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Wood Carver Specializes In Farm Animals
"Distinctive Wood Carvings" is a fulltime business for 77-year-old Glenn McCune of Willows, Calif. Since retiring from the U.S. Forest Service in 1984, McCune's wood carvings have kept him from really retiring at all. The versatile craftsman has hand-carved hundreds of wooden animals and embellished wooden bowls over the past 30 years.
He first started doing custom carving when local county fair organizers asked him if he could carve sheep figurines to make show trophies.
"The trophies were so unique that word of his carvings traveled fast," says McCune's wife, Mary. "He has done more sheep than anything else over the years, but he has also carved dairy and beef cattle, pigs, buffalo, horses, deer, elk, dogs, cats, some African animals, llamas, alpacas and people."
His work has been purchased by buyers from France, England, Italy, Canada, Holland, Australia, Japan and Germany.
McCune normally carves basswood or walnut. "I don't consider myself a portrait artist, but I will do a carving of a particular animal if a good photo can be supplied," he says. "All of my work is by custom orderÓ I don't maintain an inventory. I tell customers to allow a minimum of 60 days for me to fill their orders."
For example, one woman, whose husband was an auctioneer, wanted a personal gift that would mean a lot to him, so she hired McCune to create a carving that depicted her husband at work, auctioning three Suffolk sheep.
All types of livestock shows have used McCune's trophies. The statues are typically 7 to 8 in. long and 5 to 6 in. tall. They sell for $90 each, or $100 if they include a wooden trophy pedestal.
Items that are about 15 in. high sell for between $250 and $500.
McCune once made a life-sized Suffolk ram for the National Suffolk Sheep Association in Columbia, Missouri, and another time he made a duck with a 10-foot wingspan for a hunting club near his home in California. Though they are attention-getters, McCune says he prefers to steer clear of these large projects because they are so time consuming and often unprofitable. It was a labor of love however, when he completed a dining room set for each of his two daughters.
Although the size of his projects varies, McCune completes between 80 and 100 of them per year.
"We've met many, many interesting and nice people through Glenn's work," Mary says. "Each year, we always go to the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin in October and the North American International Livestock Exhibition in Louisville, Kentucky in November. Those are the two opportunities Glenn takes to get out and expose people to his work."
For a brochure, send McCunes a stamped, self-addressed, business-sized envelope.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Glenn and Mary McCune, 313 N. Sacramento Street, Willows, Calif. 95988 (ph 530 934-5371; E-mail: mjmccune57@juno.com).

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2001 - Volume #25, Issue #5