RAWLEY SPRINGS — Among the tree trunks and sawdust lies an object waiting for Sean Hanifee to carve.

Tucked away in the mountains of Rawley Springs, there is a treehouse workshop hand-built by Hanifee during the summer of 2018. A floor plan filled with large windows, high ceilings and walls stacked with a collection of tree trunks brings the outdoors inside.

But what makes the work of art stand out is Hanifee’s method of carving: A chainsaw.

Hanifee started woodcarving when he was a teenager in Maryland.

“My family carved,” Hanifee said. “It was more watch than listen back then.”

After the former Turner Ashby High School teacher quit coaching baseball in 2016, he picked up his hobby again, but with a new approach.

There is no starting out small with carving a tree trunk with a chainsaw. Hanifee’s first project was carving a bear head and once he finished, he said he was up for the next challenge.

Fast forward a few years later and 80% of his orders are chainsaw carving related.

Hanifee said he receives six to eight orders a month for a handcrafted chainsaw carving. Completing an order can take anywhere between eight hours to a few days due to Hanifee’s eye for detail.

On Tuesday, his workshop featured a newly completed project — two bear cubs inside of a tree trunk. Through carving, Hanifee is able to make the resemblance of fur come to live and through painting, it becomes more realistic.

Hanifee has posted on Etsy dozens of complete carvings to showcase his wide array of chainsaw carving capabilities. Etsy is an online website selling personalized and custom products nationwide.

Over the years he has made some of his more memorable work.

In 2017, a tree fell at a house at Hilton Head, leaving only but a large stump peering out of the deck. Hanifee said he was asked to carve a sea turtle from the stump that happened to be at a house featured on HGTV’s “Beachfront Bargain Hunt.”

Hanifee said he was able to stay at the house for a week to carve the sea turtle on-site.

Another memorable project was a bench he delivered himself to upstate New York. It was delivered in four pieces that once put together pictured a deer head, a nature scene with deer and “The 8 Point Hunt Club.”

His work can be seen throughout Rockingham County.

Visitors of the Cracked Pillar in Bridgewater are welcomed with the Knight of Cracked Pillar, the Spirit Rock stays with the East Rockingham High School football team and the Heritage Bakery and Café in downtown Harrisonburg also got their own sign.

Orders can be placed through Hanifee’s Etsy page, DNDCustomCarvings. Those interested in seeing Hanifee’s work can also visit his website at mountainsidewood.com.

Contact Jessica Wetzler

at 574-6279 or

jwetzler@dnronline.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @wetzler_jessica

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