Books, tools, tutorials and more on wood carving

“Whatever happened to Rick Bütz”

“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.

Happy Carving!



  1. Hi Rick, I’m glad to see you are still healthy and happy. I used to watch you every Saturday morning on our local PBS station. I will always be grateful for your kindling an interest in wood carving in me. I don’t carve as much as I’d like due to time restraints, but I still manage a little each month.
    Thanks again and the best of luck in your new career.
    Jerry Hopper

  2. Hi Rick,

    Yeah, I guess I was one of those people who asked where you had gone. I wasn’t the first one, but I definitely was wondering. I have learned a lot from your books and have done many of your projects and really appreciate your teaching through your books.


  3. Hi Rick, Glad to hear you are doing well. We watched you back in the early 90’s when we were there for a contract job. You helped to get us wanting to learn to carve.
    I am excited to hear you went back to school, especially to hear what you are using your degree for. We can always use people like you.
    My husband grew up in Dexter Ny and he knows the area you live. He loves it up there. We went back up to NY two years ago.

    John and Jay Miller from AL now

  4. My husband really enjoyed your PBS show. From comments I’ve seen on the internet I believe there is a market for your shows from that time. I know we would buy them. Any possibilities?

  5. Hi Rick, I was just commenting to Marcia Berkall that I wondered where you were and if you were still carving and teaching. She and I took a class from you in the Adirondacks at Sagamore. It was a special time of sharing and learning and getting to know other carvers. She found you on facebook and I looked it up and then found this link. Thanks for all the help and instruction you gave me. It helped me, especially on the sharpening. Give my best to your lovely wife and daughter. Susan Hendrix

  6. You were the inspiration that got me started carving. Your tv show made it look like so much fun. Like pebbles dropped in a pond, you don’t know who you reach. :o)

  7. Hello Rick, You sound like the type of site I would like to stay in contact with. So glad I was here today to read your “I’m here” post. I look forward to your new posts. Thank you in advance. Beverley Pears

  8. hi rick, one of your books was my first woodcarving book. i was wondering where you went. enjoy your books. i did not get the pbs station but i have lately watched a coupld on utube. glad you are still carving. looking forward to the web page stuff.

  9. Hello Rick, Nice to know you’re still at the carving. I also watched you on Iowa Public TV back in the early 90’s when I was just beginning to carve. It was always a good and enjoyable show! I haven’t been getting at much carving lately but hope to get back into it more soon. I do mostly relief and chip carving and did some teaching here and there for awhile too. Your going on to college and helping the vets is wonderful! Take care!

  10. I am also a physician assistant, and I work in an urgent care center. I often have some time between patients, and I have carved many ornaments this year. I also am glad to hear that you are well.

  11. As mundane as it sounds, I’d like to see a video on sharpening. I was extremely lucky that in the early 90’s the second PBS video of yours I caught was sharpening… starting with the knife and running the whole gamut. It really made wood carving fun for me to leave the stone sharp knives behind. It would be great to have a Rick Butz reference for my students.

    BTW, It was a real pleasure running across you and Ellen at the NWA Showcase at Saratoga Springs a couple years ago. Your workshop gave me flashbacks.

  12. Rick, your PBS show was my first intro to real woodcarving. I am not an expert by any means, but I know enough (from your show and other sources) to get my grandson started. Last week, while on vacation in Colorado, he started his first original project, and carved a spoon. It is not a thing of great beauty, but it is his work, and I know he will keep it for a long time. I am very glad to know of your new career and your work with veterans. My daughter is a rehab physician with VA, and she’ll be pleased when I tell her about your work. I’ll be sure to point her son Ben (the new carver) toward your work.

  13. Hi Rick : Long ago after I remarried I discovered PBS and your carving shows. I had always been interested in carving and your show was just the thing to get me back into wood carving. I’m not very good but sure like carving. I even bought one of your books and still have it. Are your carving books still available ? If you can reply to this e-mail about your books and what you are doing now I would like to hear from you . Thanks in advance !! Eric Garrison.

    • Hi Eric,
      Thanks for email. Don’t be too critical of your work. It’s how much you enjoyed doing it that really matters. I find it helps to set my carvings aside for a few days and then take a second look. It’s amazing how much they improve with a little time.
      Most of the books are available on Amazon some new, some used. Check the “Supplies” page on my website for links.
      I recently retired from 20 years working as a Physician’s Assistant with the VA. I’m getting back into more carving and really enjoying it.
      Happy Carving!

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