One day, I was driving through the Historic Downtown Cochrane area when I spied a man, attacking a huge piece of wood outside of the Global Pets store with a chainsaw. I did not have the time to stop and find out WHAT he was doing, but I made a point of needing to.
Brian Widahl of Widahl Woodworking, is a Cochrane local who is making waves with his chainsaw carvings. If you haven’t seen him carving live at one of the Rustic Charm Markets yet (now rebranded as The Markit Cochrane), you’ve been missing out!
Brian skillfully approaches each project with thought, making slow and smart cuts, from one of many chainsaws he works with; however, the first thing I wanted to know about Brian was ‘how long he had been chainsaw carving’?
When he said… “oh, about two and a half years“, I was surprised that he had only been doing it for such a short time. He carves like he has been doing this forever.
So now that I knew how long Brian had been carving, I wanted to know what exactly it was that MADE him pick up a chainsaw and start carving?
Widahl explained, “My dad built log homes back in the day and seeing some of those carvings when I was younger stuck with me. Work in the renovation industry was slow for me in December 2015 and that’s when everything changed for me. I knew absolutely nothing about carving, but I wanted to learn how. Shortly after, it turned to a total obsession and a mission to create better and more realistic pieces.“
While Brian’s chainsaw carving skills are often the centre of attention, Widahl’s fiancee is as integral to these carvings, as Brian is. Sarah, artist and owner at ‘Crazy Cat Painting and Murals‘ finishes up the carvings by burning/etching in further detail, or by adding coats of paint or stain.
Knowing of all the amazing pieces in Widahl Woodcraft’s Instagram feed (here’s the link, go look!) I really wanted to know if Brian had a favourite piece. After all, he’s made Minions, Grinches, Groots, Ewoks, Bears, Eagles and so much more!
“My favorite piece is sadly enough, the very first carving I ever did (see left). I had no idea what I was doing and it turned out horrible and it took me over 5 hours! LOL – But for me that piece is a reminder that anything is possible and to always follow your dreams.”