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Ohio sculptor gives new life to tree from storm

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MESOPOTAMIA TWP., - An Ohio tree sculptor is giving new life to a 300-year-old tree damaged by a storm in Mesopotamia.

"It is a monster canvas, so it's very hard. It's like carving rocks. I'm used to carving pines and poplars ... softer trees. This here is like cutting rock. It's a white oak and it's a little harder than I thought it would be," said tree sculptor Bob Anderson.

Anderson is taking on one of his biggest projects as a tree sculptor on a tree next to Commons General Store in Mesopotamia.

"This is the oldest tree I've ever worked on. They say it's at least 300 years old, so it's actually an honor for me to be cutting on it. I don't know if I'll ever have the opportunity to cut a tree like this," he said.

Six years ago, the tree was struck by lightning during a summer storm, making the tree dangerous for people passing by.

Last fall, Peter Schaden, the owner of the General Store decided to remove the top part.

"We did have a lot of people who were a little bit upset with us so that's when we decided. Maybe we leave about a 15 to 20 foot piece and maybe carve something into it," Schaden said.

The sculptor and store owner are only giving few details of what the final product will look like.

The carving will be of something of early settlers to Mesopotamia.

"When you think about it, that tree was the United States before it was the United States," Schaden said.

Anderson has been working on the tree all weekend and hopes to be done with it by the end of next weekend.

"It's such a big piece that it will be one of my biggest and nicest pieces, I have to say," Anderson said.

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