Chainsaw Carving – Garden Gnome House

The Garden Gnome House was carved and finished over two days from a dry poplar log we had sitting out back. A Stihl MS170 and an MS261C were used. Poplar is a “soft” hardwood and not the best for intricate work, but the log was there and its time had come.

The house was fun to make. Wearing ear protection with the saw revving, little imaginary stories start to form, and playful ideas become inspirations. Several plunge cuts were made for the doorways first, then the roof line and chimney were cut. The staircase resembles rock slabs and winds around the log, passes behind a waterfall, and goes over a bridge. A poplar tree is fashioned on one side, and a vignette of a mountain scene is under the bridge.  Three brass drawer pulls are used as footings to raise the standing log. LED lighting is threaded into the log interior to cast a warm glow…like someone is home.

It is finished with a torch and several quarts of polyurethane/thinner/boiled linseed oil mix. Poplar has a grey, mouse color when dry and the poly/linseed mix adds some rich yellow tones. The torch treatment is done before finishing and gives brown tones to the shadows and highlights.

The finished piece stands 6′ (2 m) tall, 15″ (40 cm) diameter, and weighs approx 120lbs.