Chainsaw carvings soaring high
THE sight of a soaring eagle along the Lodge Walks has been drawing admiring glances.
But people don't have to stand and search the skies to spot this bird; it is earthbound and the work of chainsaw carver Rob Waitt.
Rob, who works for Dumfries and Galloway Council's grounds maintenance team, first came to people's attention at last year's Moorland March when he exhibited some of his wildlife carvings.
Since then, he has been inundated with commissions for animals both wild and domesticated.
He said: "After Moorland March, my work slowly built up. I'm now going to events and watching other carvers on social media where we share tips and ask questions."
The Western Hemlock tree, which was felled by Buccleuch Estates because it was rotten inside, inspired Rob to carve not only the eagle but he is also working on a squirrel, an owl and oak fairy along its length .
He said: "I had never in 18 months carved something for myself and after Christmas, I thought I would carve something big. I asked the estate forester and he said yes.
"It has created a lot of interest and the kids have been coming along asking me to add things. It will probably take me all summer because I'm busy with commissions. I'm finding rotten bits but I work round them.
"Christmas is by but everyone is looking out of their windows and thinking of what is going to happen in their gardens in the summer."
Rob is using six different blades on his chainsaw depending on how detailed the carving gets. He has, so far, spent 14 hours on the eagle, with more to do. Once it's finished, he will sand it and seal it with wood preserver.
He has just agreed, with community councillor David McVittie, to do a community project which will involve carving a six-feet high Gruffalo from the same tree.
Rob said: "It's a good wood to work with. I love it. It doesn't hold as much detail if I'm doing fine work but for big pieces it's great."