Before we left the park in Mt. Vernon, I got acquainted with Wade and Barbara Faries. Both work in wood, but Wade is a whittler.In his 80’s, he admits that whittling was the province of “old men”.  He told me he found a knife when he was seven years old and had to do something with it.


That something turned into a real talent for whittling and carving. I saw this old piece of wood, “cottonwood” he informed me, and saw these minute windows. He is making a twisted little house. A “whimsey.”

It will eventually look something like this. Wade invited us to his classes, open to ages seven to 105.  We didn’t get to the club house to visit his class, but we checked in a few days later on his progress and learned the difference between carving and whittling.

Whittling is when you simply create by using a single tool, a knife. Something you can carry in your pocket. Carving is something you do when you use a variety of tool. A scraper, wedge, drill, anything that gets the desired affect. He does both and showed us samples of pieces he uses to demonstrate in his classes.

Lattice work, chain links, and balls that move within a slot, are the most challenging. He demonstrates them all.

We checked on his progress with the twisted house.

“Its  fun and relaxing  if you aren’t  in a hurry”, says Wade

He buys a stock Buck knife, then tools the blades;  one is a vee wedge,  one is a gouge, and he other is a carving blade.  A pocket carving tool. His wife Barbara is afraid of carving because his tools are so sharp. Instead, she does wood-burning, a different skill. They both belong to the same carvers club, the Quilceda Carvers.

The Faries are from Marysville, Washington. What once was the province of old men, is now appealing to all ages.

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