Frequently Asked Questions
Contact us for additional information
What does a typical carving cost?
Prices vary, depending on the amount of detail, type of wood, diameter of log, height of tree, location, degree of difficulty, etc. As a rule of thumb, prices are generally $125-$200 per foot of carving up to a height of 5 feet. Above 5 feet, scaffolding is needed, and the price is about $150-$225 per foot of carving. Painting, varnishing and travel can also add to the cost.
Can you carve my tree?
Yes, Pat does a lot of on-site custom carvings. He has scaffolding to reach 15 feet. The customer must have the tree topped to the approximate height of the desired carving. Customers are welcome to videotape or take pictures of the carving process. Some even invite their friends over and have a party! Frequently, newspapers and TV stations are interested in the carving process as a human interest story. When Pat has completed a carving, he signs and dates it and attaches a nameplate. Finishing instructions are furnished to the customer and, in some cases, the first coat of finish is applied. Unless other arrangements are made, the customer is responsible for clean up and removal of sawdust and wood scraps. Pat is fully insured and will take precautions with protective screening when warranted.
How long will a carving last?
We use marine/spar varnish to finish most carvings (generally 4-6 coats are applied). A "Care and Feeding" instruction sheet is provided with each carving. We recommend a refresher coat every couple of years for outdoor carvings. We have seen carvings done years ago that look freshly carved. All carvings are guaranteed to crack, some more than others. We recommend filling cracks with silicone caulk or other wood filler products.
What if I don't have a tree or log?
We get logs from local tree services and can carve just about anything you want. The woods most commonly used are oak, walnut, ash, cedar and the pines. We have many carvings already available at our Floyd, Iowa showroom and can also ship to you. Call or email us for a quote on carving and shipping costs.
How did you get started doing this?
Pat had been carving by hand for a few years, and had cut firewood for about 20 years, so he was familiar with both carving and chainsaws. His carving mentor, Leroy Milligan, arranged for the two of them to do a chainsaw carving for a local attorney. The next weekend Pat tried another carving...then another...and another...and...
Then another friend arranged a "showing" for him and he got a few orders from that. For the first few years Pat did a lot of 1-2 day shows, selling what he carved. Then he started to get a few county fairs that actually paid him to come and demonstrate his carving skills. In 1999, Pat went full-time carving after he and his wife, Sonne, sold their coffee bar/gift shop, Critters 'n Beans.
Pat now contracts about a dozen events each year. Over a year, he will average over 1000 pieces.
"God has richly blessed me with loving family and friends, as well as with gifts I can share with others. My work as a substance abuse counselor has taught me a lot about pain and healing. My work as a carver has taught me about faith, courage, patience and perseverance. The lesson I've learned is that there are no mistakes in carving...just new opportunities! "