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Gregory creates chain saw art

POSTED July 6, 2011 3:56 p.m.
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Keith Gregory, Willard, Mo., creates an eagle o...


Using a chain saw to create intricate designs, artist Keith Gregory has used his skills as an artist to craft whimsical to realistic carvings of animals. From Willard, Mo., Gregory’s wares are for sale at the Barton County Fair.

Logs of Eastern red cedar and yellow pine are transformed into cutsie bears, realistic eagles or just about anything, said Gregory. Red cedar does well outside and it doesn’t split. The artist has also worked in such woods as cherry.

"If you want to be a good carver, you have to carve the spirit of the animal," said Gregory. He chooses to make the eagles in flight realistic.

He described his creative process. "You have to carve the eye first. Once the head is done, I’ll know whether it’s going to be a good carving."

Gregory definitely wants to be a good carver, and spends most weekends showing his work at fairs. He has done commission work for individuals and cities and once created a 45 foot tall chicken for a restaurant in Branson, Mo. that is in the Guinness Book of World Records.

It has four tons of steel inside, and unlike most of his work, is carved out of styrofoam.

The artist started carving 22 years ago with a knife, making Santas. However, his father was a lumber jack, and Gregory spent his growing up years cutting fire wood. One of the first skills he learned was how to sharpen a chain saw.

Chain saw carving was an easy fit that was first practiced while removing stumps during the building of his own home. He practiced carving a bear, and soon after, sold one. "Because of my previous carving experience, it came naturally to me," he said. "I was immediately hooked and have been chain saw carving ever since."

Gregory said that he learned to carve from a book, and still gets his ideas from books.

Gregory has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the College of the Ozarks. He works for UPS at night, although he likes working for himself best.

The artist also knows that working with people is about half of his business. He has taught a seminar about marketing his work.

There is one part Gregory doesn’t enjoy. "The only part I don’t like is the sawdust," said Gregory. The sawdust makes it way everywhere.

The final portion of the art is done with chisels, sanders and burning. Varnish or paint is thinly applied so that the wood grain can be seen.

Chainsaw Carvings is a family business, and Gregory’s wife and son help out.

The slogan for his business is "You gotta see what I saw" was developed by his son. His web site is


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