The week began with the sounds of a chainsaw buzzing and a lot of sawdust flying just outside Sharpe’s Ultramar on East River Road.
Passersby would have seen a collection of wood sculptures, a pile of sawdust and a lone carver creating a new project amid all the noise and wood.
Rob Milner, owner of Eternity Chainsaw Carvings, was that craftsman, busily performing a speed carving of an eagle for the Special Olympics. By about noon on Monday, the eagle Milner was carving out of a block of pine was beginning to look recognizable, with discernible feathers, beak and the beginnings of an eagle’s piercing stare.
“This is about giving back to the community,” said Milner, referring to the eagle he was in the process of creating. The eagle, when completed, will be donated to the Special Olympics to be used either as a raffle prize or auction item.
“I don’t concern myself with the end result – I just hope I’m helping,” said Milner.
As he worked, Milner was surrounded by an assortment of his other carvings – the likenings of other birds, bears, and even a bee – on display in the parking lot. Some of the other sculptures took days to carve, while others – like the bee, one of his most challenging projects – ended up taking much longer.
Nearby, a number of chainsaws sat on a table. Milner referred to them as specially honed tools – each of them specifically used for a different part of the carving process for which they were best suited.
Milner said the main determinant of how long it takes to carve a particular project is the level of detail and complexity. In the case of his newest eagle carving, Milner said “I’m hustling,” adding that he wants to complete the eagle as quickly as possible.
While he worked, there were plenty of opportunities for him to take a breather, with over 50 people stopping by over the course of the morning and afternoon, fascinated with his work. Visitors had a litany of questions for the itinerant carver whose work sees him travelling and carving across Canada.
Milner said the interest from locals starts as soon as he starts unloading his sculptures from his trailer. “People love it, and this is a busy road – so they tend to notice right away,” he said, adding with a grin, that “they come out of the woodwork when they see what I’m up to.”
Milner said he always goes to the area outside of Sharpe’s Ultramar, because the business’s owner, Tracy Sharpe, allows him to work there when he visits New Glasgow.
“Tracy makes the space available to me, and he’s an entrepreneur with a spirit of kindness,” said Milner. “He’s very supportive of people who are different.”
Milner said he has a place in every town and city he travels to in the Maritimes – something for which he is very grateful.