Unique Chainsaw Carving Fantasy Bird Table

This week on my social media I shared a photo of half of my recent chainsaw carving fantasy bird table. I asked people to guess who was underneath, but nobody got it! The answer is…Mickey Mouse!
I thought I’d share some of the process and background in this week’s blog as my reveal…

A screenshot of a social media post where simon o'rourke asks followers to guess what cartoon character is on the bootm half of his chainsaw carving fantasy bird table sculpture.

Chainsaw Carving Fantasy Bird Table Brief:

Last year I had a commission for an owl-themed memorial (photograph below). My client later came back to me with a request for a bird table that incorporated chainsaw carving sculptures. Always an honour as an artist to have repeat commissions so I got to work on a design…

I know he loves fantasy so I suggested a dragon on the roof. He liked the idea and asked if I could add Mickey Mouse in the Fantasia outfit, holding a wand. It still needed a little ‘more’ though. So, in keeping with the fantasy idea and knowing the significance of owls for my client, I added an owl and a Fairy Door. If you read my blog about how to commission a sculpture, you’ll know his kind of back and forth with a client is a typical part of the process. Whether those tweaks are design, budget, or practicality-based, it’s all part of making sure you get a sculpture you love!

A photo of a memorial sculpture carved into a tree trunk. It features a stack of five owls in a hollow of the trunk and the words 'owl be with you forever'

Creating a Bespoke Fantasy Bird Table

After channeling some Hogwarts-Meets-Disney kind of vibes in the design, it was time to get sculpting!

The first step is sourcing wood. For this project I had a beautiful piece of yew from Groundswise Deeside that was perfect for the job.

The commission was for a bird table so before any of the figures were added, I had to have in mind that I was making a functional bird table. This was really essential as no matter how the sculptures looked, if it wasn’t going to function as a bird table, I hadn’t fulfilled my brief.

With a solid structure, I could begin the sculptures. Yew is beautiful but can be difficult to work with as sometimes the grain is unpredictable. It can have dark patches where old branches were too. I actually had to cut off Mickey’s head and carve it again as there was a large knot that obscured his face!

a photo of a bespoke chainsaw carving fantasy bird table made by simon o'rouke. It features a drago curved around a pointed roof, mickey mouse dressed as a magician waving a wand and the words 'home is filled with magic'. Around the unseen side is an owl and fairy door.

Tips for Sculpting Dragons

Carving dragons are always a challenge too as there’s no photographic reference available. You have to decide whether it’s a four legged, two winged dragon, or a bat-like one with two rear legs and the front legs integral with the wings (technically a Wyvern). From there you can start to imagine the design in more detail.

Another challenge is the wings. Carving folded wings enables you to have the upright form on them, going with the grain, which is stronger. It often looks more impressive having added wings outstretched, but it needs weighing against practicality of transport and budget. In this case the folded wings complimented the shape of the turret roof perfectly and were as much a part of the design as a practicality.

rear view of simon o'rourke's bespoke bird table carving. 
The roof of the bird table is a disney palace style pointed roof with a dragon curved around it.

The Finished Chainsaw Carving Fantasy Bird Table

Overall, this was a lovely little commission, and my client was pleased with how the vision was realised. I loved the concept, and carving a cheeky little Mickey Mouse was fun. Hopefully the birds enjoy it too!

If you would like a bespoke chainsaw carving commission, please use the form at www.treecarving.co.uk/contact/ to get in touch.