Joe (whose nickname was Buzz),
used to do a bit of woodworking after he retired. He
began by making carvings of birds. He also cut and cleaned up pieces of driftwood that he found on the
shore of the Mississippi River (near his home) that had interesting or attractive shapes. Later, he began
cutting out newspaper ads that pictured beautiful women and using them as a pattern. The majority of his
carvings that I have been able to locate so far are of these female figures. It may seem odd that a man
of his age began carving all these figures of sexy young women. But, really, after a full career in the
U.S. Navy, what else was he going to carve??
Much of the wood he used for his work was pine or cedar. Most of it was scrap wood that he found around the neighborhood or washed up on the shore of the Mississippi River. He mounted most of his carvings onto wooden bases. The wood he used for these bases was lignum vitae which he got from the shipyards. This wood is extremely dense and hard and had been used to build bearing for the shafts of ship propellors.
I have most of the pieces shown here. Some other pieces are still with other family members. We will keep looking for other pieces in his collection so that we can document them all and display them here. We hope you enjoy his work. (Try not to be too judgmental about the female figures. Remember that they were carved by a gruff, but very loveable, old ex-sailor.)
Watch a video of my grandma and uncle talking about these carvings:
Video Clip 1
Video Clip 2