Blackhawk Carving Club
Rockford, Illinois 61109
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The Blackhawk Woodcarver

Volume XXIV, Issue 9,  September 2017

Presidents Report

Self Taught

This month I would like to refer to an article that was written by Roger Benedict in his book CLEARING OFF THE BENCH. Printed here with his permission.

Woodcarving is truly a self-taught hobby with exploring and practicing and practicing. Though carving classes and book research, though, one does gain certain foundations of carving. Only at the carving bench, however, are the skills and confidence developed. Challenging one with new ideas, perhaps taking a risk with the most difficult object, will develop new skills. With the risks various mistakes are inevitable, but those mistakes become important in the process of self taught carving. It is amazing how well we can learn from our mistakes. Thankfully woodcarving is sufficiently forgiving to allow further experience beyond the original concept because there is always enough wood for corrections. A basic foundation of woodcarving is problem solving, because some mistakes lead to a lack of wood. The mistakes most often lead to solutions that became a redesign of the original idea.

While in a carving class we become introduced, perhaps a better word is seduced, to new and exotic tools, handbooks, and methods. Further, some learners become entranced with emulating the teacher and the teacher’s skills without developing one’s own carving persona. A class can introduce the basis of carving, but one needs to learn what one wants to be with woodcarving. The foundation of a carving class should be the advancement of capabilities with existing tools and with the introduction of new tools and methods. It still requires the carving student to concentrate on developing one’s personality of carving.

Much progress can be made with practice and this cannot be underestimated. Practice means to force one into challenging tasks and into trying new approaches. Eventually one’s skills will dramatically improve through taking more risks of challenging projects.

Trials and errors, taking a risk by seeking new challenges, striving for originality, not being constricted with fears of mistakes----these are the ingredients for any self taught activity and especially woodcarving!

Amen. If you wish to purchase this fine book by Roger, talk to him at the club and I’m sure he can a copy for you and don’t forget to ask him to autograph it for you.

So --- Let the chips fly and see you at the club !


Jerome Mais


Blackhawk Carving Club

P. O. Box 8285 Rockford, IL 61126
Open Carving every Wednesday (8:30-11am).  Ken Rock Community Center (Sacred Heart Academy, Multi-purpose room) 3218 Eleventh St, Rockford, IL 61109
Business Meeting; third Wednesday. of the month. Friends and spouses of carvers are especially welcome to come to meet and visit. Carvers bring in finished carvings for “Show & Tell.”

September 6 open carving
September13 open carving
September 20 open carving and meeting
September 27 open carving

October 4 open carving
October 11 open carving
October 18 open carving and meeting
October 25 open carving

November 1 open carving
November 8 open carving
November 15 open carving and meeting
November 22 open carving
November 29 open carving

December 6 open carving
December13 open carving
December 20 open carving and meeting
December 27 open carving

January 3 open carving
January 10 open carving
January 17 open carving and meeting
January 24 open carving
January 31 open carving


Free books and Basswood

John Hayenga of DeKalb, formerly of Roscoe, gave the Blackhawk Woodcarvers a large quantity of basswood and carving books.  Most of the wood is in 2" x 9" x 36" pieces.  Some of the wood will be used in Denny's forthcoming class at Ken Rock and the remainder is available for club members.  If you want a piece of it, contact Don Stansfield and he will bring it to carving on a Wednesday morning. 

Don  Stansfield


Eyeglass holder Class

 Denny Neubauer will be teaching a class at our regular carving meeting on carving eyeglass holder’s during the month of October. 

You have a choice of a goony bird or a Dragon. The wood was donated to the club so there will be no charge.

 eye glass holder

The Woodcraft Shop, Bettendorf, Iowa

Josh Guge, realistic bird carving and painting.  Friday to Monday: September 15, 16, 17 and 18, 2017 –  $270.00 + a $20.00 material fee.
For more information call toll-free 800-397-2278 or go to

Wisconsin River Woodcarvers

17th Annual Woodcarving Show, Competition and Sale

September 23, 2017 - 9am to 5pm
September 24, 2017 - 9am to 4pm

The Holiday Inn
1001 Amber Avenue
Stevens Point, Wisconsin 54482

For more information, contact:
Ron O'Kray

Greg Wirtz

Rock River Valley Show

The Rock River Valley show in Janesville.  Applications for a table are available.  The show will be Saturday September 9 from 10-4.  See Jerome Mais for applications.

Capital Area Carvers of WI

29th Annual CACW Show & Sale Abundant Life Christian School 4901 E. Buckeye Rd, Madison, WI. 10-22-2017. 9:00 to:400pm

Metro Carving Weekend

Metro Chapter of the Minnesota Wood Carvers Association at The Fridley VFW #363, 1040 Osborne Road, Fridley, MN 55432.  Nov 11&12 2017


September Birthdays (that we know about)

   2  Gordy Back
   5  Frank Lay
   7  Nancy Peters
 17  William Trosper
 23  Jeff Hartman

Blackhawk Carving Club Minutes August 2017

Minutes of the regular monthly business of Blackhawk Woodcarvers; held on 16 August 2017 at 3218 Eleventh Street, Rockford, IL.


President Jerome Mais opened the meeting at 9:05 am.



Bob Matthews reported that there had been a break in at the school last week. The lock on our storage room had not been disturbed and the room contents appeared undisturbed after a subsequent room checks.


Gary Lundquist stated that more carvers are needed to staff the table for the soap carving experience at the annual Ethnic Festival on 7th Street between noon and 6 pm. There are three two hour shifts and two additional carvers are needed for the 2 to 4 shift and three more are needed for the 4 to 6 pm shift.


Frank Lay reported that he brought in about ten Linden/Bass rounds for anyone interested.


Minutes of the 19 July 2017 meeting:

Tyrone Johnsen filled in for Steve Terrill who was out of town. Tyrone read through the minutes. Don Stansfield made a motion to approve; the minutes were approved.


Treasurers Report:

John Skaggs reported on the financial activity of the past month including paying of the rent. The new coffee pot had been procured and was in use. The club is financially solvent. Arnie Larsen motioned for approval of the financial report; it was reported.


Petty Cash:

Dona Wisner reported that the petty cash expendures exceeded contributions this past month; still a reasonable positive balance.



Chuck Drewes stated there was no new activity.


Old Business:

Jerome covered a couple of old items of relative insignificance.


New Business:

No new business was discussed.



The meeting was adjourned at 9:41 am.


Respectfully submitted,

Tyrone Johnsen for Steve Terrill


Club Officers       (815 area code)
President - Jerome Mais,  398-7904
Vice Pres. -
Tyrone Johnsen, 397-9274
Treasurer - John Skaggs, 547-6951
Secretary -
Steve Terrill,  708-0471

 Committees   (815 area code)
Photographer - Larry Clark, 262-9982
Membership  - Chuck Drewes, 985-8575
Librarian - Bernie Budzynski
Petty Cash - Dona Wisner

Webmaster and  Newsletter Editor- Gordy Moscinski, 874-7978
Newsletter Publisher, Gary Johnson 399-1697
Historian - Elaine Terrell 765-2886
Programs - Bob Matthews 544-2359 & Denny Neubauer 515-508-9524

Picnic - Gary Lundquist

Soap Carving –Gary Lundquis

Passed Treasured Carvings

Again, as a reminder, I would like to have our club members start bringing in along with regular SHOW and TELL items, some of your carvings that you have treasured from the past.  We all have carvings packed away or setting on a shelf that no one has seen for years except our spouses.  I will have an extra table set up so we can show our favorites on the Wednesdays that we have our meetings!

Jerome Mais

Door Prizes

Don't forget the Door Prize drawing on First Wednesdays. Bring something you don't need or want anymore, but know someone would be thrilled to win at the drawing.

Deadline for the news for the next newsletter is October 4, 2017.


Tips and Tricks    Jigs and Twigs

Many of you have  figured out some easy or unique way of helping out your carving.  For example,  using a red pen when transferring a pattern on to the wood so you can see where you have drawn.

Send me some of your tips.  Pictures would help show it even better.

Gordy Moscinski 

Dennis Neubauer

     Dennis Neubauer, born in Denison, IA. Lived there til I was 9. Moved to Tucson, AZ because of my mother's health. She needed to live in a dry climate.

Graduated from high school in 1967 at the age of 17. Left home to seek my fame and fortune in California. Drifted around til the draft found me, so I enlisted in the Navy.

Went to Damage Control School and traveled the South Seas on an aircraft carrier, the USS Ranger for 3 1/2 years. Met my wife Becky thru a friend while in the Navy and moved back to Iowa in my 1963 Volkswagon with everything I owned. Married Becky in 1973, moved to Des Moines and worked for a homebuilder. My boss, Gus, was a woodcarver and introduced me to the art.

Bought some tools but couldn't do much because I could not keep them sharp. They sat on the shelf til 1980 when I took an adult ed class and learned how to sharpen the knives.

Started carving caricatures and I still have the very first one. Struggled carving them til I took a class with Harley Refsal. What a break thru.

     Played around making tools out of carpet scraper blades in early 1990's. Made several and the club members saw them, so I made more to sell and the beginning of Outback Woodcarving Tools was born. Went full time in 1997 when I had to get out of construction because of a tumor on my shoulder, resulting in 25% of my shoulder being removed.

 Made the Dennyknife tools for the next 13 years. Sold the company to Mike Shipley and they are now called OCCT.  Retired and moved to Rockford in 2012 to be closer to our grandsons. We now live 2 blocks from them and Love it!

      My favorite tools are knives, because Harley Refsal and Harold Enlow use knives and I like their style and try to use my knife as efficiently as they do.

I have taken many classes and continue to do so, I am always open to learn new things.

   I now teach several classes a year on carving, tool making and sharpening. I have found that I learn from the students as much as they learn from me.


Why do banks charge a fee due to insufficient funds when they already know you're broke?


Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?


REMEMBER, a day without a smile is like a day without sunshine!
And a day without sunshine is, like...........night!!!!


Show and Tell pictures by Larry Clark and comments by Tyrone Johnsen

 carved duck

carved duck

carved duck

carved duck

Bob Matthews displayed four carved ducks including his first one which was from a kit. The four were from his first two hundred and he is now approaching 600.

 egyptian symbols

egyptian symbols

Louis Jurisch displayed a two sided panel. He used both relief carving and wood burning to decorated with ancient Egyptian symbols which are of interest to his daughter.


Tony DeVita displayed a walking stick he had made from a well worm eaten, apple branch. (no picture)

 tagua nut

tagua nut

Bunny Nordheim displayed three carvings using Tagua Nut which she states is very hard. Two were sea shell creatures and the third a seascape.



Mike Ritter displayed his first finished reindeer. He stated the other reindeer will not be finished for Christmas.


Larry Stenzel displayed a wood burning of a mother and young rhinos on birch.



Larry Clark displayed his Tournament Cribbage Board which features relief carving of roses on the opposite side. He also displayed a custom Buck knife with the club name engraved on the blade and his name on the handle.


Bernie Budzynski displayed three carved gourds.


Musky Carvers 21st Annual Workshop in Boulder Junction, WI   August 2017

 musky carvers

Richard Dunphey is getting help with his caricature carving from teacher Dan Haack.

 musky carvers

Gordy Moscinski taught beginning wood carving to eager students.

 musky carvers

Sue Watson completes several wood burning pieces.


Ron Watson listens carefully to what Denny Neubauer is saying.


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