Jay Dubac wore protective eye goggles while using a chainsaw to carve out details of a wooden bear sculpture during a demonstration at the Harmony Grange's Agriculture Fair & Bake Sale Saturday morning.
Dubac lives in Monroe and has his own business here, Jay's Firewood & Tree Service. He's been doing chainsaw carvings for five years.
Asked what he likes most about making carvings of animals and custom signs, Dubac said, "That you can take something as raw as a log that would most likely be discarded and, using one of the most dangerous tools there is, make something cool."
Dubac carves sculptures of bears, eagles, moose and dogs as well as custom signage.
In addition to wielding a chainsaw, Dubac uses a blowtorch to burn in details and a power sander to smooth it out. To clear away sawdust, he uses a leaf blower.
Glass eyes hammered into the sockets makes Dubac's animals come to life.
He usually uses white pine, but said spruce and cedar can also be used to make a wood sculpture. These kinds of wood have knot rings that hold carvings together and reduce cracking, according to Dubac.
Mastering the Art
Dubac used to compete in lumberjack competitions all over the country with events like chopping, sawing, speed climbing, ax throwing and log rolling (on dry land and in water). Off to the side, chainsaw carving demonstrations took place.
"I wanted to get involved in every aspect of trees and logs," Dubac said. "I met a friend from Seymour whose been doing this for 30 years."
Tim Bonney taught Dubac the art of chainsaw carving and the two friends have performed at fairs together ever since. This summer they were awarded "Best Commercial Exhibit" at the Bridgewater Fair.
It takes hours to finish one sculpture and it takes a lot longer to perfect the skills needed to be good at it. If you accidentally cut too much off your carving, Dubac said you have to discard it and start all over again.
"It was difficult to initially learn," he said. "A lot of trial and error."