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Carving out their niche with chainsaws

Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges are abuzz with the sound of chainsaws as international competitors turn logs of wood into art. Source: ABC News

The Australian Chainsaw Carving Championships are underway at Mount Dandenong, east of Melbourne.

Competitors will race the clock to turn uncut wooden blocks into a winning sculpture, using nothing but chainsaws.

Organiser and competitor Rob Bast said he hoped the competition would help change perceptions about the risky art form.

“A lot of people think a sculpture is a hammer and chisel but with a extreme tool you can make something beautiful,” he said.

Mr Bast said “wow factor” and precision were key factors in judging a chainsaw sculpture.

He is hoping his delicate dragonfly will meet that criteria.

“The amount of detail I’ll get into the wings and body and that sort of thing, I think that’s going to pull a few points with the judges,” Mr Bast said.

It is only the competition’s second year but it is already attracting global interest.

First-time competitor Griffon Ramsey made the journey from the US to test her skills against local talent.

“This is my first competition, I just really wanted to try it. Though I have to say I’m a little bit intimidated there’s some really good carvers here,” she said.

Ms Ramsey is carving a storybook based on the popular 80s movie and book, the Neverending Story.

“I’m child of the 80s so I’m doing a Neverending Story book with the characters from the movie swirling out between the pages,” she said.

The carvings will be auctioned off.