It’s the biggest bear in Chetek, estimated Nathan Watton, a chain saw carver from Chippewa Falls, who was finishing up carving a giant bear on Wednesday, Oct. 30.
Over the course of three days, starting Oct. 28, Watton had turned a nearly 10-foot white pine tree stump at John Genens’ residence into a work of art.
Watton, and his wife, Amy Watton, run Wady’s Woods, creating chain saw carvings near Cadott. They have a young daughter.
On Wednesday, Watton was finishing up the detail work. After, he would burn it and sand it to give the bear texture and color; then it would be covered with deck stain to protect it from the elements. It is 8 feet tall, standing 9.5 feet up with the base.
Watton has been carving for seven years; his parents taught him how to use a chain saw and he gained lots of experience cutting firewood in their woods. One day, he carved a mushroom, then a bear. After selling those, he found he could make it his fulltime job.
Watton said eagles, bears and welcome signs are popular requests. His favorite to carve are eagles or owls. He’s carved dogs and even whimsical creatures like mermaids and aliens.
Genens noted the tree had been cut down in 2018 and was estimated to be about 140 years old. The old pine was 3 feet across at the base.
Since moving to the area, Genens has enjoyed living here. Having the tree turned into a giant bear is a way of showing that, Genens said.
“It’s going to be absolutely beautiful,” he said.
Asked what he would name it, Genens said that honor would be left up to his grandchildren. Finished on Thursday, Oct. 31, Genens said many people had been stopping to take pictures.
The bear can be seen on CTH D, just east of the Long Bridge, in Chetek.