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Maritime chainsaw artist shares his passion through wood creations

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With a driveway filled with different creatures and sawdust permanently covering his clothes, Liam Tromans is a chainsaw carver by all definitions.

“I do it like seven days a week, 8-10 hours a day most days. I just want to make up for lost time I think because I still have a lot of art in me,” he said.

Despite spending a lot of his childhood drawing and occasionally painting, Tromans followed in his dad’s footsteps at the beginning of his career and went into the forestry sector.

The now well-known carver didn’t pick up the craft until 2000 and, even then, he only did it part-time at first.

“In the back of my mind, I always wanted to do some kind of art,” he said.

“The reason I quit forestry was I saw a show on television, I think it was called Saw Dogs, and these guys were carving full time every day and I said ‘Man, I wish I could do that sometime’… The next morning I had to go into the woods and it was spilling rain and I put my backpack, my chainsaw, gas, oil, 60 to 70 pounds of gear going into the woods and I was thinking ‘Oh man, I wish I could go carving full time instead of doing this every day.’ It took about two years after that, but I finally made it.”

A wood carving of a fisherman by artist Liam Tromans is pictured.

After honing his skills in British Columbia for a few years, the Cape Bretoner and his wife moved back to Nova Scotia last September. They now calls Tidnish, N.S., home.

It’s not uncommon to see Tromans out in his driveway with his headphones on and his chainsaw in hand. It’s also not uncommon for people to stop in and check out his work.

He says almost everything is for sale, but he admits there are a few pieces he plans to hang onto.

“Back east, it’s drawn more towards fishermen and some Maritime things, but I think overall the bears are probably the best seller right now. I get more requests for bears than anything else and I would say eagles here too are a close second,” he said.

However, his favourites are the sasquatches and elephant sculptures he gets to create.

“I’ll start with the biggest saw I have, rough it out first, and I’ll get the basic shape of it. Then I’ll take a mid-sized saw, like a 50 cc saw, and just shape it down. Then, I’ll finish with a small saw. Most times I use a battery electrical saw right now for detail,” said Tromans.

A wood carving of an elephant by artist Liam Tromans is pictured.

While his final creations speak for themselves, the carver also won the Hope World Class Championship in 2019 and regularly participates in carving competitions.

“It was two eagles fighting, never done before like that and I carved a rock base and they looked like rock and I carved a shadow box of a mountain in the foreground and I put some bears on trees. I put a light in it, and it went right to the wires, like 27 hours to finish it and it was like 11 to 12 feet tall, but I got it done in the last minute and I won first place with it. So I worked like crazy to get it done and I was proud of that one,” said Tromans about his 2019 win.

Despite starting his carving career a little later than he would have liked, he says he’s done thousands and thousands of sculptures and some days he can complete as many as 10.

“If you love what you do, give it a shot,” he said.

“I’m approaching 60 now, but I still got 20 years of carving hopefully.”

Click here for a gallery of Tromans' work.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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