Pennsylvania anesthesiologist carves wood into art business

A need to express a different, creative side led to a commercial opportunity.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted April 16, 2012

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Making sidelines pay

Business Pitch

Doctors who branched out beyond running their practice tell why they did it, how they did it, and what you should know before you do it.
» Other installments

Name: Gene Chernyak, MD.

Specialty: Anesthesiology and pain management.

Location: East Norriton, Pa.

Company: Wooddevotion sells wood vases, plates, cups, jewelry, wall hangings, bottles, bowls, candlesticks and boxes that Dr. Chernyak creates (link).

Annual revenue: $45,000.

Why he started the business: Dr. Chernyak, an anesthesiologist and pain management physician with Mercy Suburban Hospital in East Norriton, Pa., started teaching himself about wood turning and carving about 12 years ago as a means of expressing his artistic side. He was drawn to wood because it had inherent natural beauty, but he could use his hands to make it even more so.

“Wood is a great medium. It holds its form, but there are these fissures that are fascinating,” Dr. Chernyak said.

Friends and family started buying candlesticks and vases made using spiraling, texturing and reeding techniques. They also bought jewelry and bowls that were stained, burned, carved, pierced and sandblasted.

In 2003, he built a large woodworking shop in his backyard to give him space to display his work and practice his craft. His work is for sale at galleries in Pennsylvania and New York.

“People liked my work,” Dr. Chernyak said. “I have had some customers come for years.”

Some pieces, however, are hard to let go, and his home as well as his studio are filled with them.

“I have some stuff that I love, and my wife doesn’t want to sell anything,” Dr. Chernyak said. “But we have no more space.”

Prices vary with some items fetching several thousand dollars.

Why he still practices: Woodworking “doesn’t bring in much money, and I like medicine,” Dr. Chernyak said.

Words of wisdom: “Nobody will buy something they don’t like,” Dr. Chernyak said.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn