Everything you need to know about Canada’s hot new carving competition ‘A Cut Above’

Adam Beach shows us a whole new side of woodcarving.
July 18, 2022 12:54 p.m. EST

We’re all familiar with chainsaws from horror flicks and pop culture projects involving country homes or epic house renos. However, when Bell Media’s latest competition series kicks off we’ll all be looking at chainsaws in a whole new way. That’s because the intense machine is the main tool carvers are using to craft some of the most beautiful wood carvings we’ve ever seen in A Cut Above.

When the series hits Discover Canada on August 8, it'll put a whole new spin on the art of woodcarving. Read on to learn everything you need to know ahead of the show’s big debut.

What is A Cut Above about?

The series recruits 12 of the most impressive chainsaw carvers from around the world for the ultimate competition. Each week these international competitors face off in weekly Quick and Master Carve challenges as they race against the clock in hopes of avoiding weekly elimination. With each challenge, they’ll turn regular old logs into jaw-dropping pieces of art. At stake is a hefty cash prize and the ultimate bragging rights.

Where does A Cut Above film?

This Canadian series filmed last spring in the heart of Squamish B.C. All 12 episodes have wrapped.

“Squamish was the best place for this show because we were dealing with Western Red Cedar,” Beach revealed. “A lot of these carvers hadn’t carved that type of wood before. Plus the setting was beautiful. We do drone shots that show the area and just how beautiful it is—it just adds a component you can’t find anywhere else.”

Is there a trailer for A Cut Above?

At time of press Discovery Canada had yet to unveil the show’s first official trailer, however show judge Ryan Cook did share a preview on his own YouTube page. 

Who stars in A Cut Above?

A Cut Above is hosted by Golden-Globe nominated actor Adam Beach. World-renowned Canadian chainsaw carver Ryan Cook and esteemed United Kingdom sculptor Katharine Dowson join the series as the competition judges.

“I’ve never done a reality show,” Beach told Etalk during the Bell Media upfronts in early June. “It seemed like an easy gig, I would just be the host and smile and wave. I didn’t realize I would fall into the empathy that all these carvers put into their pieces of art. There’s always a personal story being told and you can’t help but fall into it. You’ll definitely see me crying—I couldn’t help but express my own emotional connection.”

The reality series features 12 elite wood carvers from around the world:

Andrew Mallon

Age: 39

Hometown: Falls Church, VA

Years of Carving Experience: 8

“Honestly, if I make it through the first round, I’ll win the whole thing.”


Aya Blaine

Age: 46

Hometown: Boonville, NY

Years of Carving Experience: 17

“I can’t do anything else. I’m a chainsaw carver.”


Bongo Love

Age: 47

Hometown: Boulder, CO

Years of Carving Experience: 15

“It’s a big canvas. I’m just excited, I can’t wait for the outcome.”


Brigitte Locchead

Age: 40

Hometown: Vancouver, BC

Years of Carving Experience: 14

“Carving brings me joy. Carving with others amplifies that.”


Chris Wood

Age: 52

Hometown: Newport, Wales

Years of Carving Experience: 22

“I like to be energetic in my art – the combination of energy and focus is very meditative for me”


Jesse Toso

Age: 46

Hometown: Vancouver, BC

Years of Carving Experience: 17

“I love when the wood tells me what it wants to be.”


Joel Palmer

Age: 37

Hometown: Browns Flat, N.B

Years of Carving Experience: 9

“Within seconds I can transform the ordinary, into the extraordinary, revealing the hidden surfaces below, with ease.”


John Hayes

Age: 49

Hometown: Waterford, Ireland

Years of Carving Experience: 7

“I’m an ideas man. Lists and details, forget it. But talk to me about an idea, and my brain lights up!”


Junior Henderson

Age: 44

Hometown: Campbell River, B.C.

Years of Carving Experience: 15

“I got into carving because I wanted to be like my Grandfather.”


Ryan Villiers

Age: 41

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta

Years of Carving Experience: 4

“I want to take on as many competitions as possible!”


Sam Bowsher

Age: 23

Hometown: Moffat, Scotland

Years of Carving Experience: 3

“All my idols growing up were chainsaw carvers, starting with my Dad.”


Sylvia Itzen

Age: 53

Hometown: Bucholz, Germany

Years of Carving Experience: 20

“I have both feet on the ground and I know what I want: to be a great carver.”

Where can I stream and watch A Cut Above?

A Cut Above premieres Monday, August 8 at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT on Discovery Canada, CTV.ca/Discovery and on the CTV app on Android and iOS. You can also stream episodes on-demand the next day on CTV.ca/Discovery and on the CTV app on Android and iOS.

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