Glowing Jacks wood carving business still growing, Raymer now entering competitions

Nearly a decade ago, local firefighter Barry Raymer and his family began growing and selling pumpkins under the business name Glowing Jacks. Raymer shifted his time to another passion as his kids grew older: chainsaw carving.

Raymer’s resilient work ethic, talent, and passion for chainsaws have led him to sculpt masterpieces out of several types of wood. His pieces range from several elements of nature — such as landscapes and animals — to his favorites such as tree men/wood spirits.

“I had always been into chainsaws, and one day, I saw someone doing it and was intrigued,” Raymer said. “I’ve found it to be the ultimate stress reliever, allowing me to escape. It’s peaceful for me to make things, and I’ve gotten good at it.”

It wasn’t always easy for Raymer, though. He said his first creation was a pumpkin he immediately threw in the “burn pile.” However, his skills quickly progressed into what he refers to as the ultimate creative outlet.

One of the best places to buy Raymer’s work is at the local Owensboro Regional Farmers’ Market at 1205 Triplett Street. Raymer started selling there last year and returned for 2023.

In a previous interview, Raymer said he enjoys interacting with locals and getting a chance to show off his work.

“I do get a lot of requests and most of them I am able to make. When I make custom pieces, I always let people know that I do have a style and I can get close to what they want but sometimes the wood has other plans,” he previously said.

His ultimate goal is to turn the hobby into something he can do full time.

“Right now it’s something that I only get to do as a side passion and an income assist, so I really hope to turn it into a full-time gig that not only allows me to provide for my family but enables me to do something I really love,” Raymer said.

Outside of crafting the pieces to sell, Raymer recently began entering competitions within the hobby.

“This is my first year getting into competitions – I’ve done two so far this year, and I have two more to go,” he said. “It’s a great time to test your skills against others while learning from the competition.”

The tournaments can last up to three days and challenge contestants to carve an extravagant work of art. Raymer has enjoyed the competitions so much he’s decided to host a competition in Owensboro later this year. Raymer said the Bluegrass Chainsaw Showdown will feature 10 artists from all over the U.S. who will create original wood sculptures.

Originally published in Owensboro Times
Presented by Independence Bank
John Kirkpatrick
September 2, 2023