The evolution of a beaver

Surrey man welcomes brother's chainsaw creation to his front yard.

Mr. “Rusty” Beaver was raised in a 12-metre (40-foot) spruce tree on a quiet residential street in the Canadian prairie town of Beausejour, Manitoba.

After 78 years of slow growth in sandy soil, his journey west began when the lives of his mom, sisters and brothers came to an abrupt end in favour of a new residential development.

Fortunately for Mr. Beaver, he was rescued by Beausejour resident Russ Kubara, retired school teacher and chainsaw carver extraordinaire.

For many years, Russ wanted to create a masterpiece in his younger brother Ron Kubara’s Surrey front yard, but Ron did not know what it should be or how he would move it from Russ’s home in Manitoba to his home 2,500 kilometers away in British Columbia.

So they  waited.

Then it all came together. A new roof on Ron’s house decommissioned the flagpole that launched off the eave and a date for a road trip to Russ’s new home in Beausejour was confirmed.

And so the planning began. But what to create, what carving should Russ do?

The creation of Mr. Beaver was Russ’s idea, the flagpole in the centre was Ron’s.

The size of the carving was determined by the opening limits of the rear door in Ron’s VW Passat, combined with the width of the back seat – 66 centimeters (26 inches) in diameter and 11 cms (45 inches) tall.

A professional carver and instructor, Russ has his creations on display in Canada and the U.S. He carved a hawk as a centerpiece in a small town and carved a chef pig as the icon on display in the front of a restaurant.

His carvings are proudly on display at many residences and even in standing trees on a trail in the forest.

Russ instructs hand and chainsaw carving, has won several carving events and has been a featured exhibit carving live at events such as county fairs.

Russ started carving on Saturday, June 26 and finished a week later on July 2 – 25 hours of cutting and shaping.

Ron loved every minute of observing this art, sometimes watching Russ go at it for hours non-stop, constantly changing chainsaws as he filled them with fuel and oil as well as documenting every detail with a camera, 582 images in total.

The bark of the tree had to be removed as it would fall off over time, but Russ knew how to create new bark with a chainsaw and flame.

Mr. Beaver’s pelt was carved with a special grinder and his coat treated with medium brown, dark brown and black shoe polish.  Ron did some of the carving under Russ’s watchful eye and most of the finishing.

Day after day, the 180-kilogram (400-pound) log was whittled down to a manageable 90 kgs (200 pounds). A large hole was bored through from top to bottom and an eight-metre (25-foot) flag pole already waiting with the Canadian flag mounted was inserted.

It was so fitting – Canada’s mascot at work chewing a tree at the base of the Canadian flag.

Ron thoroughly enjoyed seeing Mr. Beaver come into existence as he emerged from the spruce log formerly laying prone in Russ’ back yard. He is now securely fastened to a buried concrete base in his new home at the front of Ron and Lynne Kubara’s house in Surrey.

Mr. Beaver now has been christened Rusty – named for his creator.


Rob Kubara


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