Viking Wood Carvers Association
Newsletter September 2003

VIKING Chapter
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Vol. 29 No. 6

· Jim Forrey
 (952) 831-2758

· Jim Ayers
 (612) 721-6074
· Myron Asper
 (952) 445-7274

· Nancy Dardis
· 952-888-3479

· Lew Forsmark
· 952-888-3650

· Jim Ayers
· Myron Asper

· Keith Fredrickson
· Leonard Kampa

· Carol “Swede” Bengtson
· Merle Erickson
Viking Web Site -

· New Meeting Location – Knights of Columbus, 1114 W 79th St., Bloomington,
· 4th Monday – Meeting Time – 7:00 PM

September, 2003 Presentation – September 22, 2003
Ken Brown will present “Chip Carved Quilt Boxes.”  Ken is a member of the Rochester Carving Club, who last spoke with us on Inuit/Eskimo carvings. An article on his chip carving quilt designs was in the last issue of Carving Magazine. Ken works at IBM in Rochester and has been carving for over ten years. He has immersed himself in many different kinds of carving. His chip carving is one of the more recent. He’s an excellent speaker, well organized, down to earth, and practical, a speaker who has a contagious enthusiasm about carving and sharing experiences. His presentation will be a fine one to inaugurate our new meeting place at the KC Hall.


Meeting Minutes of Viking Woodcarver’s Meeting
June 9, 2003
By Nancy Dardis

President Jim Forrey called the meeting to order.  50 members and guests attended. Guests included Romel Brown, Wally McGrain, John Mitchell, and Dallas Nord.

Jim reported that Swede Bengsten had surgery and was recuperating. He should be out and kicking up a storm by the time this newsletter hits your mailbox.

Business Reports

Lew Frosmark updated the Treasurer’s report.  May income was $272.35 and expenses $391.69. Balance on June 1, 2003 was $4,512.79. The Treasurer’s report was approved and seconded.

The May meeting minutes as printed in the previous newsletter were approved and seconded.

Editor, Russell Scott, ‘fessed up to ‘fun with spelling’ again in the latest newsletter.  If you didn’t notice, he won’t mind.

Program Chairman, Jim Ayers, was working to line up a speaker for the September meeting (he arranged for Ken Brown – see note above). He has ideas for this coming year, but is always looking for more.  If you have suggestions, give him a call (612) 721-6074.

Club Status Form
The State of Minnesota requires filing of a form no later than December 31 EACH YEAR to retain our name and club status. Bill Smith has been doing this for 20+ years, but needs to pass on this duty to another willing volunteer.  It’s a simple form – once a year. We do anticipate that Bill’s 20-year diligence will remain the record.  However, the club must pay $35 each time the address on the form is changed.  Therefore, we would like a volunteer who is willing to do this for more than just a year two.  Think about it over the summer and we will discuss this at the September meeting.

2003 Fall Show
The show will again be at Har Mar Mall – Saturday, October 25 (10-6) and Sunday, October 26 (Noon – 5).  Contact Swede Bengtson at: 952-884-4136 or Merle Erickson at 651-646-0582 ASAP!! Participation at the present is low. We have only one meeting till the show! Call now!!
FYI:  Per Lew Forsmark:  Totals from the Spring Show:
Details:  Postage $74.00, Copy Work $15.07, Table Skirting $96.24, Tables/Chairs $578.00.
Totals:  Outlay $763.31, Intake $1200.00, Profit $436.69.

Name Tags
Viking club nametags can be ordered from Lew.  These are $5.00 and must be paid in advance.
Send your check for $5.00 to Lew Frosmark, 2730 W 91st St, Bloomington, MN  55431.


· George Effrem (Woodcarvers Store and School)
· John Krantz (Krantz Wood Sales)

New Meeting Location
This is our last meeting at the VFW since it is closing. A discussion ensued to come up with possible meeting places for the club. Jim Forrey checked out:
· Richfield Legion 435 – cost is $150 per meeting (includes coffee), but the second Monday of the month will NOT work.
· Knights of Columbus – cost is $75 per meeting (includes coffee).
· Bloomington Armory – Cost unknown, but Monday night is not available.
The new location is listed on the front cover of this newsletter.

Additions to the list from the discussion:
· Churches
· Edina Community Center
· Creekside Community Center (Bloomington)
· Minnesota Wildlife Refuge Center
· National Guard Centers
· Bloomington Arts Center – At first review this site is booked on Mondays.
· Senior High Rises with meeting rooms
· Hennepin County Vo Tech

A committee was formed to review the suggested sites and make a determination over the summer. The committee consists of Jim Forrey, Lew Forsmark, Swede Bengsten, and Nancy Dardis.  If you have additional suggestions, please call Jim Forrey (952-831-2758) ASAP.  Once the decision is made, it’s done!

Two motions were made and approved during the discussion:
1. Allow the meeting to be moved to a different Monday night at the Committee’s discretion.  Selection of an alternate day of the week was briefly discussed, but the group preferred Monday, if possible.
2. Allow the spending of up to $150 per night for the meeting room.  Note:  This could mean an additional cost to members.  We generally have 75-80 attendees, so this would be nominal.  The availability of refreshments (ie coffee) is desirable, but not required.

The biggest concern was to get a place where we could contract for a particular night from Sept thru June and not have conflicts with other activities at the site.  It was recommended that we stay away from the first and last Monday of the month, since these are more prone to be holidays.  The Committee will also look for a site that has handicap access and easy access and setup space for the vendors.

** Presentation **

Dr. Walt Mackey provided an informative presentation called “Hand Me Down My Walkin’ Cane’.  He brought along many beautiful samples.  We were allowed to pass these around provided we didn’t beat each other, poke out an eye, or take a test run to the parking lot.  Dr. Mackey spoke on three types of canes:  Braided Willow, Diamond Willow, and Natural Material Canes.

Dr. Mackey started braiding willow many years ago.  This is a unique cane.  No one else is making braided willow canes – at least until tomorrow morning!  This requires 3-4 small branches, no bigger than your little finger.  The branches must be green for flexibility.  He also created a special vice clamp to hold the ends of the willow and has coerced a couple neighbors with good nature, and more muscle than brains, into assisting with the braiding process.  The pieces can also be twisted, rather than braided for a different look.  Dr Mackey uses plastic ties to hold the braided or twisted canes (get at Sam’s Club by the gallon).  Although the cane bends during the braiding process, it is easily straightened when the ends are bound.  Allow it to dry 4-6 months. Sand to smooth, add a handle, finish, and put on a crutch tip (available at hardware stores).

Willow Selection
Select straight pieces that are about 5 feet long – the braiding shortens the finished cane.  A finished cane should allow a 10-15° bend in the user’s elbow.  A walking stick is longer to allow use on uneven ground.  You can leave the bark on or remove it for different effects.  The rougher bark (even splitting in the bark) generally provides the most interesting grain.  Simply sand down the bark lightly to smooth it and reveal the grain.

The handle is generally another piece of willow that is large enough to allow drilling of 3-4 closely grouped holes to hold the ends of the braided cane.  He drills through the handle until the drill tip comes through the other side.  A little tape on the handle top keeps the glue from escaping.  Elmer’s glue seems to be the best adhesive, but be sure not to fill the holes completely.  Inject about 1/8” of glue and allow it to become tacky.  Add another 1/8” before inserting the cane ends.  Filling the hole in one step does not allow the deepest glue to dry uniformly.  Nature also provides us with a handle.  The willow is a sucker type growth.  Under the soil, the stick is generally bent at a right angle to its root.  For a creative effect, dig down and retain part of the root for a strong, ready-made handle.

Use four coats of brush-on polyurethane with 24 hour drying period and light sanding in between.  Two coats of spray-on polyurethane completes the finish.  (Caution – Don’t spray this in your house or garage.  The spray hangs in the air creating a breathing hazard, and settles nicely on anything in its path – like your car).

The diamonds in these willow sticks are actually created by a fungus that attacks the branches creating lesions.  Each lesion is diamond-shaped and generally red at the center, since the interior of the willow is revealed.  Most of these sticks are crooked due to their age.  They should be dry before you work with them.  Again, the bark can be removed or left on.  If you leave the bark on, use an orbital sander to smooth the bark, then detail sand around the lesions to reveal the white willow and highlight the diamond patterns.  USE A DUST MASK WHEN SANDING!!!
These stems should be 1½” to 2” in diameter.  Willows generally has the most diamonds if found in a crowded and stressed environment where they are forced to grow slowly.

Since Dr. Mackey is a retired veterinarian, he has also worked with….well, ‘natural materials’ for cane making.  He found that slaughter houses had little use for a butchered bull’s …manliness.  Since the organ comes with a ready made ‘channel’, an aluminum rod is inserted to provide for bending and shaping before drying the proud member.  (OK, how big is the inserted aluminum rod?  Depends on how big the rod is you are working with….happy??!!)
This detour into biology actually spawned (pardon the pun) a company named International Biologics, which produces all sorts of products from this organ.  Depending on the available size, the bull may provide everything from a modest ‘bull-point pen’, to the ‘look-at-me Peter Putter’, or a full-fledge, ‘aren’t-you-jealous walking stick’.

Dr Mackey completed his presentation with the ‘Ode to Ferdinand’ – a poem included with each bullish purchase….and that ain’t no bull!


(SHOW AND TELL) – June, 2003

NAME                 CARVING          WOOD         FINISH                 COMMENTS

Color pictures, click <HERE>



Woodcarvers Store and School
3056 Excelsior Blvd., Minneapolis, MN  55416-0127 (612) 927-7491 (

Jim Abicht, Fine woodworking
Specializing in bases for carving projects  (651) 451-7217

Ivan Whillock Studio
122 NE 1st Avenue, Faribault, MN 55021  (507) 334-8306 (

 Krantz Wood Sales - Carving & Specialty Woods
 16748 Stanford St., Forest Lake, MN  55025  (651) 464-5632 (Evenings)

David Lindroth, Custom Cut Woods for Woodcarvers & Artists
8150 – 137th St. W.  Apple Valley, Mn  55124  (952) 432-7066

Nelson-Johnson Wood Products, Inc.
3910 Bryant Ave No., Mpls., MN  55412    (612) 529-2978 - cell phone (612) 644-4567

Chris Thompson, Carver and Instructor, (651) 457-4130

Gen Jansen, Carver and Instructor, (320) 252-3966

Bob Masse “Ruff-Cuts”
4930 Whitcomb Dr, Madison, WI  53711  (608) 271-2883

Brad Oren Sculpture Supply
Complete source for stone, wood, clay, abrasives & tools.

Rockler Stores:
Maplewood, MN  (651) 773-5285; Minneapolis, MN  (612) 822-3338;
Burnsville, MN  (952) 892-7999; Minnetonka, MN (952) 542-0111

Woodcraft Supply
9741 Lyndale Ave S, Bloomington, MN  (952) 884-3634

Gregg McCabe, Stubai tool distributor
425 Madison St NE, Minneapolis, MN (612) 379-9342

Garry N. Kolb - Woodcarving Supplies
2528 24 Ave NW, Rochester, Mn. 55901 (507) 289-9138

Copperhead Road Logging and Lumber
Joe Jewett – 54852 Great River Rd. Palisade, Mn. 56469 (218) 845-2832 Ron Fisher
Duck Decoy Blanks. 1-800-231-7370