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      Chainsaw artist

      An eagle sculpted with a chainsaw / Photo by: Chad Douglas

      Walk into a home improvement store, and you'll hear a lot of sounds...the clunk of lumber being loaded, the whir of a paint machine mixing, and the beeps of a cash register ringing.

      Over the past few days, the roar of a chainsaw could be heard at Menards in Quincy....and the man running it can create some amazing things.

      John Gage knows his way around a chainsaw. He uses all the safety gear available, from glasses to ear muffs to leg protectors. He respects the machine that helps make his living. The Menards company hires John to show off his art at every store's grand opening.

      "They come around, they watch me and they are a little surprised in the time that I make a carving. I average 45 minutes to an hour a piece," says Gage.

      Gage also is an artist. He knows how to draw, sketch, and paint, but he spends most of his time carving logs into statues.

      "I was just monkeying around in my backyard 28 years ago. I've got the first piece I ever carved. It's an owl. I keep it upstairs in my garage," says Gage.

      On this particular day, Gage is working on another owl. Each piece is different and every piece he carves for the Menards Grand Openings are for sale. But his main goal is to entertain.

      "It's no trick. It's like everything else. Keep doing it, learn a little bit. It comes around. Some days I can't even cut firewood. It depends on what kind of mood you're in," says Gage.

      Gage hails from northern Minnesota, but travels a lot for the Menards Corporation. He's been to all 252 stores in 12 states. He joked that after carving some of these statues, he goes inside the store and cuts prices.