Over 10 years, retired Navy vet carves Declaration of Independence in wood


Retired Navy veteran Charlie Kested of Johnstown, NY carved every word of the Declaration of Independence out of dark walnut wood over about 10 years, in his basement. It is beautiful.

(via Submitterator, thanks eaphelps)


  1. An amazing example of determination and patience. On a nit-picky note, however, this doesn’t appear to be carving, but rather what would be referred to as “fretwork”. It seems like these letters were cut out on a bandsaw, not carved by hand. Not to detract from Mr. Kested’s obvious devotion to his craft – kudos, Sir!

  2. I suppose it takes a vet to show that kind of patience, determination, and discipline. I’d have lost interest after the first word. I do envy the man the attributes it takes to do something like this. But beautiful?

    1. Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder.

      To me, it’s beautiful throughout – Mr. Kested’s re-creation, the original document, and the declarations it contained. Seeking freedom from despotic regimes is, I feel, always a good thing.

      For the record, I’m British.

  3. It’s not as if it’s carved in stone!
    /I keed, I keed
    Nice. It would be a good way to learn the Declaration. Now if he did the constitution the same way you could ask him if it something is in the constitution and he could recite it to you with out looking it up.

  4. I think it is really awesome how he matched the script of the hand-written one. Also the signatures of all the traitors / patriots are replicated in wood. Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the document, but does anyone know if it is actually his handwriting the final version is in?

    1. not that i like regulation or felonies, but it would be nice for all the wood I buy to have genus and species labels on them. I know that is the case with the importers, but it hasn’t worked it’s way down to the distributor level. Of course the only rason i would lik that is just so I know which “mangaris” or “mahogany” I’m actually getting as different species can look very very similar and have differing properties.

      That said, making it a felony is dumb.

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