Ian Destruction1

Trying something new with a Chainsaw...

After Hurricane Ian ravaged our southwestern Florida area, destruction surrounded us.  While the homes in our neighborhood held up better than most neighboring areas, very few trees survived. Our home backs up to what we call a "jungle".  Trees were snapped in half everywhere.  I had "cleaned" up an area behind our home, becoming what some neighbors referred to as "Peterson Park".  After Ian, you could hardly tell that I had worked so hard back there.  Trees were snapped and bent.  The only good thing was we could now see the sun set in the evening.

Spoon WorkingSo, I started cleaning up "Peterson Park", cutting back fallen branches and trees and cleaning the thick layer of debris from the ground.  I used some of the fallen limbs to make a little bench in the jungle along a path I had created two years ago with shells that I vacuumed from around our home. 

Sitting back on our lanai and taking a break, I started looking at the bent tree that I had cut back, and started visualizing something.  I'd never really tried sculpture, and had very minimal experience with a chainsaw.  But, what the hell.  If it doesn't work, oh well.  So I started cutting away at the bent over 14 foot high stump.

A few problems came up.  As I started carving, I discovered that this bent over stump had vertical splits everywhere (caused by the bending of the tree) running the length of the stump.  So as I would carve, I shored up the splits with 6" and 8" anchor screws from Ace Hardware (which would later be obscured by putty).  

The cherry in the spoon was carved from a separate downed tree trunk.  Prior to Ian, we had a family of gopher tortoises (mom, dad, junior and baby who had a burrow on the edge of our yard and the jungle) who would venture into our yard and feist on our lawn.  After Hurricane Ian, they disappeared.  Until, I was sitting in a cleared out area in the jungle carving that first cherry.  Baby came walking right up to me, stopping about two feet away, eating weeds from the jungle floor and watching me carve.  He'd grown up with me and had no fear.  Today, about a month or so later, I saw Junior in our yard.  As of today, I still haven't seen mom or dad.  Hoping they're OK somewhere.

Looked at it, and decided it needed some color.  I needed colors that would make it stand out a little from the "jungle".  Ended up painting it three times before I was happy.  After working on this piece for about a month, I named it "Even the Broken".

Shortly finishing the spoon, Even the Broken, I started on a knife.  A twisted knife with a cherry impaled on the edge of the blade.  Because this tree trunk was still vertical, I didn't have the splitting problems.  About 3 weeks later it was finished and was titled, "Sharply Twisted".

These are lit with solar lights.  Still working on getting the lighting better on Sharply Twisted.

I've got a fork planned for one other trunk.  But, I just had cataract surgery, so I'll be taking a break for about a month.  Figured sawdust and wood chips wouldn't be the best for eyes recovering from surgery!