids grow up to become adults, and many have started their own families now,” he said, adding that 35 years is a long time to be in any industry now days.

Mr Freeman was fleshing out several designs for patrons of Agfest throughout the afternoon.

“At the moment, I’m working on a little possum,” he said. “His tail and claws are hanging out of the hollow log - it’s just a quick carve to show people what I’m doing.”