As your carving is an exclusive production it is sure to get the attention of family, friends, and neighbors. Long before a log meets our chainsaw, it is studied to apply the most natural form of beauty into our carvings. Therefore, theme, size, proportion, and posture are often different from one carving to another which conveys it’s individual uniqueness. A little understanding of how to properly care for your new carving will provide many years of lasting enjoyment.
The most ideal location to position a new chainsaw carving is outdoors with plenty of air circulation and out of direct sunlight. The most compromising condition to a carving is direct sunlight and unstable humidity. While direct sunlight is usually obvious, humidity is often an overlooked condition in homes as we are able to immediately control temperature changes. Unlike gradual temperature changes which naturally occur outdoors, rapid heating and/or cooling can cause excessive wood cracking.
As wood dries, it also shrinks which results in a void (crack). This is naturally inherent in all wood with exception of kiln dried lumber as it is provoked to dry in a controlled environment before use. Although cracking affords some rustic character we take great measures to control it from compromising the overall integrity of our carvings.
Immediate application of a heavy sealer to a new carving can also cause cracking and/or rotting of a sculpture as moisture becomes trapped inside. Therefore we first recommend multiple light coats of a waterbase sealer over a period of time until the carving is sufficiently dried out. This helps stabilize the moisture while the sealers protective elements are enabled to saturate into the wood. This also helps to displace remaining insects and destroy their larvae. Once the sculpture is dried (often evidenced by small hairline cracks) a heavier spar protective sealer may be applied. A general rule of thumb to follow for application of spar sealer is no sooner than 30 days and no later than 60 days. Spar and exterior sealers contain UV inhibitors. Therefore, it is not recommended to use a polyurethane finish (primarily an indoor application) unless you plan to position your carving indoors.
Leaving a small gap for air circulation underneath your carving enables moisture to escape and keeps direct ground moisture from wicking into the base. Wood moisture will always follow the path of gravity. Therefore the tallest part of a sculpture will dry first while the base maintains a higher concentration of moisture. Positioning small shims or appliance levelers under the base will help dissipate base moisture to mitigate rotting and insect development.
When moving carvings from cold outdoors to indoor living temperatures, we recommend various climate positioning with a gradual (over 2-3 days) temperature change.
Finally, when positioning any electrical accessories on carving, it is imperative to have a dedicated ground from the electrical accessory. Failure to do so can cause grounding back through moisture in wood causing development of acidic condition and premature decay.
For clients unable to perform their own exterior carving care, we offer two Exterior Carving Maintenance options.