1. How did you get involved in woodcarving?
I started woodcarving back in the late '70s. For one reason to help the Boy Scouts; I was a Boy Scout troop leader. That was one of the reasons, and I always kind of liked it. I had done a couple of my own carvings before that.
2. What kinds of things do you carve?
Our group carves just about everything you can imagine. Every month someone has a project and everyone carves it. The person who has the project brings enough planks or cutouts for everyone to carve. Most of the time, people end up specializing in something. Tonight we are going to have chip carving. That’s where you chip out tiny pieces of wood. We used to have a guy and all he ever carved was ducks, and he was really good at it. We carve a little bit of everything here.
3. What do you specialize in?
I don’t really specialize in anything. I do like to do Celtic knots, but no, I don’t really specialize in anything.
4. How much time do you personally spend carving?
Oh, I don’t know. I spend more time at Christmas. I carve ornaments for people who come to the house, so I can sit in the evening, watch TV and carve. I spend maybe three or four hours a week.
5. What do you do with your carvings?
I don’t sell any of my carvings. I’ve got closets full of carvings. I always said I’m going to finish them when I retire, but that hasn’t happened yet.
6. How did you get involved in the Lima Area Woodcarvers?
The Lima Area Woodcarvers have been around since the early '70s. I was on the school board at Bath in the late '70s, and someone said there was a woodcarving group meeting in the building. I thought that sounded neat, so I started going to the meetings and have been ever since. We have people from all over — Spencerville, Ada, Wapak, Pandora, Ottawa. There were so many people from Ottawa that they broke off and formed their own club even. That was a long time ago. I don’t know how their club has fared. Ours has had its ups and downs. We usually have about 18 people, and I send out probably 25 or 26 newsletters every month, so we have about that many people on our list. We have people in their 80s all the way down to two kids who are 14, but most of our members are retirement age.
7. How did you get to be in charge?
It used to be we had elections and elected a president every year or two years. It got so nobody wanted the job. So, rather than let the club go, I just pretty much organized things. We’ve got a couple other people who are very, very active. We’ve got Larry Neal. He’s the treasurer and is very active. We have groups that go out. We have one group that is going to teach soap carving to the Cub Scouts. We have a group going to Van Wert in another week to teach at the Marsh Foundation down there. We just did a show and tell thing for Otterbein-Cridersville (retirement home).
8. When do you meet?
We meet at 7 p.m., the first Monday of the month, except the summer time. In June, July, August we carve out in the park right here across the street [Ottawa Metro Park] in the shelter house.
9. Why do you carve?
Oh, it’s just an outlet. You know, I’m not very artistic. Some people are really artistic, and we have some people in our club that are artistic. I pretty much have to have a pattern when I carve. It’s just something to use your hands with and when you’re done you can say you did that. I don’t know, it’s just kind of an outlet — gives you something to do.