I have never devoted a post to a business before, but when I stumbled upon this little shop on Highway 101, in Florence, Oregon I immediately new I had found an unsung gem.
More pictures, information, address and phone can be found at: https://heffysgallery.com/ My only regret is that I did not take a picture of Heffy’s bust carving of Jack Nicholson. It is iconic. You will just have to go and see it yourself.
I enjoy carving wooden spoons for people to use everyday. Each spoon is unique as the natural patterns in the wood itself dictate much of the final form. When I want a particular style of spoon I have to find a piece that will allow me to make the shape and then I must work with the intrinsic grain patterns to expose it. Most of the time I simply let the wood tell me what to do. It is all very hard to explain. For me there is a distinct pleasure that only comes from using a hand crafted tool. It is similar to, but somehow different from the pleasure of its creation.
Most of the people who know that I carve wooden spoons have seen me carving them in one campground or another. Then there are others that have seen them and can’t believe that I really carve them myself with hand tools. Well the simple truth is that I am a woodworker and I have an internal need to be doing something with my hands much of the time. That can be a problem when you spend a lot of your time traveling in an RV. Not much room for tools. Sporadic opportunities to purchase supplies. Well you get the picture.
A few years ago Elaine and I chanced upon a bird carving museum and school somewhere near Bar Harbor, Maine and I saw this wood carving kit of knives that looked to be of good quality at a reasonable price. I purchased the kit and a block of basswood with directions for carving a loon. I carved the loon, and then from another piece of wood an armadillo, an old sea-captain, an owl and some other critters and they were “OK” and the carving part filled the time. Then one day I decided to carve a spoon and I was hooked. 50 or a 100(?) spoons later I am still carving them. Nothing fancy just utilitarian spoons.
I typically start with a piece of firewood, a material that I can find in almost any campground. Some of my spoons start as scrap from my wood shop, some from driftwood, some donated, and occasionally I will buy it either because I really like the piece or scrounging isn’t keeping up with demand. First, I use a hatchet to split the limb through the center. The very center must be removed or the wood will crack as it dries.
Depending on my whim, the piece of wood, and the spoon that I am making I may proceed to rough out the spoon with the hatchet. Next I will pare off waste with the saw and chisel and finally with roughing and bent knives.
In about an hour I have very nice pile of stuff.
Oh! And the beginnings of a spoon or sometimes, a smaller piece of firewood.
This one looks just fine. It should clean up nicely.
So I scooped out the bowl and then hand scraped it smooth which took the better part of an hour.
Then a little more careful knife-work, a little of hand scraping on the exterior, and last a bit of sanding. Another hour gone, but I have a new spoon!
The only thing left is a protective finish. I generally use food grade walnut oil as it soaks in well and “dries” as opposed to mineral oil which both evaporates and is washed out with normal dish washing. There is no perfect solution to the problem. If you use the spoon its finish will have to be renewed from time to time.
Hope you enjoyed your short course in spoon carving,
We traveled to the Albany / Corvallis area of Oregon to check on the construction of our new home and to see my older brother Stephen and while there we took a little time to see the Historic Carousel and Museum located at 503 1st Avenue West in Albany, Oregon. It was a major highlight for the trip.
An emu carved and painted by William Dentzel III in 2002, a statue, and an antique pony are a small portion of a large collection of Dentzel pieces for public view.
Three carvings attributed to Gustav Dentzel circa 1895. How many children laughed and rode these ponies?
How many smiles and rides will these new creations provide?
These animals are all being created by volunteers. From sketch-up through carving and finally hand painting they are truly works of art. If you are ever in the area I would urge you to take the time to see see this museum, studio, and gallery. Visitors are welcome Monday through Saturday. For more information see: AlbanyCarousel. All of this is part of a grand scheme to build a 52 animal carousel. The mechanism, one of Gustav Dentzel’s last, built around 1909, has already been restored and is awaiting its new home.
We have returned home completing another “there and back again” (Thank you Mr. Tolkien) adventure, this one 5,272 miles long. We went to a few familiar places and a plethora of new ones. This is a wonderful land we live in, overflowing with interesting places and people worth remembering. This trip was no different from our others in that we made some new friends and created new memories.
On leaving Rockport/Fulton we headed north to Austin where we went to an RV Show to check out the “au courant” of 5th wheels. While there we should have checked out The Broken Spoke, one of Texas’ famous dance venues, but it was mid-week so we took a pass. By the way, we really did not see anything electrifying at the show though there are a couple of units in Tucson that we want to look at in a week or two. From Austin we took another short drive to Bandera, which bills itself as the cowboy capital of Texas. We shopped Bandera, Comfry, and Boerne from there. Elaine found really great fiber arts supply and I found some very nice woodwork by some local craftspeople.
And one night we danced at a bona fide, indubitable, unimpeachable, Texas Honky Tonk. Would you go in here in the dark of night? Yes those are brassieres hanging from the ceiling. No I am not dancing, I’m taking the picture. We drank some beer, danced a little on the concrete floor had a good time and went home sober. From Bandera we went to Fredericksburg for mexican food at Hilda’s (You have to try it! It is great.) and you guessed it more shopping.
We spent our last night in the same place as the first, 81 Palms, in Demming NM.
Oops, this is a post script. I just realized that the myrtle wood armadillo that I carved somehow got left out and Elaine says he must be included so here he is. His name is Dilly if you are curious.
Thank you all for spending time with us on this Texas odyssey, Y’all. And yes your comments are welcome.