304 South Egbert St
PO Box 434
Monona, IA 52159

Weekdays 1-4pm
Saturday & Sunday
by appt

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Monona Woodcarvers Group FAQs

Who are we?
The Monona Wood Carvers Group are folks who have an interest in wood carving, are interested in learning about wood carving, and enjoy the fellowship shared each week by the group of wood carvers and guests attending.

Where do we meet?
We meet at the Monona Historical Museum in the Marting Wood Carving Room. Eight foot tables are provided for the wood carvers to sit around and carve, with electricity provided on the tables for adjustable lamps and wood burning devices.

When do we meet?

The Monona Wood Carvers Group gathers each Tuesday afternoon, 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M., and each Thursday evening, 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

What do we do at each session?
The Monona Wood Carvers Group is structured as an open wood carving group, each individual member carving any type of project they might be interested in.

Is there a cost to attend each wood carving session?
There are no costs or fees in attending or participating in the activities of the Monona Wood Carvers Group’s weekly sessions. We do encourage those attending to donate to the coffee and cookie jar if they enjoy the goodies and treats provided.

Do we hold classes on various types of wood carving?
Members of the Monona Wood Carvers Group provide group or individual instruction when requested. We do have structured classes throughout the year, but no regular scheduled classes. If there is an expressed interest from the group members on a particular category or type of wood carving, we will invite an outside professional instructor to provide a class if there is adequate number participation.

Do I need tools to attend the Monona Wood Carvers Group?
If you have wood carving tools, bring them along with you to each session. If you do not have wood carving tools, members of the group will offer you the use of their individual tools until you decide if you enjoy wood carving, or would like to purchase your own tools. Members of the group will assist you in the selection of the proper wood carving tools to purchase. Purchasing quality tools is one of the most important decisions you will need to make to enjoy the art of wood carving.

How do I keep my carving tools sharp?
Along with quality tools, it is most important to keep them sharp! There are a number of methods in sharpening wood carving tools. Members of the Monona Wood Carvers Group are qualified and willing to offer advice and training in various methods on sharpening the many different types of wood carving tools. Frequently refresher classes are held on the methods of sharpening tools.

What type of wood do you use for wood carving?
Most all types of wood can be used for wood carving, but basswood and butternut are the preferred types for wood carving. The Monona Wood Carvers Group has practice pieces of each type wood available for you to get the feel what wood carving is about. When you decide what type of wood carving you might or would enjoy, members of the group will assist you in the selection and purchase of the proper wood for your desired project.

What are some of the various types of wood carvings?
There are many types of wood carvings, each unique in design and beauty.
• Chip Carving – Decorative form of carving
• Incised Carving – Decorative and letter carving
• Relief Carving – Wood is carved around or away from an object
• Bark Carving – Objects carved in wood bark
• Caricature Carving – Decorative, humorous, realistic figures
• Flat-Plane Carving – Decorative figures
• Utilitarian Carving – Functional Items
• Whimsies – Nonfunctional, primarily entertaining type of carving
• Stylized Carving – Sculptures or decorative carvings
• Architectural Carving – Acanthus type of carving

Each of the above types of carvings offer many variances that can be in cooperated for each carver to express his or her interest in the individual carving.

How is a wood carving finished for display?
There are many ways to finish a completed wood carving. It usually is up to the individual wood carver as to how they desire to put the final finishing materials on the carving. Some of the finishing options are:
• Painting
• Varnish
• Stain
• Clear spray finish
• Shellac
• Penetrating finishes
• Leave the wood natural as carved

How do I get started in wood carving?
It is recommended that you arrange to attend one of the weekly carving sessions at the Monona Historical Museum in Monona, Iowa. Watch what the wood carvers are doing, ask questions, and maybe try your hand at wood carving with the help of someone from the group.

The Monona Wood Carvers Group has donated wood to be used as practice pieces. Members will assist you in a starting project, to get an understanding on how to work with the grain of the wood, how to properly hold the tools, learn the safety aspects of wood carving, and practice various types of wood carvings.

How do I contact someone from the group with questions?
You may call the Monona Historical Museum, Monday through Friday, 1 to 4 P.M. via phone, with questions you may have regarding the wood carving group and their weekly activities. The museum phone number is 563-539-8083 or by e-mail,

Call Elmer Marting for more detailed information on the group, projects, wood carving tools, training and instruction, carving wood, etc.

Home Phone: 563-539-2640
Cell Phone: 563-880-0343
E-mail: or

Leave your full name and phone numbers on the answering machine if no one is available to take your call.


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