The art of chainsaw sculptures

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Brian Ackley of Bridgeton is a master at turning toppled trees and stumps into works of art. (WPVI)

Brian Ackley of Bridgeton is a master at turning toppled trees and stumps into works of art.

Skillfully using a series of different sized chainsaws, the former Marine can carve wood like butter, creating life-like statues that amaze his clients.

"I'm using tools that were made to do nothing, but destroy. And here I am, harnessing the destructive power into an artistic gain," Ackley said.

No one ever taught Brian how to do this, he learned it on his own and has turned his unusual gift into a full-time business.

"Incorporated my two loves of tearing things up and artsy stuff and here I am 15 years later," Ackley said.

Ackley says the phone hasn't stopped ringing since the recent storms that toppled so many trees in South Jersey.

He turned a downed maple in Washington Township into a statue of the homeowner and his father who served in the Army.

"That's just one way to keep the tree around for a few more decades instead of just chopping it up for firewood," Ackley said.

Ackley's creations can cost anywhere from $20 into the thousands.

He works without plans or diagrams.

It's just the chainsaw and Brian working sometimes 10 or 12 hour days.

"All concepts is out of my little twisted head and I listen to the wood to try to morph the two into something that works together," Ackley said.

You might think you'd need steel tipped boots for this, but Ackley works in his bare feet.

"I hate sawdust in my shoes," Ackley said.

Brian Ackley knows people can become attached to trees on their property.

And he compares his work creating something new out of felled trees as the human spirit overcoming what Mother Nature throws at us.
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