Popular Woodworking 2004-02 № 139, страница 37

Popular Woodworking 2004-02 № 139, страница 37

uses Japanese waterstones. He starts with #800 grit, then moves to #1,200 and a finishing stone. For curved tools, he uses a leather barber's strop loaded with jeweler's rouge.

He also has a leather sharpening wheel that he chucks into a drill. The vise on his bench holds his drill steady, and the leather gives his tools a razor-like edge.

Monhollen used to use oil stones. But 20 years ago he read an article about Japanese waterstones by George Nakashima, a man whose furniture and writings have influenced Monhollen greatly. Monhollen purchased some waterstones and has been using them ever since. He says there's no comparison.

Also in the oak cabinet is a tool Monhollen has owned since he was 9 - his Cub Scout pocket knife. When first given it, he says he had a riveting thought: He could create. For him, that was magic, he says.

As a boy, Monhollen carved constantly. One day in the third grade, his teacher caught him carving during class. Instead of scolding him, she asked the other students to bring in a block of soap and a knife, and the next day Monhollen gave a carving lesson to his class. When he finished, the teacher explained that the students could continue to carve, but only on their own time.

And Monhollen did. His passion led him through high school, college and Vietnam. During the war, Monhollen served in the Army. While there, he carved birds for Vietnamese children, and the children gave him a nickname: "The Carver."

Today Monhollen carves not for children, but for clients - mostly high-profile corporate executives who will come to visit him. So in his working shop is a sitting area where Monhollen sits with clients and tries to discern the topic of a commission. When talking to executives, the words "a bird" don't cut it - he wants to know more.

Monhollen, who has a degree in business from the University of Cincinnati and a career in sales, will sometimes sit with clients for hours, pulling out the history of the company and what the carving is meant to represent. He strives for his work to intimately reflect his clients' companies.

For example, birds resting on a base pyramid might represent a company built on a solid foundation. A beautiful slab of walnut with a defect in it, whether caused by light

Past this reflecting pond is a gazebo that overlooks an apple orchard and small garden. Monhollen doesn't eat his apples; rather, he grows them for possums and raccoons. Similarly, his berry bushes are for the birds.

ning or insects, might represent the company's challenges. Six birds carved out of six species of wood might represent the diversity of the company's owners.

The Shop Outside

When you arrive at Monhollen's gray farmhouse tucked into the woods, you expect to be first led into the studio to view his work. But instead he insists on taking visitors to a shop that's bigger than yours - a place he goes to every morning - his back yard.

In many ways, this eight-acre "shop" is his most important because it's here where he draws inspiration. The trails that wind through the woods are covered with chips -remnants of past carvings.

A wooden arch crosses one of the trails with the words "Be Peace" carved into one side and "Be Love" carved into the other. Monhollen has planted many of the trees - one of his many ways of giving back. The trails lead you to a hammock, a gift from his two grown children, Perrin and Kyle. It's situated so that when lying on it you are graced with a spectacular view of the underside of several pine trees. Monhollen says this spot sparks much of his creativity.

Every morning he walks these trails regardless of weather. On some days you can find him carving out here, too.

Once a carving is completed in the other shops, it goes back to the "dirty" shop for sanding and polishing. On hardwood, Monhollen uses Tru-Oil Gun Stock finish, which he rubs on by hand. After building three coats he uses the finest steel wool he can find to buff it out. Then he applies two

A close-up of Monhollen's female, red-tailed hawk exemplifies the detail. He plans to use this carving as a sample of his work when talking to clients.



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