The Artist and his work ...

David N. Stehly was a self-taught wood carver who worked almost  exclusively with walking sticks and canes for over thirty years. In his latter years he did include some other subjects in his works.  (see "A Medley of Carvings" on the main page for examples)

He harvested and cured his own stock, working with nearly any wood that grows in eastern Pennsylvania.  Each of his works is serialized according to the chronological order in which it was carved and bears a logo and serial number burned into the lower shaft.

He has carved and serialized over two thousand   pieces.


Best known for his snakes twined around the walking stick, the artist did these differently from most carvers. Rather than working with vine-wrapped wood he sculpted each piece from a solid log.
                                                     # 1384 Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake XIV                                                                       C
arved in yellow poplar, 2000

They are carved in all sizes from miniature to life size to bigger than life size and are as close to anatomically correct as possible in wood.


Most popular are his heads and faces. They include many biblical characters, a series of different fairies, and a variety of unrelated individuals such as sea captains, Native Americans, Vikings, etc.

# 1056 Leprechaun X
Carved in Norway maple, 1995

Also very popular are pieces that have a number of faces on a stick often connected by twining the hair of one character's beard down onto the head of the next character and so on.

# 1656 Saul of Tarsus X
Carved in red maple, 2004

The variety of things that the artist has carved on sticks is extensive.  His works include dogs, cats, bears, rams, and horses. As well as frogs, turtles, lizards, and dragons; beavers, bulls, raccoons, and walrus; fish, pigs, and ladybugs; mice, squirrels, wolves, and otters; and a wide assortment of birds.

# 1307 Canvasback III
Carved in dogwood, 1999


# 1273 Ribbit XVI
Carved in dogwood 1999

# 1400 American Eagle XXXIX, Carved in yellow poplar, 2000

# 1404 Otter X
Carved in black walnut, 2000

"A tree is a magnificent living thing -each has its own personality. It sprouts, it grows, and eventually it crumbles into the forest floor. To take a piece of a tree and turn it into a work of art, to immortalize it so to speak, gives me a deep sense of satisfaction."

- David N. Stehly

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