• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Creating a backyard fairytale with nephew’s chainsaw art


AN OWL SITS ATOP a fairytale sculpture carved out of a pin oak tree stump in Debora Nichols’ backyard. Her nephew, Sam Sigmon, is pictured applying a coat of polyurethane to his chainsaw art. (Photo by Vlach)

When Debora Nichols had a tree removed from her backyard in the spring, she asked her nephew if he’d help her create a fairytale scene using the pin oak stump as a centerpiece.

“I like it,” says Nichols of her fairytale carving. “I like the owl and I like the door,” which will have a crystal doorknob.

The carving will be wrapped with solar-powered fairy lights and solar-powered mushrooms will be placed on the ground around it, she adds.

With his latest chainsaw art looming high above in the backyard of his aunt’s Paddock subdivision home, Sam Sigmon explains his growth as a self-taught chainsaw artist.

“It’s definitely getting easier. I’ve definitely figured out more techniques,” he says. “From the top to the bottom (of his aunt’s backyard carving), I feel like if I started over I could do it even better…”

He says he’d definitely like to do more carvings in the future – specifically a sea turtle “because my wife really likes sea turtles,” but he’ll need a tree stump before he can get started.

“It’s probably my favorite part,” says Sigmon of finishing his most recent carving with a protective coat of polyurethane, “seeing it all shiny.”

Sigmon says his first chainsaw art project was a bear he carved out of a small tree stump for a family Christmas gift exchange. “I always wanted to chainsaw something and this finally gave me a reason to do it,” he explains.

“It was pretty hard,” he says of that project, “because I had a cheap chainsaw. It kept breaking down on me. I don’t know if it looked much like a bear.

“It looked more like a pig,” adds Sigmon laughing. The 27-year-old northern Kentucky native earns a living in construction “working with my hands every day,” and he’s always liked to draw. Seeing sculpted bears and other chainsaw carvings on trips to Gatlinburg inspired him. “I just always thought it was really cool and I wanted to try it – see if I could do it – and I just did it,” says Sigmon, who lives in Georgetown.

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