Franklin man makes miniature wildlife creations from wood

Published 11:09 am Saturday, January 28, 2012

Franklin resident Howard Boone works on some of his wooden carvings. -- Don Bridgers | TIDEWATER NEWS

Franklin resident Howard Boone spends his free time carving wildlife figurines from wood scraps. -- Don Bridgers | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—Although he retired years ago, Franklin resident Howard Boone manages to stay out of his wife’s hair.

The 83-year-old spends most of his free time in a shed in the couple’s backyard, carving wildlife pieces from wood scraps.

The former Union Camp mill sheeter operator has had the hobby for at least 60 years, but doesn’t really know how it started.

“It was just something to do, something to pass the time,” Boone said. “It’s just a hobby. I can’t just sit around like a lot of people. When they retire, they retire. When I retire, I don’t.”

Boone carves birds, waterfowl and mammals, including buffaloes, giraffes and zebras as well as rabbits and cats.

Cypress is his wood of choice, but it’s hard to find. He mainly uses white pine because it’s soft, has a fine grain and doesn’t splitter as badly as other varieties of pine.

Boone’s wife, Jane, said her favorite carvings are a rabbit, a zebra and a redbird, which was the first thing he ever carved for her.

“I think he does a good job,” Jane Boone said. “It gives him something to do since he’s retired.”

Howard Boone spends up to two to three days on one carving.

He sells and donates them throughout the area. A former deacon of Franklin Baptist Church, Boone carved turkeys for place settings at the church during a Thanksgiving service. He also sets up a booth at Founders’ Day in Courtland, where he sells his carvings for $10 to $15.

Howard and Jane Boone have three sons, Donny, Henry and David.