Blackhawk Carving Club
Rockford, Illinois 61109
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The Blackhawk Woodcarver

Volume XXVI, Issue 1      January 2021

Blackhawk Carving Club

We will not meet again formally until further notice.

Presidents Report  January 2021

Happy New Year to all! We all hope that 2021 will be much better than 2020. Hope is always very important. But, we have a long ways to go. COVID-19 is still a major concern and is keeping us away from being able to resume group meetings. I am hopeful that we will be able to be in a safe enough environment that we might be able to resume in person carving sessions and meetings by mid year. Unfortunately, that is still too many months away.

On the bright side, I do hope you found in your Christmas socking our gift to you of a yearly extension to your club membership. I know we let that “secret” out of the bag long before. But it never hurts to have bright spots.

We did distribute about 15 carve ornaments by four of our members to a couple of area organizations: Peterson Meadows, Cherry Valley Public Library, and a couple of churches.

Your four elected officers for 2021 are on the job, as we were in 2020. We have continued to monitor the club activities and finances. We did have quite a few weekly carving sessions in Sinnissippi Park during the late Summer and into the Fall before the morning temperatures kept us at home in the warmth. We did try to contact all of you around Thanksgiving time. In general, everyone appears to be in good spirits, many carving at home, but missing our in person club carving sessions. We missed being able to hold our wonderful Christmas Party.

Our newsletter continues to function as our primary method of group connection. Think of it also as our monthly “Show and Tell”. I believe Roger Benedict has an article or two in this issue which should help each of us to know a little more about our fellow members. It is an extension of his panel discussion he lead a couple years ago. Share your story!

Tyrone Johnsen


Blackhawk Carving Club Minutes November 2020

A meeting was not held, therefore no minutes


Carvers make a beeline Among the most important of America's nectar-producing trees, the basswood makes itself at home along city streets as well as in the forest. In cityscapes, nurserymen call the hardy, decorative tree American linden. But in the woods, it's basswood, beetree, lime, or whitewood. Regardless of its name, basswood has proven its value. Indians of New York state's Iroquois nation carved ceremonial masks from the sapwood of living basswood trees, then split the green-wood masks from the trunk. The gummy inner bark provided bandages. And from its dried fibers they wove rope.

Beekeepers even today appreciate the quality of basswood-derived honey. In summer, the tree's fragrant flower clusters provide a strong-flavored nectar. Basswood stock also becomes the very boxes in which the honeycombs are stored and shipped.

Carving comments

It would be hard to find a wood more perfect for carving. A sharp knife or gouge slides through it as if cutting butter. And the finish of a clean cut looks lustrous.

· Because basswood takes fine detail, it's great for relief, figure, and chip carving.

· Basswood requires control or your carving tool may go further along a stroke than planned.

Strengthen details subject to breakage with a thinned coat of woodworker's glue (it won't take stain) worked into the wood.

 Uses in woodworking

Carvers prefer basswood because it holds detail well, doesn't split, has straight-grain, and carves easily. They usually prefer air-dried, slow-grown northern stock. Basswood also can become drawer stock, hidden furniture parts, and painted items. In industry, it plays a role as boxes and food containers. As veneer, it can underlie fine cabinet woods in plywood. This light, versatile wood also works for picture frames, toys, and millwork such as window sashes. It even makes fine turning wood.*

*April 13th 2000 Wood Magazine


Jayne Pheiffer

Former Blackhawk Carvers club member Jayne Pheiffer  celebrated her 100-hundredth  birthday Friday, December 18!  She is a very special lady.


  I received a note from Jayne Pheiffer Thanking everyone for her birthday cards.    She included "I have such good memories of the Blackhawk Carvers.  It has been so wonderful to be remembered through the years.  Turning 100 has been pretty exciting.  I recommend it to you all.  Happy Holidays!  Love, Jayne" .

  Thanks, Don Stansfield




Carving woods for sale

Del Lohr of Cedar Ridge Hardwoods called me to ask if we would let the club members know that he has a large inventory of carving woods, including basswood, butternut (both clear and wormy), catalpa, pine, cherry, etc.  He can provide all widths, thicknesses and lengths.  Del used to sell his wood at our annual shows.  His phone number is 815-938-2263.  

  Don  Stansfield


February Birthdays (that we Know of)

6 Gary Curl
 6 David Van Barriger
16 Gary Lundquist
13 Nancy Mayfield
25 Arne Larsen
26 Gordy Moscinski

Want to buy or sell

If you have anything that you would like to buy or sell send me an email and I will put it in the newsletter.   Gordy



Like us on Facebook “Blackhawk Woodcarvers”.  Many pictures and information.

Club Officers    (815 aera code)

Present            Tyrone Johnsen  397-9274
Vice Present
    Richard Dumphy   633-9003
Treasurer         Larry Stenzel   389-4714
Secretary         Steve Terrill   708-0471


Committees       (815 aera code)

Programs, Richard Dunphey, 633-9003
Webmaster & Newsletter Editor Gordy Moscinski  874-7978
Membership  Chuck  Drewes   985-8575
Photographer  Steve Terrill
Picnic   Tony Devita

Carvers wanted

Sometimes I get calls from people wanting to have a carving done (for money).  If you are interested in any of these contacts, let me know and what kind of carvings you are interested in doing for people.  Don Stansfield,

Influenced To Be a Woodcarver----by Roger Benedict

Woodcarving for me has been a lifelong passion beginning as a youngster when making a slingshot.  Having a slingshot in my neighborhood was a big deal, similar with peer pressure within my circle of buddies.  But make them we did.  My woodcarving (pocket knife) began with carving the slingshot’s fork from a tree branch.  Ideally the forked tree branch had to be just right when searching through the neighborhood timbers.  However, nature did not agree with my buddy slingshot shooters.  We had to settle for the simplest branch close to the ground to begin the fork.  This truly began my woodcarving passion when I had to whittle the branch to suit the best ever looking slingshot fork. The real challenge was to carve the grooves to tightly hold the “inner-tube” sling with a wrapped string about the fork’s arms. Among other materials to explore woodcarving were discarded wooden orange crates from the neighborhood grocery store, whereby the crate’s ends of pine were used for my carving.  Here is where I carved (again pocket knife) some airplanes and boats. Then I discovered balsa wood along with X-Acto knives that opened up a new frontier for my carvings and model making.  A few decades later a good friend, Jack Lichtenheld, introduced me to formal woodcarving and the Blackhawk Woodcarvers----later, as many other members have done, I took Gordy’s carving class. 

Now it is your turn to tell us how you began as a woodcarver.  Recall in November 2018 we had a panel discussion of five carvers about their influence to begin woodcarving.  Here is your opportunity to answer the same questions and obviously relate to your reasons for being a woodcarver:

--What was your life style or situation that encouraged you to become a woodcarver?

--Who influenced you in your carving journey, and why?

--Assuming you developed a niche, why did you choose it?

--Over the years what have you gained from this experience?

This could be of great interest for you to truly answer these questions that may provide more depth with old decisions to wood carve.  On the other hand I am sure the membership would enjoy reading about you; with, purely voluntarily, placing your answers in the monthly newsletter.   Therefore, everyone benefits from this project.

I am recommending that you submit your comments to me online,, and with your permission they will be printed in the monthly newsletters. This is a great opportunity to expand our knowledge of each other where I suspect we all have similar reasons for our woodcarving passions.

Take care and keep your tools sharp


Roger Benedict Interview of Tyrone Johnsen, 31 Dec 2020


Roger:  What was your life style or situation that encouraged you to wood carve?

totom poleTyrone:  This is sort of a two step or two phase event. I first did some wood carving as a Boy Scout. Using my jack knife, I would carve some sort of figure out of a smaller tree branch. Specifically, I remember carving a sailboat with a fixed keel and the mast out of a twig which was force fit into a hole. No glue or other tools. Then the head of an old bearded man which I gave to my father. Much later, I created a totem pole out of a landscape timber using my circular saw and a hammer and (dull) chisel. This had the “totems” of each of my son’s Y Indian Guides members on it. It still stands in our back yard.

The next phase, within the last ten years came as a result of my visiting my friend Larry Stenzel and the Blackhawk Woodcarvers annual shows. I also noted a beginning wood carving class being offered by CLR (Center for Learning in Retirement); and I enrolled. This was my first exposure to the dedicated wood carving knife. It also lead to my joining Blackhawk Woodcarvers.

guitar  monk     skier

I should add that I have always liked art, especially sculpture, and making things. Wood carvings are usually three dimensional, as is sculpture,  and that is a reason to draw me.

     Roger:  Who influenced you in your carving career and why?

    Tyrone:  Certainly, Larry Stenzel and then Don Stanfield are the ones who showed me the way to “serious” wood carving and Blackhawk Woodcarvers.

    Roger:  Asuming you developed a niche, why did you choose itTyrone:  I believe I do have a preference. I think I really enjoy figures. Especially human figures; and humorous ones or caricatures. Enter Denny Neubauer and his little caricatures and I really enjoyed that. Even caricatures of animals, real or imagined!

    Roger:  Over the years what have you gained from this experience?

   Tyrone:  Because I am relatively new to what I call more serious woodcarving, my experience with Don’s class and Blackhawk Woodcarvers has had a tremendous influence on my carving knowledge and ability. My exposure of the tools beyond a jack knife, the sharpening of them, and the techniques have provided my with gains beyond my expectations. As a true beginner about five years ago, my knowledge and ability has gained at a fantastic rate. The slope of this learning then starts to reduce to a more moderate increase; but there is always more to learn and enlighten me.



Let’s get creative

We would like to challenge all members of the club to share a bird(s) for the FEBRUARY newsletter.  It can be one that you have already carved, painted, woodburned, chip carved etc. We have great diversity in our club, we wish to showcase this talent. Send them in by February 3rd 2021.


Thank You

A big thank you to all who contributed pictures and commentary for this newsletter. 
Great job! Keep the knives sharp!

Keep sending your pictures by the February 3, 2021 deadline.

 Missing Carving

chipped carved plate I let someone borrow this carving as a guide.  Please let me know who has it and how I can get it back.  Thanks

(I am in big trouble with my wife.  This is one of her favorites!)

Gordy Moscinski  815.874.7978



A special snowman issue


Phyllis Hogberg sent if these cute little guys.


Jerry Robey carved one staying safe.


Tony Devita carved a snowman getting into the holiday spirit.


Tyrone Johnsen shared a carving that was given as an ornament.


Mr and Mrs Snow People. Carved and painted basswood back in.

Chuck Drewes


I wish to submit that Santa and Mr Snowman are happy it is now 2021. Happy new year.

John Martin



Denny and Becky Neubauer join their talents.  Denny woodburned the snowmen and Becky wove the frames.


Denny Neubauer carved a snowman that seems to be keeping himself warm.









Gordy Moscinski has experimented with a variety of materials to create snowmen.  The small gourds were from Louis Jurisch’s garden.


Steps to carving a cardinal by Bob Mathews


1.  Cutout


2.  Rounding


3.  Shaping Tail


4.  Detailing Tail


5.  Shaping Wings


6.  Detailing Back Feathers


7.  Detailing Wings


8.  Detailing Breast      

This page features a series of pictures showing the steps in carving a cardinal from the cutout till it is ready to wood burn.  This is out of Basswood.  In February, I will finish the Cardinal by woodburning, mounting, and painting

Bob Matthews

Stylized Wren

Stylized Wren

A Stylized Wren.  I found this in a carving book published in 1938, called Whittling by Bill Higginbotham.  It is carved out of Calalpa and finished with Krylon and Paste Wax.

Bob Matthews



Here are two horses I burned for my two granddaughters for Christmas.  They take riding lessons and I did a portrait of each girl’s favorite horse at the stables.

Larry Stenzel




My fall/winter project. "Winter Sleighs" chip carved from a pattern from My Chip Carving.                  

Gary Johnson

 little guy

The little guy is happy that 2020 is gone. First caving of the year (2021).

Denny Neubauer



Split Rock Lighthouse, North Shore, Lake Superior, MN given as a gift to our son and his wife who is from Duluth.

Gordy Moscinski


Happy New Year Everyone




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