We asked Mike, currently living in Idaho (from California originally) a bit about his experience as a carver.
Mike does relief carving and negative space chip carving. Recently he decided to turn his artwork into a business, as things have started to pick up for him. We’ve had fun following some of the awesome work that he has posted. You can follow Mike (and place an order for a sign or table!) on Instagram
What are some tools you couldn’t live without?
I could not carve without a utility knife and of course the carving set I purchased from Schaaf Tools. [Thanks for the shout out, Mike!] The first set I ever used was a palm gouge set.
One challenge you faced?
A carving challenge I faced was how to carve letters. It's a cross between chip carving and relief carving. Now it's my signature style.
Are there any carvers and wood workers who inspire you?
The carvers that inspire me are @chopwithchris, @samryan_designs and @resinplanet (you can check them out on Instagram as well).
Are there any projects that you are most proud of?
The projects I'm most proud of are the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ table and a memorial I did for a friend’s son who passed. The table took 60 some odd hours, 3 cut fingers and many hours of pain. All of it was worth it. I’m proud of it because I had never carved anything on that scale before
Advice for someone just getting into relief or chip carving?
Start by watching videos – it helps! Also, don't go out and spend a lot of money on tools. Start affordable. I've seen time again, beginners selling tools they don't use because they thought they would get into wood working [and didn't]. You really have to have a passion for it - the grains, the smell - even if is a simple bench made from #2 pine.
Mike told us he loves carving and the joy it brings his customers. It’s a huge part of his life. Definitely take a minute to follow him @water_in_color8. And if you need a sign or table carving done, Mike is your man!
Thank Mike, looking forward to seeing your work moving forward, and best of luck with the business.