The sound of knives scraping against basswood is heard in the Ricker Memorial Library basement where five members of the Poland Spring Carvers meet Saturday.

“We make designer kindling,” jokes Norm Devonshire of Raymond, a 70-year-old man with a big bushy white beard.

“That’s what we call our mistakes,” interjects Jim Irish, 64, of Auburn, with a devilish glint in his eye. “When the glue and the wood putty won’t do, the wood stove will take care of it!”

The club meets on the first Friday and third Saturday of every month. They accept any level of carving ability and encourage those who have just an interest, with no prior experience, to join.

“The best part about meeting with a group is we see our own mistakes, but the others don’t,” says Bob Grimm, 47, of Raymond.

“And the differences here and the willingness to share ideas,” says Gene Brogan, 68, of New Gloucester. “Everyone wants to be successful.”

So the men bring in what they are working on to share, and they also bring a piece of wood — basswood, poplar, walnut, it doesn’t matter. They bring their tools, or “implements of destruction,” according to Grimm, and they carve together, sharing stories and silence.

Most are carving for pleasure, but a few pieces will be shown, put into competition, or sold. 

“Most of my stuff hangs around my house until I give it away,” Irish said. “The best part about this is that you don’t need a workshop.”

But their best pieces? Well, those are elusive. 

“It’s the one I haven’t done,” jokes Stan Tanner, 67, of Poland.

“The next one,” say Grimm with a laugh.

“There is always room for improvement,”  Brogan said.

Jim Irish of Auburn, right, works on an “in the round” carving of an elephant during Saturday’s meeting of the Poland Spring Carvers at the Ricker Memorial Library in Poland. Norm Devonshire of Raymond works in the background.

Jim Irish works on an “in the round” carving of an elephant at the Poland Spring Carvers club in Poland on Saturday.

A recent wood burning of Bob Grimm sits on the table as he works on carving a duck Saturday at the Poland Spring Carvers’ meeting in Poland.

Gene Brogan, left, of New Gloucester, and Stan Tanner of Poland work on projects during a meeting of the Poland Spring Carvers in Poland on Saturday.

For more information check out to find a meeting in your area.

Or visit the 2009 Woodcarving & Wildlife Art Show in Augusta at the Armory September 19 & 20.

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