June 2001


Don't forget!!!!!! The next meeting for everybody will be in the new St. Peters Community and Arts Center on Mid Rivers Mall Drive. Everybody should be familiar with Mid-Rivers Mall Drive, but just in case you aren't, check the Map Section. It has details showing the whole area. 

Everything is a go for the move. Red and Charlotte Cross got a call from Rich Brooks asking us to come empty our cabinet Thursday the 24th.  They called me and we rushed down to pack up the stuff. I now have the back of my truck full of boxes. We will need a couple of strong backs and several sets of hands at the June 6th meeting to help get this stuff back into the cabinet and into some resemblance of order. Come see our new digs and lets explore the new Community and Arts Center together. We have several decisions to make about what to keep and what to pitch, also.

Old Business

Wonders Of Wood Show: We still need a Co-Chairperson for the WOW Show this year. This is not the back breaker of a job that you might think. Club members pitch in for all the work and our past Chairperson will assist in keeping all the things that have to be done on track. 

Festival of the Little Hills Display: Don't forget about the items for display at the Festival August 18 and 19. Don't let our club look like the rag-tag bunch of non-carvers that it did last year. We have the talent to make a first class display. See Don Wilson to get your name on the list. Carve something for permanent retention, or just sign up for items for the duration of the Festival. But, sign up! Beginner or advanced, participate.

WOW Fund Raiser: A 50/50 fundraiser was voted in at the May meeting to help fund the WOW. The club will have the tickets printed and members will be asked to sell them in advance of the show. The winner will get half and the club half. Could be a good deal for the winner and the club. SELL SELL SELL! The more the better.


Confessions of a Woodcarving Derelict

Welcome back for the final episode. I hope that you all have learned something and will be able to prevent falling into the same trap as I did.  As I told you last month, things started to go down-hill. My appearance suffered and my wife noticed me missing. Then, one day, my boss called me in.

"Son, is there something wrong at home?"

"No, no!" I said hastily. "Everything's fine! Just fine!"

"Well," he said, "I can't help noticing such a marked change in you in such a short period of time. I know this may sound silly, but you remind me of a fellow I once knew who got involved with...." he shuddered, "Woodcarving."

Of course, I denied it and feigned offense at such a comparison. My boss was a kindly man, but a stern moralist with an abiding hatred for wood chips and sharp tools.

One day found me back at The Woodcarvers Friend. A fellow "Woodcarving Nut" was standing in front of the store's tool display. Suddenly he threw himself on the floor, screaming, kicking his feet and scratching at his head.

"Murray!" I shouted. "What's happening to him?"

"He's seeing Cracks."

"Cracks?" I said, with awe.

"Yeah, one of his finest carvings keeps cracking and he can't fix the problem. Don't mind him, it happens all the time. What can I do for you?"

"Murray," I said sheepishly, "I need another wood burner."

"I just sold you a Detail Master last week."

"I know, Murray, but my wife didn't know that it was hidden in the trash can in the basement and threw it out."

"Look, fellah, they only sent us one. You'll have to send cash to Woodcarvers Friend customer service."

"But, Murray, I need it now. I'm really in a bad way. Besides, I don't have $200 left, after buying all of that paint and wood sealer."

"So!" he said, a mean and crafty look coming into his eyes. "When you need more supplies you send away for that junky mail-order Wood Cravers Supply stuff. But, when you need fast service, all of a sudden you remember your old friend Murray."

"Murray, it wasn't me. It was those guys in my Carving Club. They made me do it. They told me I was a sucker to buy at The Woodcarvers Friend. It'll never happen again, I swear!"

"Sorry, kid, no dice. You'll have to write to Customer Service."

"But Murray, that might take weeks! I don't think I can hold out that long." 

All of a sudden a serious and almost compassionate look came upon his face as he looked deep into my eyes.
"Listen, kid," he said, "You are in a bad way. You're really hooked."

"Nah, not me, Murray. I'm still just playing with the stuff."

"Seriously, kid, you are! Look, I'll help you out," he said, propelling me gently toward the door. "Here's a bottle of cleaner. Try to take it easy. Keep your tools clean for the next couple of weeks. Just remember who your real friends are when you need a tool."

As Murray locked the door behind me and turned on his burglar alarm, I realized that he was right. I WAS A FULL-FLEDGED CARVER!

Things went downhill rapidly from there. My boss found out about my habit and fired me. I spent the mortgage money on a compressor and squandered money we were saving to replace our poor dog's tattered sweater on a new life size mountain man rough out.

My credit reached zero. I even bounced a check to Rocklers. I guess I reached the height of degradation when I forced my wife to go out in the streets and throw Tupperware parties to pay for a new set of micro-carving tools.

Finally, the bottom dropped out. My wife fell in love with her Tupperware distributor and walked out on me. The bank started foreclosure proceedings on the house. My neighbors shunned me while their children jeered and threw overripe kumquats at me as I passed by.

All would have been lost, had not one of our fellow members in Woodcarvers Anonymous heard about my plight and come to help me in my hour of need. How my heart bursts with gratitude for so many of you, here tonight, who came and gave me comfort as I went through the agonies of carving withdrawal. And how can I ever thank those of you who put up with my midnight phone calls when those urges to carve began to overwhelm me.

But, brothers and sisters, ashamed as I am to admit it, I need your help now more than ever before. For this very day I received a call from Murray to come down to The Woodcarvers Friend and look at the new PRO DUPLI-CARVER!

THE END......??????????


Show and Tell

There was some great items for show and tell last month.  Al Knopka had two matching horses. I think they were named Starlight and Shadow. You have to look really close to see the Shadow.

 Dom Bosley had two caricatures.  The one was really getting into that wood cutting.  The other must have been walking by and was watching the other one work.   Dom was a busy guy down in the valley.

Charlene McMenamy brought in an eagle she carved out of a catalpa log. It is over 30 inches tall. She used the book, "The American Eagle in Art and Design", from our club library as her go-by. 

Unfortunately, it had started to crack and when she wedged in some wood slivers to fill the crack, it cracked some more.  So, she was asking the experts about crack repairing and final finishing methods that would stop the cracking. She probably got more advice than she expected, but there isn't much you can do to prevent this type of cracking in fresh cut wood. Here, the troops are admiring, advising and critiquing the work. Charlene did a great job, but she thought it needed a little tweaking.

Show and Tell isn't just for bragging, although Charlene could have done a lot after completing her eagle. The club has a lot of expert carvers and finishers and they are always ready to help and advise. Finishing a project like the eagle for outside display requires a few different procedures. Using cut wood instead of our old standby, kiln dried wood, also requires a few special techniques. Even seasoned carvers have trouble sometime and the meetings are just the place to get advice and help. Don't be afraid to bring in your unfinished works.
Dee Kley burned a great Indian from a picture she found somewhere. Portrait burning is a real challenge, but I think she got it right on this one.
Tom Henke was also a busy guy over the Winter. He doesn't just ride around and sight-see in Mexico. He is active in other clubs and actually teaches carving in the area.  Here are his latest:

Tom buys rough out seconds which sometimes have bad places in them. The Indians had a knot that really added to the character of the piece. Consider using the not-so-perfect pieces of wood or a rough out with a knot and see if you can work it into the piece. You will be surprised. The next one was an interesting cow. I don't know about you, but I've had days like that, also.

A Happy Clown

Two very Interesting Indians
Here is a very interesting girl, but not just because she is nude. Women are a lot different than the usual old mountain man or crafty Indian most of us carve. It takes a special technique and an understanding of anatomy to do a good job.

Tom did a very nice job on this one. He carved it in a seminar with Wally Lueth last February. Wally has a studio in Harlingen, Texas where he teaches "Pretty Girl" seminars. Tom said Wally's studio was filled with body parts (manikins and such) to use as go-bys. To see more about this interesting seminar, check the May-June 2001 issue of Chip Chats, page 144. You will see the whole group, including Tom, although I wouldn't have recognized him without the caption. Anyway, carving females is hard. Good job, Tom!


Demonstration for Third Graders at the Rose Acres Elementary School

Wilbert Brewton and Charles Sapp staged a woodcarving demonstration for Third Graders at the Rose Acres Elementary School, Maryland Heights, MO, on May 3rd. They originally expected to give the demonstration to about 25 third graders from Ms. Sapp's class. However, there was so much interest, two other classes joined the group, making a total of 80.

Wilbert carved a wood spirit and discussed the art of carving. Charlie displayed different types of wood and styles of carving. Both brought samples of their work to show the students and there was an enthusiastic question and answer period following the demonstration. 

The students were amazed at what could be done with wood and were very interested in the process. Following his talk, Wilbert assisted several of the students in using tools and making a few chips.

As a follow up activity, the students tried their hand at soap carving. Also, each student wrote letters to Wilbert and Charley, thanking them for giving their time and talent and having the courage to share their art with them.

Hopefully, demonstrations of this type will bring in new and younger members to the carving community. Good job to both of you.




Affiliations:  St Charles Area Woodcarvers, The National Woodcarvers Association, and Mid-America Woodcarvers Association

Interests: My main interest has been chip carving, low relief carving and wood burning.

Training:  Carving classes with Cletis Sparks and Don Wilson at St
Charles High School.  Seminars at Doane college with Len Dillon and Orchid Davis and flute making with John Davis. I have also taken wood burning classes with Barb Smith and continue to be interested in chip carving. I also get tips from many of the talented members of the club in every type of carving. 


The Rest of the News

The Spring Carve-out: The Spring Campout will be a Carve-out again this year, due to the low number of campers. We moved it to the pavilion at Ft. Zumwalt Park in O'Fallon.  The date is June 16th. The pavilion will give us a covered area for our outing.  Last year we were outside, next door to the pavilion, looking in.   NOTE: This is not our regular Carving Saturday. We decided to continue with both regular carving Saturdays and add the Carve-out for a total of three Saturdays in June. Bring your individual lunches and a dish for the pot luck supper. Remember, we will not have campers there, so the food will have to be brought in coolers. Plan your dishes accordingly. We will be discussing the menu at the June 6th meeting.

Rainmaker Campout: The Rainmaker Campout is June 8th to the 10th. Bob Biermann will need to know ahead of time if you plan on attending to make sure he has enough blanks for everyone. Contact him or Rochelle at, (314) 843-6244, or Email The reservation list for campers will be sent to Rainmaker Campground by the time you get this newsletter, so if you want to reserve a camping spot, you are on your own.

Golden Age Games: Charlene McMenamy did a job at this years Senior Olympics. She had a handful of medals at the May meeting. She was too bashful to expound on what they were for, but they were quite impressive. Good Job Charlene.

Mueller Brothers Fine Hardwoods has 16/4 Walnut in stock. Check with them for special pricing for St. Charles and St. Louis Woodcarvers and Woodworkers. Just show your club membership card. ALSO, special pricing is available on 4/4 glue-up Basswood boards in any length. Call or drop in for details. I bought a glued up 1x14 by 6 foot basswood board for some relief carving projects I have in mind. It is first rate stuff. Give them a try.

Gerald Sears Seminar: There are still a few spaces left for the Gerald Sears seminar July 20-22. Cost is $100 plus rent and blanks. To get on the list, contact Charlotte Cross at (636) 397-6150 or e-mail at For more information on Gerald, check out Click on Artist Info. This seminar will replace the regular Saturday carving session scheduled for July 21st.

Eagle needs work: When the city took down our eagle in preparation for the move, we saw that it needed some touch-up work. The shield is in particularly bad condition. We only repainted the existing shield when we restored the eagle two years ago. There are several places on the wings that need work also. We will have to evaluate it and see what needs to be done and how best to go about it. Bring your thinking caps.

Bluegrass Festival at the Boone Home: The Daniel Boone Home and Boonesfield Village will be hosting an Old Time Bluegrass Festival featuring The Gordons on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1. Anyone who would like to demonstrate their art is invited to join in. Come on down Saturday and/or Sunday and participate in the festivities there. You can just carve, but I like to enjoy other activities, too. Last time we were there, they had us setting near the sweet roll cooker. A definite plus for the palate. If you like to show your skills and talk about carving to a lot of interested (and interesting) people, contact Charles Browning, (636) 798-2373, or see him at the June 6th meeting for additional details.


Upcoming Events and Activities

June 2001

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24 25 26 27 28 29 30
June 6 Regular monthly business meeting
June 9 Saturday Carving & Litchfield Campout
June 16 Spring Carve-out - Ft. Zumwalt Park
June 20 Regular carving meeting.
June 23 Saturday Carving, 9 to 2
June 30 -July 1 - Boone Home Bluegrass Festival - Come carve and talk to the visitors about your art. 

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