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Great Chainsaw Massacre

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Mike Page:
In 1980, Dan Robinson was the headliner at the GSBF convention in Sacramento. Dan's demonstrations involved using a chainsaw to style collected pines. I was mightily impressed with the whole idea. As soon as I got home, I bought a small electric chainsaw which is pictured here. Out back I had a 5 gallon nursery stock Hollywood juniper. Chainsaw in hand, and heart filled with trepidation I attacked the poor tree carving a shari for about half the length of the trunk. I figured it was an experiment and if the tree dies, so be it. The tree lived, so I repotted it. After awhile, I carved a little more, and over time more yet. Each 2 or 3 years I would pot it down aome more, and carve some more

It's been 29 years since I started the project. I haven't done anymore carving on it for many years. Just the occarional repotting, trimming and wiring. The current height from table to jin apex is about 28 inches.

That 1980 demo had a profound influence on me. The chainsaw led to the Dremel and then to the die grinder, and various other power tools.

This posting came about today because I'm part of a jin and shari program at my club next week. I was getting tools and props together and decided while I was at it, I may as well shoot a picture and tell the story behind it.


Thanks for the picture with the chain saw.  It is so petite.   I have always pictured Dan with a big beast like the one we clear brush with around our property.  That electric size looks very usable.  Do you have someone hold the tree steady or do you tie it down somewhere?

I like the results you have achieved.  Maybe some day I will try it too.

Mike Page:
A chainsaw with a short bar is much easier to handle than one with a long bar. Whichever you use, the handle mounted to the bar is essential to have good control. The handle must also have a guard to prevent your hand from slipping into the chain.
Sometimes it's necessary to have someone steady the tree, but I'd prefer that they not have hands on. It's possible to rig an arrangemet with a clamp and a 3 foot dowel or some such to keep the person away from tha action.
Regarding the power tools used on this tree, the chainsaw did the rough carving early on. The die grinder was used for most of the later carving and finish work.


Mike Page:
I have a number of battery powered tools. My 2 electric chainsaws and 2 die grinders were bought before good battery power was available.


Normally I'm not a big fan of single-branch trees like this, but with the shape of the branch, I see a lot in this tree. Thanks for posting it.

Where did you get the handle for the bar on that saw?



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