Totem pole advice - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-01-2007, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Totem pole advice


In my first message to this site, I have done some moderate woodworking, but now have a major challenge.

Three years ago I mentioned to a patient of mine I would like to create a Totem pole. He was greateful, a logger, he presented me with a suitable Port Orford cedar log, which has been drying ever since.

I am retired now and realize that shaping a log will be a major challenge and I am seeking information concerning the proper ways to do this efficiently. I'd deeply appreciate any information on tools and methods you may wish to share with me, or point me in the right directions to obtain this advice.

Thank you for your attention in this matter

Gene So
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-01-2007, 08:43 PM
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From what little I know a chainsaw will be your best friend but it can get you killed too.

It would get you a rough shape and you could finish up with a grinder and sanding disc.

Do one thing at a time, do it well, then move on.
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-01-2007, 09:05 PM
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I took some Native wood carving classes at the U of Wa. Pacific Northwest Native totem carvers normally rough the figures with a chainsaw, continue with an adze and then finish with hand carving tools. Before you work on that beatuiful cedar log though you may want to practice a bit if you're inexperienced.

Lots of great information on the net to get you started, if you live in the NW you could probably find a carver locally that can give you some tips.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-07-2007, 08:34 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
Look at this site. I found a blade you attach to a 4 1/2" grinder.
I have never used one but it might give you more control and be a little safer than a chainsaw.

Did you say tool sale?

Last edited by woodman42; 11-07-2007 at 08:36 AM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-07-2007, 01:50 PM
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I have the squire tool. In a sense it is more dangerous to use than a chainsaw designed for carving. on a 4 1/2" grinder it can get away from you easy and go right into your leg faster than a chainsaw. I have had some close calls with it especially with my fingers. It's a great tool though.

Gene, IMO you have to use a chainsaw to get the rough stuff done. I would take a chainsaw carving class for sure. they are not so hard to find anymore. I have a carver as a customer he buys cedar chinks from me. he learned under another carver. He goes to carver get-togethers in Oklahoma and claims there are hundreds of them who show up each metting.

Please keep us posted about your project. Good luck and welcome.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-07-2007, 01:54 PM
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Certainly looks a fiercesome beast. I would be extra careful.
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