Woodcarver's work can be seen around county
Old tree stumps and logs are chain saw artist's medium of choice
While most people would have seen nothing but an old tree stump in Jason Stoner's Fairfield, Pa., backyard six years ago, he saw a bear.
It took him three months to carve the animal into the wood, using primarily a chain saw, but today it would take him just three hours to complete a similar project.
"I'm a three-dimensional type person," Stoner said today, noting that he's done at least 10 of the tree stump carvings since the backyard bear, his first attempt. "Just taking an old tree stump and making it into something...just making it come to life" is a thrill, he said.
One of his pieces, a larger-than-life owl, sits in a yard off Old Waynesboro Pike near the Mason-Dixon Line in Emmitsburg. After his wife, Amber Stoner, prompted him to, he asked the owner of the land if he could carve the stump in order to advertise his business, Chain-Effect.
"I'm always on the lookout for him, you know, trying to get him more work," Amber Stoner said with a laugh.
The couple both graduated with graphic art degrees from the Art Institute of York, Pa. in 1998. They have two children. Jason Stoner, 32, also carves signs, benches, fireplace mantles and small figurines for home and yard decoration.
While he completed the owl in Emmitsburg a few months ago, Stoner is currently working on a stump carving for a friend on Frederick Road near the Cozy Inn in Thurmont that will depict a pair of angels, he said. He has done carvings throughout the region, including Carroll County, Frederick County and Adams County, Pa.
He said he started doing the carvings regularly when the economy soured, to make some extra money on the side of his lettering and graphic design business.
"When the economy kind of took a dive, no one was really buying logos or new trucks for me to put graphics on," he said.
In addition to using a chain saw for most of the work, he also uses grinders and sanders near the end of the process in order to create smaller details. He uses a torching tool to burn shades and shadowing into the wood, spray paint for colored pieces and he finishes off every project by sealing it with urethane.
In addition to making commissioned pieces, Jason Stoner has competed in stump-carving competitions, he said.
"There's like a whole community of carvers," Amber Stoner said.
In an October contest in northern Pennsylvania, Jason Stoner came in second for a pair of otters it took him nine hours to complete, he said.
"I don't think that just anybody can do it, that's for sure," Amber Stoner said. "I wouldn't even know what to do with a chain saw...But he's always been very creative like that. I'm more of the computer one."
"Everybody has a talent, you just have to find what it is," Jason Stoner noted.
As for the bear, "I still have that, it's sitting in the living room," he said. "I told my wife I wasn't going to sell it. That's one of those things you have to keep."
To contact Jason Stoner or see examples of his work, visit www.chain-effect.com.