Chainsaw Carved Animals
Elliot Miller carves large wood animals by using recycled wood.
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"Through my work, I hope to capture a sense of warmth, whimsy and beauty inherent in nature's creatures." Elliot Miller's work does indeed achieve his goals with his large carved wood animals. His three-foot-square sized work features the heads of particular animals.
He begins the process of creating a new critter with a clay model he forms himself. This allows him to work out proportions and the exact look he wants to achieve. He then measures the model and figures the size ratio so his large carving can be done proportionately. It is then time to begin working with the wood. He mainly uses wood he finds locally and recycles. Some pieces are old furniture, some are from shipping crates--but the types he finds and uses in one piece can vary greatly. He uses the plainer and joiner to smooth out every length of wood so they will fit together well.
Using a biscuit joiner, glue and clamps, the wood planks are joined in three-foot or larger sections. Then each section is joined together until a large block is created. He then begins carving with an electric chainsaw. The chainsaw is used not only to create the basic form of the animal, but also the details. From the front it is a complete animal's head, but the back is hollowed out so that the weight is more manageable. Rough edges are smoothed out using a flap wheel, which is a hand-held device with serrated edged flaps that simply smoothes without taking away the look of the chainsaw marks.
He has completed kitten, puppy and bunny figures and is currently working on a piece that is a cocker spaniel, with ears thrown back while running. All are charming and appealing, with many colors and types of wood used in each. The artistry achieved with a chainsaw is astonishing, and the natural essence of the animal is captured.
Editor's note: Since this episode was taped, Mr. Miller passed away.