Trading the Pen for a Chainsaw: Being a Northern Woodcarver


Sorin Iosipescu is a Bolton based Wood Carver, using chainsaws and logs to create intricate tree carvings of anything from turtles to Storm troopers with his business ‘Chainsaw carving – wooden art’.

As students, we have spent years writing and studying to gain enough experience and qualifications to be able to work at our dream job, but for most, there is very little opportunity to learn any hands-on trade, be that plumbing, joinery, or in Sorin’s case, woodcarving. So how do you get in to something like wooden art?

Sorin moved to the UK after training as a weightlifting coach, with a previous passion for art and carving, and after working for a while, Sorin bought a chainsaw and started carving larger logs and tree stumps.

‘I always had a passion for drawing and carving small pieces of wood. I wanted to use my imagination to shape different animals: owls, bears, eagles.etc. I was only practising in my free time for a long time until I actually thought to turn it into a full time job.’

Sorin Iosipescu

Entirely self-taught, utilising his free time to improve enough to start a business, Sorin expressed that he wishes that there were classes for mediums such as wooden art. He searched for them as his business grew, but couldn’t find any other than standard art and painting classes. Each piece is a personal commission which has allowed some excited customers to request a life size wooden Baby Yoda, Ringwraith and Bald Eagle.

Each artist has their signature. Sorin’s is a bear, big or small, holding a welcome sign or climbing a tree. I couldn’t help but order myself a little friendly bear.

Image Credits: Chainsaw carving – wooden art via Facebook

Each design is entirely free hand, no stencils or markings, although on paper he does ‘draw it all out first just to have an image of what the carving should look like when it’s finished.’

As the business started during the pandemic, Sorin’s talent and motivation to self-teach and learn further has earnt him a place among some of the best chainsaw carvers in the UK, travelling from the Lake district to Cornwall to do live carvings, competitions, and displays. He plans to sign up to more North West festivals this year, after enjoying last years shows so much.

Even though business was slow at the beginning, it was expected, but despite the setbacks, Sorin tells SCAN ‘This is something I do with passion, I love doing this full time and I also love the fact that I can organize my own time.’ Not only does he hope to grow his business for his family and own merit, he hopes to one day have his own place to display his work, as sculptures like these take time, and are often overlooked dotted around parks or in private venues.

While you can cram an essay in a night, this line of work takes far longer to perfect:

‘There are carvings that I have practised a lot and can be finished in a few hours but some can take a week to finalize all the details. Sometimes, if there is a high tree I need scaffolding to reach it, not only a ladder, so it can take a bit longer and is more difficult’.

Sorin Iosipescu

Running a business in a niche field, breeds a fair amount of misconceptions, one of which being prices. As so few people know what it takes to actually create such a detailed piece of work, Sorin is faced with people thinking that ‘the more basic a carving is, the cheaper it should be, because it can be finished quicker. People don’t know how many hours have been spent practising, how many tools and materials you have invested in, transport’.

Image Credits: Chainsaw carving – wooden art via Facebook

Although larger and more intricate pieces do have a higher price tag, someone who isn’t in the trade can’t fully understand what goes in to such a sculpture. Some carvings have taken him all week, such as large 8ft plus statues, whilst others appear smaller, but are more intricate, such as those carved directly in to an already withstanding tree with multiple animals.

Sorin has built himself his own personal workshop in his back garden, with a cabin shed, decking, and of course gorgeously carved decorations, so he can grow his business and his own skills and prove not to underestimate self-taught traders.

So if you have a passion crocheting socks, or painting custom shoes, don’t be disheartened, the world of Etsy and Facebook has allowed small businesses a better platform.

Also a product of the pandemic, the rise of TikTok, and trending sounds, and small business promotions, Sorin is able to grow his online presence and show his followers the world of chainsaw art, creating entertaining and interesting to content for people even like me, who have never picked up so much as an axe before.

To see more of Sorin’s work and to show him support follow his socials: Facebook Instagram and TikTok

Similar Posts
Latest Posts from