Chain-saw artistry: Eagles soar from remains of old Fairfield tree stump
Updated 9:39 am, Monday, September 22, 2014
The eagles have landed in the town's Riverhurst neighborhood, and they're here to stay, thanks to Bruce Woelfle.
The striking aerie is the result of an act of nature.
Last winter, Woelfle said, a large branch fell off the maple tree that stands next to his driveway on a night when there was no storm, no snow. "The tree was very rotted," he said. When the arborist crew came to cut it down, he asked that they leave the tree trunk standing.
"I had an idea," Woelfle said, and that idea was to have someone carve the trunk, making it into a work of art.
That idea has been fashioned into two adult eagles guarding a nest. In the nest are two eaglets, while another two eaglets are perched below.
Woelfle said he sent a photo of the tree trunk to some craftsmen who do chain-saw carvings. One of those craftsmen was Kris Connors, a Clinton resident and owner of Custom Wood Carvings & More. "He sketched in a drawing of the eagles, and I thought, `Boom, this is it.' "
A resident of a neighborhood bordering the Mill River, Woelfle said real eagles spend time there in the wintertime.
As for the tree-trunk eagles, Connors arrived in July and spent about five days creating them, starting from the top of the trunk and working in a circular pattern. According to Connors' website, he started the business in 2004, and most of his commissions are for life-size or larger wildlife sculptures.
"He had only carved two eaglets at the top in the nest," Woelfle said. "We have four grandkids, and I asked him if there was any way to carve another two eaglets."
"He felt it would be too crowded, so he carved a ledge below and put two more on it."
About 90 percent of the work was done with a chain saw, Woelfle said, even the detail in the birds' wings. "I sat there," Woelfle said, pointing to a window, "and just watched every day. I couldn't leave."
Woelfle and his wife, Claudia, who moved into the house about two years ago, are pleased with the result. And apparently, neighbors are, too.
"Everybody in the neighborhood has come down to take a look at it," he said. "It just came out great."
Perhaps, Woelfle said, it will inspire others to think about other uses for their tree stumps.
The carving is covered in an oil-based deck stain, which Woelfle said he will need to re-apply every few years to preserve it.