Meet Danny Burns, Maine's 'Michelangelo of the Chainsaw'

This chainsaw artist can sculpt an owl in under 10 minutes.

With surgical precision, Danny Burns guides his chainsaw over a block of pine, cutting here and there, and sending wood chips flying. Within minutes, a figure starts to take shape. Burns calls himself a “chainsaw artist,” telling Inside Edition Digital, “I make people smile and I make wooden objects.” 

His technique is a simple matter of geometry, he said. “I do one triangle at a time, which sounds kind of odd, but you put enough triangles together and you can make just about anything in life.” 

The garrulous Maine-based artist favors local pine. “It's malleable, light, easy to use, will last forever if you take care of it.” That medium also gives his work a ‘rootedness,’ he added. “There's a little bit of history behind it. I know where it's coming from.”

Burns studied art in college, and worked in the restaurant industry before having a career epiphany a dozen years ago. “I was in the backyard one afternoon and I was just like, ‘Oh, look what I could do with this.’ I made a bear. I made another bear. I sold those bears, made some more bears, and it's skyrocketed since.”

Bears remain a favorite subject — Burns named his business BurnsBears — but his oeuvre includes cardinals, eagles and other figures inspired by his rustic setting. During his recent residency at the Windsor Fair in central Maine, Burns crafted a life-sized owl sculpture in under ten minutes. 

“It’s the coolest thing in the world, to take a block of wood and turn it into something with a chainsaw. Historically so rough and tough and outdoors and crazy, and I make something so soft with it.”

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