Sylvio Chauvin with one of his creations
By Janice Berte, Contributing Writer
Framingham – Standing in a small 10-by-10 mesh tent at the Framingham Pinefield Shopping Center, one can find Sylvio Chauvin carefully carving pinewood into owls, bears, dogs, eagles and benches. Wearing protective chaps and covered in sawdust on a sunny Saturday afternoon, Chauvin is surrounded by several onlookers shouting things like, “Hey man, you are so talented!” or “I love natural looking things at my house. Can you make me a bench?” Chauvin smiles and slowly puts his Stihl chainsaw down to answer all of their questions.
Once Monday rolls around, Chauvin works in construction, but spends his evenings and weekends in solitude mastering the art of carving wood. His love for cutting pine logs into works of art started six years ago when he saw a man in New Hampshire sculpting lifelike masterpieces.
“I find this work to be very relaxing,” he said.
The most common requests are for replicas of peoples’ dogs. Since this is a part-time job for Chauvin, the labor time can rack up from three to 24 hours depending on the intricacy and detail of the piece.
“My hardest piece to cut is the eagle,” he said, “and the easiest would be the owl.”
These artistic creations of pinewood can range in price, and can weigh anywhere from 10 to 300 pounds. As Chauvin finishes carving his objects, he brushes and protects his pieces with a three-part combination of linseed oil, spar varnish and mineral spirit which is similar to paint thinner. He usually recommends to his buyers that once a year they layer a coat of this protective sealant on his creation.
To challenge his talent for carving wood, Chauvin attends the Chainsaw Carvers’ Rendezvous in Ridgeway, Pa. This eight-day event has carvers from around the world. They are presented with an eight-foot log which allows them to showcase what they can master with that timber. Once the objects are completed, several roads are closed off, and all of the sculptures are displayed on specific streets. The rendezvous includes seminars and other fun activities for the attendees and participants.
For more information on Chauvin’s work, contact him at [email protected].