By Colleen Lockhart
Wood carving, the art of fashioning objects of wood with a handheld implement, has been popular at the Geauga County Chardon Senior Center for many years. Club leader Dave Beten has been with the club for around 10 years. His interest in wood carving began when his son was in Boy Scouts and he helped teach the Scouts skills to earn their wood carving Merit Badges. Beten has honed his own skills in his basement work shop over the last 50 years. Beten said, “I spend a lot of time in the community volunteering. It’s something I’ve done since I was 11 years old and joined the Boy Scouts.”
Beten retired from 30 years of teaching, 20 years as a science teacher and acting as vocational educational coordinator at Berkshire Local Schools and has perfected his wood carving skills into more than a hobby. Beten currently displays some of his carvings at the Joe Leonard Custom Wood Carving Studio in Garrettsville and was invited by Leonard to assist with the carousel horses commissioned for Euro Disney.
Senior wood carver club members choose their own projects of functional or ornamental objects. Projects currently in progress include bowls, birds, small figures, ornaments, wall décor, and wherever their imagination takes them.
Wood has different textures and qualities that dictate how any given type of wood responds to carving. A popular choice for beginners is basswood because it is easy to carve, but there are many other choices. Carvings can be unfinished, painted, stained or varnished. Members can supply their own tools or use tools available from the club. Wood for carving can be purchased from local suppliers.
Senior wood carvers, or those interested in learning about wood carving, are welcome to stop in the Chardon Senior Center, 12555 Ravenwood Dr., on any Wednesday between 8 and 11 a.m. to find out how to get started. There is no pressure to join the group.
Colleen Lockhart is a lifelong resident of Geauga County. She serves on the Department on Aging Executive Board, Geauga Safety Council, Middlefield Chamber of Commerce, Huntsburg Grange #2541 and is a member of Huntsburg Congregational Church and Huntsburg Historical Society.