Frequently Asked Questions
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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 $150-$250 per foot of carving up to a height of 5 feet. Above 5 feet, scaffolding is needed, and the price is about $200-$300 per foot of carving. Painting, applying finishes, 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 10 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 Cabot" Australian Timber Oil to finish most carvings (generally 3-4 coats are applied). A "Care and Feeding" instruction sheet is provided with each carving. We recommend a refresher coat every year for outdoor carvings. All carvings are guaranteed to crack, some more than others. We recommend filling cracks with wood shims 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 white oak, burr oak, white pine, walnut, ash, and cedar. We have many carvings already available at our Floyd, Iowa showroom.
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! "