Kansas City, Kan., homeowner hires chainsaw artist to turn dead cherished shade tree into amazing art

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- An Oklahoma artist who uses a chain saw to make masterpieces just finished up a job at a Kansas City, Kan., home, where the homeowner had recently lost a tree and wanted to do something better than just chopping it down.

"I think he said it's like 40 years old, the tree is, and it just died randomly.  I think when you lose a shade tree you don't know how to feel about it so this is kind of a memorial to the tree, I guess, to have something made out of it," said Tom Zimmer, artist and owner of OklahomaChainsawCarvings.com.

Zimmer and his wife have worked at their artistry and craft for almost 20 years.

"This is what we do," he said. "We moved from upstate New York to Oklahoma. Originally we were going to do different careers but this keeps following me and chasing me down and this is our passion, both me and my wife's. I think because I grew up in the forest and wood industry, that this is just the way for me to express myself and I enjoy the woodworking and playing with chainsaws and seeing what's inside the wood instead of just throwing it in a pile and burning it."

Tom Zimmer

Tom Zimmer, chain saw artist

Zimmer said the homeowner had been looking for him for awhile and found him a couple of months ago. He said the two exchanged pictures and ideas and came up with a concept for what remained of the tree stump.

While Zimmer does the chainsaw carving, his wife picks out the color schemes and paints.

"This is our third day. It's just about done," he said.

He said he and his wife and their kids used to travel and do competitions.  They've had a lot of practice and have worked on increasingly complicated pieces.

"I like people to drive by and to get an idea that it's not just eagles and bears, that chainsaw carving is an art form," Zimmer said.

He says he told the homeowner that there may be some accidents in front of his home near North 132nd Street and Leavenworth Road, as people slow down to examine the chainsaw art.

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