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Geppetto Woodcarvers display their talents in Parkersburg

Photo by Jess Mancini Mike Danko of the Geppetto Woodcarvers poses with his intricately carved relief carvings. Danko prefers pine for its availability and cost.

PARKERSBURG — These guys like to get their hands into their work.

They’re members of the Geppetto Woodcarvers of Parkersburg and nothing makes them happier to ask them what they’re doing.

“They love it when someone walks up to them while they’re carving,” said President Pete Yakob.

The Geppetto Woodcarvers held its annual Carving on the Porch Saturday at Woodcraft Supply at Emerson and Rosemar avenues. About a dozen carvers displayed their talents and creations.

Among those was Mike Danko, whose expertise is relief carving. He has an art background in college. Danko, who got serious into carving in 2015, carves elaborate scenes on boards of pine.

Photo by Jess Mancini Pat Wentzel has been nominated as the president of the National Carousel Association in 2018. A woodcarver who restores old carousels, Wentzel participated in the Geppetto Woodcarvers Carving on the Porch Saturday at Woodcraft Supply.

“It’s in the details,” he said of his creations.

Pine, he said, is his favorite wood to carve for several reasons, not the least of which is pine is easily available at Home Depot or Lowe’s and is relatively inexpensive compared to, for example, basswood, a wood often used by carvers.

Member Pat Wentzel carves miniature carousels of horses, but is into the restoration of carousel horses.

“I’ve always liked carousels,” he said.

Wentzel, secretary of the carvers, also is a member of the National Carousel Association and has been nominated president of the association for 2018.

Photo by Jess Mancini Pete Yakob, president of the Geppetto Woodcarvers. The woodcarvers held its annual Carving on the Porch Saturday at Woodcraft Supply.

Wentzel and his wife, Brenda, also have a collection of carved miniature circuses he hopes can be on display in an event organized by a civic group and the proceeds be given to a charity or cause. The circuses were carved in the ’40s and ’50s and a representation of the collection is on exhibit at the Toy and Doll Museum in Marietta, he said.

Geppetto carver Fred Myers has carved since 2007, or thereabouts. It’s good for the mind and body, he said.

“It takes concentration,” Myers said. “You’re using your hands. You’re using your mind. It keeps you alert.

“And it gives you a good feeling of accomplishment,” Myers said.

Myers carves mostly with basswood, but has done other woods including sassafras, cherry and walnut.

Photo by Jess Mancini Geppetto Woodcarver Fred Myer carves a spoon at the Woodcarvers Carving on the Porch Saturday at Woodcraft Supply. Members enjoy showing onlookers how it’s done.

Fred Esker, who is affiliated with the Boy Scouts, gives each Scout achieving Eagle Scout a hand-carved walking stick.

Jerry Yancey is a chip carver for more than 20 years.

“How I got started is right there,” Yancey said as he points to a pit he is carving. “That’s going to be a monkey.”

To relieve the pressures from his work, Jamie Ice, an electrician from Clarksburg, got into woodcarving two years ago. It’s therapeutic, he said.

“I needed something for stress relief,” Ice said.

Photo by Jess Mancini Larry Mills of the Geppetto Woodcarvers carves a boot during Carving on the Porch Saturday at Woodcraft Supply.

Stress relief is important, but it’s fun, too, said Dale Lott, who has been carving since the 1980s.

“I do just about everything,” he said.

Carving on the Porch is among the most anticipated events in which the Geppetto Carvers participate, said Yakob, who has been president of the woodcarvers for 12 years.

“We look forward to this every year,” he said.

But it’s more than sitting and carving, according to Yakob. The group hopes to attract new members and encourage people to take up carving, he said.

Photo by Jess Mancini Jerry Yancey holds a pit seed that will be carved into a monkey during the Geppetto Woodcarvers Carving on the Porch Saturday at Woodcraft Supply.

“We’re always looking for new members,” Yakob said.

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