A chain saw artist commissioned by an organization no less than the Pittsburgh Penguins will be at this year’s Bedford County Fair.
Rannels Rustics, from Glasgow in Cambria County, began as a small-time log furniture maker.
Ben and Melinda Rannels have been in business 23 years. They have had a showroom where they have sold log furniture in the small central Pennsylvania town.
The Rannels eventually added chain saw carving to their business repertoire. Several months ago, they handed over the furniture business to a cousin and changed to strictly making and selling chain saw carvings.
Ben’s been making chain saw carvings for about 10 years, his wife said.
He picked up a saw and learned from watching others. His first piece was a deer leaping out of a cornfield.
Among his customers are those who have been on the History Channel’s “Swamp People” and the Pittsburgh Penguins who commissioned him to make a carving of the Stanley Cup.
Melinda said she also took up a chain saw, about a year and half ago. “I do small bears and pumpkins and signs.”
Ben does eagles, big benches and in April was selected to do a carving for Bass Pro Shop in Harrisburg for the Great American Outdoor Show, she said.
“Anything you can imagine, he carves,” his wife said.
Ben uses Stihl chain saws, which run at 170 and 250 horsepower.
The Rannels will perform three times per day at the Fair though the times weren’t set as of press deadline.
Melinda said Ben will begin carving in the morning at Jordan Hall and make about four pieces a day. Several pieces of his work will be auctioned off on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the chain saw station.
Melinda said the couple can fill custom orders as they work and sell some of the pieces.
He has won first place at the National Road Chainsaw Carving Festival in Addison, Somerset County, and has placed first at events in Ohio, New York, Mississippi, Texas, and various competitions in Pennsylvania.
Visit online at rannelsrustics.com or call 814-330-9661.