A Great American Woodworker horse, his sculptures brim with personality. In Fred's sculpture of a wizened gentleman seated on a pair of boxes (Photo, left), the figure appears to be paused in the midst of a heart-rending story. His sculpture, "Peter Accused" (Photo, bottom right) has such realism and emotion that one hesitates to turn away from it "Rest Easy Tonight" (Photo, top right) is playfully political.
Fred's fellow woodcarvers agree that he is one of the best. Among other honors, Fred has won "Best of Show" nearly a dozen times at the annual International Woodcarver Congress competition.
Yet the world of carving is not without its slivers. A few years back Fred broke his arm while hollowing out the back of a statue. The bit stuck, but the drill—and Fred's wrist—kept turning. And in his office sit two gorgeous carvings in need of repair. One, a fabulous mezzo relief, fell victim to a tainted finish. The other, a figure in the round, is missing two fingers and a hat brim, due to rough handling by a shipper.
Fred uses butternut for 80% of his carvings, with basswood coming in a distant second and walnut an even more distant third. He loves butternut because of its straight grain, moderate hardness and coloration. "It's easier to read the grain in butternut than in basswood, because it has more color," he explains. "My customers like it too. If I carve something out of another wood, it invariably sells for less."
"I think I have enough wood for several lifetimes," laughs Fred, who knows the exact provenience of the wood used in most of his sculptures. "But that doesn't stop me from hoarding more." Most of Fred's wood
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