The spray of sawdust and the roar of a chainsaw have been a regular sight along the side of Highway 1 in Tappen for a year now.
The source of the noise is Mitch Evans, who was in a celebratory mood on March 7 because it marked exactly one year since he relocated his business, Bear’s Den Chainsaw Carving, to Woody’s Wholesale Lumber Yard. Evans said the location, at the corner of Sandy Point Road and the Trans-Canada Highway, has been good to him as his roadside carving stand gets plenty of attention from motorists.
“Everyone always stops in the summer, whether they’re buying a little bear or they’ve just stopped to have a look for a little while,” Evans said.
Evans’ most commonly-seen creations are the wood teddy bears which he shapes with a chainsaw and then embellishes by burning the outside and creating eyes with a specialized dremel bit.
After moving from Ontario to the tiny community of Yahk, B.C., Evans learned the fine art of chainsaw carving from an expert carver in Fernie. Evans said he hadn’t used a chainsaw much before jumping right into learning to carve with one. He plyed his trade in Revelstoke for a while before moving to the Shuswap.
He said equipment has been a major expense getting started as a chainsaw carver, particularly the specialized carving bars which do not have a sprocket on the end like an ordinary chainsaw bar does.
Along with the chainsaw carving, Woody’s is the site of Cottage Cabins Furniture to Go, which is known for its colourful boat-shaped shelves and tiny homes, cabins and cottages.
The newest addition to the business is a consignment store which is already taking items from local artisans, including other chainsaw carvers. Evans said the store takes a lower percentage of the sale price than other stores in the area. They have a grand opening planned for June.