T.R.WOLFF LOGO

TERRY WOLFF, AMERICAN SIGN & WOOD CARVER
Since 1976

P.O.Box 159, Carson NM 87517 US
1+575-751-0620


Providing Unique and Exquisite Hand Carved Art in Wood, 
Woodcarvings, & Carved Signs To The World 



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A Little Background About How It All Started!

The History
The Carving
The Products


The History
American Sign & Wood Carvers is the name I incorporated in 1986 when I open my woodcarving business with sculptor Michael DeNike at his American Woodcarving School in Wayne, New Jersey.  I have been a professional carver since 1976

My involvement in woodcarving actually dates back to my teenage years.  However, it was never pursued, I had chose first to get involved in engineering and technical design.  Than moving on to commercial art, working in and around New York City.  This lead to my becoming a freelance artist, during which time I met DeNike in the early 1970's.  I had worked on some illustrations and designs for him.  In 1976 while illustrating a carving book for Michael, he gave me a set of carving tools which he just imported from England.  Although it was his intention for me to abuse them as a test of their quality, you could say they actually changed the direction of my life.  With in the next few months I learned as much as possible from both Mike and Jarvis Boone, a woodcarver with a shop in Sugar Loaf, New York.  It was Jarvis who recommended that I learn to do signs. 

Six months later in 1977, I relocated to Bellingham, Washington where he opened up my first woodcarving studio, the Custom Carving Studio on Dupont Street just above the harbor.  I also taught my woodcarving skills at Fairhaven College. I maintained by studio until 1982 when I split my time between carving at the Wooden Boat at Marina del Rey, California and the Center For Wooden Boats on Lake Union in Seattle, Washington.  

During these years on the west coast, I became interested in wooden boats and nautical carving and almost half my works were for boat owners. For several years I did workshops at the Foundation For Wooden Boats in Port Townsend, Washington and wooden boat shows in Anacortes, Port Townsend, and Seattle.  When I went to California, I maintained a workshop in the back of a converted bus which I took to various boat shows and marinas from southern California, Oregon, to northern Washington.  The bus actually served as a living portfolio of my skills as a builder, cabinet maker, and woodcarver.  Using the bus as my introduction, I rebuilt boats from the water line up, remodeled interiors of yachts and created many carved teak embellishments.  

Also, during my time in the LA area, I was hired by a Beverly Hills antique dealer to repair carvings and damaged antiques.  I did this for him until 1986 when I headed east to teach at the American Wood Carving School and help Michael open a carving shop we named American Sign and Wood Carvers.

Within the first year, Michael decided that he really didn't want to have a commercial shop but wanted to pursue his sculpture, thereby leaving me to deal with the business of sign carving.  Although I had originally only planned on heading West after the first year, I remained on the East and stayed through 1992 when I left for Taos, New Mexico.  During this time I did bronze sculpture, commissioned woodcarvings, signs, antique repairs, furniture, and custom doors.  I stopped teaching at the carving school in 1990 and relocated in Hunt Valley, Maryland where I taught at Craftwoods.

After arriving in Taos, I opened Artes del Lobo, a woodcarving studio just south of the plaza.  I continued doing workshops at Craftwoods, making the trip back to Maryland once or twice a year until 1994 when I started teaching at the University of New Mexico until the spring of 2000. 

In 1994 after a ski injury I closed the studio and worked at a home studio in Valdez where I lived.  In 1998 Linda and I purchased a five acre parcel of land west of the Taos Gorge and within a mile of the Carson Post Office. During the summer of 1999 we relocated to our property and by October I started to build my permanent studio.  Artes del Lobo and American Sign & Wood Carvers reopened in March of 2000, I held my first carving workshop at the studio that summer. 

It was now time to think about moving out of the converted school bus which served me so well since my days at Marina del Rey.  So in October 2000 I broke ground for our home, we moved to the house in the beginning of 2001 only a few months after a stray wolf dog mix claimed our closet as its home.  She has been a part of our family ever since. Of course there were still some things which needed to be done.

Late in 2003 while working I got talked into taking over one of my clients Solar Business.  So I added that to our mix with the hope that Linda will someday get more involved with it.  Between the Solar and the Woodcarving and our small "ranch", I keep myself well entertained.  Oh yes, lets not forget skiing during the winter!

Most of my work comes from the Internet, with my customer base being international.  I still exhibit from time to time at art galleries but I really enjoy the new markets the Internet has provided.  I am providing my clients with custom carved signs, nautical carvings, custom doors and gates, sculpture and antique renovations and it is all just an E-mail away.

Now you have a pretty good idea of who I am, so when you look at one of my wonderful creations, you will have some understanding about the person behind the work.

The Carving

I guess, you could say that I am passionate about carving.  There is something about wood that is so inviting yet at the same time it is always a challenge.  I love the idea of taking a piece of wood and either bring out a design which enhances its beauty or taking a piece of wood and converting it into piece of art.  Whether it is a sculpture, a relief carving, a repair, or a carved sign I see them all as a the making of a work of art.  

I believe that one of the main things that makes people appreciate something is when they value it.  As for myself, I did not value the very thing I am now passionate about until I was given the tools by Michael.  It wasn't until I started cutting into my very first carving that I realize that carving required skill and dedication.  Every cut was either a thing of beauty or the creation of a disastrous ending to the piece you were working on.  Every carving is a challenge.  With this said, I have been educating people not only about carvings but also about how to do carvings.  I love to share my skills with others, because the more carvers there are, the more selection and quality there is for the buying market.

The Product

I work hard at providing the best I can.  I adapted this theory from Jarvis, he said "I may not always do the greatest works, but I do the best I can."  And that is exactly what I have been striving for since the day I carved my first carving in 1976.  I use what I feel are the best woods and finishes for the job.  Over the years I have done a lot of experimenting especially with glues and finishes and can honestly stand behind what I do.  As for finishes I have seen and heard all the arguments.  I know that in some cases the newer products are better and in some cases they're not.  There are some woods and products I refuse to use.  But the products I do use, give you the best product I can provide.  I know the importance of extra coats of finish to protect my signs form the elements.  I also know that not everyone wants to pay for the extra time and material, so I provide a better than most finish.  This means I provide at least three coats of finish.  For those who feel they want an even better finish, I provide what I refer to as a Marine Finish.  This is six coats of paint or seven coats of spar varnish (it is also the finish I recommend on all signs which are having gold applied to them). 

A great number of my carvings and signs are designed by myself, however I can work from your designs or layouts. I can carve your existing logo or carve in any language as long as long as you provide an easy to follow copy. 

So if you are looking for a great sign or wood carving for yourself, your business, your boat, or as a special custom gift, I have provide numerous examples of my work.  So please take a look at what I have done for many others and than lets see what I can do for you. 

American Sign & Wood Carvers signs are hand crafted of the finest materials and woods available. The natural finished signs maybe crafted from Mahogany, Teak, Walnut, Oak, Butternut, Cedar, and Pine. For painted carved signs I use Sugar Pine, Northern White Pines, or Foam board. For sandblasted signs I use Foam board or MEDX but NO Redwood or any other old growth wood!

For furniture, cabinets, other woodworking projects and sculpture, the materials mainly depend on the project and the clients desires.


For more information about the artist and my work, 
visit my main site at TerryWolff.com

TERRY WOLFF, AMERICAN SIGN & WOOD CARVER
P.O.Box 159, Carson NM 87517 US 1+575-751-0620


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This Web Site has been on the Web since 1995 and is the creation of Taos Artisan, Terry R. Wolff and this page was last up-dated on December 17, 2013