Just an update on what I’ve been up to. In the fall Ellen and I fulfilled a long time dream of hiking across England coast to coast following the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. The wall was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in A.D. 122 to hold back the barbarian Scots. (My distant ancestors.)
Here I am near sunset looking west along the Winshields Crags at the northernmost edge of the Roman Empire.
Along the way we visited Carlisle Cathedral, originally built in 1133. The Cathedral is noted for its medieval woodcarvings – some of the few that still survive. These were carved in the 15th century. I’ll add some other carvings we saw in the future.
Coming soon: Who is the greatest woodcarver on the planet? You’ll find out who gets my vote! I’ll try to arrange an interview and photos.
Best wishes for happy healthy and prosperous New Year!
Rick and Ellen
The National Weather Service is predicting another storm bringing 12-18 inches of fresh snow. I love it! It’s so beautiful…as long as you don’t have to go anywhere. It’s a good time to tuck in and do some woodcarving. Traditionally winter is when the Swiss and German woodcarvers did their work because the snow prevented any farming.
Winter storms fascinate me. I love to hear the wind howling through the pines while I work by the fire. My cabin is over half a century old, built by an old craftsman who understood the importance of old fashioned solid construction. He built it with his own hands and it sheltered his family for decades. Now it protects me and mine.
It can be disconcerting to hear the walls and timbers creak under the pressure of the storm. It always brings to mind the age-old bond between a person and his home. If it should fail on a night like this, then you would be left at the mercy of the storm, a grim prospect indeed.
Fortunately, this home was built right and tonight I feel a gratitude for that old craftsman who knew how to do things right.
“Whatever happened to Rick Bütz?” I was surprised when I came across that question on the internet not too long ago. So I decided to learn how to let people know what I’ve been doing. The first step was to find a talented young website designer. The second is to learn how to add a blog to my website. I’m very excited about this new way to keep in touch with people about woodcarving.
To answer the question: I’m still carving and I still love helping people learn how much fun carving can be. Lately, I’ve been carving part-time, developing new ideas and techniques.
Relief Carving of a Coat of Arms
For many years while I was carving, I also volunteered on our local ambulance squad. I really enjoyed the challenges of medicine and took more and more courses to improve my skills. Eventually I went back to school and became a Physician’s Assistant with the intention of being able to do more to help our veterans.
For the past ten years, I’ve been working with the Veteran’s Administration helping men and women who have served our country. I’ve been fortunate to meet some great people and help with their medical care. I’ve met a lot of carvers too. It’s been great fun.
I’ve also been working on a lifelong dream of writing fiction in my spare time. I’ve just finished a historical thriller that takes place during The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, called Firestorm. Right now it’s with my agent in New York, and I’ll let you know when it’s being published. In the meantime I’ve started working on some new book ideas, and will be running some of them by you in later posts.
So welcome aboard! I plan to be adding instructional videos for sharing woodcarving tips, projects and techniques with you – just as soon as I can figure out how to do it. Let me know what you’d like to see.
These are the special knives Rick Bütz designed and uses. Shown in his books and television series, these tools are easier to hold, more efficient in cutting and safer to use. A special forward notch in the cherry wood handles safely puts your hand closer to the blades. You’ll find you have more power and control with this feature. The select cherry handle has also been enlarged and contoured to provide a more natural and comfortable feel. The oil finish protects the knife handle, prevents blisters, and gives greater holding power than regular lacquered finishes. All these features make the Bütz knives the perfect tool for woodcarvers of all skill levels. Requires honing before use. Both knives are made in Germany of the finest Solingen steel. Save over 20% and purchase both as a set. Purchase online.
Expert woodcarver Rick Butz shares tales of the Adirondack mountains while demonstrating how to carve subjects both practical and whimsical, along with many folk art pieces. Experience the WMHT series. Series 4 and 5 available on DVD. Purchase online.
For roughing out, shaping, and general whittling. The sheepsfoot style blade is set deep in the cherry wood handle with a cutting edge that starts right at the handle. The blade is 1-7/16” long; the handle is 5- ¾” long. Purchase online.
The 1-7/16” blade is tapered to create the ultimate tool for those important finishing cuts. The tip is finely ground creating a slight flex, which allows it to fit in areas that are difficult to reach with the standard blade such as detailing overlapping feathers or a figure’s facial details. Purchase online.
Exclusively designed and developed by Rick Bütz for the Woodcraft Co., this strop has features that allow quick and easy honing of all carving tools. The large 9½” x 3” flat surface provides ample area for putting a razor sharp edge on knives and other straight blade tools. A specially designed, ¼” radius edge fits the inner surface of curved bladed tools, such as gouges and fishtails. The angled, 45-degree edge quickly produces a razor edge of any V-shaped tool. Split leather hide completely wraps the hardwood form, allowing charging of both sides with honing compounds of different grits. Lacquered 4¾” contoured handle fits comfortably in the hand to ensure maximum control. Purchase online.