Artist hangs up his chain saw.Byline: Karen McCowan The Register-Guard
OAKRIDGE - Few motorists passing "Carvings by Colp" at the west end of town the past 14 years knew that the man selling carved bears, fish and horses here was a pioneer and patriarch patriarch, in the Bible
patriarch (pā`trēärk), in biblical tradition, one of the antediluvian progenitors of the race as given in Genesis (e.g., Seth) or one of the ancestors of the Jews (e.g. in the world of chain saw art.
Now Don Colp, 74, is closing the retail operation, a former Oakridge auto showroom, with a weekend auction of his work - and his collection of antique cars An antique car is generally defined as a car over 25 years of age, this being the definition used by the Antique Automobile Club of America and many other organizations worldwide. However, the legal definition for the purpose of antique vehicle registration varies widely. , chain saws and other logging equipment.
The lanky lank·y
adj. lank·i·er, lank·i·est
Tall, thin, and ungainly. See Synonyms at lean2.
lanki·ly adv. Colp earned his living for nearly 40 years by using a roaring, snaggle-toothed power tool to transform blocks of wood into Western-themed sculptures that fetched as much as $36,000.
When he looks through his collection of vintage saws for a 1960s Skil saw like the one he first used to experiment with carving, he comes up with a shockingly blunt instrument Blunt instrument is a legal description of a weapon used to hit someone, which does not have a sharp or penetrating point or edge. Their effect is usually blunt force trauma, to stun, or to break bones. They sometimes kill. . It's hard to imagine how he could turn out details such as the hair of a horse's mane mane
the region of long coarse hair at the dorsal border of the neck and terminating at the poll in the forelock. Present in the horse and other Equidae. Similar gatherings of coarse hairs are present in the giraffe, gnu, various antelope, cheetah and lion. Called also juba. with the saw blade's rounded tip.
Colp said he teamed up 30 years ago with another Canadian carver to design a sharper tip for such detail work. "It's called The Original Carving Bar today," he said. "Now we have a real serious set of tools - we run 15 chain saws and many die grinders A die grinder is a handheld tool which turns a burr or mounted abrasive stone at high speed. It is usually powered by compressed air. The burr or stone is held in a collet and may be changed out as required. and bits."
Colp was running his own logging operation and lumber lumber, term for timber that has been cut into boards for use as a building material. The major steps in producing lumber involve logging (the felling and preparation of timber for shipment to sawmills), sawing the logs into boards, grading the boards according to mill in Alberta when he first heard that an Austrian immigrant in British Columbia British Columbia, province (2001 pop. 3,907,738), 366,255 sq mi (948,600 sq km), including 6,976 sq mi (18,068 sq km) of water surface, W Canada. Geography
had begun carving large sculptures with a chain saw. Colp, who'd inherited a love of whittling Whittling is the art of carving shapes out of raw wood with a knife.
Whittling is typically performed with a light, small-bladed knife, usually a pocket knife. Specialised whittling knives are available as well. from his father, decided to give the idea a try himself.
"I showed up to the mill an hour early and carved each morning," he recalled, holding a weathered hand about 2 feet off the ground to indicate the height of his first creation, a jumping fish.
He had a knack for the craft. People began to buy his work, and in 1972 he decided to quit the mill and pursue carving full-time. He eventually would be sponsored by three different chain saw companies - Canada-based Frontier for four years; Homelite for seven years and Pull-On for 17 years.
He and his wife, Barbara, raised three boys as they traveled the country from show to show, where he carved before audiences and sold the results. In 1974, Colp logged 100,000 miles on the road - 60,000 by air and 40,000 driving with his family in tow.
The power tools make relatively quick work of out-sized carvings, he said.
"I can do a horse with a saddle and all that stuff, the detailing and the reins, in about 12 hours," he said.
All three of his sons followed him into the carving business. Mark, of Lakeport, Calif., competes professionally as a member of the Echo Chainsaws Carving Team and is a winner of the West Coast competition named for his father, the Don J. Colp Championship.
While Colp has received little local media coverage since settling his business in Oakridge in 1992, he doesn't feel that he's been snubbed.
"We've been on over 100 TV shows, from `What's My Line' to `The Guinness Book of World Records,' ' he said.
While the Colps will no longer have the tourism exposure that comes with a storefront along a busy highway, he won't be completely retired. Colp plans to still do some carving - and selling - from the couple's Westfir home.
ART & TOOL AUCTION What: Chain saw art, antique tools An antique tool is generally defined as a tool over 100 years old, but often this definition is used more loosely to refer to any tool manufactured before World War II.
The use of tools is one of the primary means by which humans are distinguished from animals. , collectibles When: Preview today 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.; auction today, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Where: 47409 Highway 58, Oakridge Information: (800) 573-8677, 782-4874