Shop owner carves out new niche

Posted On 04 Jul 2013

Buck Buchanan branches out with chainsaw art for his ice cream business

Photo courtesy Bonnie McCune Ice cream chef Buck Buchanan took one look at this hunk of tree and said, "Ice cream cones." His carving will eventually be on display at his Wait Avenue business.

Photo courtesy Bonnie McCune
Ice cream chef Buck Buchanan took one look at this hunk of tree and said, “Ice cream cones.” His carving will eventually be on display at his Wait Avenue business.

By David Leone

WAKE FOREST — That buzzing you heard downtown Monday was’t a new cream mixer at Lumpy’s Ice Cream. It was owner Neil “Buck” Buchanan chainsaw sculpting a hunk of tree out back of the East Wait Avenue business.

“Wake Electric had to cut down some trees for their new building,” Buchanan said Monday. “I saw them cutting and walked over and looked at that piece and said ‘What are you doing with that?’”

To Buchanan, it looked just like a set of ice cream cones.

“They’re repurposing that wood. One piece couldn’t be used in the building and it just happened to look like what I could use for a chainsaw carving,” he said. “I’m shaping it now into three ice cream cones, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.”

Buchanan started doing chainsaw art purely as a hobby in the late 1980s. After Hurricane Fran blew through in 1995, he really got into it. Eventually he stopped and gave all the folk art away, but his talent never left him.

So when he looked at that hunk of wood, he was immediately inspired.

The 10-foot section of what he believes is red oak, was a part of the middle of the tree, where it branches out. He may stain or paint it once he’s done cutting — all with a chainsaw — to make it last, so he can display it at his shop.

Lumpy’s is located in the old Pies and More building, which is adjacent to Wake Electric’s billing office. The co-op is building a new facility on the same site.

Buchanan was told  the utility  would use the reclaimed wood for two tables and flooring for the lobby of the new building.
“Some they donated to the Catholic firewood mission. Some they gave to us,” he said. “Almost the entire tree is being reused.”