Here's My Woodcarving!
by Joe Butler
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My folk had a meat packing plant, so I've had a knife in my hand since I was about six years old. I started carving when I was in Cub Scouts, using a Buck knife giving to me by my grandfather, but stopped as I got older. While living in Montana from '70-'86, I started carving again in the cold winters (-72º once!) Moved to Nevada and spend 14 years of busy construction/engineering work. Then I was laid off. I spent six months like a PO roaster, all ruffled up in my chair watch TV. . . Then I thought about carving just to past the time away and walla my time has been full filled again.
I can draw a little, but I use a lot of patterns, subscribe to Carving magazine & Woodcarving Illustrated, and have numerous books from Fox Chapel Publishing.
I still had the knife Grandpa had given me and some X-acto's from my Cub Scout days. The first thing I bought was 5 piece Craft Carver set from Flexcut. Well, that opened the flood gates. I truly have about all the hand and power tools I can handle, until I get the next catalog, anyway.
I started out carving with Basswood and have expanded to carving other woods including Butternut, Oak, African Mahogany, Redwood, Pine, & some random tree branches. I read an article about Cottonwood bark and since I live right on the Truckee River, I went a-hunting for some. It wasn't hard to find, but it had no depth to it. I did like carving it though and when I put an oil finish on it, I was shocked. I still venture off every once a while, but I always seem to come back to the Cottonwood Bark and Basswood. I should mention too that I get my wood from a friend in Anchorage, AK. The wood he provides me is thicker and maybe a shade darker.
It would depend on the individual, but to be able to lose yourself in a carving project, to make something really come alive from a piece of wood, makes time fly by...
This is a piece I did in Oak. What do you do with a Oak toilet seat if the ring brakes? Look, it's the Butler Coat of Arms!
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