Seventeen years ago, John Nieburg became interested in woodcarving in Chattanooga after one of his church friends invited him to take a beginner’s course. He was hooked. When he moved to Givens Estates in 2005, he quickly found an established group of woodcarvers at the community. Though woodworking is fulfilling, John says the camaraderie is what keeps him engaged with the group. He shared, “We do more socializing than carving at times. We help each other with technical issues or inspiration for new carvings. We all want to improve the quality of our work.”
It was evident during our visit together that John wants to encourage new carvers to share his passion. He runs an advertisement in the community newsletter, “The Givens Gazette”, inviting new members to join the group. Today, Verna Doeltz showed up on the scene. Verna has always enjoyed needlework, but she wanted to try carving. Her neighbor, Clay Davidson, encouraged her to participate. While chatting with John about camaraderie, Verna chimed in, “That’s how you meet people!”. Verna moved to the community last summer. John patiently guided Verna as she began carving a finial. He explained the importance of a “stop cut” to mark the spot where you want your blade to stop. Verna was pleased with her progress and said she would be back next week. Success! A new woodcarver in the making!
If you want to take up woodcarving, John has a few helpful suggestions. Invest in good tools, they’ll make your experience much better. Take a class or buy a book to learn the basics. He highly recommended a class, because the instructor can help you make adjustments to improve your technique. And lastly, enjoy the people you meet along the way! New friendships that take shape while woodcarving together are more meaningful than a wooden figurine or a finial.
If you’d like to learn more about woodcarving or other special interest groups at Givens Estates, please contact Debbie Cauble, Assistant Director of Life Enrichment, at 828-271-6937.