Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 162, February 2019 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Here's My Woodcarving!
By Ray Leger
Memramcook, NB, Canada

I am self-taught at carving and woodworking. All that means is I took twice as long and paid twice as much as those who went to school to learn woodworking!

My interest in woodworking goes back a long time. I saw a relief carving in a gallery window and thought "I'd like to try that!"" With the cheapest set of carving tools I could get locally I started carving. The results were not good and I learned the lesson "you get what you pay for." Because of the poor first attempts at carving I turned to building furniture instead, and as it turned out I was good at it.

A few years later I was at the library looking for woodworking info. I found a book on carousels and inside was a photo of a carousel horse that had been stripped of paint. Looking at just the wood, the joints, and seeing the whole idea of it being made by hand was overwhelming! I knew right then I was going to build one for myself. Back then information was so limited that it took months to gather the resources I needed to attempt my first horse.

That first horse I ever made was to be mine, or so I thought. I was still building furniture at the time and a client came to the shop to pick up a blanket box. My horse was in the corner of the shop covered up and her sister, who I didn't know was with her, lifted the sheet off the horse! She wouldn't leave until I gave her a price for the horse. A week later I delivered the horse, and that was now forty years ago. Since then I've spent thousands of hours carving lions, tigers, giraffes, ostriches, seahorses, and way more horses than I can remember. I've also carved rocking horses, eagles and bellamy style wall plaques. All my carousel carvings are done the old way, using 2 inch, kiln-dried basswood and hand tools, no power carvers!

I have invested thousands in top of the line carving tools and it's been an adventure of learning and doing that which I will forever be grateful for.

I have been fortunate enough to spend ten years teaching woodworking to inmates in a maximum security institution, I am now retired and enjoy my shop time more than ever.

Ray can be reached directly via email at rayll1@hotmail.com.

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