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Wood Spirits and more with Tim Collins, The Carving Artist - Schaaf Tools Community Spotlight

Schaaf Tools Community Spotlights feature a new wood carver every week. Learn about your carving community, pick up beginner wood carving tips, and get Inspired!

In this week's Community Spotlight, read about wood carving artist Tim Collins, and his fantastic wood spirit carvings. Learn more about wood carving today!

"The spirits have always been hiding inside the wood, but it's my job to bring them out."

We spoke with Tim Collins, who has The Carving Artist business in Forked River New Jersey where he lives with his wife Megan and his 4-year-old Twin boys, Tighe and Seamus. 

After 25 years in the restaurant business, Tim picked up carving in May, 2019. Now he says he couldn't live without his chisels! We were impressed with his Wood Spirits and Native American bust carvings. It's been fun connecting with Tim and following him as he tries new things and grows as a carver. Here's our interview with Tim Collins, The Carving Artist!

What kind of carving do you do?

I carve figures, signs and relief carvings with my chisels and knives. I'm kind of old school about carving in the sense that, to truly be able to learn the craft of wood carving, you need to be proficient with your hand tools because it's a lost art.

Talk a bit about the first beginner wood carving tools you ever used. Are there any tools now you couldn't live without?

My first beginner carving tools I started with were Flexcut tools. I bought the three knife set because I researched it and wanted something that was easy to control and priced moderately. With tools especially, you get what you pay for, and being a chef for all those years, you definitely want good blades on your knives.

I couldn't live without my Schaaf Tools chisels or my detail knife because I use them all the time - especially my V Tool Chisel and my Veiner.

Schaaf Tools V parting chisel

Are there any carvings you've done that you're most proud of?

The first carving that I ever did was a little fisherman named Scully - that's one.  The other one is a 5-foot long mantle relief carving that I did with my chisels. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, but I made it work somehow. 

Tim Collins "Sully" Wood Carving

Are there any carvers who have inspired you?

I watched Gene Messer and Doug Linker on YouTube when I first started. Both of those guys are very informative and explain things in a way that's easy to understand even if you don't have the slightest clue what you're doing. The third guy that I really learned a lot from is Joe Dillett. Not only in learning how to use the chisels the correct way, but also in the business aspect of how you want to run it and with what you want your end goal to be.

Can you talk about some of the challenges you've faced while carving?

The only real challenge is I don't have enough time to carve as much as I want to. I wish I learned years ago because that's how much I love doing it. As far as carving itself goes I don't really see anything as a challenge because that's the great thing about it: if your project goes a different way than you intended, you can always adjust it and make it something else! 

This was awesome, Tim. Thank you for your time. Anything else you'd like to add?

I really do think that wood carving is a lost art. I try to promote it as much as I can. My greatest pleasure in carving is to see what spirits come out of the wood when I'm done, because I feel like each one has its own distinct personality. The fact that I created it with my hands and tools gives me that satisfaction.

Someone said to me a couple months ago something I'll never forget: the spirits have always been hiding inside the wood, but it's my job to bring them out.  

Check out Tim's work:

Etsy Store:

Facebook page:

Instagram: @carvingartist5577


Inspired? Learn more about beginner wood carving tools here, and be sure to join the Schaaf Tools family for more inspiration, community spotlights and free educational material.

Tim Collins Workshop





  • Eli

    Hey Frank, we don’t have a physical catalog, but you can see all our available products on our website, here:

  • Frank Zemberi

    I purchased the diamond stone 400 and 1000 and was very satisfied. I also like that 12 oz mallet in green later I might order that also. By any chance do you have a catalog? Thanks.

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