It's been 30 years since Brian Ruth used a chainsaw to make his first carving, a little owl that "was so bad I threw it in the chipper so no one would see it," he said. He stuck with the craft, though, and today he impresses fairgoers by carving tree trunks into bears, eagles, raccoons and other animals during five daily shows.
Ruth travels from his home in the Poconos of Pennsylvania to fairs and festivals up and down the East coast and also has started a chapter of his 'Masters of the Chainsaw' group in Japan. He travels with his wife, Jen, who is known as the "Chainsaw Chick" and started her own group, "Chainsaw Chix." She is also performing at the fair and selling her carvings.
Chain saw carving is the perfect combination of Ruth's varied interests. "As a child my earliest ambition was to be an artist," he said. "I thought Michelangelo was pretty cool." But, he was discouraged because "everybody said the word 'starving' in front of 'artist' and I thought that wasn't cool." As a teenager he enjoyed woodworking and eventually took a job as a tree surgeon. It was while working at that job that he carved that first owl. Business school led him to explore the viability of being a career chain saw carver and after he graduated, that's what he did.
"Everything came together - the woodworking, the chain saws and the art," he said. His expanding business led him to Japan in 1995 where his brand of performance art was a novelty. The local interest spawned a class, the creation of a club and Ruth said there are now more than 1,000 chain saw carvers in Japan. His wife's "Chainsaw Chix" club has also grown in popularity. "She saw potential and demand for women carvers at the shows," he said.
The Ruths have also co-authored a book due out later this summer called "The Homeowner's Complete Guide to the Chainsaw." "I love chain saws," Ruth said. The pieces he carves this week will be available for sale at an auction Saturday at 7 p.m. All proceeds will go back to the fair. Ruth said most pieces fetch $300 and up. Ruth will perform daily through Sunday at 11 a.m., 1:30, 4, 6, and 9 p.m.
Ruth, Brian J. & Jen W. Ruth. Homeowner's Complete Guide to the Chainsaw. Fox Chapel. 2009. c.208p. illus. index. ISBN 978-1-56523-356-0. pap. $24.95. DIY
The Ruths here provide expert advice on 12 of the most common household chain-saw operations-e.g., cutting firewood, taking down small trees, trimming branches, removing stumps, milling wood-with lots of healthy attention given to safety. There are also excellent photos of the wrong ways to use the saw. Highly recommended.
Farmers start your chainsaws.
Autumn weather is just right. The cooler air and lower humidity makes being outside truly enjoyable, and its timing is perfect for post-summer and pre-winter chores around the farm. This is an ideal time to get out there with your chainsaw to clear the limbs that have fallen in summertime storms, take care of overgrown trees around fencelines and stock up on firewood. Before you do any of that, though, read "How do I sharpen a chainsaw," on page 56, and check out Homeowner's Complete Guide to the Chainsaw, by Brian J. Ruth and Jen W. Ruth (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2009).
In Homeowner's Complete Guide to the Chainsaw, you'll learn how to choose the right chainsaw for your needs, how to safely and efficiently use a chainsaw for everday tasks, and how to keep your saw in peak maintenance. The conversational tone and thorough illustrations clearly outline a step-by-step approach for many chainsaw-related-chores around the farm - even stacking firewood and milling lumber - with safetly emphasized throughout. For the mechanically curious there's even a section of the appendix dedicated to how a chainsaw works. Want to know more? A glossary and resources section point you in the right direction.
If you've never operated a chainsaw before or want to brush up on your operating skills, this book is worth adding to your library. www.foxchapelpublishing.com.
Homeowner's Complete Guide to the Chainsaw, by Brian J. Ruth and Jen W. Ruth, is an instructional manual that shows readers how to safely and confidently handle trimming branches and felling trees to splitting and stacking wood. Using hundreds of photos, illustrations and step-by-step instructions, the authors cover a gamut of topics, starting with selecting an electric or gaw-powered saw. Readers will then discover what type of saw is best suited for their cutting needs, how to stay safe with protective clothing, and the best methods for starting a saw and holding it correctly. Special instructions explain how to ensure a tree falls in the right direction. Another section covers service, maintenance and sharpening. The authors are the owners of Masters of the Chainsaw, a limited group of the nation's top professional chainsaw sculptors, dedicated to promoting and preserving the integrity of the art form.
Lehighton couple teach how to avoid a chainsaw massacre
If you're planning some major tree pruning this fall or if you plan to cut up wood for the fire, learn how to do it safely. Pick up a copy of ''Homeowner's Complete Guide to the Chainsaw'' (Fox Chapel Publishing, 208 pp., $24.95) by Lehighton residents Brian and Jen Ruth.
The Ruths are not only chainsaw experts. They also are owners of Masters of the Chainsaw, a group of chainsaw performance artists who travel the country carving logs into works of art at fairs, carnivals and other community events.
They've been featured on TV and in print. And Brian Ruth has won many awards for his chainsaw carvings.
Their new book teaches even the newest chainsaw user how to safely trim hedges, cut limbs off a fallen tree, cut firewood, take out a tree stump and even cut down a tree.
The step-by-step projects clearly show you don't have to be a lumberjack to use a chainsaw or call landscape guys to take care of your yard.It's available at major book retailers.
Well, this one is just in time for the winter heating season.
I am perhaps an exception in that I do hang on to product manuals. However, I don't always read them. This week's book review is one of the finest tool manuals that I have ever come across. So, if you are planning to cut down some trees or limb the branches with your chain saw, don't even pull that cord until you read this book.
For those that think they can just pick up a chainsaw, pull the cord and start cutting or limbing trees, this book is certainly for you. For those that think they know how to fell trees, this book is for you as well. Most of us never bother to read the manuals that come with the chainsaw probably because they are a boring read. This book by Brian and Jen Ruth is far from boring and offers so much more than a bland black and white manual.
The author's cover just about everything there is to know about the tool. There is no question that the topic of safety will be foremost and this illustrated chapter is a must read. The book covers the purchasing of the right chainsaw for your application, building a sawbuck, maintaining the chainsaw and how to properly sharpen the teeth. How to split and stack firewood, cut down a stump, make lumber from logs are also covered in detail.
The book is rife with illustrative colour photographs that beautifully enhance the text. The chapter on felling a small tree will teach even the experienced woodsman a few tips.
Throw away the boring manual (not really) the Homeowner's Complete Guide to the Chainsaw is the manual to use, make sure you keep it handy.
Everything is illustrated and clearly written so you can see immediately what you should be doing.
So you've been to a chainsaw carving event and you imagine yourself being able to use one of these fantastic and furious tools in your garden. But do you know the first thing about using one?
Apart from needing to book yourself ideally on a safety course, it is best to familiarise yourself in every way possible so that you can use this tool safely and with confidence. This Homeowner's Complete Guide goes some way to doing just that, as it steers you in the right direction to using a chainsaw to tackle hedges, overhead branches, fell trees and make lumber from logs. Everything is beautifully illustrated and clearly written, so you can see immediately what you should be doing.
This is a great book for the budding chainsaw user, but I do recommend you get yourself on a recognised safety course to using one first.