1. Theme: “Fish
Tales”. (PROS: Bring to life a favorite fishing story you have
experienced, read about or dreamed of! This can include real or make
believe. Please read the judging criteria when designing your
sculpture. SEMI-PROS: This will include anything to do with fishing.)
2. Design and
artistic impact. (Wow Factor)
3. Correctness of
form, proportion or anatomy.
of difficulty as related to:
4. Cuts (How
difficult were the cuts to execute?)
5. Complexity of
6. Subject matter
As related to execution of:
7. Basic cuts
(miss-cuts, over-cuts, clean)
8. Difficult cuts
(miss-cuts, over-cuts, clean)
9. Consistency of
quality and finish
* Well executed
joints and structural integrity will have no effect on scores. However,
if obvious poor execution is exhibited, scores will be downgraded in
criteria 7 or 8
Keeping these nine
guidelines in mind, judges will rate sculptures on a scale of 1 through
7 on each of the nine guidelines, 1 being the best 7 being the lowest.
When all the carvings have been judged, the judges must total up the
points for each carving and place them in order from lowest to highest.
The winner will be the artist with the lowest point total.
In the case of a tie, the highest and lowest of each score will be taken
out to determine a winner. If the tie continues, we will add back in the
high score, if a tie still remains, judges may be asked to re-evaluate
the tied artists. Judges will be available to discuss their decisions
with the contestants after the judging is over.
The judges’ results will be available upon request.
you to Brian McEneny for taking the time to study judging sheets,
different judging criteria and taking in other carvers input to write
this criteria that takes all aspects of chainsaw carving and attempts to
make chainsaw sculpture “judge able”. Eight years of work has paid off
with a great judging system. Cindy King
Brian McEneny March, 2008
Not all judges have
a wood carving background; this manual has been put together so that
judges from other background as well as new judges can educate
themselves on what to look for when judging chain saw art.
We recommend an
experienced carver as the head judge. He will take the time to go over
this manual with the other judges. He will show them on an actual
carving what each cut represents.
(The judges should
arrive one hour before judging starts to review the criteria.)
By having 9
criteria, It makes the value of each criteria 11%.
artistic impact 11% (Wow Factor)
Correctness of form etc. 11%
difficulty total (33%)
Complexity of comp 11%
matter & scale 11%
Craftsmanship total (33%)
Difficult cuts 11%
Consistency and quality 11%
joints and structural integrity will have no effect on scores. However
if obvious flaws or poor design is exhibited, scores will be downgraded
in this criteria.
Example: “Fish Tales”, (PROS: Bring to life a favorite fishing story
you have experienced, read about or dreamed of! This can include real
or make believe. Please read the judging criteria when designing your
sculpture. SEMI-PROS: This will include anything to do with fishing.)
and artistic impact: With
consideration to balance, form and composition, dynamics, three
dimensionality, and how they contribute to the overall artistic impact
of the sculpture (Wow factor).
of form, proportion or anatomy:
three categories deal with the artistic aspect of sculpture. They are
subjective, and are influenced by the judge’s perspective and personal
understanding of proportion and anatomy and how well it fits his concept
of theme. The same applies to design and artistic impact.
difficulty are technical and more objective criteria’s. That is, they
are observable and not perceived. These elements are uninfluenced by
emotion or personal prejudice, they are either present in a sculpture or
they are not.
of difficulty as related to:
were the cuts to execute?)
are two main areas that directly relate to degree of difficulty and
lesser important factors that contribute as well
1) Difficultly as related to cuts.
2) Difficultly as related to complexity of composition.
Two additional areas are factors.
A) Subject matter as related to difficulty.
B) Scale as related to subject matter.
TYPES OF CUTS
1) LINE CUTS
2) BLOCK OUT CUTS.
3) PLUNGE CUTS (2 types).
A) Pierce thru cuts
B) Whole cuts (2 types).
B-1) closed hole cuts
B-2) Open hole cuts
4) APPENDAGE CUTS
1) LINE CUTS: Like drawing with a pencil. These cuts are used for
lettering and relief work as well as texturing, hair and detail.
2) BLOCK OUT CUTS: major waste removal cuts that form the rough shape of
a 3-dimensional carving. If the cuts leave the sculpture with a carved
front, back and two sides the carver has blocked out a 3-dimensional
PLUNGE CUTS (2 TYPES):
a) Pierce thru Cuts: Cuts that go all the way thru the carving.
penetrate from front to back or side to side.
b) Whole cuts: Cuts that penetrate deep into the carving without
coming out the other side. (2 types)
closed hole cuts: A recessed cut completely surrounded by the surface
of the carving. (More difficult)
b-2) Open hole cuts: A cut surrounded by the carving on 3 sides,
Open on one side. (Easier to execute).
4) APPENDAGE CUTS: Cuts
that leave surfaces or areas jetting out from the body of the carving.
How the above
mentioned cuts relate to difficulty.
LINE CUTS: A wood carving made with primarily line cuts will be a
relative easy carving.
Objects will be outlined and will have height and width, but they are
lacking the third dimension of depth other than the depth of the relief.
A logging scene depicting a 40’ tree and a 6’ logger would have the same
depth. A carver choosing this type of carving for a competition piece
avoids the problem and difficulty of creating a 3-dimensional sculpture.
This is the easiest type of carving to execute.
Line cuts can be used for flat work as well as around the circumference
of a log. Carving the 360 degree surface of a log does not increase the
difficulty. This type of carving is not a 3 dimensional carving. It is a
line cut, 2 dimensional carving, on a 3 dimensional surface. These types
of cuts dictate the easy level of degree of difficulty.
In theory this type of carving could win a competition, but should never
win the criteria category of difficulty, if there are 3-dimensional
2) BLOCK OUT CUTS: The next degree of difficulty would be a 3 D block
out that utilizes line cuts for surface dimension, details such as hair,
Example: A simple figure such as a Sea Capt. With hands in his pockets,
legs together. (This is a simple 3 D sculpture using block out cuts and
3) PLUNGE CUTS:
(a) pierce thru cuts …These cuts are harder to execute because of the
possibility of misalignment and miss cuts. If the opening does not line
up on each side this can easily distort the anatomy and essentially ruin
the sculpture. The recessed sides of these cuts are harder to reach,
therefore possesses a higher degree of difficulty to finish.
(b) Hole cuts: (2 types) These cuts are also difficult to execute
1) Greater potential for miss cuts.
2) Difficulty in clean up and finish of these deep
4) APPENDAGE CUTS: When you leave protruding areas that extend out from
the surface of the carving, you increase the difficulty.
The difficulty lies in the alignment of the two sides of the cut, (miss
cuts, cutting one side deeper than the other).
Also the inside corners of these cuts are harder to finish adding to the
NOTE: Good executions of all cuts are important in scoring a competition
A competitor can raise the degree of difficulty by implementing the last
3 types of cuts. Plunge cuts (2 types, pierce thru and hole) and
If these cuts are numerous and executed cleanly without miss cuts, a
competitor will score higher in 2 criteria‘s.
1) You raise your difficulty level over pieces not using these cuts.
2) Good execution of more difficult cuts will directly reflect on scores
Conversely…. If you try to increase the difficulty by adding more
difficult cuts (plunge, appendages and complex composition) but you fail
to execute with a high degree of proficiency, you may increase your
degree of difficulty score, but poor execution will result in a lower
score in craftsmanship. It will be a wash or worse.
carver produces a piece with a degree of difficulty score of 1 and
craftsmanship score of 7, the average would be 4.
Degree of difficulty 3
Average would be 3
We want to discourage carvers from saturating areas
in a sculpture with none essential plunge and appendage cuts in an
attempt to achieve higher scores in the "difficulty of cuts criteria".
Rather, we want to encourage carvers to use plunge and
appendage cuts to:
1.Better define the
2.To display negative
3. To minimize blocky look
and to integrate these cuts in such a manner that it enhances the
carvers vision and produces a sculpture of higher visual interest for
Complexity of composition
DIFFICULTY RELATED TO COMPLEXITY AND COMPOSITION:
Listing elements from lesser to greater difficulty.
1) As previously stated, a carving primarily made with line cuts,
2-dimensional flat work will be least difficult.
2) A simple symmetrical, 3 D carving, having no plunge cuts or
appendages, with line cuts for detail, are the next level of difficulty.
The following elements increase the level of difficulty.
3) Plunge cuts and appendages
4) Asymmetrical- not a straight line carving, but having twists, curves,
spirals and bends, depicting motion.
5) Double objects containing elements of #3 & 4.
6) Triple and multiple objects containing elements of #3, (cuts) and #4,
Note: A multiple subject sculpture, containing 3 simple figures is not
necessarily a difficult carving.
A single figure carving containing elements of plunge cuts, appendages,
asymmetrical, and complex pose, could easily have a higher level of
Subject matter and scale
The following lists subject matter from least difficult to most
1) Inanimate objects
2) Plant life
3) Animals, human form
Note: It is generally accepted that human form is the most difficult
subject matter. But most competition sculptures, depicting people, are
usually heavily clothed or robed. If this is the case the challenge of
recreating human form and anatomy has been greatly reduced.
Example: If a human figure with only a face exposed or hands and face
exposed, is heavily clothed with no difficult cuts, (plunge, and
appendages and is static and straight), this is an easy way to depict
human form and level of difficulty is very low.
Conversely: a sculpture depicting a single animal showing anatomy and
muscle definition, with difficult cuts, along with a complex pose,
(twists, curves etc, displaying motion). This would have a much higher
level of difficulty.
So, which subject matter is more difficult, human form or animals?
The answer is, either can be more difficult, depending on anatomy
actually carved, difficulty of pose, difficulty of cuts used.
Note: How it is executed is not considered in this criteria. Execution
will be considered in craftsmanship.
HOW DOES SCALE AFFECT THE DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY?
SMALL SCALE: Given the size of chain and the radius of a carving bar,
there is a scale that fit’s the physical attributes of the bar and
Some contestants attempt carvings so small in scale they are difficult
to execute and finish. Often times this distorts proportion and the
latitude for correcting miss cuts is minimal or none. This may increase
degree of difficulty but possibly lower the score’s in anatomy and
LARGE SCALE: It is often considered easier to carve large rather than
small. There is more latitude in correcting miss cuts.
The main area of difficulty in carving large is working off the ground.
It is always more difficult and awkward carving on a ladder or scaffold
than carving at the ground level.
As related to
cuts (miss cuts, over
cuts, clean) How
well the basic cuts are executed.
(miss cuts, over cuts, clean)
How well the difficult
cuts are executed. Are there miss cuts or over cuts present?
executed joints and structural integrity will have no effect on
scores. However, if obvious poor execution is exhibited, scores will be
downgraded in criteria 7 or 8
of quality and finish:
the piece is sanded, does it display finish consistency, or are there
textural variations intended by the artist to contrast areas of the
All competition pieces are finished to some degree.
However a carver chooses to finish his entry, (burned, wire brushed,
flap sanded, sand blasted, rough sanded, finish sanded etc.), judges
need to look at each of these techniques and evaluate the skill needed
to execute each one. It does take skill to sand a piece evenly and
consistently leaving no areas untreated or unfinished because they are
hard to reach. Also, competitors need to consider the complexity of
their design and how it impacts their ability to finish the carving the
way they choose and in a manner that best suit's the sculpture.
Anatomy: The structure of an organism or body.*
Artistic Impact: The power of an event, idea, etc. to produce changes,
move the feelings, etc.*
Balance: Equalizing the visual and the psychological weights of things.
Visual: Such as the relative size, brightness, or amount of contrast of
one ore more of the visual elements. Psychological: The relative
importance of a person or object in the work.
Composition: The arrangement of the parts of a work of art so as to form
a unified, harmonious whole.* The working together of the visual
Craftsmanship: Showing skill in the mechanics of ones art.*
Design: The arrangement of parts, details, form, color, etc. so as to
produce a complete and artistic unit.*
Dynamics: Energetic, vigorous, forceful.*
Form: The shape, outline or configuration of anything.*
Proportion: The comparative relation between parts, things, or elements
with respect to size, amount, degree, etc.*