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All you need is a good set of tools and an interesting piece of wood



SUBMITTED PHOTO - Alice Harvey is currently exposing porpoises and other sea life from within this piece of driftwood.

Need a new hobby? The West Linn Adult Community Center offers many possibilities, but perhaps none is as socially enjoyable as woodcarving with our cadre of carvers.

The group gathers with their tools on Mondays from 9-11 a.m. in one of the WLACC’s new rooms. Only helpful suggestions and good-natured teasing interrupt their carving.

If you’re new to the activity, you can get started with a basic carving tool set for about $45 from a hardware store or, if you’re lucky, from a garage sale. It usually consists of handles and very sharp blades. Bring your own Band-Aids.

The cost of the tools goes up with the quality, but more expensive blades stay sharper longer. As your skills develop, you may wish to invest in electric tools that can speed up the carving process considerably.

Then you’ll need a piece of wood. It can be a scrap you have at home, something you buy from a supplier, a piece of driftwood you tripped over at Cannon Beach or something that one of the current carvers is happy to donate.

The driftwood option is kind of fun, because often, some of the shapes in the wood already resemble something recognizable that’s just waiting to be liberated from the surrounding wood. That, then, is your job.

Generally, carving something in relief is the easiest way to begin. Two dimensions are simpler than three. But with a little practice, even a three-dimensional piece can be within your skill set. And when you find there is lots of wood between you and your emerging masterpiece, some of the other carvers will offer to use their home power saws to make your work go faster.

Many of our carvers give their creations to friends or family, but some enter them in county or even state fairs. And some carvers sell their creations at various woodcarving shows around the area. One of our carvers, Ron Williamson, makes beautiful flutes and has had success selling them.

Regardless of what you do with your carvings, you will find this activity relaxing and social. And it’s not just for men. Women carve with the group regularly. You won’t find a more helpful, fun bunch with whom to share a hobby, so consider stopping by the WLACC to watch any Monday from 9-11 a.m. There is no charge to participate.

The lunch menu this week features chef’s choice on Friday, April 15; chef’s choice on Monday, April 18; and soup and sandwiches on Wednesday, April 20.

Questions? Call Tiffany Carlson at 503-557-4704. The center is located at 1180 Rosemont Road, West Linn 97068.

Doug Dickston is the former president of the Friends of the West Linn Adult Community Center board and a current active volunteer at the center.

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