May 2001

Art Center Relocation

Plans are still go for the transfer into the new St. Peters Community and Arts Center. Our first day there will be Wednesday, June 6th.  (Monday, June 4th, for the Seasoned Eye Woodcarvers)

All May meetings and carving sessions will remain in the current building. The final move will be the last two weeks of May. The Seasoned Eye group will continue meeting at the old building through Wednesday, May 23rd. The last week will be on an as available basis.

There will not be a display in the showcase in May or June. If we continue to have the display case available for our works, we will request volunteers again 

Show and Tell

My sincere apologies to those who brought in items for Show and Tell at the April 4th meeting. I had a camera problem. I forgot to bring it to the meeting. Jim Leifeld had a beautiful angel. Billy Lee had a great Indian bust. Al Knopka had an unusual 3D Nativity cut from a single piece of wood. Dudley Jackson had a cross with dogwood blossoms. Finally, Charles Sapp brought in the first known completed Gnome from the Charles Adams Gnome project. Sorry guys. 

Bill Kuhn brought this great carving to the April 18th meeting. It is a half size Red Tailed Hawk standing on a old stump. It is carved in butternut and finished natural. Great job, Bill.



Confessions of a Woodcarving Derelict
Part II - My Heart Begins to Flutter

Welcome back to the Woodcarvers Anonymous Group. I am happy to see so many of you willing to admit that you need help with your problem. It is only after you realize that there is a problem that we here can help you. Last month, I discussed how I was drawn into the hobby. Now we will see how it grows and refuses to let you go.

After buying all the things that I needed to begin, I rushed home and sneaked into the basement with my assortment of tools and basswood. After feverishly zipping open the boxes, reading the directions, and checking the go-by, I got out the knives and gouges and started. My heart began to flutter and I felt a barely perceptible, but warm glow spreading through my body. My eyes began devouring the go-by as my fingers felt the basswood. The minutes grew into hours, the pile of chips grew, and the directions got more and more complicated.

Suddenly, in the middle of carving the face, the manual said, "Align eyes properly. Failure to do so will create problems when you set the nose and mouth." Abruptly, the warm glow was displaced by a slight ache in my bones. Well, after hunching over that work bench until 3:30 AM, aches were to be expected. So I took myself to bed, my head still reeling.
Early the next morning I found myself, Rufus tucked under my arm, hurrying over to The Woodcarvers Friend. On the way I passed a group of young people in Buddhist robes with shaven heads chanting, "Chip Chip Chipper. . ."  "I guess I'm not the only one," I thought as I entered the shop.

Murry was nowhere in sight. Another customer was poring over a maze of bubble packs hanging from the pegboard walls. His eyes had a glassy look. I was about to ask him if he knew where Murray was, when an arm snaked out from behind a pile of rough outs and grabbed me. It was Murray. 

"Don't mess with him, kid! He's into the hard stuff!" 

"You mean ?" 

"Yeah," he said gravely, "Realistic birds!" 

"Listen, Murray, I can't get this thing to look right." 

His hand pensively rubbed his chin as he said, almost to himself, "Crooked eyes. I didn't think it would happen this fast. Look, kid, you can't expect these basic go-by's to teach you everything. If you want your Rufus to look right and impress other carvers, you'll have to have a power carver, only twohundreddollarswetakemastercharge." 

"Two hundred bucks!" I shouted. "But the whole tool kit was only three hundred!" 

"Look, kid," he said apologetically, "we can't sell everything as a loss leader. We've got to make it up somewhere. After all, we have expenses--rent, payroll, my mother-in-law needs an operation." 

"Okay, okay," I said with anger and defeat in my voice, reaching once again for my wallet and the plastic therein. For, in truth, I no longer cared about the money. I wanted only to get back to carving and revive the warm glow I had felt the previous night. 

And so, nightfall upon nightfall found me in my basement in a clandestine rendezvous with my carving. And every night, as the aroma of basswood and cut disinfectant arose, the warmth suffused my body in greater and more intoxicating magnitudes. The pupils of my eyes diminished to ever smaller pinpoints of rapt concentration. 

Then, one night, I was carving the final hair and face details. I discovered small print in the instructions. It suggested that for hair, I needed a wood burner. A chill began to crawl up my backbone. I looked at the hair and it just didn't look right. Then the chill began to nibble at my gizzard.  Again and again, with increasing frenzy and impatience, I sharpened the V-tool. My eyes commenced to water; my nose ran; my brain pounded; my stomach churned itself into little knots. The hair looked like spaghetti. 

The next morning, heavily dosed with Gelusil, I dragged my aching body back to The Woodcarvers Friend. 

"Murray, Murray, ya gotta help me." And I related the horrible events of the night before. 
He rubbed his hands together and his lips curled into a sneer. "Oh, I can solve your problem," he said, "if you're ready for it." 

"How, Murray, how?" 

"Detail Master - The Professional Version!", He said. 

"But, Murray," I protested, visions of winged dollars dancing through my brain, "that's over three hundred dollars." 

"Cheep at half the price," he said. 

"Yeah, well, anyway, that's almost as much as I've got in the whole tool collection so far." 

"Look----kid," he said coldly, "pay it to me or spend it on Gelusil. It's your choice." 

That was the big turning point for me. My brain cried, "Walk out!" but I was too weak to resist and once again my plastic hit the counter. 

Soon I was back at my accustomed place, burning hair. Aches gone, replaced by an ever-increasing euphoria. 
My days were spent dreaming about the mysteries of carving. Every night until the wee hours I sat before my workbench transfixed, like a butterfly impaled on a collector's board. 

My appearance began to suffer noticeably. My eyes grew baggy and my pupils contracted from lack of sleep. Of course, I was waking up late for work, so I threw on yesterday's clothes and didn't have time to shave. The neighbors began to whisper, and during TV commercial breaks my wife began to notice that I wasn't around. 

...........Next Month, The new PRO DUPLI-CARVER.


 The Rest of the News

The Spring Carve-out: The Spring Campout will be a carve-out this year. Due to the low number of campers, we moved it to the pavilion at Ft. Zumwalt Park in O'Fallon on June 16th. This will give us a covered area for our outing. Unfortunately, this is not on a regular Carving Saturday. We decided to continue with both regular carving Saturdays and add the Carve-out for a total of three Saturdays. Should be a lot of great carving in June. 

Rainmaker Campout: Just a reminder that the Rainmaker Campout is June 8th to the 10th. I will need to know ahead of time if you plan on attending to make sure I have enough blanks for everyone. The camping reservation list will be sent to Rainmaker Campground two weeks ahead of our camping dates, so if you want to reserve a camping spot, I need to know ahead of time. - Bob and Rochelle Biermann, (314) 843-6244, Email -

From Joe Schumacher: The Belleville Holzschnitzers have some classes coming up.

May 22-24 - Helli-Meyer, an Austrian carver will teach a Santa the Austrian way. It is at Joe & Kay Wannamakers Shop. $160 including blank.

Aug. 25-26 - Linda Sales teaching Pyrography at the Steam fitters Hall. $100 includes practice and Project board.

If interested please call me (636) 464-8385 or E-mail

Duck Club Name change: Jim Leifeld is restarting the old Duck Club which previously met at Woodcraft. It will be the Wild Foul Club. He hopes this will attract carvers of other types of birds in addition to ducks. It will meet on the First and Third Sunday afternoons for a 4-5 hour hands on carving session. Anyone interested in attending this club, contact Jim (636) 926-9656, for additional information or to get on the list.

Gerald Sears Seminar: There was sufficient interest in another seminar by Gerald Sears. He is always working on new projects, so even if you have taken his seminar, you will be able to find something new to work on. It will be July 20-22. Cost is $100, plus blanks and $8 rent. To get on the list, contact Charlotte Cross at (636) 397-6150 or e-mail at  For more information on Gerald, you might want to check out and go to Artist Info. This seminar will replace the July 21st Saturday carving session.

Ukrainian Wooden Egg: This is a woodburning and painting class by Rita Blanton. It will be held at her home in Baldwin on May 19-20. The cost is $20, plus eggs. Contact Charlotte Cross at (636) 397-6150 or Rita is teaching this class at Doane this year. If you would like to try it, but can't make it to Doane, give this a try.

Festival of the Little Hills: This year, the festival will be August 17-19. We are trying to get a good display of carvings and other items which can be left in our booth throughout the festival. Last year, the display got a little sparse at times and was not a good representation of our club's abilities. Don Wilson is in charge of the display items. Every member is requested to donate one or more carvings or other items for display. They may be donated to the club permanently or just to use for the duration of the festival. They will be carefully handled and protected. Those on temporary loan will be returned ASAP after the festival. See Don at the next meeting or call him at (636) 928-2404 or  to arrange for donating your item(s). The sign-up sheet for volunteers to man our booth has been circulating at meetings. If you don't have a time scheduled, contact Charles Sapp at (636) 928-0149 or e-mail at

Sangamon Valley Woodcarvers Show: The Sangamon Valley Woodcarvers would like to invite you to their 11th annual Woodcarvers Show, September 1st and 2nd, in Springfield. It is a great show and worth the trip to see. If four (or more) of our members exhibit at the show, half the table money will be refunded to our club. I know we have at least four members that can display there. Get your heads together and make a little money for the club. Don't forget, they have cash prizes for winners.

Wonders of Wood: Our 12th annual Wonders of Wood Show is scheduled for September 22nd and 23rd. We are still looking for a show coordinator for this event. Dee and Don Kley aren't able to continue with this responsibility. They will, however, assist the new coordinator in getting all the required jobs identified and help prevent any from slipping through the crack. Don't be afraid to step up for the club. It is a lot of work, but all our members pitch in and help. Don't let this important part of our club activities go by the wayside.

John Engler Seminar: The John Engler Seminar scheduled for August 24-26 is full. If anyone else is still interested in attending, contact Don Wilson, (636) 928-2404, to get on the waiting list. Plans change. You may luck out.

Boone Home Rendezvous: The Boone Home has once again requested that some of our carvers display their craft at a Rendezvous there on June 30th and July 1st. There will be musical groups and other artisans participating. Some will actually be camping out overnight. 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 May 2nd meeting for additional details.


Upcoming Events and Activities

May 2001

    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
May 2 Regular monthly business meeting
May 5 Saturday Carving, 9 to 2
May 16 Regular carving meeting.  
May 19 Saturday Carving, 9 to 2
May 19-20 Ukrainian Wooden Egg

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