Hallowe’en Jack O’Lantern

 

Photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

A shot of Jack looking devilish awaiting ol’ Hallow’s Eve.

 

With Hallowe’en coming up, I decided to experiment with carving a Jack O’Lanten with the ol’ trusty Stihl MS 193 C and MSA 200 CBE.  Carving a pumpkin is a relatively easy task, but hollowing out the pumpkin from the bottom, and carving a face into it is a bit more difficult.  Luckily, I made it through the hollowing process and face carving without any disastrous slips.  Carving with chainsaws is a lot of fun, but they are pretty unforgiving in that they can go from “that’s just about right” to Oh, crap, it’s ruined” in a heartbeat.

lit

Legend says that the fire lighting Jack’s lantern was a wee bit of hell-fire to light his way through his cursed existence. A little reminder of why it isn’t always a great thing to outwit the devil.

The real challenge to the Jack O’Lantern process was getting the pumpkin hollowed enough and the facial features deep enough to really allow the light source to shine through.  Altogether, this isn’t a crazy difficult carve by any stretch of the imagination.  It is a fun way to cut your teeth on the whole chainsaw carving thing.  After the carving process was finished, I was really aggressive with the torch.  My reasoning was two-fold: one, I was too lazy to bother doing any sanding, and two, the aggressive charring seemed to add to the creepiness of  Ol’ Jack.

photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

Although hollowing out the sculpted lantern was a pain, it seems to have achieved the desired spook factor.

Carving a Step From an Old Fallen Tree

Photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

The finished product: a step carved from an old windblown log that was well on its way to fulfilling its role in the circle of life.

Since we were giving the front entrance a bit of a refurb- new door and window, clapboard siding, lights, and GFI outlet, we decided to try to reclaim an old ceder log that had blown down 6 years ago.  Seeing the large Eastern White Ceder (large being a relative term as Eastern ceder is quite puny by Western standards) just lying on the ground waiting to complete the circle of life had long seemed wasteful.  First up was a little milling with a Granberg chainsaw mill to give us a flat top.  Because our Echo CS 590 Timber Wolf is only equipped with a 20 ” bar, we had to drop the front stabilizing arm off the mill to maximize the width of cut.  The old ceder was easy cutting, but the Echo sounded a little lean in the cut and had to be adjusted.

Granberg Chainsaw Mill and Echo CS 590 Timber Wolf working on a reclaimed ceder log. Photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

Using the Granberg Chainsaw Mill to mill our reclaimed ceder log into a step.

After milling the top and bottom of the log, we discovered that the first inch and a half of the log’s circumference had significant rot damage, so we had to carve/remove it with our trusty Stihl MS 193 C chainsaw.  After carving off the rotten shell, we began carving the bark texture back into the log.  Carving the bark texture was easily accomplished with Stihl’s 1/4″ PM3 chain and .043 gauge bar– this bar and chain combo is not stock on the Stihl MS 193 C, but it is well worth the conversion.  The PM3 bar and chain is great for carving and gives a noticible power boost to this small saw.

Photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

The Echo CS 590 Timber Wolf resting with its partner in crime: the Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill.

After milling and carving the log, it was time for sanding, staining, and applying some spar urethane.  When it comes to sanding: it seems that you are never finished.  I always seem to give up on the process before I am quite where I would like to be.  Sanding, it seems, is truly a test of your resolve, discipline, and patience.  For this project, I decided to try Helmsman Spar Urethane.  It applies easily, and is quite user friendly.  Whether it is tough enough for the application will only be revealed in the fullness of time.

photo by A.J. Kilpatrick for the best chainsaw blog

Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane applies easily and has a great finish.

Review of the Stihl MSA 200 C-BQ

After spending the summer having fun in the sun, doing many  different projects and just enjoying the East Coast’s short summer while totally neglecting this humble chainsaw blog, we are finally ready to bring you our review of Stihl’s entry into the world of lithium ion outdoor power equipment: the MSA 200 C-BQ.

The Stihl MSA 200 C-BQ is a great saw.  It will make a believer out of most naysayers who doubt that a battery powered saw has any place in the stable of “serious” operators.  This saw will not replace large felling saws or a dedicated firewood cutter, but then it was never intended too.  The 200 C could replace your small limbing saw or your arborist’s saw.  It’s performance is comparable to most sub 40 cc gas saws, although it’s power lies more in it’s torque than in high chain speeds.  What really makes this saw stand out is it’s remarkable ease of use, and its clean, quiet, practically maintenance free operation.  The MSA 200 C-BQ is so quick and easy to use that you will find you reach for it whenever you have a job that doesn’t absolutely require a large displacement saw.

Photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

Stihl MSA 200 C-BQ is a strong contender whose incredible performance coupled with it’s remarkable ease of use will make it a go-to saw in anyone’s stable.

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