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Woodcarvers' show features works of art

May 02, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Paul Knott grew up beside the railroad tracks in Kauffman Station, Pa., in the 1930s, and remembers seeing hobos camping there.

"Mom used to feed everyone that came by," Knott said, and he would talk to the down-on-their-luck men. He remembers seeing Frank Feathers, whose woodcarvings now sell for high prices at auctions.

Knott, 74, now of Waynesboro, Pa., re-created a hobo camp with several woodcarvings, and his wife, Mary, painted a background for it at Saturday's Cumberland Valley Woodcarvers' Club exhibit.

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Along with about 25 other members of the club, the Knotts displayed their intricate woodcarvings at Chambersburg Mall.

Formed in 1988, the club has about 45 members, according to club president Jim Cullers.

Displayed on long tables in the mall were Confederate soldiers, clowns, trucks, many different kinds of wildlife, religious figures, and many more, some realistic and some whimsical.

Master woodcarver Bill Martin of Carlisle, Pa., sat under a skylight and coaxed the face of an Indian out of a piece of black walnut wood with a chisel and mallet. A member of both the West Shore and Conewago carving clubs, Martin has been working with wood for 31 years. He sells his pieces and teaches others how to carve.

"I taught a bunch of these guys," he said.

Beside Martin were a fanciful chess set he made of bass wood, along with more serious pieces of walnut and butternut. Some carvings are made following a photo or pattern, while others "are out of the top of my head," Martin said.

Ray Reedy of Hagerstown said he started carving in 1954 when he was Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop.

"I still have the neckerchief slides I carved back then," Reedy said. "It's a lot different than now."

Mary Knott said she's a "wannabe," but the intricately carved and painted hummingbird she displayed belies that statement. She quilts and does other crafts, and has been carving for less than 10 years.

Bruce Stake of Amberson, Pa., stained an imaginative figurine of Santa Claus carving a Santa figure. Stake said he has tried carving birds and other items, but enjoys caricatures the best.

Stake, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Army, said, "this is a fun thing to do that allows you to think about other things." The wooden figures he displayed included a Civil War soldier reading a newspaper.

Exhibit visitor Charles Berg of Chambersburg said the carvings displayed were "more than I expected to see. I just had to walk around and look. I like the spoons and the walking sticks with the animals coming out of the tips."

Beatriz Bibri of St. Thomas, Pa., also admired the carvings.

"He's an artist," she said, nodding at some of the intricate carvings.

The exhibit continues today. Eight items made by club members will be raffled off. Tickets are $1 each.

The club meets the second Sunday of each month, except July and August, at 1:30 p.m. at the Scotland (Pa.) Community Center. New members are welcome.

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